The ongoing battle to convert the Jew has taken on a new twist recently a la Asher Meza. ‘Rabbi’ Meza has announced a Conversion to Judaism Event 2016 on July 12-13th in Keansburg, NJ.
The posting of the video announcing of the event by ‘Rabbi’ Meza has drawn some real hungry folks desperate for Jewish identity:
Some of Cheri Dillion’s assembly[AKA messianic fellowship] are going to Keansburg, NJ to get converted. The golden question asked is if its possible to covert and believe in Jesus/ Yeshua. The good news according to Cheri is that Meza and company do not ask. But ‘Rabbi’ Meza has no problem with it either. Its a free event so that makes it OK and where is the harm?
The measure of a man and a ‘Rabbi’
The Asher Meza conversion extravaganza falls hot on the heels of yet another Jewish-Christian relations event: 2016 Shavuot Conference, Celebration and Tour by the Commonwealth of Israel (COY) where the teaching of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai becomes even more relevant:
A group of people were travelling in a boat. One of them took a drill and began to drill a hole beneath himself.
His companions said to him: “Why are you doing this?” Replied the man: “What concern is it of yours? Am I not drilling under my own place?”
Said they to him: “But you will flood the boat for us all!”
(Quoted in Midrash Rabbah, Vayikra 4:6). From the teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai
There have been many self hating Jews who have knowingly attempted to drill a hole in the boat which represents the Jewish people’s collective reliance on each other for their mutual survival. For many years the boat has seen many drilling attempts!
In a new twist we see another dynamic taking place under the rubric of Jewish-Christian relations. The boat is occupied and populated not only with Jews but now with ‘invited’ Christians who love Israel.
Slowly and stealthily a new agenda pitches the idea that those lovers of Israel being loaded onto the boat will not be a problem. Anyone on the boat by virtue of being part of the Jewish people who raises just an eyebrow will be quickly branded as a hater. A hater because they fail to see that the new initiative has no holes drilled in the boat…….. apparently.
We may note at this point that rocking the boat, overloading the boat are other ways included in the ways of sinking the boat.
The bigger picture
Glitzy marketing along with literature, slick videos, custom tours and conferences such as the 2016 Shavuot Conference, Celebration and Tour by the Commonwealth of Israel (COY) folks gives a prime example of loading the boat up with the lovers of Israel.
Anticipating against the naysayers, the frame work of the agenda is set out in the rules of engagement. Judah = Jews, Ephraim (an already forgone conclusion) = non-Jews and 10-Israel = 10 lost tribes;
- There shall be no Conversion attempts by any party WITHIN the activities and communications of COY Projects – this applies as much to proselytizing Jews by 10-Israel as to conversion promotion by Judah towards Ephraim.
- Ephraim – There shall be no discussion, witnessing, quoting of NT for proselytizing purposes (by Ephraim).
- Judah – There shall be no bad mouthing, condemning, de-Messianising attempts towards Ephraimites.
- Theological differences will NOT be allowed to bring division –the rule shall be to agree to disagree with respect and friendship.
- There shall be NO muzzling of what any party to COY teaches in their own capacity outside of COY communications. The basis of our Reconciliation shall be to build on that which we agree upon (Ref. the ‘Areas of Commonality) above.
A recent video “The Gate Of Heaven” shows the above rules of engagement in action where a rising young star of the Waller family (headed by Tommy Waller) is seen in his enthrallment of the land of Israel in a recent promotion of ‘biblical tours’ where the scriptures come alive.
The Wallers have trashed their old web presence and now have a relatively gospel-free site at Hayovel.com. However, they and their harvesters continue to share jesus and express an ever-more overt and fervent Christian end times message via YouTube, Facebook, blog sites, video productions, documentaries and newsletters.
Hayovel’s original vision and mission can be viewed in this clip:
“…for us sharing the gospel is not only verbal, it has an action to it. It’s based on relationships. As we’re working with these people [the Jews], we’ll be able to share with them this Jesus, that we know… Our family has begun a ministry called Hayovel. The vision of Hayovel is to develop a network of individuals, families and congregations who are ready to labor side by side with the people of Israel. To bless them, to stand with them, to share with them a passion for the soon coming jubilee in yeshua messiah.” http://jewishisrael.ning.com/profiles/blogs/the-waller-family-making
The warm fuzzy glow produced by the first four points in the rules of engagement above is no doubt to serve to pacify the natives of the boat that no one is drilling those holes in the boat.
The points in the rules of engagement above however, reflect Greek thinking that every point can be viewed separately with no interaction/ interconnection between the points. Somehow we just have to pretend that all is OK, the Christians invited onto our boat are not drilling holes on the bottom of our boat.
