How well do you know your history?
On April 10, 1516, the government of Venice officially confined the city’s Jews to one small area of the city — the first Jewish ghetto. It was called, Ghetto Vechio. This area remained the required home to the city’s Jews until Napoleon took the city in 1797 and abolished it. With Jews in Christian Europe, however, misunderstanding gave birth to fear, mistrust, and intolerance, which colored rules about and conditions in these enclaves.
Laws forbade Jews from leaving at night and were enforced by closing their gates.
It wasn’t long before many cities in Europe followed the example of Venice.
At the time, the only Jews allowed to hold jobs were those who specialized in:
1) banking or money changing Money:
Why? Because of course with being the root of all evil, a Christian couldn’t have anything to do with money, so let the dirty evil Jews who killed Christ deal with the dirty money.
Of course, when a prince, king or bishop needed to pay for something expensive, like a war, they were forced to go to the “dirty Jews” to get their money, and because they couldn’t allow themselves to be indebted to a Christ killing-Jew, they couldn’t just assassinate the Jew, because it could lead to a Jewish uprising. So instead they persecuted and killed lots of Jews and forced them to leave so as to avoid “the appearance of evil.”
2) Jewelry making
Why? Jewelry is a form of money.
Before the Jewish people came along, only the wealthy (royalty) had fine jewelry. Everyone else had stone or wood adornments.
The Jewish people did what they always do when given the chance: They try to make life better for everyone, including their enemies. So, they made fine jewelry available to the common people of the Middle Ages.
Why? Because they worked mostly with money. The Jewish traders became known for their negotiating skills, which they needed to develop in order to make enough money to eek out a meager living to survive in the Ghetto.
Thus the origin of such antisemitic statements as:
1) “Don’t Jew me down”
Meaning, “Don’t scam me out of my money like a dirty Jew does.”
2) “All Jews are rich”
The truth: MOST non-Jewish people only encountered the so called and miss-perceived, “Rich Jews” who were allowed to work, not realizing that the majority of Jewish people were locked behind the closed doors–trapped–inside the Ghetto. These MAJORITY of the Jewish population were forced to rely mostly on the charity of the minority of “Rich Jews,” who became their benefactors. In other words, the Jewish community initiated the first Welfare system in history, and the larger portion of the Jewish community was on Jewish Welfare.
HOW HAS THIS EFFECTED JEWISH BELIEVERS IN JESUS?
The false presumption that among the average “Christian” in Europe, that, “All Jews are Rich,” — these Jewish stereotypes — have historically persisted into modern times in a great many churches influenced by those Christians wherever they’ve started churches. Jewish believers in Jesus have literally found themselves fighting upstream against these persistent false perceptions.
Most Jewish believers in Jesus have not been rich. Most did not come from wealthy families. Those who did come from such families found themselves cut off by their families because of their confession of faith in Jesus (whom the Jewish community perceives as the Catholic and Gentile God). Therefore Jewish believers in Jesus were mostly cut off from the Jewish community.
Despite their being cut off from the Jewish community for their faith, the majority of Jewish believers focused on reaching back to the Jewish community to tell them about the Messiah.
However, their ministries to the Jewish people have gone underfunded for generations because of the Church’s cultural Antisemitism. That is, the Christians persisted in perceiving even Jewish believers in Jesus as NOT needed missionary funds, because why would the Jewish believer in Jesus need such funds? After all, aren’t all Jews rich? Also, they’ve rarely seen the need to witness to those Jewish Christ-killers, because of course, God has rejected them for killing Christ, right?
Thankfully, because of great efforts in the last 150 years by certain Jewish believers in Jesus and some sympathetic Christian leaders, there is a much better climate today.
Still, things are still not good when it comes to supporting Jewish men and women who love Jesus, who also reach out in love to the Jewish community to tell them about Messiah.
How so, you ask?
Jewish believers in Jesus who commit themselves to witnessing to their own people often find themselves struggling to make ends meet. Many of us have two jobs: Ministry and working full-time to support ourselves and our families. In order to attain the level of a legitimate voice in Christianity, we must go out of our way to increase our education–attaining higher degrees–which cost money we cannot afford without the charity of others and vying for the few scholarships for Jewish believers that do exist.
While all the time we’re also fighting against the streams of Christian perception that defensively misread our reaching out to the Church for help– as an attempt to Judaize Christians.
Much of our efforts to Churches are to sensitize and educate non-Jewish followers of Jesus, to help them understand the needs we Jewish believers have, the need for Gospel that our people have, and the fact that at least 80% of Jewish people who come to believe in Jesus do so through the witness of a non-Jewish Christian. In other words, our attempts to educate your Church is not an attempt to Judaize, but attempts to train you and your people to fulfill Romans 1:16 and Romans 11:11.
The Jewish people are arguably the most unreached people group in the world, when it comes to the Gospel, because most Christians do not see the value or the need for witnessing to them–to this day. And Jewish believers in Jesus who witness to the Jewish people need your support even more than you know–not just prayer, but missionally and financially.
What many Jewish people in Jesus have found themselves forced to do for more than 100 years now, is pleading with non-Jewish followers of Jesus to support them.
The question is, will you answer the call?