Here are excerpts of a report from AL.com in Alabama:
The wife of former U.S. Senate Republican nominee Roy Moore has revealed the identity of the Moores’ “Jewish attorney” she mentioned in a Dec. 11 speech….
“We read where we were against Jews – even calling us Nazis,” she wrote in an email to AL.com. “We have a Jewish lawyer working for us in our firm – Martin Wishnatsky. Judge hired him while Chief Justice, then I hired him at the Foundation.”
Wishnatsky, in an interview with AL.com, said he graduated from the law school at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., in 2012, was admitted to the Virginia Bar Association in October and interviewed with Moore after he was re-elected as chief justice in November 2012. Moore hired Wishnatsky and two other Liberty University School of Law graduates as full-time clerks in 2012, the first State Supreme Court clerks in the school’s history, according to a Liberty University press release.
Wishnatsky worked as a staff attorney at the Alabama Supreme Court from January 2013 until Moore was removed from office in 2016. Then he went to work as a staff attorney for the Foundation for Moral Law, which was founded by Roy Moore and where Kayla Moore works as president.
“I just moved down the street,” Wishnatsky said.
Wishnatsky, 73, said that he was born July 13, 1944, grew up in Asbury Park, N.J., attended Hebrew school at a Conservative synagogue and went through a bar mitzvah, but he considered his family secular, ethnic Jews, who were not very religious.
“My background is 100 percent Jewish,” he said. “My grandparents immigrated from Eastern Europe, and came through Ellis Island. My parents were born in Brooklyn during World War I. There were no manifestations of faith; we were Jewish, that’s why we went to synagogue and not a church. It was just an ethnic characteristic.”
But Wishnatsky said he accepted Christ in his thirties. “I had an experience of the reality of God at 33,” Wishnatsky said. “I knew God was real but I wasn’t sure who he was.”
He became a Mormon first, then later became an evangelical Protestant Christian.
“I’m a Messianic Jew,” Wishnatsky said. “That’s the term they use for a Jewish person who has accepted Christ.”…
As for questions about whether an ethnic Jew who converts to Christianity is a Jew or a Christian, Wishnatsky replies:
“You’re both,” he said. “You’re a Jewish person that’s accepted Christ. Jesus was a Jew. Most Jews are not religious. That’s how I grew up. There are the Orthodox who are very serious about Judaism. It’s about whether you think God is real, and whether you’re accountable to him. It’s whether you take God seriously. It took me quite a few years to take God seriously.”
Wishnatsky appears to be intelligent, well-educated and sincerely faithful. He is also wrong in his conclusion that he is a Jew.
A tenet of classical Judaism is that a messiah will come. In modern times, many Jews have relinquished a belief in the coming of the messiah, while others believe that he will still be coming.
Some of the most dramatic moments in Jewish history are claims by individuals to be the promised messiah—Sabbatai Zvi in the 17th century, Jacob Frank in the 18th century, for example. All such claims were ultimately rejected by Judaism.
In one extraordinary case, a handful of Jews came to believe that a man named Jesus was the messiah. This handful was joined by a handful of non-Jews, and together that handful became billions.
Even with that Jesus phenomenon, however, Judaism never acknowledged that the messiah had yet come. The belief that Jesus is that messiah is antithetical to Judaism. Saying that you are a Jew does not make you a Jew, no matter how much in your heart you believe it. (There are also theological arguments to be made, particularly for Christians with certain trinitarian beliefs that do not fit Jewish monotheism, but that is another discussion for another day.)
I have had a fair amount of experience with messianic Jews, including a number in and around Alabama. Anyone who has read my writing knows of my respect for faith and the faithful. But respect for faith and the faith of others is not blind or mindless. Respectfully, Martin Wishnatsky may be a lot of things, but he is not a Jew. His saying so, and Mrs. Roy Moore vouching for him, won’t change that.