Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Divide: Jewish missionary activity targeting non-Jews

Are You People For Real? wrote:

Is this blog for real?

You have just given a wonderful present to Chosen People Ministries & Jews for Jesus.

They will gladly go after the mixed married Jews and their spouses.

Do you ghetto Jews ever come out of your shells? Do you have any clue to what is transpiring in the real world?
85% of Jews are assimilated.
60% are intermarried.

Are those so-called frum Jews whom are against reaching out to the intermarried on the payroll of Jews for Jesus, cause they're certainly acting on their behalf?

I can see David Brickner, Moishe Rosen, Mitch Glaser, David Chernoff, Jay Sekulow and their ilk having a field day with this nonsense.
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The issue of quality versus quantity has come up before. Perhaps it is time to confront it head on since those who go for quantity seem to have no clue of halacha or the meaning of a community committed to observing halacha. Nor do they seem to have any understanding - or concern - of the social consequences of an open door policy on the Jewish community. Furthermore they assume that the ultimate value is to save or produce as many Jews as possible no matter what the cost. Is there in fact any such imperative?

What are the consequences - both positive and negative - of focusing on maximizing the number of Jews through conversion. Why has it apparently never been done in Jewish history?

Before anyone jumps up and down saying "you ignoramus don't you know anything!" - let me just cite two major academic experts on the matter. It is universally agreed that there is simply no explicit evidence that missionary activity was ever an accepted practice by the Jewish community. All "evidence" for missionary activity is simply conjecture which I don't find very convincing. I will go into detail in the next post. Anyone who has halachic or sociological data relevant to this issue is invited to post it.

Prof. Martin Goodman(Journal of Jewish Studies 40:2 1989 page 181): "In sum, despite the hints outlined above that some rabbis assumed the desirability of a proselytizing mission, such a notion does not appear to have been explicitly formulated in any rabbinic text and did not ever become a general rabbinic doctrine. It remained the common assumption that the normal impulse to conversion would be and should be that of the prospective proselyte. Thus, for example, it is reported at Sifre Deut. 354 that the sight of Israel worshiping at the Temple will eventually lead the nations to wish to convert en masse. It is on the gentiles that the onus rests, for in the last days they risk punishment for failing to become proselytes as they could have done (Lev. R. 2:9); but it is worth noting that in the parallel version at Pes. R. 35.161a, in the name of R. Hanina b. Papa, the reproach to the gentiles is only their failure to forsake idolatry…"

[See also excerpts from his book Mission and Conversion 1995]
http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=xarYn9mxxXAC&oi=fnd&pg=PR12&dq=martin+goodman&ots=SRHzKt6lWA&sig=2R0wFNjJ_ehnevCz4NmmpjkbEPs#PPP1,M1



Prof. Louis Feldman(Jew and Gentile in the Ancient World 1996 - page 293): "However, although there is, in truth, no single item of conclusive evidence [for Jewish missionary activity] as we shall see, the cumulative evidence - both demographic and literary - for such an activity is considerable."

[In my view the many diverse types of evidence which Prof. Feldman cites which when taken one by one is not convincing - when combined together doesn't prove the point either. They are at most suggestive of a hypothesis which still needs more convincing evidence to be accepted as valid.]

8 comments :

  1. With few exceptions, it has been my experience that the Jews for Jesus whom I have met were not halachically Jewish, but the Gentile biological children of Jewish men.

    Many of the missionaries I have met had excellent yeshiva educations paid for by tzeddaka dollars raised by the kiruv organizations who had hoped to convert them.

    Throughout history, some of the worst enemies of the Jewish people have been descended of biological Jewish ancestry.

    Tomas de Torquemada's paternal grandmother was a Jew according to historian Hernandez del Pulgar. There was no man more cruel to the Jewish people during the Inquisition than Torquemada.

    Diego de Raza, the Grand Inquisitor after Torquemada also had paternal Jewish ancestry according to many historians as did King Ferdinand.

    Historians also believe that Hitler's biological paternal grandfather was a Jew named Frankenberger.

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  2. I am sorry, I did not complete the previous post.

    The point that I was trying to make was that Jewish "blood" does not confer upon a person Jewish status unless the mother of the person is a Jew.

    History has shown that Jewish ancestry also does not instill within upon a person any connection or sympathy to the plight of the Jewish people.

    The only connection that any Jew has to the Jewish people is through his soul, there is no such thing as a biological relationship to Judaism or the Jewish people.

    It is for our own protection and safety that we do not proselytize the Gentiles among who we live.

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  3. Are You People for Real?February 3, 2008 at 6:35 PM

    Please do not go off topic.

    My post is in regards to the CHRISTIAN missionaries, who are halachichly Jewish going after mixed married familes.
    Their logic is that the couple can celebrate the Jewish partner's ethnicity/culture and the gentile spouse's theology.
    Obviously, they are biased as they wish to make all of them die-hard born-again/evangelical Christians/messianic Jews.

    So, to all the geniuses posting here who argue against what EJF and the kiruv organizations do to bring back assimilated halachich Jews, please explain to me how you are not throwing these Yidden to the lions by abandoning them to groups like Jews for Jesus, Chosen People Ministries, the Christian Jew Foundation, Ariel Ministries, the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations, the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America and scores of other groups run by halachichly Jewish people who have embraced belief in jesus?

