I was asked to comment on the unprecedented hullabaloo over Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s latest book Kosher Jesus on his recent visit to Australia. I wish to emphasize that I make my remarks in my personal capacity as a Rabbi and declare I am a friend of Rabbi Boteach. I do not represent any movement or organization nor should my remarks be construed as representing the view of any organization or person other than myself. I write solely in the pursuit of truth and giving a friend a “fair go”. I have read the book and spoken to Rabbi Boteach about it, and I make the following observations.
Shmuley Boteach’s "Kosher Jesus" (Jerusalem and New York: Gefen, 2011) is a bold attempt by a person of great ability with no formal training in New Testament studies or the study of Second Temple Judaism to present a Jewish treatment of the founder of Christianity, his relationship to the Jewish people, and the narrative of his life in the Gospels. Beyond that, Boteach sets forth an entirely new and controversial paradigm for Jewish understanding of Jesus and for Jewish-Christian relations.
Reading Jonah Lowenfeld’s “Can We Afford Kosher Lettuce?” (Jan. 27) was a déjà vu moment for my wife and me. We, too, bought the special worry-free, super-kosher romaine lettuce with the rabbinical seal of approval for our Pesach seder — and immediately came face to face with an enormous slug.
Jews are known for their intellect, and for legitimate reasons. The number of Jewish recipients of Nobel Prizes, for example, is wildly disproportionate to the Jewish proportion of the world’s population. Jews make up about one-fifth of 1 percent of the world’s population, yet they have received about 20 percent of the Nobel Prizes for chemistry, 41 percent for economics, 26 percent for physics and 27 percent for medicine.