Happy Passover! Here's "That Jew Died for You," a bizarre video depicting Jesus on his way to a gas chamber in a Nazi death camp with some Polish Jews. It comes from Jews for Jesus, an evangelical group that aims to convert Hebrews in apparently the most off-putting way possible.
You have got to watch this thing. Major "uhm wha?" comes around 1:41.
The Christian group intended the video to be a timely thought-provoker, but it seems more like an opportunistic headscratcher:
"Our intent was not to illicit [sic] any kind of angry response but to actually engage people in a conversation because we think that the conversation about who Jesus is [is] important for Jews and Gentiles to discuss, and especially at this time of year, as we are in the Passover, Easter season, and leading into Holocaust Remembrance Day next week," Susan Perlman, associate executive director of Jews for Jesus, told The Christian Post Thursday.
The two-minute video is a straight rip-off of Spielbergian Schindler's List visual effects: a black-and-white video showing Jews in 1943 Poland being taken off trains at Auschwitz and divided by ferocious Nazis into two groups: workers, and gas-chamber fodder. Jesus alone appears in color, like the little girl symbolizing innocence in Schindler, helping some of the Jews as they stumble their way to fate.
As the Son of God approaches the Nazis' processing desk, a cross hoisted over his shoulder, the SS troops render their verdict—the gas chamber—then sneer that he's nur ein Jude: Just another Jew.
But then, if he was just another Jew, maybe he shouldn't be colored differently? That's indicative of the sort of tone-deafness that Jews for Jesus in its missionary zeal regularly exhibits toward the group it's targeting for conversion.
Jay Michelson, a blogger at the Jewish Daily Forward, called the video "most tasteless YouTube video ever," adding: "It doesn't take a Lenny Bruce to recognize this mode of sentimentality as quintessentially goyish."
All true. But hey, if it doesn't win them any converts, maybe it'll get some people to peruse some "Witness Wear" swag at the online Jews for Jesus Store, which is conveniently linked on the video's website. L'chaim!