Point 5 however sticks out like a sore thumb, especially in view of the nefarious activities of the various missionaries which include those outlined above; ‘good’ Jews know and just have to accept that “There shall be NO muzzling of what any party to COY teaches in their own capacity outside of COY communications”… NO ONE IS DRILLING THE BOAT……. YOU CANNOT HEAR THE KERCHING OF THE CASH TILLS…………
G-d help us!
Christine Darg wept and no doubt along with other Christians were doing cartwheels at the release of a statement on 3rd December 2015 by the CJCUC. The CJCUC headed by Rabbi Riskin have their fingers in the pies of almost every interfaith endeavour across the Christian spectrum of belief from the likes of the initiatives of the Roman Catholic’s Domus Galilaeae, evangelical Christian groups such as the ICEJ and so called messianic Judaism.
In the guise of ‘charitable’ cooperation in the common goal of easing ‘suffering’ we have nothing to fear apparently:
Now that the Catholic Church has acknowledged the eternal Covenant between G-d and Israel, we Jews can acknowledge the ongoing constructive validity of Christianity as our partner in world redemption, without any fear that this will be exploited for missionary purposes. (point 3 of the Orthodox Rabbinic Statement on Christianity)
According to Christine Darg we have a common enemy:
You see, even in the highly demoralizing terrorism coming out of San Bernardino, California, God is bringing good. People of faith are rising up to say “this city belongs to God.” Inevitably, the peoples of the Book, Jews and Christians, must come closer together because we have a common enemy.
When will we Jews understand we also have a Holocaust of love also?
Just to give you a flavour of what the CJCUC are up to here is a fortaste:
CJCUC Improving Christian Relations or Destroying Jewish Foundations?
JewishIsrael has been closely monitoring the continued radical interfaith activities associated with the Center for Jewish Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC), founded by the Chief Rabbi of Efrat, Shlomo Riskin.
A comprehensive report, as well as a statement fromJewishIsrael Rabbinic Director, Rabbi Sholom Gold, will be forthcoming in response to the following endeavors:
- The new “Orthodox Rabbinic Statement on Christianity” which endorses such positons as “Jesus brought a double goodness to the world… he strengthened the Torah of Moses majestically… “.
- CJCUC’s active fundraising to purchase a facility for a missionary church in Jerusalem.
- CJCUC’s participation in and promotion of events with personalities who directly seek to evangelize Jews.
- CJCUC’s collaboration with a controversial Catholic advocacy group on funding Christian schools loyal to the Palestinian Authority.
- CJCUC’s cooperation with a Christian University involved in anti-Israel activities and missionary work.
- CJCUC’s radical reinterpretation of the intentions and writings of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Z”L.
- CJCUC’s continued promotion of mixed Christian-Jewish prayer events.
- CJCUC’s continued distortion of the scope of Christian support for Israel, in light of the current facts on the ground.
“Suddenly, the music swelled again as the worship team led the gathering in a contemporary version of a very ancient creed: ‘We believe in the crucifixion; we believe in the virgin birth; we believe in the resurrection, and that He is coming back to earth!’… the worship team kept singing: ‘Make me a house of prayer.’ These were the same words that Jesus cried out upon his final, triumphant entry to Jerusalem: ‘For my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ (Isaiah 56:7).”
– Charisma Magazine’s report on the opening event of the 2015 ICEJ Feast of Tabernacles: One Simple Declaration: ‘We Believe’
“As a nation, Israel remains in rebellion against Jesus of Nazareth and this factor has more to do with her present struggle than we are prepared to admit! (Matt 23:37-39) (Luke19:41-44) Jesus is a Jewish Messiah and the only way of salvation. (Acts4:11-12)“
– Malcolm Hedding, ICEJ Executive Director Emeritus, Position Statements – ICEJ’s Core Beliefs
As in past years, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) held its annual Feast of the Tabernacles in Jerusalem. The large evangelical worship event was hosted at the Pais Arena in Jerusalem from September 27 through October 2nd. The Arena has become a popular venue for international Christian gatherings.
The religious nature and agenda of ICEJ’s Feast is frequently dismissed or reinterpreted by Israeli government officials and the press, and therefore misunderstood by the Israeli public. The result is that many Israeli Jews are perplexed as to why the Chief Rabbinate needs to issue warnings with regards to participation in Christian prayer, and the heavy missionary presence at what is perceived to be a large tourist event for lovers of Israel.
What the “Feast” Is
ICEJ’s Feast of the Tabernacles is first and foremost a Christian religious event – a pilgrimage centered on the worship of jesus. The week-long “Feast” features as speakers a number of messianic and evangelical leaders who are actively involved in efforts to bring jesus to the Jews.
Contrary to press reports, the 6-day ICEJ Feast is not a “pro-Israel summit“. It is clearly a christ-centered worship event. And unless Judaism’s vision is to have jesus sitting on King David’s throne on the Temple Mount, surrounded by humanity bowing down and worshipping him, ICEJ’s Feast is far from being a fulfilment of the end of days prophecy as described in Zechariah 14- 16.
