Thursday, January 27, 2011

Is This Group Misleading You?

I received a message from the group Jewish Israel which has been in the forefront of defending Jews from the wave of "Hebrew Messianism" activity that goes on and which seeks to convert Jews to Christianity.

To be exact, here's their Mission Statement which starts off so:-

Jewish Israel takes a critical look at Israel’s alliances with Fundamentalist Christian groups, and provides a platform for ongoing monitoring and pro-active responses to evangelical missionary campaigns targeting Jews for conversion

Of course, Israel doesn't have alliances but rather public and private groups and individuals do and government officials, at least from Menachm Begin's time that I personally remember, have made appearances here and abroad at various functions. All have praised the renewed Christian Zionism movement that has provided vital political and diplomatic support as well as contributions of volunteer work and money to many causes of Israel and Zionism.

As Jewish Israel points out, we must always be vigilant as well as making clear to our Christian allies that proselytizing is unwelcome. We Jews stand on our own religious basis through our historic covenant with God since Abraham's time.  There have been attempts at soul-snatching and it is something to monitor.

Nevertheless, as always, a little bit of zeal can get out of hand.

For example, that message I mentioned above.  Here it is:

A message to all members of Jewish Israel

The Van Leer Jerusalem Insitute will be hosting an interfaith conference on "New Frontiers in Jewish and Christian thought" and covering such topics as conversion, messianism, jesus, paul and Israel's covenant. This appears to be a follow-up to the Yale Divinity School conference which was held last October, as Rabbi Riskin and a number of the speakers who presented presentations at Yale will also be featured at Van Leer. Details of the Jerusalem conference can be found (here).

I would think that some people might presume that the issue of conversion at that conference has something to do with Jews being converted to Christianity and even a discussion of such would really be a non-starter.  And "jesus" and "Messianism".

However, I did take the time to check out the "details" and read that the issue of the conference was Christians converting to Judaism!

Here, follow the arrow:

Now, the alert of Jewish Israel didn't actually lie about the conference topics, but, on the other hand, if someone didn't check and went off and got angry at the Rabbis participating and accusing them of cooperating in the loss of Jewish souls, well, that would be very unfortunate and a result of a bit of a, shall we say, lack of clarity.

The lesson?

Always read and always try to go to the source.

And, too, always be careful with Christians...and Jews.


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