Did Jesus live? No dispute. Did he die? Absolutely. Yet one issue which is rarely examined by Jewish scholars is the historical event upon which his message stands or falls: his resurrection from the dead. It is the belief in this event which his first century followers took to heart and boldly proclaimed to the rest of the world. It is the central claim of the New Testament. One of his followers, Paul, put it this way:
If we hoped in Messiah in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. But now Messiah has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.
1 Corinthians 15: 19-20
Until recently, most Orthodox Jews could reject the resurrection of Yeshua, on the basis that they do not accept the idea of a Messiah who dies and is then resurrected. However, in the summer of 1996 a curious situation developed in the Orthodox community…