The Source of Confusion
The ICEJ expresses solidarity with Israel and is involved in numerous philanthropic endeavors on behalf of the Jewish state. However, in recent years ICEJ has become increasingly transparent regarding both its missionary intent and its active collaboration with Israel’s messianic leadership. By hosting ICEJ events, Israel is empowering and legitimizing the messianic movement in Israel and its evangelical missionary network.
Israeli messianic leader Mati Shoshani, the COO of Israel’s messianic-led Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ), credits international Christians visitors for inspiring and spawning a young messianic leadership in Israel and for bringing his Jewish-born father and aunt to Christ in the late 1970’s and early 80’s. It’s likely no coincidence that his father, missionary Oded Shoshani, has been repeatedly featured at ICEJ events, including the Feast of the Tabernacles. Since the beginnings and eventual establishment of the Christian Embassy in Jerusalem in 1980, the number of “Jewish believers in Jesus” has grown exponentially, as have the number of messianic congregations.
Many Israelis associate the ICEJ Feast with the throngs of Christian pilgrims who regularly participate in the annual Sukkot march through the streets of Jerusalem – a spectacle that mesmerizes with its colorful display of international pageantry and expressions of “love” for the Jewish state.
[Note: Christian symbols indicating an allegiance to jesus/yeshua as the “king” and “lion of Judah” are also always present among the plethora of nations’ flags].
This outpouring of support-on-parade, however, does not negate the fact that that organization and its affiliates are activelycollaborating and networking with missionary entities whose intentions are to strengthen a firm base of “messianic Jews” in Israel. It must be remembered that evangelical Christians are dedicated to missionary outreach efforts and their faith-based activities and mode of worship is not a private matter to be held in cloistered houses of worship.
Several months before the Feast, JewishIsrael was reviewing the ICEJ promotional materials and noted that at least half of the evangelical personalities scheduled as speakers for the 2015 Feast where and continue to be actively involved in encouraging or directly supporting the messianic missionary movement in Israel.
JewishIsrael sent its concerns to the Chief Rabbinate after meeting with Jewish leaders on this issue at the Jerusalem municipality. Some excerpts from that report are available in Hebrew.
At that time, JewishIsrael did not review every speaker listed, but rather focused on those whose activities we are familiar with. For example:
Dr. Jürgen Bühler is an ordained minister who presently serves as Executive Director of the ICEJ. He is active with King of Kings messianic community at the Clal Center in Jerusalem and calls for and endorses the growth and expansion of the messianic missionary community in Israel and offers a platform for their leadership.
Rev. Juha Ketola has served as a missionary in more than 30 nations around the globe. He presently serves as the ICEJ’s International Director. Ketola claims that the ICEJ’s “core” mission is to let the world know of “the return of the lord jesus”, and to spread that news from Jerusalem to the nations. Ketola openly collaborates with messianic, missionary leaders in Israel.
Cindy Jacobs is considered a “respected prophetess” in the evangelical world. With regards to Israel in 2015,Jacobs has announced that:
“This is the time for the harvest of the Jews to begin. Bold witness will arise from believers in both the Jewish and Arab sectors.”
[Note: “Harvest” refers to harvesting of souls. “Witness” relates to missionary activity via testifying one’s belief in jesus].
Jacob’s website, Generals International, features articles which call for the financial support of “Messianic Jewish and Arab-believing staff” [in Israel] and “to pray for much revelation of Jesus on the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem, and across the Middle East.”
Peter Tsukahira is an evangelical pastor and citizen of Israel who been instrumental in establishing and leading messianic congregations in Haifa such as Kehilat HaCarmel Or HaCarmel Ministry. Excerpts from his teaching, The Restoration of Israeli Missions:
“In our day we are witnessing not only the historic return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel but the rise of indigenous Israeli congregations worshipping Jesus in the very land where He once walked…Today, in the modern state, a remnant of Israeli believers are worshipping Yeshua (Jesus) and bringing the power of His Spirit back home to Israel after almost two thousand years. Among the steadily growing numbers of Jewish believers are individuals and families who are called to go…to the Muslims, to the Hindus, to all the nations. These Israeli missionaries have received the mandate and mantle of Abraham and they are humbly joining their Gentile Christian brothers and sisters who have thus far carried the work of world evangelization…”
Jane Hansen serves as President/CEO of Aglow International – a world-wide evangelical community with 200,000 members. She supports and collaborates with messianic missionaries in Israel. In her own words:
“I would say the understanding of our commitment to Israel continues to unfold and become more focused as we unite with Messianic Jews in the land. They are the tender shoot of believers in Yeshua that is growing in accord with scripture related to the return of Jesus in Matthew 23:39.
This year, the reality of Romans 11:17 was expanded as we realized that as Christians, we aren’t only there in a supportive way “for” the Jewish people. As grafted-in-ones, we are there “as” them. We are not replacing them as a nation, but are certainly coming alongside them in a way that is deeper than just being there “for” them…
Asher commented on the fact that we had been grafted in saying, ‘Remember, you are no longer a Gentile and now all of the promises given to the Jews are yours.’”