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  4. Are You People for Real? said...

    Please do not go off topic.

    My post is in regards to the CHRISTIAN missionaries, who are halachichly Jewish going after mixed married familes.
    Their logic is that the couple can celebrate the Jewish partner's ethnicity/culture and the gentile spouse's theology.
    Obviously, they are biased as they wish to make all of them die-hard born-again/evangelical Christians/messianic Jews.

    ==========

    Since I am not as smart as you think you are I don't understand your point.


    Are you agreeing that there is no precedent for Jewish missionary activity with the non-Jewish spouse but asserting it now has to be done to save the Jewish spouse from conversion? In other words that there is now and unprecedented change in the nature of society which requires new tactics?

    Are you also asserting in your great wisdom that all efforts have to be made to save all Jews no matter what the damage this does to the Jewish community?

    If you that is what you are saying it is simply absurd and refects ignorance of halacha and Jewish history.

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  5. I believe the original post raises the question of whether it is OK to proselytize and whether we have a tradition of doing this or not.

    Regardless of the answer to those two questions, the Torah seems to detail quite clearly how Hashem views it when a Jewish man goes with a gentile woman:

    In the incident involving Zimri (Bamidbar 25:14) and all of the other men who were cohabiting with the gentile women of that episode, conversion was not offered as an option to solve the problem. Death was the solution.

    I have yet to encounter a traditional Jewish commentary on the Zimri incident that offers conversion of the gentile women as a solution to the problem.

    Is there one?

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  6. "how you are not throwing these Yidden to the lions.... ?

    The Jew who marries outside of his faith has made a deliberate decision to cut HIM/HERSELF off from the Jewish people FOREVER. Such a Jew has very intentionally spit in the face of G-d.

    What is the point of chasing after such a person?

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  7. Are You People For Real?February 4, 2008 at 4:52 PM

    Anonymous 11:39 Writes:

    "The Jew who marries outside of his faith has made a deliberate decision to cut HIM/HERSELF off from the Jewish people FOREVER. Such a Jew has very intentionally spit in the face of G-d.

    What is the point of chasing after such a person?"

    The proof of your ignorance lies in the body of your post.
    90% of intermarried Jews do so out of IGNORANCE.
    They were raised in assimilated families, in assimilated neighborhoods, with the Reform & Conservative instilling within them that Hashem, Torah & Mitzvot belong to a bygone age when people were backwards and unenlightened.

    Unfortunately and extremely sad, you, my friend, are what the non-halachic movements refer to when speaking of the "backwards & unenlightened", as you go through life with blinders on, wishing to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    Jews who have married out did not do so with the idea of spitting in the face of Hashem, nor to rebel against their Jewishness.

    They were taught in public school that being Jewish is the same as being Irish, French, Romanian or Mexican, and that it's racist to in-marry.

    Please wake up before you and those who are as clueless chase even more Yidden in tot the arms of alternative religious movements.

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  8. As someone who had the misfortune of being raised Ultra-Reform, I can state with absolute authority that "are you people for real?"'s statement of the ignorance of the Reform is absolutely false.

    ALL Jews, including those who affiliate as Reform or Conservative, know that intermarriage is forbidden.

    The Reform Rabbi of our community absolutely refused to perform or recognize an intermarriage, and the same went for all of the others in our State at the time (New Jersey mid 1980s).

    When my sister decided to marry a gentile, she understood that Judaism forbade it, knew her parents might reject her as well as a lot of her friends, and made the conscious choice that her selfish desires and American constitutional value system was of greater importance to her than the preservation of her Jewish identity.

    Part of being raised Reform meant that 7 of my 8 cousins intermarried and so did 1 of my 2 sisters. They all knew exactly what they were doing and understood the choice they were making.

    They just don't think it matters in the scheme of things and that if there is a G-d, they will surely be forgiven of their sins.

    Your case is that anyone who would intermarry does so out of ignorance and that therefore it is incumbent upon the religious hierarchy to facilitate a virtual "pardon" by enabling the kashering of the intermarriage via conversion.

    My case is that if the Jew and gentile who are involved in the intermarriage can be made to understand the gravity of what they have done, that the gentile will divorce the Jew because she loves him and cares more about his immortal soul than being "happy" during these few fleeting years we have in the physical world, or that the Jew will initiate the divorce for the same reason.

    A [gentile] friend of mine said it very well: when he heard two Jews talking about accepting an intermarriage because "Bob"s 'happiness' was what was really important, he answered by saying that a shot of Heroin would also make him happy. It doesn't mean it's good for him.

    You seem to believe that the Creator of the Universe can be "forced" or duped into accepting a Torah level violation because of some Rabbinic sleight of hand. If that's the case, why stop at intermarriage? We can advance to Idolatry, Incest, and Homosexuality until we finally find an "Orthodox" Rabbi who lets a man marry his own brother with Chuppah and Kiddishin and you'll tell us that the Rabbi is preventing them both from sinning.

    ReplyDelete

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