LOS ANGELES, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- A book by U.S. Orthodox Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, "Kosher Jesus," focusing on Jesus' Jewishness, is heresy, some Jewish critics say.
"Kosher Jesus" focuses on a man who faced up to the Romans and paid the ultimate cost. The tome depicts Jesus as a hero but, in keeping with Jewish belief, does not accept the principle of resurrection or of Jesus as the Christ.
What it does do is emphasize Boteach's conviction that the New Testament intentionally deflected blame for the crucifixion from the ruling Romans unfairly onto the shoulders of the Jews, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Boteach, a former spiritual adviser to Michael Jackson and author of "Kosher Sex" and "Dating Secrets of the 10 Commandments," is no stranger to controversy. He's been criticized by members of Chabad and others within Orthodox Judaism who claim he exploits controversy to boost book sales, the Times said Sunday.
One Orthodox rabbi said the book is heretical.
"Boteach's latest book is apikorsus and must be treated as such," Rabbi Yitzchok Wolf of Chicago said Jan. 10, using a Hebrew word that roughly translates as heresy. Wolf said he had "utter contempt" for the idea of the book: He had only read its title.
Rabbi Jacob Immanuel Schochet wrote on an Orthodox Jewish Web site saying, based on his interpretation of Jewish law, the book "poses a tremendous risk to the Jewish community." He also said it was "forbidden for anyone to buy or read this book, or give its author a platform in any way, shape or form to discuss this topic."
The Times said Boteach was furious when he responded.
"We in the Jewish community have a choice. We can either, as has happened for 2,000 years, allow the Christian community to teach us about the Christian Christ, or we can take the initiative and the responsibility of teaching the Christian community about the Jewish Jesus. He was a Jew, after all," Boteach said.