Here is a classic debate from March 30, 1995 at Arizona State University between Dr Michael Brown and Rabbi Immanuel Schochet.
According to Powers in his discussion here on the RPP comments section,atheist Jews, New Ages Jews, Buddhist Jews, Messianic Jews and other Jews who follow other religious ideologies, are no longer Jews. Unlike the rabbi in USA Today who told his congregant: “‘You know Maxim, God doesn’t care whether you believe in him or not. All that he cares is that you do the right thing.’ Our action in the world is much more important.” However, for Powers this list of atheist Jews is really a list of non-Jews.
Powers however, accepts agnostic Jews who are not sure or couldn’t be bothered to make up their minds what they believe, as still Jews.
That being said, if all these atheist, New Age and JuBu’s (Jewish Buddhists) are no longer Jewish, then people like Mark Powers can’t complain when people like this come to faith in Yeshua that missionaries are taking Jews away from the Jewish people, because according to Powers they have already left!
Yad L’Achim have written to the Pope asking him not just to condemn missionary work to the Jewish people, but to ban it!
It seems Yad L’Achim has a higher view of the Pope’s authority that most Protestants, non-conformists and Messianic Jews have. Additionally they show their ignorance in thinking that the Pope could ban, even if he wanted to, non-Catholic Christians and Messianic Jews from anything!
The Arutz Sheva reports:
The letter cited the efforts of thousands of missionaries in 150 communities, adding that they prey upon distresssed portions of the population, offering aid to the sick, disabled, aging and new immigrants.
In an obvious exaggeration of facts Yad L’Achim include anyone who is a Messianic Jew, irrespective of employment, under the rubric of “missionary” in order to heighten anxiety and promote their own missionary/kiruv cause.
Yad L’Achim criticises Christians and Messianic Jews for showing kindness to needier elements of society, which is a foundational aspect of a faith commitment, whilst doing the same thing themselves.
Read full story here
A legal religious promotion campaign by Jews for Jesus in Israel has provided the anti-Missionary organization Yad L’Achim with many opportunities for them to prove that they are the last defense for Jewish identity against the mighty onslaught of missionary activity. I was being ironic!
Yad L’Achim activists have sought to create social unrest and even riot conditions at a market where Jews for Jesus had set up a stall offering books to whoever wanted them. Yad L’Achim new poster-boy henchman who seems to have replaced former Soviet policeman Alex Artovski, but continues his dirty tricks, is Benny Vulcan. Vulcan, no stranger to controversy and stalking of Israeli Messianic Jews outside places of worship, is right at the heart of most recent trouble caused by Yad L’Achim. Once again he is in this photo of the Jews for Jesus market stall that was closed by the police because of, as Yad L’Achim euphemistically called it, “disturbances near the booth”.
One of my favorite photos from Yad L’Achim is the one captioned “The few against the
many. At the Goral intersection at the entrance to Beersheva.” In fact there are two men holding a banner with one man getting into the face of one of the banner-men with a second one taking the photo. Not quite one against the many, rather two against two, but hey don’t expect Yad L’Achim to be telling the truth any time soon.
The blanket coverage of southern Israel with the message of Yeshua was sure to generate opposition, including the arrest and subsequent release of a Jews for Jesus activist. However to rub salt into the wounds, despite their best efforts Yad L’Achim have been frustrated again. Text messages were send to many people repeating the message on the roadside banners. Yad Y’Achim put photos of the SMS up but received complaints that they were helping the missionaries as they had not sufficiently covered up the contact number or email! Yad L’Achim could only complain of their “sneaky creativity” in an article for Israel National News.
I am just waiting for someone to claim that Yad L’Achim has been played by an even greater “sneaky creativity” for causing them to generate more publicity for the Jews for Jesus campaign than they had even paid for in the press adverts.
Tzahi Shapira has attracted the ire of many anti-Messianics, it is in their interest to try to discredit him and his book The Return of the Kosher Pig. Though there are some mistakes in the book, as there are in most books, he is obviously hitting an anti-Messianic tender spot. It may be because his was brought up Sephardi Orthodox and speaks fluent Hebrew, dismissing the two main claims against Messianic Jews from the anti-Messianics, first of not being brought up Orthodox and secondly not knowing Hebrew. This may explain the frenzy of anti-Messianic activity that Shapira has faced, including the recent veiled threat against him: “Time to Kill the Kosher Pig”. Shapira has taken this threat seriously and reported it to the authorities.
Tom Cantor, as we reported last month here, is rapidly becoming public enemy number one for the anti-missionary/anti-messianic networks. Ironically this article in the Jewishpress.com utilizes the ancient anti-Semitic canard of a rich Jew seeking to influence public opinion and implies wrong-doing of some sort or a degree of nefarious behaviour.