Morning after Yom Kippur at the Chief Rabbinate’s Office
The day after Yom Kippur, JewishIsrael was called to a meeting at office of the Chief Rabbinate with a representative from Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
At that meeting we presented additional concerns and developments regarding key evangelical personalities who were scheduled as main presenters at the ICEJ Feast.
What JewishIsrael found particularly alarming was that the ICEJ’s popular speaker, Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, sits on the newly formed board of directors and advisors of Fellowship of Israel Related Min…, an organization founded by KKCJ’s Wayne Hilsden and comprised of the most comprehensive and aggressive team ofevangelical missionary leaders which JewishIsrael has ever come across. FIRM’s team members have had their sights on Israel and the Jewish people for quite some time.
Among FIRM’s board members are missionaries JewishIsrael has exposed in previous reports, such as Jonathan Bernis, Jack Hayford, Mitch Glaser, Erez Soref, Myles and Katherine Weiss, Don Finto, Eitan Shishkoff, and Raleigh Washington.
The new endeavor in Hilden’s own words is “openly identifying with and supporting messianic Jewish believers”.
Last February, JewishIsrael published a report which focused on FIRM and the new and disturbing trend of very public and orchestrated collaborations between prominent Christian Zionist leaders and renowned missionary and messianic leaders. But it is not just Torah observant leadership in Israel which is expressing concern. Several months ago secular pro-Israel columnist Diane Weber Bederman threw a spotlight on FIRM and its missionary leadership in columns that appeared in the Times of Israel and CJN News.
The open participation of Samuel Rodriguez in such an endeavor is of great concern because he is a powerful preacher with political clout who serves as President ofthe National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference(NHCLC), representing millions of evangelicals and 40,000 US churches. Rodriguez has also been a featured speaker at the White House.
Last month, Michael Freund’s regular column in theJerusalem Post, Fundamentally Freund: Rallying Hispanics for Israel, praised Rodriguez:
Prominent Latino leaders such as the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez and Pastor Guillermo Maldonado have been outspoken in their love for Israel, inspiring many to stand with the Jewish state and pray for her well-being.”
The obvious problem for Jewish activists and political leadership is to find a way to encourage and nurture an ethical alliance with evangelicals which offers political, philanthropic and popular support without sanctioning of missionary endeavors in the Jewish State. Unfortunately, for the last forty years Israel’s leadership has categorically failed – if not totally ignored – to address this crisis.
It was obvious from JewishIsrael’s meeting in the Office of the Chief Rabbinate that some of our rabbinic leaders are trying to hold the line on the missionary challenge despite resistance and objections from the Foreign Ministry and other government bodies.
At the meeting, JewishIsrael presented its objections to Mike Evans being scheduled as ICEJ’s Feast speaker for Israeli Guest Night. In the late 1970’s and early 80’s, Evans headed the list of serious missionary threats to Jewish youth on college campuses by an emergency task force of major North American Jewish organizations. At the time Evans bragged about the numbers of Jews he brought to Jesus. JewishIsrael notes that Mike Evans apparently did not appear at the Feast’s Israeli Guest Night. We do not know if this was due to our protest to representative of the Foreign Ministry a week prior to that event or for other reasons.
Last year, the 2014 Feast’s Israeli Guest Night involved the preaching to 300 IDF soldiers by Robert Stearns. Among other things, Stearns’ preached about the Jewishness of Jesus. The event was organized by Doron Schneider an employee of the ICEJ and a messianic leader in Israel. At the time, JewishIsrael excerpted the video of Stearns and the IDF and made that information available to the public, rabbinic, and counter-missionary sources. We ran follow-up reports, issued clarifications, and sent a letter to the editor of the Jerusalem Post. JewishIsrael is pleased to see that thanks to Yad l’Achim, action was taken on this matter as reported on Israel National News (INN), IDF Bans soldiers from Taking Part in Missionary Events.
“Please understand that the handing out of any tracts has been prohibited”
In JewishIsrael’s meeting at the Office of the Chief Rabbinate, the Foreign Ministry representative was quite adamant that the Christian Pilgrims would not be proselytizing at the Feast. Indeed ICEJ instructions for the Sukkot march clearly state that, “the handing out of any tracts has been prohibited.”
Limiting the definition of missionary activity to street proselytizing is inaccurate and disingenuous. It is imperative that the problems inherent in ICEJ’s activities and of evangelical missionary influence in Israel be examined through a wider and more candid lens.
- ICEJ invites Jews to interfaith events which encourage the theological coming together of Jew and Christian.
- ICEJ encourages, organizes and participates in events intended to create missionary networking and cooperation in Israel between evangelical and messianic leaders.
