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Yad L’Achim Gets Missionary Ad Pulled from Israel Radio

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Quick action by Yad L’Achim forced Israel Radio to pull a cleverly disguised missionary ad from its Russian-language programming.

The ad, which began airing two weeks ago on Radio Reka, Israel Radio’s foreign language station, set off warning bells at Yad L’Achim. The ad claimed to offer a solution to emotional distress and offered to send a booklet to listeners who called in. The name of the booklet? “The Power to Change,” with a subheading, “He changed me.”

Those who phoned in were asked to provide additional contact information and sent what turned out to be a missionary booklet that included Christian preaching urging faith in “that man.” It also called on people to be sure to “share the message of faith” with their friends.

Yad L’Achim’s counter-missionary department sprang into action, contacting its legal counsel, Doron Beckerman, who sent a letter to the management of Radio Reka demanding that they immediately pull the advertisement.

“Over the past few days you have been airing missionary ads in your broadcasts,” Beckerman wrote. “Clause 7 of the Israel Broadcasting Authority bylaws cites a list of advertisements that cannot be aired, which includes those coming from missionaries and cults. You are therefore asked to put an immediate halt to the airing of these ads, otherwise my client will be forced take all legal steps at his disposal.”

The response wasn’t late in coming. Mr. Alexander Marbin, the radio station’s direction, wrote Beckerman that he had ordered that the missionary ads be pulled.

Yad L’Achim said in response that it would continue to monitor missionary activities that aim to further their goal of persuading Jews to convert out of their religion, noting that the campaign is in full swing in many communities throughout Israel.

For more information visit www.yadlachim.org or info@yadlachim.org

Counterpoint: Christian Zionists Are a Threat

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

This article was written in response to “Are Christian Zionists a Threat to Israel”, written by David Ha’Ivri on December 20, 2011.

 There is no question that there are many fine, upstanding Gentiles supporting Israel at this time. While certain strategic, moral and political alliances with the non-Jewish world are to be encouraged, it is both naïve and misleading to deny the serious costs involved in Israel’s unregulated relationship with impassioned evangelical Christians.

There is a wealth of information indicating that the vast majority of evangelical organizations supporting Israel on the political, economic and humanitarian fronts are directly or indirectly involved in supporting a growing Christian messianic restoration in Israel and in missionary efforts directed at the Jewish people. This existential spiritual threat is being overlooked by Jewish leadership in both Israel and the Diaspora.

These are the facts on the ground, as reported by the Baptist Press, seven months ago (unfortunately, these statistics coincide with reports from a number of Jewish and governmental sources):

“Now there are an estimated 150 Jewish [messianic] congregations around Israel meeting in different languages. The number of believers is estimated to be around 20,000, growing exponentially from 1948 when 12 Jews who believed in Jesus could be counted, to 1987 when there were 3,000 and 1997 where there were 5,000.”(Baptist Press, May 26, 2011)

Mr. Ha’ivri chose to diminish the concerns of those who are working in the counter-missionary field and to dismiss their investigative findings regarding growing Christian influence and infiltration in the Jewish state. A good number of the professionals and activists working in this field have, prior to returning or converting to Judaism themselves, spent years in church movements as active missionaries. These professionals now spend their days and nights bringing back Jews who have been lost to the churches or messianic Christian movements. The understanding by these professionals of the situation and of the personalities involved is hardly “shallow”, as Mr. Ha’ivri wishfully believes.

Certain Christian individuals and organizations with whom Mr. Ha’ivri chooses to work may not be aggressively proselytizing with a conversion agenda in the classical sense. However, they are on a religiously-driven mission with the intention to draw Jews close. They strive for a theological unification between Judaism and Christianity – a breaking down of barriers between faiths, as portrayed in Christian scripture. In addition, these parties are supportive of the messianic Christian sects in the Jewish state and aspire towards a Christian – not a Jewish – restoration in the Land of Israel. That makes them “missionaries” in every sense of the word.

The obvious point that evangelicals live to evangelize and that Israel has embarked on a “biblically-based” alliance with those who by definition, are missionaries, needs to be addressed in an honest fashion. Taking precautions to preserve the integrity of the Torah, the Jewish people and Eretz Yisrael is simply off the radar screen of many of our leading activists who are preoccupied with garnering political, humanitarian and economic support for the Jewish state in desperate times.

