An Important Book by my friend Mark Braverman
MPS: At times, and I think you acknowledge yourself in the book, it feels like here is a Jew giving Christians a lecture on how to rediscover their own Christian mission and the role model that Jesus set for them in first century Roman occupied Palestine. That must be an interesting position to have found yourself in?
MB: Well, it’s quite wonderful for me because meeting the Palestinian Christians, in particular the people of Sabeel, and the authors of the Kairos Palestine document, has allowed me to discover Jesus of Nazareth and to embrace him as a Jewish reformer. The parallels of our current situation to the first Century I find very compelling. I think it’s an opportunity for the Church, as it seems to have to do in every generation, to discover the core meaning of the gospels, which is to work for social justice, for compassion for the vulnerable and the oppressed.
MPS: And where do you think that takes the Jewish attitude to Jesus?
MB: I think it’s an opportunity for Jews to discover that same Jesus, who, if he were to turn up in Jerusalem today, would speak truth to the power to the Jewish establishment of our times just as he did to the Jewish monarchy and Temple establishment of long ago.
MPS: I'm not sure most Jews are ready to embrace Jesus as a radical Jewish reformer with a message for Judaism today. It's a viewpoint that must leave you isolated from the mainstream Jewish community?
MB: People ask me if I feel lonely or isolated – making the assumption that I am alienated from the Jewish community. My answer is that it is quite the opposite. I feel a part of a broader, larger community now, and it includes people of all faiths and persuasions. So it’s been quite liberating and gratifying for me. I think Jesus would have approved – his message had to do with stepping out of the tribal and into the universal.