An Israeli couple calling themselves Messianic Jews was barred from marrying in a Jewish religious ceremony in Israel because they are considered Christians, a rabbinical court ruled.
It was the first time an Israeli rabbinical court was forced to grapple with the issue of the status of Jews who believe in Jesus as the Messiah, according to Haaretz.
In response to questions from the Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court, the couple replied that they “believe that Jesus is God,” that they believe in the New Testament, and said that they were baptized in the name of “the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” the Israeli website NRG reported. The couple also said that they wanted the Jewish people to accept Christianity.
The court ruled that the couple could only marry in a Jewish ceremony if they declare “they have completely given up their Christian beliefs, including their belonging to a Messianic Jewish community and missionary activities.” If this were to happen, “the court will discuss their matter anew.”
There are a growing number of Messianic congregations and institutes in Israel. For example, the Jews for Jesus organization has a center in Tel Aviv and Chosen People Ministries has centers in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and congregations in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ashkelon, Ashdod and Ariel.
Messianic Jews Can’t Marry In Israel As Jews Because They Are Considered Christians
Sam Kestenbaum is a contributing editor and former staff writer for the Forward. Before this, he worked for The New York Times and newsrooms in Sana, Ramallah and Beijing. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum and on Instagram at @skestenbaum .