- Messianic and missionary leaders who have an agenda for Israel are directly involved in the organizing of ICEJ events, including the Feast of the Tabernacles.
- Jewish leadership crosses established interfaith halachic boundaries by actively participating in ICEJ’s Feast and related events.
- Even if ICEJ policy forbids the handing out of tracts and other traditional modes of proselytizing, it cannot and has no desire to control the activities of thousands of missionary participants who come on the Feast pilgrimage.
- By hosting ICEJ events, Israel is empowering and legitimizing the messianic movement and its evangelical missionary network in Israel.
The Chief Rabbis Raked Over the Coals
The Israeli press was merciless, describing the Chief Rabbinate as attacking, blasting, besmirching, and accusing “pro-Israel” Christians of missionary activity. JewishIsrael notes that a number of those columnists and sources leveling criticism at the Chief Rabbis have interests which quite possibly clouded their objectivity on the matter at hand.
Tamar Pileggi, a columnist for the Times of Israel, penned the report “Rabbinate: Boycott ‘dangerous’ pro-Israel Christian event“. The writer chose to underplay the Feast as a pilgrimage of Christian worship, as stated in the ICEJ description, and instead portrayed the Feast as an event which “draws thousands of evangelical Christians who celebrate the organization’s declared unshakable bond with Israel.” Pileggi went on to juxtapose rabbinic censure and concerns of missionary activity with the philanthropic support that ICEJ gives the State of Israel.
JewishIsrael is not questioning Pileggi’s journalistic credentials, but her reluctance to honestly address the Chief Rabbinate’s concerns could have something to do with her father, David Pileggi, being an active missionary leader in Israel and serving as rector of the Anglican Christ Church in Jerusalem. The church houses messianic congregations and in David Pileggi’s own words, “was built to be a home for Jewish believers in Jesus”and continues to encourage “witnessing” to the Jews and to carry the message of “Jesus is the Jewish Messiah”.
Former Israeli Ambassador to Washington and current member of Knesset, Michael Oren, was quoted throughout an article critical of the Rabbinate position while praising the ICEJ:
“I have never once encountered an instance of proselytizing by its [ICEJ’s] staff. Just when Israel is grappling with the threat of economic sanctions and rising anti-Semitism throughout the world, this is the time to embrace – rather than to alienate – Israel’s Christian friends.”
The article appeared in the Breaking Israel News (BIN) website, run by Rabbi Tuly Weisz, and often containing pro-evangelical articles with little regard for concerns of related missionary activity.
Last year, following the Feast, Michael Oren participated as a keynote speaker in Robert Stearns’ “Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem“, an annual Christian worship event which invites Jewish participation. Other speakers at that event included known missionary and messianic leaders, such as Rick Ridings who has called for a jesus revolution in Israel among young people.
In his remarks at that event, Oren cited the birth, baptism and death of Jesus and compared Mary and Joseph to Judean settlers. He went on to speak about church silence in the face of Palestinian denial of “the Temple where Jesus taught”, stating, “Temple denial is quite simply Gospel denial.”
Similar remarks about Christianity’s “first family” can be found in Oren’s remarks to the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus (KCAC), as reported in the Jerusalem Post article, Oren: Jesus today would be a settler.
While a politician and diplomat like Michael Oren may be comfortable playing the jesus card in order to draw Christians close and solidify Israel’s political policies and positions among evangelicals, Oren should certainly understand that before welcoming foreign guests to the State of Israel, it is first and foremost the role of the office of the Chief Rabbinate to uphold the Torah and to ensure Jewish continuity and the spiritual integrity of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel. Raising the name of jesus not only irrelevant, but it erodes the very foundations of Judaism.
Isi Leibler who regularly campaigns on behalf of evangelicals and against Israel’s Chief Rabbinate used his regularly featured column in the Jerusalem Post to level fierce criticism at Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau and Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef:
“It is disgraceful that the Chief Rabbinate failed to verify the false allegations made against the Christian Embassy and slandered those who represent Israel’s greatest friends in the world. The chief rabbis’ churlish action shames the Jewish people, and they should apologize and withdraw their scurrilous accusations.”
JewishIsrael’s Rabbinic Director, Rabbi Sholom Gold responded to Isi Leibler in a letter to the editor which was published on October 2, 2015. We close this report with the original complete text of that letter:
Isi Leibler’s column of September 21, “Rabbis besmirch Christian Embassy”, is inaccurate and misleading.
While Mr. Leibler cited former Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren as blessing the Christian Embassy Sukkot gathering in 1981, the situation has changed dramatically since then.
In the early 1980s, the number of “Jewish believers in jesus” residing in Israel were estimated to be in the hundreds. Today, Christian, Jewish, and international organizations are putting the figure at twenty thousand. Messianic leaders openly credit international Christian visitors for spawning this revolution, with young Israeli messianic leaders frequently appearing at ICEJ events.
