Philip Roth is considered one of the great American Jewish novelists of the 20th century – some of his works including Portnoy’s Complaint, The Human Stain, American Pastoral, The Plot Against America. However, my favorite Roth work is a 1959 short story that is often overlooked and forgotten … perhaps because it is about a taboo subject in Judaism which is remarkable considering some of the topics which Roth covered – the attack on the stereotypical Jewish mother, hidden and overt forms of racism, anti-Semitism, etc.
However … Roth’s story “The Conversion of the Jews” is not simply about a group of Jewish people possibly believing in Jesus as Messiah but also about believing the idea that a … virgin could actually have a baby! Shocking … I KNOW!
Can I guess some of the responses you are having right about now?
- Wait … a virgin and a baby. That sounds just like that “Christian belief” and Jewish people don’t believe in that … right?
- Wait … I heard back when I was going to Shabbat School or from one of those Chabad guys in college that Christians had really messed up the Hebrew and it really doesn’t mean what they say … right?
- Who cares … but ice cream sounds really good right about now.
Before you go get some ice cream (FYI – I like a double scoop of pistachio and peppermint chip) … would you give us less than two minutes to respond?
What do you think? Okay … the videos on this website will never win one of those statues they give out every year! But … the point of the short video was to show you that miracles and prophecies have always been considered possible in Jewish (and Christian) life. I know that such an idea has in many ways been lost in Modern Judaism but if they have been lost or are impossible … what hope is there?
Howard Schwartz – “…few among the followers of modern branches of Judaism believe in the literal parting of the Red Sea, much less the existence of angels. Along with our belief in miracles, we have lost much of our spiritual faith. But in recent years many Jews have begun to search for way to restore the lost spiritual realm.”
Lucette Lagnado – People have stopped believing in God, in the possibility of miracles, in the mystical, and in that most belief of all – the idea that somebody’s going to come along and make the world all better.”
But we at Explore Messiah…? think there is hope and miracles and prophecies to believe in today. For while we might not be able to change the world with a piano (sorry, Ed Sheeran), we believe there is someone who can change it for the better and, yes, He was born of a Virgin! If you would like to discuss this idea with us more, come to the CAFÉ Kehillah Discussion Board and someone will either be there or will get back to you ASAP. In the meantime, explore what we have to say about the issue — “Why Would God Come to Earth in the First Place?”