In the '70s, the messianic movement" was understood as a moving of Jewish people to faith in Y'shua in the context of Jewish culture. "Messianic," while not formally defined, had a clear connotation of "Jewish and a believer in Jesus."
My mother shaped my Jewish upbringing more than anyone else. She diligently ensured that our family celebrated Shabbat and went to our synagogue on Chicago's North Shore for the High Holidays, as well as faithfully sending my two sisters and me there for Sunday school each week. However, by the time I was a teenager my attentiveness to being Jewish was waning. In fact, most of my boyfriends in high school were Gentiles, much to my mother's chagrin.
These days, it's a rare occurrence to hear about people coming together in unity. Around the world, we are enmeshed in battles, wars and tensions. Closer to home, members of the messianic community are entangled in our own battles, be they theological, doctrinal or personal. People are intent on sharply clarifying their differences but as is often the case with any conflict, our tensions do not remain within neat borders.
When I became a believer in Jesus in 1973, I immediately wanted to go visit my parents to share my newfound faith with them. I had a tremendous desire and concern for my family to know Jesus. However, they told me I was not welcome to visit them and that they hoped my faith was simply a fad, like a new piece of clothing or a new hairstyle—something that I would tire of eventually.