Although the ICEJ expresses solidarity with Israel and is involved in numerous philanthropic endeavors, in recent years the ICEJ has become increasingly transparent regarding its active collaboration with Israel’s messianic missionaries. By hosting ICEJ events, Israel is empowering and legitimizing the messianic movement and its evangelical missionary network.
It is not “misguided zealots” who have raised concerns over the ICEJ’s greater agenda. Rather it is those who have worked extensively with pro-Israel Christian organizations and its leadership who are taking note of the problems and providing the Chief Rabbinate and government representatives with documentation for their review and consideration.
Since 2007, JewishIsrael.com has been urging Jewish leadership to draw appropriate red lines and issue guidelines on a theologically loaded relationship with evangelicals.
Mr. Leibler routinely uses his columns as a forum to critique the Chief Rabbinate. This time, however, he is ignoring the facts. Before welcoming foreign guests to the State of Israel, it is first and foremost the responsibility of the Chief Rabbinate to uphold the Torah, and to ensure Jewish spiritual continuity in the Land of Israel – and that includes warning Jews not to associate with missionaries and their activities, which is what the Rabbinate did.
Rabbi Sholom Gold
The latest dooms day scenario:
The crazed loon department of Christianity has started up again.
For the mean time a date for your diary:
Part of the irony of these references is that this year, September 23, 2015 is the Jewish Day of Atonement. Moreover, the blood moon tetrad has been happening on all the Jewish feasts the last 3 moons, and will fall again on 9/28/15.
The implication is that it is possible God’s wrath will be poured out on the entire earth, starting on the 23rd of September by allowing Satan to have full, unrestrained rule upon the earth (see Revelation 12:12) upon those who have not received Jesus as the atonement for their sins. In essence, those who reject Jesus will have to pay the atonement fee themselves, and that means wrath.
The latest is that the new pope will be an alien in fact some wacky groups insist that angel/ demons will in the end impersonate space aliens. Guess who will come to the rescue and save humanity from the aliens? It will the very same shape shifting pope who is an alien!! And all to stop you from believing in Jesus and not just any Jesus but Yeshuwahah or is it Yeshyrashiwah? Apparently the spelling of this name is of vital importance to your salvation too. Imagine, salvation by spelling!!! Here is the evidence of the more believable practice of photoshoping as opposed to shape shifting:
A relationship akin to sleeping with the enemies of the Jewish people is already operating here in Israel. The relationship includes a collusion between Jewish organizations who supposedly support Jews in Israel and the whole missionary industry which covers a wide spectrum of various brands of Christianity. An ongoing unholy alliance between Roman Catholics, Evangelical Protestant groups and the so-called ‘Messianic Judaism” they support is presently becoming more brazen in its efforts to convert Jews to Christianity. The collusion sees a huge chunk of cash being proffered to the money/ power/ prestige hungry leaders of certain Jewish Organizations all under the guise of mutual respect, support of Israel and love of the Jewish people.
Any attempt to address concerns is immediately branded by the recipients of the huge chunk of cash as promoters of Loshon Hara. But the question still remains.
When will we Jews, our politicians, rabbis, business and community leaders snap out of their hallucinations that this relationship, as we ourselves have allowed it to unfold, is anything but poison to our people and country?
The recipients use every means at their disposal to quash any concerns raised about the cash cow they are currently drawings huge sums of money from, after all its not easy living here in Israel!
The most moderate responder wrote: “I was shocked and embarrassed. I really admire you, Rabbi Melamed, and your books, etc … I simply think that you are unaware of Rabbi Riskin’s sympathetic views of Christianity and oto ha’ish (literally ‘that man’, or a euphemism for the Jewish founder of Christianity) … God have mercy … Rabbi, I suggest you have a look at the videos on YouTube where Rabbi Riskin speaks the praises of Christianity and oto ha’ish. The videos are in English. With this in mind, I’d be happy to understand how you could defend Rabbi Riskin.”
Rabbi Melamed supports Rabbi Riskin and discusses debatable details of the video without a broader enquiry. The broader enquiry would ask why in the world would an organization founded and directed by the Chief Rabbi of Efrat, Shlomo Riskin, and staffed by Orthodox Jews enter into the church-building business? Surely it is not a mitzvah incumbent upon the Jewish people to facilitate the spreading of the gospel of jesus christ anywhere in the world, let alone in Israel! But then again, Rabbi Riskin and his rabbinic partners have proclaimed that Christians and Jews jointly share Abraham’s covenant with G-d. Riskin and the CJCUC have also sanctioned everything from Jews engaging in theological dialogue with Christians to Jews entering churches to granting jesus rabbinic “smicha”.
Now at this stage you may hear the cries of Loshon Hara go up to silence the opposition?