As devoted and passionate as many of these Christian leaders are in their support of Israel, it pales in comparison to their zeal and commitment to spreading the Christian message. As Pastor John Hagee explained on the missionary Daystar TV network, when they announced programming plans for Israel:

It’s just all I can do to keep from getting up and dancing… it’s a joy and a dream come true. If we are able to preach the gospel [in Israel] without reservation … it’s a major breakthrough.” —-(Jewish Telegraphic Agency, May 18, 2006)

Torah observant leaders and activists tout pro-Israel Christian personalities around Israel as saviors, but fail to take the responsibility to effectively communicate Jewish sensitivities and limitations to these parties that are reaching out to Jews. Perhaps had Glenn Beck been given clear and unequivocal guidelines by his Jewish hosts, he would not have invited Jews to participate in an “uber-Christian” event, nor would he have featured known missionary personalities, who explicitly target Jews, at his “Restoring Courage” event this past summer in Israel.

There is reluctance on the part of rabbinic and Jewish community leadership to draw red lines or issue guidelines to govern the interfaith relationship. At the same time, Israeli legislators evade drafting effective counter-missionary legislation. It seems that nobody wants to alienate “good friends” who are not aggressively proselytizing but rather are “sharing their faith” through “outreach projects” to a very vulnerable Israeli populace.  That David Ha’ivri minimizes the spiritual threat which these missionaries present in Israel is indicative of a certain detachment from his own people, many of whom are spiritually thirsty and lacking a proper Jewish education or the means to respond to evangelical overtures.

Unfortunately, there are significant voices within the national religious camp who are naively heralding a new era in interfaith relations. Some of these people are calling for revolutionary openness and leniency in the Jewish approach to Christianity. Slapping a Jewish prophetic spin on this Christian theological fervor reeks of denial and jeopardizes the entire Jewish nation. Those who are embracing what they deem to be a “new Christianity” should keep in mind that the old Christianity is very much alive and well and operating in Israel, while the new deceptively mimics Judaism in its quest for historical Jewish roots.

Our unique commitments as Jews, and our obligation to keep a separation between faith communities, remains constant, whether the era be philo-Semitic or anti-Semitic. For even had Christians had been kind to us for two millennia, their fundamental beliefs would remain no less forbidden to us. Judaism clearly demands us to remember that, certainly for the Jew, Christianity (the belief in Jesus as lord and savior) is an irrefutable form of idolatry. The Torah’s prohibition against and rejection of idolatry is at the very core of Judaism.

If Israel is charged with being “a light unto the nations”, our leaders should not be in the business of assisting Christian pastors and ministers in perpetuating their doctrine. As Jews, it is our job and responsibility not to compromise, adapt or reconcile our beliefs in a way that could, G-d forbid, lead to spiritual assimilation. We should not be providing devout Christians with the tools to carve a more refined and polished image of their false lord and savior. And yet a steady parade of high-profile rabbis and political and community leaders are now regularly gracing numerous messianic “Hebraic Roots” Christian churches and ministries which are dedicated to “demonstrating Jesus’ centrality to Judaism and his inclusion in the Torah”. Nor should Jewish rabbis and leaders be hosting activities with those believers in Jesus who consider themselves part of the 10 lost tribes of Israel, with entitlement to equal inheritance of the Holy Land.  It is a mistake to believe that we Jews can teach gentiles Torah in a messianic Christian setting. These congregations are absolutely christ-centered. Everything they garner from Judaism is used to solely enhance their own belief system.

David Ha’ivri’s appearance two weeks ago with Tommy Waller on the missionary God’s Learning Channel (GLC) TV network, which strives to “help you see Yeshua (Jesus) in the Torah”, pushed the envelope into forbidden territory.

Mr. Ha’ivri is a committed Jew and Zionist who works tirelessly for his land and people. We count on people like him to uphold the physical and spiritual integrity of Eretz Yisrael. If our leaders choose to work with devout Christians, then they should be honest enough to acknowledge the problems and wise enough to use foresight, seek guidance, and draw red lines in such relationships.

 If Jewish organizations and Jewish leadership in Israel and the Diaspora continue to reap the benefits of Christian support while turning a blind eye to the missionary activity directed at those sectors of the Jewish people who are most vulnerable, then something has gone terribly wrong.  It is a betrayal of everything we stand for.

The Deceptive, Destructive Legacy Of Moishe Rosen

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Moishe Rosen, the Jewish convert to Christianity who founded the evangelical missionary group Jews for Jesus, died on May 19 in San Francisco after a prolonged battle with cancer. He was 78. His passing presents an opportunity to reflect on the devastating effect he had on Jewish lives.

Born Martin Rosen in 1932 to immigrant Jewish parents, he was raised with a minimum Jewish education in Denver, Colorado. He converted to Christianity in 1953, at the age of 21, and in 1957 he was ordained a Baptist minister.

