I think I would like to start a study of Jewish beliefs to enlighten my mind about why they are the way they are... more so why they think about Jesus the way they do. With all the hub bub of Mel Gibson's film I got to wondering... what does the typical Jew really think about Jesus of Nazareth? Well we know they do not think He is the Christ, but what do they think about him and why? I have heard some say they see Him as a great teacher, a renown leader and yet others as a liar, but what is the general thinking?
The issue of Jew's opinions of Jesus is complicated. When I was a teenager I bought a copy of Jesus Christ Superstar and my father was not happy. Looking back it's kind of a silly sensationalized presentation of the life of Jesus but it was popular then. The real point is that my father, having grown up in the earlier part of the 20th century did have to deal with anti-semitism. Because of the widespread anti-semitism that's occurred in the past many Jews weren't predisposed toward being open minded about Christ and his message. I see this as a knee-jerk reaction but you have to take into account the fact that things were pretty difficult and so there was a visceral reaction to the world outside of Judaism.
I will agree that he was a great teacher. I think that what everyone forgets (Jews and Christians alike) is that he was a Jewish reformer. He was telling all his fellow Jews that they were being immoral and not following God's word. From that point of view he did everyone a service. He was anti-establishment and the establishment then was horribly corrupt due in part to the Romans and their political manipulation of the region. The fact that he existed shows that there were Jews who wanted to return to the Torah and to the ethics inherent in the religion. I guess there was kind of a Jewish civil war back then.
He was also persecuted, in part, because he was Jewish and a defender of the faith. So I think the mistrust that my father and some of his contemporaries had is sad. The non-Jews who persecuted Jews were clearly not following the teachings of Christ and can't be held as being representative of Christians in general. Unfortunately when someone is living through dangerous times, it's hard to be understanding or rational.
My boss and his wife are Jewish, and have taken the time to enlighten me. The Jews don't believe he was God or the Messiah because he didn't fulfill all the prophecies. While the claim has been that he will fulfill them when he returns a second time, the scriptures or prophecys do not tell of a second coming, only one coming. Thus if he didn't fulfill them all the first time, he doesn't fulfill them at all.
I am not a conservative Jew, and don't especially hate Jesus, or regard him as a liar. In fact, as you see in my profile, I regard myself more as an agnostic. I believe Jesus may have had some truth in his teachings or may not have, but most certainly he was a great man, with great influence. As for the question of who was responsible for his death, I do not know enough about his crucifiction, but I do believe that it was not the Jews or Romans in general, but rather individuals. Not every Jew nor every Roman alive could be blamed for Jesus's death. Of what I know, the people to blame were the crowd of Jews asking for Jesus to be killed, and the Roman that crucified him.
I am not a Jew myself but my ancestors were and I think that if I were to put my personal religion aside I could see Jesus of Nazareth has one of the greatest Jewish teachers in all the world and every jew should study his teachings has much as those of Moses of Isaiahs or any other old Testament prophet, I think that it will help us get a better understanding of God and what he wants us to do. Before I became a christian I felt that Jesus was a prophet of God because he taught things that a man must due to return to God. Has he told the young rich ruler, simply keep all of the commandments to go and sell all his stuff and give it to the poor and follow him.
Now I'm not telling any jew that they should follow Jesus, but I encourage them to follow his teachings at least. Like you follow the teachings of any prophet.
I hope that I haven't offended any Jew that is not my purpose or try to convert them to Christianity, but I seek to help them become closer to God, through his prophets.
The views vary extremely. The most fringe of the Charedi see him as a wicked sorcerer, and the most liberal see him as an awesome man - but a failed Messiah.