However, according to the laws of Loshon Hara, JewishIsrael has sought through various channels to meet with Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, the Rabbi of the Har Bracha community in the Shomron, with regard to his halachic and hashkafic pronouncements pertaining to the deployment of Hayovel Ministry volunteers in the fields of Yehuda and Shomron (and now in the Golan Heights as well), a service Rabbi Melamed deems as a “fulfillment of prophecy”. These volunteers are recruited from a number of messianic Christian sects and cults, which are missionary in nature.
On Thursday, October 10th, 2013, JewishIsrael board members met in Har Bracha with Avraham Hermon, whom Rabbi
Melamed assigned the task of meeting with JewishIsrael and listening to what they had to say. The meeting lasted for over an hour, during which time JewishIsrael gave a presentation of what they viewed as the problems caused by the deployment of Hayovel Ministries’ volunteers in Israel. Some of the topics the presentation covered included:
- The missionary nature of Tommy Waller’s and Hayovel’s past and present agenda
- Problematic activities and missionary associations, both past and present
- Contradictory statements relayed to Rav Melamed and Har Bracha representatives
- Problematic venues of recruitment
- HaYovel’s present theology and vision
At the end of the presentation, JewishIsrael staff informed Hermon that they planned to go ahead in the near future with publication of the information presented, and that JewishIsrael hoped Rav Melamed would review the material shortly and respond with his opinion.
Following their meeting in Har Bracha, other prominent rabbis viewed the very same presentation. These rabbis have concluded that the material presented is “of great concern, very serious in nature, and requires follow-up“. One rabbi from the Shomron added that he “doesn’t understand how Rav Melamed could possibly ignore such vital information.”
Ignoring such vital information is part and parcel of the poison that some of the Jewish people have swallowed in subscribing to the doublespeak currently being banded around and accepted on both sides of the Christian / Jewish equation.
The weird effects of the term follow the money certainly seems to apply with respect to Diane Weber Bederman’s enquiry for a review of one of the funders of the organization StandWithUs; the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem (ICEJ). The weird effects of trying to follow the money also possibly opens up to the rational inquirer the world of doublespeak. Doublespeak with its love of Jews/ Israel and mutual respect promoted by the likes of StandWithUs, perhaps? Kind of like the doublespeak of the left-wing BBC with their mantra that Islam is a religion of peace contrasted with the reality of bombs going off all over the place and hey presto: a piece of you here and a piece of you there, perhaps?
What is really important in the world of doublespeak is the ability to lie, whether knowingly or unconsciously, and to get away with it; and the ability to use lies and choose and shape facts selectively, blocking out those that do not fit an agenda or program.
At this stage in the game we see a gaping dissonance between the doublespeak of not proselytizing and in reality aggressively proselytizing by various Christian organisations. Worst still, some of our Jewish leaders choosing to remain silent, which is the same as consenting to the conversion of Jews. Sadly also that some of our Jewish leaders are more than happy to see the spiritual suicide of their fellow Jews for the sake of financial gain.
Its time for all Jews to make Havdalah using the correct criteria specified by the clear and widely accepted rulings from modern Torah authorities prohibiting interfaith theological encounters which blur the lines between religious faiths. In other words stop taking the money and do the right thing!!
Presently there is a big to do about the future of Rabbi Riskin as chief Rabbi of Efrat. Rabbi Riskin the founding chief rabbi of the Israeli settlement of Efrat in the West Bank, a position which he has occupied since 1983. The battle is between Rabbi Riskin and The Chief Rabbinate of israel who are attempting to force Rabbi Riskin into retirement. As with all things Israeli, a complex battle of politics has ensued which has polarized the Jewish community into ‘for’ and ‘against’ camps respectively. Details of the deviations of Rabbi Riskin’s version of Orthodoxy you can read here.
In this blog I am going to take a detour around this debacle above which apparently has a showdown deadline sometime towards the end of June 2015…….. so watch this space.
The title of the blog is a reference to the taxation exile the rock band Led Zeppelin took from the UK. The exile resulted in the band being unable to tour on British soil for over two years, and trying to get back into the public mind was therefore like “trying to get in through the ‘out’ door. The title of the blog I use as a springboard for a very worrying present developement in the Jewish world which is now taking root here in Israel which has seen some very unholy alliances being formed. Speaking of unholy alliances, only just recently, Facebook has been ablaze with protestant evangelist Christine Darg vouching the virtues of the shroud of Turin. How does that go along with her protestant forebears, would they not be turning in their graves at the approbation of the whole idolatrous relic industry of the Roman Catholic Church?
In a macroscopic view of history we see an expulsion of an early movement within Judaism over two thousand years ago which was effectively extinguished and re-formed into the Christianity which we know of today. The early Jewish movement was apparently a Jewish following of Jesus or Yeshua as the recently invented messianic Judaism would like us to believe. The apparent Jewish following of Jesus or Yeshua in actual fact failed the Gamliel test described in the book of Acts 5:35-39:
For if their purpose or activity [the early jewish movement within Judaism] is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
Now unless you want to insist that Peter, James and John et al. were pork eating, Sunday keeping Baptists then it is quite obvious that the apparent Jewish following of Jesus or Yeshua in actual fact fizzled out a short while after the New Testament was written. The resurrection of so-called ‘messianic Judaism’ having its origins as recently as the 2oth century really has not a leg to stand on!! Instead we have a reliance upon the Christianity which we know of today by messianic Judaism. The reliance very much includes financial support too!