From 1957 to 1972 he worked as a missionary for the American Board of Missions to the Jews. After a falling out, reportedly over his controversial tactics, Rosen launched the San Francisco-based Jews for Jesus movement in 1973.

He believed “Judaism never saved anybody” and that unless you believe in Jesus you will burn in hell. This included the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

Rosen’s message personified three New Testament passages: Romans 1:16 – “to the Jew first”; I Corinthians 9:20 – “to the Jews I became as a Jew that I might win Jews”; and Philippians 1:18 – “whether in pretense or in truth Christ is proclaimed I will rejoice.”

He aggressively targeted Jews for conversion and is responsible for the loss of countless young Jews and the destruction of thousands of Jewish families. He condemned Judaism as a “false religion” and once said, “The fact is we are not practicing any form of Judaism. We are practicing Christianity.” This didn’t stop him from encouraging the use of rabbinic Jewish practices, like lighting Shabbat candles, or wearing a yarmulke, in an attempt to masquerade Christianity in the guise of authentic Judaism.

Sadly, as a direct result of Rosen’s pioneering efforts, today there are over 1,000 missionary groups targeting Jews for conversion worldwide. With an annual budget exceeding $275 million, these groups have succeeded in converting hundreds of thousands of Jews in recent decades. A recent National Jewish Population Study estimated that more than 600,000 American Jews have converted to, or are affiliated with, a religion other than Judaism, the most dominant faith being Christianity.

Both Jewish and mainline Christian clergy condemned Rosen’s aggressive and controversial proselytizing methods. In 1990 Rev. David Selzer wrote, “Jews for Jesus is another attempt to deny Jewish identity to Jews as a Christian I oppose the group.”

In her doctoral dissertation on Jews for Jesus, Juliene Lipson describes how she infiltrated the group and discovered a disturbing side to Jews for Jesus and Rosen. According to Lipson, members agreed that “full submission to the leadership of Rosen is the will of God.” She also described a meeting where “members were asked to stand, whereupon [Rosen] struck each one across the face hard enough to knock them over.”

On the website www.UsedForJesus.com, ex-Jews for Jesus staff members testify to the abusive and cult-like atmosphere within Jews for Jesus, including the above mentioned “pain training” as well as shunning of former members, rigid restrictions to personal life, and raging and intense anger. I met Rosen on three occasions and each time witnessed his inexplicable outbursts of rage.

Rosen obviously ignored the words of the Rev. Billy Graham who wrote in a 1973 press release, “gimmicks, coercion and intimidation have no place in my evangelistic efforts.”

Rosen’s authoritarian personality elicited criticism from Jews and non-Jews. University of California at Berkley professor Dr. Margaret Singer, respected as a leading authority on cults and mind control, considered Jews for Jesus a cult. This was echoed by former Jews for Jesus member Ellen Kamensky who categorized the group as a destructive cult, and told me they misrepresented New Testament passage Luke 14:26 to convince her to cut off contact from her family.

Misuse of biblical passages to prove Jesus is the messiah is a mainstay of Jews for Jesus. Their proof-texts are either taken out of context or mistranslated. In one of their pamphlets they quote a non-existent passage from the Zohar concerning the Shema, in a pathetic attempt to prove the Trinity is a Jewish concept.

This brings me to what I consider to be Rosen’s second most deceptive tactic. On page 52 of his book Share the New Life With a Jew, he instructs missionaries to not get “sidetracked with discussion on the deity of Christ.” He continues to explain that as important as this doctrine may be, “correct theology is not what will save your friend.”

Shalom In The Home

Wednesday, March 29th, 2006

When I was a boy of about eight, I remember feeling helpless to bring my fighting parents closer together, and then seeing a vision of myself, running from home to home, rescuing those who could still be saved. I even gave myself a moniker: “the marriage missionary,” and later, “the Love Prophet.”
 
I would sit for hours thinking about the secret to keeping a husband and wife happily under the same roof for the duration of their lives. When I flew on airplanes I would watch the couples sitting together and try to discern the difference between those who were smiling and laughing, and those who barely spoke to one another.

I have spent much of the past year traveling around the United States with a camera crew and a state-of-the-art studio-trailer, living with distressed families. The TV show that resulted, “Shalom in the Home,” airing every Monday evening at 10 o’clock on TLC beginning April 10, is the culmination of a lifelong dream to transform the pain of my parents’ divorce into the healing of broken families.

If war is hell, it follows that heaven is peace. Harmony is life’s greatest blessing, without which human existence becomes a nightmare of insufferable conflict. The ancient rabbis said that when God created the world in six days, it still lacked the most important ingredient of all: peace. Hence, when He rested on the seventh day from a whirlwind of activity, the world was now perfect.

