Messianic Jews—those who believe in Jesus—only comprise a small portion of the international Jewish community. But that hasn't stopped them from making their first official appearance at the 16th World Congress of Jewish Studies.
Hosted in Jerusalem, this year's meeting featured more than 1,000 Jewish lecturers and panelists, including the first panel focused on the role and influence of Messianic Jews. And according to Jews for Jesus senior researcher Richard Harvey, who served as one of the four panelists, the discussion was a very good first step.
"It means that Messianic Jewish Studies, or studies of JBY, is firmly on the agenda in the academic world as a branch of Jewish studies," Harvey wrote on his blog regarding the panel, entitled "Contemporary Jewish Believers in Yeshua (Jesus): Trends and Turns after World War I." "There can be no denying that not only is the Messianic Jewish movement worldwide a significant phenomenon worthy of serious study, but that it also demands the highest level of academic excellence and scholarly integrity to do it full justice."
Other panelists included Hannah Rucks, Gershon Nerel, and Yaakov Ariel.
CT regularly reports on Messianic Judaism, including a review of a 2011 documentary on Jews for Jesus in Israel and how Messianic leaders are exploring new strategies for reaching the Jewish community in Brooklyn.