With Roman Catholic efforts such as Domus Galilaeae, the growing collusion between Evangelical Protestants and Messianics, we may ask the question what has this got to do with Rabbi Riskin? Well for starters, one of the issues in the above big to do about the future of Rabbi Riskin as chief Rabbi of Efrat is his very public displays of enthusiasm for Christian religious values. So much so that why in the world would an organization founded and directed by the Chief Rabbi of Efrat, Shlomo Riskin, and staffed by Orthodox Jews enter into the church-building business? Surely it is not a mitzvah incumbent upon the Jewish people to facilitate the spreading of the gospel of jesus christ anywhere in the world, let alone in Israel! But then again, Rabbi Riskin and his rabbinic partners have proclaimed that Christians and Jews jointly share Abraham’s covenant with G-d. Riskin and the CJCUC have also sanctioned everything from Jews engaging in theological dialogue with Christians to Jews entering churches to granting jesus rabbinic “smicha”.
To make matters worse the CJCUC as of 2011 has joined the Israel Jewish Council for Interreligious Relations (IJCIR) as partner. Such partnerships have seen recently (May 4-7 2015 at Domus Galilaeae) rabbis, cardinals, bishops and priests meeting together, praying together, discussing theology together, singing, dancing and feasting together, and reciting the Shema together. They cried together as they attended a church orchestra performance of The Suffering of the Innocents, commemorating the Holocaust, with the intertwined parallel theme of Mary crying as Jesus suffered and was killed. A bonfire celebration was held under the imposing shadow of a large gold statue of the Pope. The Jewish and Catholic clergy embraced and clasped hands as they spiritedly danced and sang Jewish song together. Reform, Conservative, Orthodox and Reconstructionist rabbis… Rabbis such as Irving Greenberg of CLAL, David Rosen of AJC, and a delegation of leaders from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, lovingly declared allegiance to a new and close fraternal relationship with their Catholic counterparts.
With such coalitions going on right before our eyes, I was interested how a Jewish commentator apparently in the know would react to Rabbi Riskin and other Rabbis involvements in these coalitions. Perhaps I was a little terse in my response that such overtures to Christians which included a video of Rabbi Riskin extolling ‘Rabbi Jesus’ would eventually see further down the line, our Jewish children/ grandchildren wanting (and thinking its OK) to marry ‘messianic Jews’ and Christians who love Jews.
What the Jewish commentator apparently in the know did not see is the attempts of Christianity which includes Messianic Judaism, to get in through the out door. Getting in through the outdoor as we can already see in the activities described above, involves the idea of encouraging Jews to abandon very clear halachic guidance of our Rabbis of blessed memory with respect to interfaith relationships. To make matters worse we see Rabbis who are supposed to be leaders of our communities accepting financial incentives to encourage and practically help Christians in their endeavour to build churches here in Israel! The problem of accepting this love of the Christians/ Messianics also sees simultaneously an underhand stealth mission of funding by the same Christian umbrella organizations to fund missionaries to convert Jews to Jesus/ Yeshua. Further we see these Rabbis abandon the values of Judaism for the ‘love’ of Christians and encouraging by their example, regular Jews to adopt the Christian version of ‘love’ too. Consequently anyone who dares to speak up about this problem is branded by those who have accepted this ‘love’ as unloving, uncaring, backwards and sowing the seeds of discord.
In sum, it is a mistake to think that Christians think the same way as Jews. Christians are very good at living with the dissonance of the double talk which their theology encourages; on the one hand they pride themselves with slogans that ‘we do not evangelise Jews’ yet on the other hand their own book calls for it and their leaders cash in on it, and sadly some of our Jewish leaders are now also cashing in on it too. The ICEJ et al. bandy about slogans of ‘loving’ and ‘blessing’ Israel under the guise of humanitarian assistance to Jews here in Israel and then underhandedly define what these terms actually mean by simultaneously diverting funds to messianic groups who are in the business to convert Jews to JC. Unfortunately many Jews have bought into the Christian version of political correctness which they claim promotes ‘love’, ‘mutual repect’ and ‘community cohesion’. The reality is that we Jews are painting ourselves into a corner when we go along with the Christians and abandon our own Jewish values in the process. When some wake up to it and try to say something about it they are branded as being unloving, disrespectful and destroying the cohesion of the community. Instead we Jews must hold onto, promote and put into practice our own Jewish values, realise the value which we already have and that we do not need anything else…………. But is it already too late?
. “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” Acts 5:35-39