defending the First Amendment against the Christian right ...

Jews On First!

... because if Jews don't speak out, they'll think we don't mind

 Our Most Recent Reports and Conversations

There's Still Christianity in the Public Schools? Jewish students down South face aggressive proselytizing by their evangelical classmates and scant protection from their schools, reports Jan Jaben-Eilon. Some Jewish youth who lack a strong Jewish foundation have fallen prey to efforts to convert them. Please click here.

Messianic Jewish Groups Claim Rapid Growth. Most American Jewish organizations shun these quasi-Christians, even as they embrace Christian Zionists, such as Pastor John Hagee's Christians United for Israel. Meanwhile, as we report, the messianic groups are increasingly finding acceptance in Israel, where the lines are blurring between them and Christian Zionist groups. Please click here.

Victory in Delaware school district religion case. The Supreme Court's refusal January 19th to hear a case about religion in public schools that JewsOnFirst has followed for years was a resounding victory for the Jewish "Doe" family in Delaware who brought the case, and for countless families across the country. Please click here.

Kentucky's evangelizing Christian theme park. Avi Milgrom gives us a detailed look at the Ark Encounter, a planned $170 million, 800-acre creationism theme park, subsidized by state and local government funds. The nearby Creation Museum, a partner in the Ark Encounter project, hires only Christians. Please click here.

Christian Zionist leader Hagee and rabbi speak at Colorado event. Rev. John Hagee and Orthodox Rabbi Selwyn Franklin spoke at a Colorado church's Night to Honor Israel on October 16th. A share of the collection plate was destined for the Ariel settlement on the West Bank. Our report is from a first-time attendee. Please click here.

The Response, Our Exclusive Report. Blatant and repeated calls for Jews to accept Jesus punctuated Texas Governor Rick Perry’s August 6th Response revival meeting. There were also calls to redeem the United States for Jesus. Our eyewitness report has details. Please click here.

Inside Report from CUFI's 2011 Conference. As in past years, JewsOnFirst is posting a report from inside the Washington DC conference of Christians United for Israel, the leading Christian Zionist organization. Big eyebrow-lifters this year were Glenn Beck's keynote speech and a CUFI board member's wife saying that dividing Jerusalem will delay the return of Jesus. Please click here.

Doomsday Q & A. When the "Rapture" or "Doomsday" predicted for May 21st by fundamentalist preacher Harold Camping became national headline news, we thought it would be useful to explore the underlying dynamics of such events. We turned to John Hubers, a professor of Religion at Northwestern College in Orange, Iowa, who observed that "doomsday soothsayers" offer structure and certainty to followers whose ranks swell in times of uncertainty. Please click here.

Deconstructing the Bush Administration's Faith-based Initiatives. In an interview with that will be of particular interest to congregations, Prof. Robert Wineburg, author of Faith-based Inefficiency: The Follies of Bush's Initiatives, discusses how Bush officials re-directed social welfare funds from mainline religious agencies to local religious congregations and inexperienced faith-based agencies. Many of the new recipients were unconcerned about religious discrimination and ill-equipped to respond to the problems people faced. Please click here.

Image loadingVideo in the Radio Talk Show Studio. We have posted the first video in our film project, Up North in the Bible Belt, that will culminate in a full-length documentary about a religious discrimination case on Delaware's Eastern Shore. This video is an interview and discussion with Dan Gaffney, host of the local morning talk show, by Co-Directors Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak and Jane Hunter. Taped during Gaffney's show, our interview focuses on the school district's settlement of a lawsuit brought by two Jewish families over unconstitutional sponsoring of Christian religious activities. We debate with Gaffney and his listeners about "religious freedom" in the schools, "absolute truth" and the relevance of Jesus. To watch a preview and get links to the full video segments, please click here.

 Our Most Important Reports and Conversations

Rebutting Obsession. This special section of JewsOnFirst centers on our major critical analysis of the controversial video Obsession, which was delivered to millions of homes in support of the 2008 Republican presidential campaign. Obsession was widely criticized for inflaming anti-Muslim sentiment. Our analysis demonstrates the falsity of the video's claim of a direct connection between Hitler's Nazis and what it calls "Radical Islam." The special section also includes profiles, sidebars and a summary presentation. Please click here.

Jewish Families announcement settlement in case against Delaware school district that sponsored religion. Following the February 2008 announcement that two Jewish families had settled part of their lawsuit against the Indian River School District, we continued our news-breaking coverage of this story with an exclusive interview with plaintiff "Jane Doe." She told of her family's experiences struggling to make the school district comply with the Constitution and of her leading role in formulating new policies that the settlement requires the district, which spreads over much of southeast Delaware, to implement. The settment also provides compensation to the two families, whose children suffered religious discrimination. Click here.

