July 13 – 2009

Caspari Center Media Review – July 13, 2009

During the week covered by this review, we covered 7 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, attitudes towards Jesus and Christianity, and anti-missionary activity.

1 dealt with Messianic Jews
1 dealt with attitudes towards Jesus and Christianity
5 dealt with anti-missionary activity
This week’s Review focused on the news that 60 Messianic Jews have been recently discovered to have been allowed to convert.
Messianic Jews
HaShavua BeAshdod, July 3, 2009

HaShavua BeAshdod (July 3) ran the story of the court case brought by “Pnina Pie” to regain the bakery’s kashrut license (see previous Reviews).
Attitudes towards Jesus and Christianity
Globes, July 9, 2009

In a review of sites in the Galilee, Corazin was identified as mentioned in the New Testament as “the place whose residents did not accept the essentials of the ethical teaching preached by Yeshu,” the lake itself being understood as serving as the “inspiration” for him and his disciples.
Anti-missionary Activity
Mishpacha, July 9; Yom L’Yom, July 9; HaMachaneh HeHaredi, July 9; HaShavua BiYerushalayim, July 9; Jerusalem Post, July 7, 2009

According to a report carried on July 9 in the religious papers Mishpacha, HaMachaneh HeHaredi, HaShavua BiYerushalayim, and Yom L’Yom, “A detailed list containing more than sixty names of people who were active members in the mission sects of the Messianic Jews before, during, and after their conversion, was recently  presented by the Director of Yad L’Achim, Shalom Dov Lipshitz, to the Chief Sephardi Rabbi, Shlomo Amar, during a special meeting held between the two men at the Chief Rabbinate in order to discuss the expected immigration of the ‘Bnei Menashe.’ The missionaries whose name appear on the list, together with precise addresses and identity card numbers, concealed their faith in ‘that man’ from the conversion court before whom they appeared, as well as the fact that they had never ceased believing in the ‘New Testament.’ They underwent a lengthy and protracted conversion process, successfully passed all the tests and examinations, and subsequently left the court with a huge smile on their faces and a conversion certificate in their hands. In consequence of their orthodox conversion, they assimilated into the religious community, their children even being accepted into religious educational institutions. None of the rabbinic judges was aware at any time during the conversion process that they continued to believe in ‘that man’ wholeheartedly, that he is the Messiah. None of the judges imagined that these converts with their innocent appearance were continuing to be members of the Messianic Jewish sect and attempting to disseminate their deceitful faith and preach it amongst whomever they came into contact with. Shlomo Amar was shocked by the information he received and with great appreciation welcomed the practical suggestion presented to him by Shalom Dov Lipshitz, namely a detailed questionnaire including seventeen explicit questions to be answered yes or no by each person seeking to be converted. Lipshitz explained that according to the dubious faith of these believers in ‘that man,’ when they are asked directly if they believe in him, they cannot deny the fact and must answer affirmatively. ‘We simply have to know the right questions to ask, and in what form, in such a way as to prevent any doubt.’ He stated. Amar, who also serves as the President of the Great Court, adopted the suggestion immediately.”
In a related article, Pnina Taylor, Director of Jews for Judaism, Jerusalem, wrote an article printed in the Jerusalem Post (July 7) explaining “What countermissionaries believe”: “As a countermissionary, people think it’s my goal to persecute poor Christians living in our country and to tell people what they should believe. Nothing could be further from the truth … Believe it or not, the purpose of a countermissionary is ultimately to improve Jewish-Christian relations … By teaching Jews why we are not Christians and by teaching Christians to respect our boundaries, we improve relations between the two faiths. Blurring the lines between the two faiths doesn’t serve to bridge the gap caused by fear and misunderstanding. It weakens Judaism and cause Christians to have less respect for the Jewish people … The purpose of the countermissionary is to strengthen the Jewish people and to teach Christians that we have reasons for choosing to reject their faith … When we say that it should be illegal to proselytize in Israel, we are not saying that a Christian does not have the right to believe as he wishes or even to worship God as he sees fit. What we are saying is that a Jew has the right to live in the Jewish state without needing to worry about being harassed by someone trying to convince him that his faith is not good enough, that he needs to accept Christianity’s concept of God to be able to even have a relationship with God … We understand that your Bible instructs you to make it a priority to share your faith with the Jewish people, since Jesus was Jewish. Some even say that because of this they owe the Jews a debt of gratitude. But gratitude is best shown with respect to the person on whom it is being bestowed and not with respect to the giver. Please show us that you respect us by not trying to convince us to change our beliefs.”