For centuries the Christian and Islamic faiths focused their creative energies on building empires and governing kingdoms. But we Jews, bereft of sovereignty and diminished of power, turned our energies inward instead. We sought to master not the outer world, but the inner; not the state, but the home. While other religions built soaring cathedrals, we built passionate marriages. And while other faiths fielded armies of colossal strength, we sought to raise children of towering moral character.

Judaism places an incredible premium on peace in the home in general, and peace between husband and wife in particular. In the Bible God decrees the desecration of His own holy name in order to bring husbands and wives closer together. When a woman was accused by her husband of adultery, she was taken to the Temple, where God’s name was written in ink and then erased into a potion which she drank in order to prove her innocence to her husband.

Likewise, the whole purpose of lighting Sabbath candles, one of the most important and meaningful of all weekly Jewish rituals, is to illuminate the home with warmth and light so that a loving ambiance can govern the home on God’s holy day. And the Talmud says that on the Sabbath married couples are to be physically intimate because passion between husband and wife is itself holy.

But in our time we focus far too much on peace in the world at the expense of peace in the home. We’re dispirited with the war and the daily carnage in Iraq and we wish our troops could come home from Afghanistan. We’re wary of using military force against Iran to halt the development of nuclear weapons, even when there may be no other option. Even when we’re forced into war, we still want peace. We all await the realization of the ancient dream of universal brotherhood becoming a reality.

Our mistake, however, is in not understanding that even if all the world’s terrorists laid down their arms and all the rogue dictators were swallowed by the earth, we would still have no peace because our very homes have become war zones. If men beat their swords into ploughshares, would that stop husbands from verbally assaulting their wives? If the ancient prophecy were to be fulfilled and no man ever again taught his son the art of war, would that stop our children from fighting with each other over every silly provocation? Even if the world had peace, our homes would still be filled with divorce. Even if all the rifles were silenced, our living rooms would still be filled with shouting.

You cannot have a peaceful world without having peaceful people – a tranquil earth without tranquil families. The wolf will not dwell with the lamb until parents and children are also defanged of their claws. The lion and the kid will not lie down together until husbands and wives first learn how to live together.

We are losing our minds because we have no peace. We are losing our inner equilibrium because we have no respite from the noise of blaring TVs and phones that forever ring. Our conversations are comprised of words that hurt rather than heal.

No wonder our children, in an effort to escape the madness, would rather be at their friends’ homes than their own houses. And even when they are at home, they’re not home. They shut out their parents with IPods in their ears and video games in their bedrooms.

I was raised in an environment filled with fighting. I absorbed much of that chaos and I now have strife, rather than stillness, in my skeleton. And I have made a lifelong effort to bring back serenity to my center. But today’s families are so distant from the idea of peace that they consciously invite drama. They find fault with each other as a way of relating to each other. And in so doing, they lurch from extreme to extreme, from arguments to apologies, from ripping in to each other to reconciling with one another.

Peace is supposed to be the apex around which all families revolve. The home is supposed to be a place of comfort rather than conflict, a haven from hostility, a sanctuary from life’s sting. In your spouse you are meant to find passion rather than pain. Your children are supposed to see in you a hero rather than someone they’ll do anything to avoid.

My program “Shalom in the Home” is all about teaching families how to find the fountain of peace from which flows the joy of family life. We have taught parents how to inspire their kids with conversation rather than harangue them with hollering. We have influenced husbands and wives to put down the cudgel and pick up Cupid’s arrow.

We have taught moms who medicate their ADD and ADHD kids that a far healthier medication is more attention and patience. We have persuaded parents and kids to douse the fires of rage rather fuel their fury and anger. We have educated children to forgive their parents’ mistakes and to try to not judge them in the first place. We have tutored spouses in recapturing desire and mining the dormant spark of their once passionate relationship.

We have done all this not by using the dominant TV and radio therapist’s approach of making people feel useless and stupid, but by making them feel heroic and noble. We have helped people discover not their underlying ugliness but their neglected blessings. We have re-dedicated them to family life not by showing them their past mistakes but their future potential and overall promise.

Above all else, we have helped them to improve not by having them listen to the wishes of a television host but to their own inner voice of what they wished to be before life made them something else.

Rediscover peace. Cherish your blessings. Enjoy the show.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is the host of TLC’s “Shalom in the Home.” The author of several international best-sellers, his newest work, “Ten Conversations You Need to Have with Your Children,” has just been released by ReganBooks/HarperCollins. His website is www.shmuley.com.