The missionary effort is being financed by Tom Cantor, who was born into a Jewish family and who is the president of a medical products company in southern California. He said he spends more than $4 million a year to push his concept in the United States and elsewhere. The $1 million summer blitz focuses on Jewish areas in Baltimore as well as in other major East Coast cities.
The author of this hysterical piece Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu gets his facts wrong when he quotes a claim by Arthur C. Abramson “even the most liberal rabbi would reject the notion of a “Jewish Christian.”” Yet this claim evaporates under the facts, for example liberal Rabbi Dan Cohn-Sherbok’s position in his books Messianic Judaism and Voices of Messianic Judaism: Confronting Critical Issues Facing a Maturing Movement there is also another liberal rabbi Carol Harris-Shapiro who wrote Messianic Judaism: A Rabbi’s Journey Through Religious Change in America.
The article seeks to stigmatize the very notion of religious freedom expressed by an attempt, as old as religion itself, to convince others of the correctness and truth of said religious belief.
Ben-Gedalyahu also homes-in on the modest dress of these Baptist girls and attempts to paint it as an attempt to confuse. If the author knew conservative Baptists at all he would know modest dress was a part of that sub-culture too, however he prefers to sling whatever mud he can find and hope something sticks.
The Baptist girls approach them in modest clothing, giving the impression that they may be Orthodox Jews, although Lou Rossi, a pastor of church helping the campaign told the Sun he does not think the women are trying to deceive anyone.
However inconsistent claims and factual deficiency is an essential part of the anti-Missionary narrative. The Baltimore Jewish community is claimed to be cohesive and the missionary invasion, of ten Baptist girls, is such a threat to that! However such cohesiveness is marred by assimilation, so the community is not as cohesive as was claimed then!
The Jewish community in Baltimore is highly cohesive and includes one of the highest percentages of orthodox Jews in the country. It also suffers from the same crisis of assimilation that threatens every other Jewish community in the Diaspora.
The ten Baptist girls come from a church that has missionaries all over the world. They can hardly be claimed to be targeting the Jewish community. Yet the level of sensitivity and hysteria is evident, even a Baptist bus driving through the Jewish area is cause for complaint.
touring Jewish neighborhoods with a van marked “Granite Baptist Church” is a cause of complaints from Jewish residents.
Ruth Guggenheim of Jews for Judaism stated the obvious as if it were some kind of profound hidden truth. “This is no different than the Jehovah’s Witnesses coming to your door.” Nor is it any different from political parties or TV adverts or Jews for Judaism trying to get us to consider their ideology or products!
We offer our deepest condolences on the sad news of the passing of Rabbi Immanuel Schochet. Despite his opposition to Messianic Jews we mourn with those who mourn and pray his family finds comfort in the days to come.
We have had a few post about him over the years here are some:
Schochet on Messiah and Isaiah 53 here.
On Original Sin and the New Adam here
Torah might be defunct in Messianic Age here.
Cleveland Jewish News indulging in overly dramatic language used to warn people off the Messianic Movement is quite telling. The “Action Alert” is concerned with well-mannered young adults who dress conservatively… mmmm despicable! Of course the alert has to spin their conservative dress and foist upon them an unproven nefarious motive for not wearing bikinis and beach-wear, which must be, according to the “Alert”, that they are dressing to confuse unsuspecting frummers and sneak Yeshua in.
Action Alert: Don’t be fooled by ‘Messianic’ movement
We have received reports that in Cleveland, a Messianic organization has returned for door-to-door evangelizing. Teams of young, well-mannered individuals who are dressed to appear “Orthodox,” try to engage Jewish individuals in religious discussions while distributing their proselytizing packets.
Each packet contains a 100-page booklet on “Frequently Asked Questions by Jewish People,” a DVD and a personal message from businessman Tom Cantor, a born Jew, who converted to Christianity and founded “Israel Restoration.”
The article goes on to quote The Jewish Federation of Cleveland:
However, we are disturbed and distressed by these so-called “Hebrew Christians” or “Messianic Jews” who would demean Judaism by suggesting that it is not as valid a faith as that of the proselytizer
Ironically, in complaining about having their faith being suggested as invalid, the Fed is more than happy to invalidate the faith of “so-called” Messianic Jews and not see the “so-called” inherent hypocrisy in doing so.
The answer to the challenge of Messianic Jews, as far as the Fed is concerned, is simple, don’t speak to them and hope Messianic Jews will disappear.
We recommend that members of our community not engage members of Israel Restoration and similar organizations in debate, nor get into arguments with them and/or yell
Mind you, they make a fair point about the yelling, that only encourages the Messianic kiruvniks, as they see they are being persecuted for the sake of HaShem!
The US Department of State International Religious Freedom Report for 2012 has an overview of religious freedom issues in all countries where religious minority groups have experienced problems. Israel has been featured in the report again this year with its record showing signs of improvement for, what the US DoS estimates is, 20,000 Israeli Messianic Jews.