An Enduring Passion: Sharon Raphael and Mina Meyer, a video. On their 37th anniversary, Mina Meyer and Sharon Raphael married in California. The political activism that has been a constant of their life together dates back to the founding of the gay liberation movement. Most recently, they tell Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak of JewsOnFirst, they have been protesting last year's passage of Proposition 8 -- and have been gratified to discover themselves protesting alongside a new generation of LGBT activists. Click here.

Ed Asner Tours with Play about Scopes Monkey Trial. We talked with Ed Asner in 2007, while he was touring with The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial, a play based on transcripts of the 1925 Scopes Monkey trial. Asner, who played William Jennings Bryan in the play about the famous trial over teaching evolution, spoke of the play's relevance for our time, when the teaching of creationism is making a comeback. He also recounts the situation that created the Scopes trial and its aftermath, with laws throughout the Bible belt mandating the teaching of creationism. Click here.

Southern Baptists rely on deception in effort to convert Jews. Six million Jews and only 15 Southern Baptist Messianic Churches! That juxtaposition by a Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) official involved in the denomination's aggressive evangelizing of Jews prompted JewsOnFirst to ask the SBC: is its objective to empty Judaism of American Jews and make them all Messianic Southern Baptists? We also talk with rabbis and Christian clergy about the Southern Baptists' use of "Jewish-style" Christianity and Christian Zionism in their efforts to convert Jews. Click here.

A Muslim Community Center? Why Not? Why Should Jews Care? What is at stake in the fierce debate over Park51, the proposed Muslim community center near Ground Zero? Who are the players and what do they want? In our new paper, A Muslim Community Center? Why Not?, we analyze the arguments and counterarguments in the context of longstanding national conversations about the meaning of religious freedom and what sort of country we are and want to be. Click here.

Christian Zionists lobby for U.S. attack on Iran. Christian Zionists -- Christian evangelicals who avow support of Israel based on a belief in Biblical end-times scenarios -- are whipping their followers into a fervor in favor of an attack on Iran, we reported in July 2006. Religious right groups typically support aggressive foreign policies because of their identification with the Republican Party and their interest in missionizing where the US intervenes. But Christians United For Israel, a Christian Zionist group led by Rev. John Hagee (left), recently brought 3,500 citizen-lobbyists to Washington to advocate confrontation with Iran based on "cherry-picked" Biblical interpretations. This report includes a sidebar, What is Christian Zionism? by Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak. Click here.

Rabbinic Services
Videos by
image loading Martha Schaerr, Stealth School Board Candidate in Montogomery County, Maryland. Schaerr is not telling voters she was a leader in the Christian right's fight to block the school district's new sex education curriculum -- primarily because it teaches acceptance of homosexuality. Go.

image loading Video in the Radio Talk Show Studio - Part Two of our on-the-air interview with Dan Gaffney, morning talk show host on WGMD-FM on Delaware's Eastern Shore. Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak of JewsOnFirst debates concepts including "absolute truth" and the relevance of Jesus with Gaffney and his callers. Go.

image loading Video in the Radio Talk Show Studio - Part One of our interview with Dan Gaffney, morning talk show host on WGMD-FM on Delaware's Eastern Shore. JewsOnFirst went to Delaware's Eastern Shore to report on the settlement of two Jewish families' lawsuit against the school district for sponsoring religion. Go.

image loading The Christian Zionist's Bible: A Jewish Perspective. Our new educational video on a challenging topic -- how some on the Christian right read "the Jews" into the New Testament -- features Dr. Michael J. Cook of Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati in conversation with Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak of Go.

image loading An Enduring Passion: Sharon Raphael and Mina Meyer. On their 37th anniversary, Meyer and Raphael married in California. The political activism that has been a constant of their life together dates back to the founding of the gay liberation movement and it continues in their opposition to Proposition 8. Go.

Pastor John Hagee's Fixation on Iran: A Self-fulfilling Prophecy? We examine how the Christian Zionist leader's belief in the end times drives his hard-line political position on Iran, and ask: Is Hagee's Iran policy about Jewish safety? Or Christian Apocalypse? Go.

Pastor John Hagee's Preoccupation with the Jews. With narration by Ed Asner, our video shows a number of instances in which Christian Zionist leader Hagee's understanding of Jews and Judaism should give Jewish organizations that support him cause for concern. Go.

Campus Jewish group sponsors trailblazing forum on Christian Zionism. The complete recording of Christians, America, and the Holy Land -- Examining Christian Support for Israel, sponsored by the Chicago Friends of Israel at the University of Chicago. Go.

Iran and the End Times at Pastor John Hagee's 2008 Washington Summit. When John Hagee's organization, Christians United for Israel (CUFI) held its July 2008 summit at the Washington DC Convention Center, reporters were inside and outside. This video shows some of what we saw and heard, despite CUFI's extraordinary efforts to shield the meeting from public scrutiny. Go.
Buy Rabbi Michael Cook's book, featured in our video The Christian Zionist's Bible, from Jewish Lights Publishing. Click here.