The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
As Jews, as lovers of our Mighty God, we give no thought to other beliefs, because we strive to be totally in love with the One Above. This is our mission, But we respect all religions that make better people of their adherents.
The story is told that the Chofetz Chaim hired a gentile wagon driver to take him from his town, Radin, to another village. When the wagon driver did not kiss the cross at the town’s exit, as was customary, the Chofetz Chaim said, “I’ve changed my mind; take me right back to my home.” The tzaddik feared that since this driver didn’t acknowledge the existence of God, he might rob him during the journey.
You write that you “dug in my heels and subscribed to The Jewish Press.”
Do you know what those words do to me? During my visit to America I was at the offices of The Jewish Press and saw a giant magnificent painting of Rabbi Sholom Klass, zt”l, the man who founded this Torah journal that has enlightened so many thousands like you concerning the true meaning of “I am a Jew.”
I have no doubt that your subscription to this paper brought you, someone with a minimum amount of Torah knowledge, to the place where you could declare to your missionary friend, “I would never commit such a terrible sin.”
I must agree with your rabbi’s request that you not give your friend too much information about Judaism. The holy Rambam, Maimonides, warns us about attempting to influence Jews who have fallen into this non-Jewish yet pseudo-messianic faith that comes packaged in a Jewish wrapper, so to speak.
I have two important suggestions for you.
1. Tell your friend you love Hashem with all your heart, which pumps the blood of your atonement through the teshuvah you are always doing; and with all your soul, which is a part of Hashem; and with all your essence, with which you declare, “You [Hashem] are my everything.”
Tell her that you love the direct relationship you have with the Father and have no interest in responding to her proselytizing. But beseech her: “Come home, my sister!”
2. I suggest you give your friend a really great gift – a subscription to The Jewish Press. Page after page, week after week, she’ll start identifying with her people, her land, and other issues so important to Jews. Let us all pray that what worked for you will work for her.
Ask your rav and let me know if he agrees. May Hashem bless his Charming Nation.
About the Author: Dov Shurin is a popular radio personality and the composer and producer of several albums. He lives with his family in Israel and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. His Jewish Press column appears the third issue of each month.
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