Liberals Quoting Scripture: Beware The Jewish Politically-Correct Bible Thumpers

Friday, August 9th, 2002

When I was a lad we used to suffer from the frequent visits of missionaries who often canvassed our neighborhood, presumably because of the large number of Jewish families whose souls could be saved there.

Occasionally I would chat up these people, and at one point I asked about the training and preparation they undergo before taking to the streets to save our doomed souls. The missionary confided to me that she had learned 15 or 20 selected biblical quotations in a special seminar – including many especially chosen because the quotes were thought to hold persuasive power for Jewish listeners – and she simply pulled these out during missionary visits.

Doubtless some of the missionaries knew their Bible backward and forward, but the ones with whom I came into contact were apparently all one-day crash-course Bible thumpers. (I learned that all I needed to do to drive these neighborhood missionaries into a state of confused silence was to produce an alternative biblical quote not on their list of 15 or 20, or show them how their quotes of choice had been wrenched out of their overall context.)

This comes to mind because it is strongly reminiscent of a fad quite common these days among Jewish assimilated liberals and leftists in the United States. These people constitute the School of Jewish Politically-Correct Bible Thumpers. They advocate the ‘PC’ fads and programs of the American Left, while coating them with a thin veneer of supposedly biblical ethics.

Like the missionaries of my youth, they learn a dozen or so select biblical phrases, taken out of context, and argue that the Bible and traditional Judaism unambiguously require that one accept and support a left-wing political agenda. I assume that most readers of The Jewish Press are familiar with these folks.

Examples of Jewish politically-correct Bible thumping abound, the most outrageous, of course, being the Cheech-and-Chong ‘ethics’ and political platform of the editors of Tikkun magazine, featuring the ‘Politics of Meaning’ psychobabble promoted by ‘Rabbi’ Michael Lerner.

But many mainstream liberal leaders of the Jewish community also engage in biblical posturing in order to conscript scripture for support of liberal fads. Generally such ‘Bible-based’ PC preaching operates through conjuring up the ethics of the Prophets as scriptural underpinning for the Left’s political agenda.

The term ‘Prophetic Ethics’ is used to justify support for everything from affirmative action to abortion on demand, animal ‘rights’ to homosexual ?rights,? ecological activism to various and sundry redistributionist social programs.

The Oslo ‘peace accord,’ it should go without saying, was accorded a particularly hallowed place in the doxology of the Jewish politically-correct Bible thumpers.

What is one to make of all this? Let us begin by noting that the attempt by Jewish leftists to conjure up scriptural support for their political agenda might be somewhat more persuasive if these same people were practitioners of traditional Judaism. (Orthodox politically-correct Bible thumping is extremely rare, albeit not completely non-existent.)

In most cases, politically correct Bible thumpers are ‘scripturally motivated’ only under circumstances that they find convenient and with respect to those political causes they happen to find appealing. Otherwise they simply ignore everything else in scripture and halacha that does not fit their political agenda.

These folks are generally not Jews whose lifestyles are determined by biblical rules regarding, say, diet, Sabbath, sexual relations, etc. Indeed, when scripture clearly favors a moral or political position that is not fashionable, these same PC Bible thumpers suddenly decline to adapt themselves to biblical ethics.

At times they will go through contortions to force their supposed understanding of these ethics into a PC mold. For example, there is probably nothing as clear-cut as the biblical prohibition against homosexuality.

The very notion of ‘gay rights’ is completely antithetical to biblical morality; the Bible in fact explicitly labels sodomy a capital offense. (While such punishment was generally not literally applied in Jewish tradition, there is no doubt as to the disgust and condemnation with which the Bible views gay relations.)

But that did not stop the PC branch of the Reform movement from deciding that Reform rabbis can ordain gay ‘marriages.’ It is not clear why they did not at the same time decide that inter-species marriages could be ordained, as the biblical injunction against the latter is no more unambiguous than the prohibition against homosexuality.

Similarly, while the Jewish religious position on abortion is not identical with the one espoused by the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian denominations, abortion on demand when a mother’s life is not in danger is hardly a position held by traditional Judaism.

One can accept or reject the scriptural view of homosexuality or abortion – it’s a free country. But if one is representing one’s political agenda as being biblically-based, why the arbitrarily selective distortion?

The biggest problem with PC appeals to ‘Prophetic Ethics’ and Jewish compassion is that there is absolutely no support in Jewish tradition for feel-good advocacy programs that actually exacerbate real-world problems.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/liberals-quoting-scripture-beware-the-jewish-politically-correct-bible-thumpers/2002/08/09/

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