Joel Chernoff is the general secretary of the MJAA, Messianic Jewish Allianice of America.
Joel is best known for his lifelong commitment and ministry work within the Messianic Jewish movement, a worldwide revival of Jewish people returning to the knowledge and belief in Yeshua, Jesus, as their Messiah. The Messianic movement is the fastest growing form of Judaism in the world today.
Since 1915, the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America is the single largest association of Messianic Jewish and Gentile believers in Yeshua in the world. In his role as General Secretary of the MJAA Joel is responsible for providing over $80 million worth of humanitarian aid to Israel; creating means for needy Russian Jews to make aliyah or immigrate to Israel; as well as dig fresh water wells and coordinate humanitarian aid efforts to reach more than 50 third world villages of Messianic Jewish people in Ethiopia.
His latest blog is about the recent article in the JPost on "messianic" aliyah by Maurice Singer a former Senior Aliyah consultant for the Jewish Agency.
In Mr. Singer's column a reader asks
Q: We are Messianic Jews and would like to make Aliyah. How difficult would this be?
And his answer is
A: From the inquiries that I have received, I have come to the conclusion that there seems to be 2 different interpretations of the meaning of "Messianic Jews." One seems to be people born Jewish who have embraced Jesus as the Messiah and follow the New and Old testament. The other appears to be people, not of Jewish birth who support the Jewish religion and who believe in both testaments. If the questioner is the former then it would appear that s/he is entitled to make Aliyah in accordance with the Law of Return. If the latter is the case then the questioner does not qualify for Aliyah.
Joel Chernoff has this to say
What? Are you kidding!
In other words this non-Messianic Jewish expert is saying it doesn’t matter what a person of Jewish lineage believes, he/she is qualified to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return.
MY OH MY! How Things Have Changed!
Until recently there is no way we would have seen such a response in print from the mainstream Jewish world in a paper like the Jerusalem Post. I could hardly believe my eyes that this would be his response despite the current reading and interpretation of the Law of Return especially by the Orthodox Jewish community that would say that Messianic Jews have left the fold of Jewish faith and therefore do NOT qualify to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return.
Is this issue less controversial than it was 40 years ago when the revival first broke out in the late 1960’s?
Has the Messianic communities hard work inside and outside of Israel through the Joseph Project etc slowly cultivated an appreciation for our community and a lessening of tensions and greater acceptance?
Whatever it is, the response of this aliyah expert is quite remarkable!
Notice that last paragraph? He is asking if their humanitarian work in Israel has led to acceptance of "Messianic Judaism" as a legitimate form of Judaism making aliyah easier for messianics.
The Joseph Project : In 1996, the Joseph Project was inspired by a prophetic wordthat NOW is the time to prepare for massive immigration to Israel of at least a million Jewish people from Eastern Europe and Russia in the near future. In 2006 alone we have shipped over $70 million of goods that were distributed via our 30 humanitarian aid centers, as well as over 100 Israeli government centers.
This is why so many xian organizations are involved in aliyah. Most xians know by now that with enough money they will eventually get what they want from the Israeli government.
The blog comments are very telling
"Joel, all I can think of is this: The Joseph Project is affecting the entire dough!"
"Who in Israel cannot be affected in this Great Mitzvah? Israel is knowing the Messianic Jews by their fruit! HOW EXCITING for what this could mean for the Messianic Jews desiring to make aliyah!"
"It is joyous to see the turn around for the Jews who follow Yeshua! I know it has been harder for those then for others to move to The Land. Baruch HaShem!!"
"I’m thrilled that Jews (by lineage) who consider themselves Messianic now apparently are no longer considered as non Jews, and allowed to return home.
Hopefully this would soon include us non Jewish Believers who hold the messianic view, to be able to make aliyah as well. I’m looking forward to that day."