Now people are saying that Jacobs isn’t really a rabbi at all, and even the non-Jewish group that ordained him has “defrocked” him and taken away his ordination credentials.
The problem is that Jacobs’ synagogue, Shema Yisrael, is a “Messianic” institution, and Jacobs belongs to a sect of Judaism that holds many of the same views as Christianity. This means that Jacobs is actually what is known as a “Messianic rabbi” and he angered and upset many Jews by invoking the name of Jesus Christ while praying with Pence.
He said during his prayer:
“God of Abraham … God and Father of my Lord and Savior Yeshua, Jesus the Messiah…hate inspired shooting in synagogue in Pittsburgh”
Mainstream Jews do not believe Messianic rabbis are real, or actual rabbis at all. And now NBC News is reporting that Jacobs was stripped of his rabbinic ordination in 2003 after the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations found him guilty of libel. Most Jews do not recognize the group as Jewish since its members believe that Jesus was the Messiah, or the son of God.
So the man chosen by Mike Pence was not just a fake rabbi, but actually a defrocked fake rabbi. This shows pretty poor judgment on the part of our Vice President on a day when he was trying to demonstrate solidarity with the Jewish community.
A spokeswoman for the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations did not say who Jacobs allegedly libeled, or what he said. But his synagogue website says that he was involved in a theological dispute with other leaders of his religious group, who he believed were insufficiently conservative in their doctrines.
In an additional controversy, local Jewish leaders said they did not know why Jewish Republican congressional candidate Lena Epstein invited Jacobs to her campaign rally on Tuesday. They said they don’t even consider Jacobs to be a Jew, due to his religious beliefs.
“We don’t even recognize him as a rabbi,” said Rabbi Marla Hornsten, former president of the Michigan Board of Rabbis. “Even to call him a rabbi is offensive.”
Mainstream Judaism holds that the messiah has not yet arrived on earth.
“Judaism itself is a multi-denominational religion that encompasses multiple forms of expression and belief,” the Rabbinical Assembly, which represents the rabbis of the Conservative Movement, said in a statement. “Nonetheless, so-called ‘Messianic Judaism’ is not a Jewish movement, and the phrase ‘Jews for Jesus’ is a contradiction in terms, insofar as Judaism does not recognize Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah.”
Congressional candidate Epstein is a longtime member of a Reform Jewish synagogue in the Detroit area.
But Hornstein said that Epstein did not reach out to anyone within their rabbinical organization to appear at the campaign event.
Epstein issued a tweet accusing those who criticized her and Pence of “religious intolerance,” but she did not explain why she invited Jacobs to deliver the prayer or even mention his name.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.