Stuart Schwartz
Stuart Schwartz

Forget the Kraken: Release the ‘Jewvangelicals’

Forget the Kraken (movie reference): Release the ‘Jewvangelicals!’

American Jews have been their own worst enemies, contributing significantly both through silence and a propensity to agree with the authoritarian, elite left philosophy of let’s-break-a-few-downscale-eggs-to-make-our-equity-omelet. At best, Jewish leaders react with word salads, and offer no serious resistance to the growing wave of anti-Semitism sweeping across the US. Worse, the Jewish educational and political establishment in the US facilitates this hate; witness the headline for the international Anti-Defamation League’s international conference, “ADL’s ‘Anti-Hate’ Speaker Accused Israel of ‘Ethnic Cleansing’.”

US Jewish leaders are part of the woke wave that has weakened America and is substantially reducing the freedoms and quality of life for the great masses of Americans—including middle-class Jews. Forgetting the lessons of history, with the world’s great religions—including Jewish leadership—enabling the Nazi Germany of the 1930’s hovering as a ghostly presence in the background, they have become enablers of the anti-Semitism that runs through America’s left-leaning institutions, and have left the field to the Jew and Israel haters, one and the same.

Anti-Semitic attacks lead all hate crimes? Meh. Elected officials attack Israel, encouraging ethnic cleansing of Jews in the Mideast? “I strongly protest” and then, back to the linen tablecloths (calling Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-Throw Israel Under the Bus)). In Jewish higher education, where budding rabbis and other Jewish community leaders are offered the kosher version of critical race theory (CRT) at the expense of pastoral care, of strengthening Jewish families and encouraging community. Hey, read the syllabus…and pass the equity bacon. Yum.

What to do? It is time for a new focus in Jewish institutions and organizations, a turning inward—back to the future, so to speak—and put the emphasis on that ol’ fashioned religion, the Judaism that has allowed the chosen people to not just survive but prosper for more than 5,000 years.

The same faith, by the way, that ushered in a Judeo-Christian culture that has delivered more prosperity, more freedom, and more individual opportunity than any civilization in the history of the world. Look it up. And then look to many evangelical Christians, and Orthodox and Conservative Jews who embrace this culture, which emphasizes family, grass-roots charitable works (as opposed to government grift for ambitious social programs that largely line the pockets of affiliated non-profits), and Judeo-Christian values. And patriotism—can’t forget patriotism.

And so, the time has come for ‘Jewvangelicals,’ Jews with evangelical Christian strengths. Although both Christians and Jews can be and are Jewvangelicals, albeit with different features, the focus here is on ‘Jewvangelizing’ Jewish culture and institutions. Turn back the clock, look to the Orthodox and Chasidic communities, look at the way the growing evangelical churches and Jewish communities are doing life and God…and learn. Acquire new respect for God, country, and individual freedoms.

Patriotism, family values, respect for God, clear-headedness…and spine, lots and lots of spines, standing up to threats to that culture, the Jewish people, and Israel. Compromise, yes; but not principles. Review the last 5,000 years (read the Bible in addition to The Washington Post and The New York Times) and you’ll see that Jews—and the civilizations around them—have prospered when they’ve stood up for truth while opposing non-truth. Christianity, with its Jewish roots, inherited this backbone, a legacy taken up by many in the modern evangelical community. This produced modern, stalwart, purpose-driven evangelicals who support Israel and have an affinity for Jews.

Time for ‘Jewvangelicals.’ This term encompasses Jews with evangelical Christian values, such as the focus on God and family, love and kindness, personal charity, etc. Ironic, that: What goes ‘round comes ‘round, for these qualities are also traditional Jewish values, the pre-secular past…way past, in fact, before American Jews, as Norman Podhoretz put it, replaced Judaism with secular leftism.

Jewvangelicalism (mouthful, isn’t it?) is evidenced by the love of family, God and country (patriotism, yes!) of so many religious Jewish communities. It can also include Jewish Christians, who while believing in the miracle of a God who walked this world, also value the traditional Jewish respect for education and God’s word, of the certainty of moral laws, and what some have derided as racist lifestyles: hard work, love of family, respect for the individual, inculcation of respectful habits (drink in moderation, show care for others through punctuality, commit to respectful relationships both in and out of the home, etc.).

In short, rationality and hard work, respect for individuals and family commitment. Sounds sort of like the Ten Commandments, doesn’t it? And of a continuing dialogue with the God who listens and loves, also known as prayer. Or, as my Jewish bubbe used to say, “From your mouth to God’s ears.”

But…but…but so many evangelical institutions still smack of patriarchy, treating women as second-class citizens. We don’t want that! Yes, unfortunately, some do and, of course, rationalize male-dominated hierarchies by beginning with “The Bible says…” Actually, the Bible does not; a more accurate phrasing would be “We interpret the Bible as saying…” so that we can maintain a male-dominated church. Proof-texting, in which highly selective verses from scripture are used out of context, in support of a theological position, is rampant in all the major religions?

Disclaimer: Yeah, I know that there are some rather nasty Christians; yeah, I know that many who fill the seats on Sunday are hypocrites; that the empty seats in most synagogues are emblematic of the drift away from religion and the values underlying the founding of the American nation (unlike the founding fathers…founding zem?) almost three-quarters of American Jews do not believe in the God of the Bible); and yeah, I know that there are many self-hating Jews—Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Gaza Strip) comes to mind; and faux/secularized Jews; many of whom are in elite positions of influence and pose major obstacles to establishing our Jewvangelicals.

Yeah, I know. Soooo much to overcome on the road to sanity. But as that great Talmudic scholar Lao Tzustein once said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Soooo…let’s go Jewvangelism!!

About the Author
Stuart H. Schwartz, Ph.D., is a retired dean and award-winning professor at Liberty University, the largest evangelical school in the world. He came to the university after a 25-year career as an executive with media and consumer merchandising organizations. In addition, he was a popular blogger for a leading political/cultural website, talk radio guest, and the author of a social media textbook. He can be contacted at stuartschwartz89@gmail.com
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