Improvements and Positive Developments in Respect for Religious Freedom
There were no violent attacks against Messianic Jews
However there were violent attacks on other minority religious group members, and a stigma against Messianic Jews deeply embedded in society.
Societal attitudes toward missionary activities and conversion were generally negative. Most Jews opposed missionary activity directed at Jews, and some were hostile to Jewish converts to Christianity. Messianic Jews and Jehovah’s Witnesses were harassed regularly by Yad L’Achim and Lev L’Achim, Jewish religious organizations opposed to missionary activity. During the year, Jehovah’s Witnesses reported assaults, threats of violence, and other crimes to the police. On July 22, a Beersheva resident assaulted a 62-year-old woman, breaking her nose by butting his head against hers when she and another woman shared their faith with him outside his front door. The police arrested the perpetrator at his house on August 28, the same day the victim identified him to the police.
US Embassy officials sought to raise the profile of religious hate crimes and see them investigated properly. Also the previous practice of the Ministry of Interior using Yad L’Achim’s missionary blacklist to refuse people entry into Israel has, it seems, been ended.
Section IV. U.S. Government PolicyShare
Embassy officials engaged in detailed discussions on religious freedom with the government, as well as with religious and civil society organizations. The ambassador hosted and attended many events with Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Druze, and Bahai religious leaders, including on many of their holidays. The U.S. embassy consistently raised concerns about religious freedom with the MFA, the MOJ, the police, the Chief Rabbinate, and other government agencies. Issues included expanding the list of officially recognized religious groups; investigating religiously motivated acts of violence against minority religious groups, including Messianic Jews and Jehovah’s Witnesses; investigating vandalism of mosques and churches; upholding women’s rights against religious or social coercion in public spaces and on buses; and ensuring that the practice of preventing entry into the country based on the MOI’s lists of suspected “missionaries” was indeed ended.
Under the the section Improvements and Positive Developments in Respect for Religious Freedom, it is noted.
The MOI did not arrest, detain, require bail for entry or a written pledge to abstain from missionary activity, or refuse entry to anyone due to their religious beliefs. There was no indication that the MOI collected data on alleged missionaries from antimissionary groups and used it to deny entry to the country to foreign individuals. There was no official statement that the policy had changed, but no incidents were reported since the July 2011 action of a Jerusalem district court judge who reprimanded the MOI for the illegal procedure.
It is a welcomed sign of healthy Israeli democratic institutions seeking to give all citizens of Israel their full rights and protections under the law, irrespective of their religious faith commitments.
Yad L’Achim are inadvertently advertising a missionary book titled Forbidden: What the rabbis don’t want you to know. They falsely claim the book is an incitement against the rabbis and Gedolei Yisrael where in fact the premise of the book is that the rabbis are scholarly and wise enough to have understood what the book is presenting.
The book was distributed by the Grace and Truth Congregation in the northern Israeli town of Kiriat Shemonah according to one Israeli news source.
Yad L’Achim have increased the book’s profile and appeal by giving an even racier profile and are proving the truth of the title as they are “warning the public not to peruse the destructive material, but to destroy it immediately”.
Yad L’Achim repeatedly use other people’s freedom of speech, religious expression and preaching, a freedom which the also exercise, as an excuse to call for Israel to impose restrictions upon religious freedom in the State of Israel. Time and time again Israel’s politicians have rightly rejected the calls for legislation that would draw towards the Talibanization of the state religion.
Yad L’Achim is being inundated with complaints from outraged Bnei Brak residents over missionary brochures that are appearing in their mailboxes. The brochures, titled “Forbidden – What the Rabbis Don’t Want You to Know,” incite against Rabbis and Gedolei Yisrael.
One caller to Yad L’Achim’s hotline expressed his anguish at the fact that his young son had brought such material into their home after picking it out of their mailbox. “I felt it was a violation of the sanctity of our home,” he said. “How could the postal system deliver such poison?”
Callers were told to immediately destroy the brochure. At the same time, Yad L’Achim distributed a brochure of its own throughout Bnei Brak warning the public not to peruse the destructive material, but to destroy it immediately.
Yad L’Achim’s brochure, titled “Shemad in Bnei Brak,” warns: “In many neighborhoods in our city, missionary material has been distributed in mail boxes by the ‘Messianic Jews’ group. Their brochure is a trap! Their real goal is to convert Jews to Christianity. If this missionary material reaches your hands, destroy it immediately!”
Yad L’Achim officials said this week that the missionaries have once again shown that their gall knows no limits, when they can dare to target Bnei Brak for their aggressive campaign of missionary shemad.
“The goal is clear: To infiltrate the homes of residents of the city of Torah and Chassidus.”
Yad L’Achim emphasized that it will continue to stand guard, using all legitimate means to prevent the missionaries from gaining a foothold, not just in Bnei Brak but anywhere in Israel.
“This is another example of the urgent need for meaningful legislation against the activities of missionaries in Israel,” officials said.