Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife for a second time have given $500,000 to a Super PAC supporting Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s bid for Congress.
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.
Every morning I take my kids to school at The JCC at Milken. As we enter the Early Childhood Center, we are greeted by the teachers, the secretary and the director, who have become family through the years.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach has been accused of nothing less than apostasy by at least one of his fellow rabbis, all thanks to his newly published book, “Kosher Jesus” (Gefen Publishing House: $26). And I am confident some Evangelical Christians will reach the same conclusion if only because Boteach insists that Jesus was not “holier than any other human being and certainly not divine.”
When Rabbi Shmuley Boteach approached me to read the manuscript of his newly published book Kosher Jesus, I was reticent and even a bit cautious given the massive and diverse audience of people that would likely be affected by his unique perspective on the subject of Jesus. Upon completion of the book, however, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that his approach had resolved many outstanding questions that I myself have struggled with in my religious studies, particularly as they relate to Christianity and its impact on Judaism throughout history.