Friday, May 16, 2008

Messianic Jews are accepted as Jews for Law of Return

While the debate of the conversions of Rav Druckman are the center of focus, another bomb was dropped almost unnoticed. The Messianic Jews have won the right of return as Jews. The following are articles written by the Messianics describing their victory - headed by Calev Myers of the Jerusalem Institute of Justice. He is also associated with Southeastern university that is building in Jerusalem. The material cited here was sent by Jersey Girl.
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Headline News Friday, April 25, 2008 Jerusalem Institute for Justice

Israeli Supreme Court rules in favor of Messianic Jews

The following is a press release issued by Jerusalem Institute for Justice co-founder Calev Meyers: In a landmark decision this week, the Supreme Court of Israel ratified a settlement between twelve Messianic Jewish believers and the State of Israel, which states that being a Messianic Jew does not prevent one from receiving citizenship in Israel under the Law of Return or the Law of Citizenship, if one is a descendent of Jews on one's father's side (and thus not Jewish according to halacha). This Supreme Court decision brought an end to a legal battle that has carried on for two and a half years. The applicants were represented by Yuval Grayevsky and Calev Myers from the offices of Yehuda Raveh & Co., and their legal costs were subsidized by the Jerusalem Institute of Justice. All twelve of the applicants were denied citizenship solely based on grounds that they belong to the Messianic Jewish community. Most of them received letters stating that they would not receive citizenship because they "commit missionary activity". One of the applicants was told by a clerk at the Ministry of Interior that because she "committed missionary activity", she is "acting against the interests of the State of Israel and against the Jewish people". These allegations are not only untrue, but they also do not constitute legal grounds to deny one's right to immigrate to Israel. This important victory paves the way for persons who have Jewish ancestry on their father's side to immigrate to Israel freely, whether or not they belong to the Messianic Jewish community. This is yet another battle won in our war to establish equality in Israel for the Messianic Jewish community just like every other legitimate stream of faith within the Jewish world.


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The following was an interview with Calev Myers published in the Florida newspaper The Ledger

Messianic Jew Forms a Bond At Southeastern

LAKELAND | Calev Myers battles discrimination against a religious minority in Israel that most people in the United States don't know exists.

Myers belongs to a group of believers who are Jewish and proud of their heritage, but who consider Jesus the Messiah.

That makes some Jewish people here and abroad uncomfortable, even angry, and in Israel has led to confrontations.

Myers, in the forefront of key legal battles for the rights of Messianic Jews, was commencement speaker Saturday for Southeastern University.

"I was not intending to be the Messianic Jewish Robin Hood ... but God had other plans," he told about 340 students, their families and friends during the ceremony at Church Without Walls in Lakeland.

Those plans, he said, led him into college, then law school, after spending several years working with his hands as a goldsmith and carpenter.

He developed an awareness of social injustice that prompted him to found, and serve as chief counsel of, The Jerusalem Institute of Justice, and has put him before Israel's highest court two times.

Earlier this month, he won a case brought on behalf of 12 Messianic Jews who had been unable to get the citizenship promised Jews born elsewhere who return to Israel to live.

The country's "Law of Return" says people who are born Jewish can come to Israel from any other country and receive citizenship.

Exactly who is a Jew, however, is "at the heart of the debate of the Jewish world," Myers said.

Someone born of a Jewish mother is a Jew, according to the law.

The High Court of Justice said April 16, in a precedent-setting ruling, that being a Messianic Jew can't prevent obtaining Israeli citizenship if the Jewish descent is on the father's side.

Most of the 12 represented in that case had received letters saying they committed "missionary activity," which some government officials said was against the interests of the state and the Jewish people.

In a case 15 years ago, the high court said Messianic Jews had converted and weren't Jewish, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Asked Friday what he means by saying he is a Messianic Jew, the American-born Israeli lawyer said he is "saying that I am biologically from a Jewish background. I identify with the Jewish people. I celebrate the Jewish holidays. I see myself as an integral part of the Jewish culture, but I believe in Jesus as the promised Messiah based on Jewish Scriptures."

Myers, 34, was in Lakeland as document bearer as well as speaker. He brought with him the lease Southeastern President Mark Rutland signed Friday for a building the university will use for study in Jerusalem.

Rutland, introducing Myers, praised his legal work on discrimination cases.

Myers focused more on the need he sees for further action to spread knowledge of Jesus. Southeastern graduates can help Israeli believers in Jesus by educating their congregations, praying for Israel and aligning themselves with Messianic Jewish congregations.

Rutland, responding, told Southeastern students who plan to study in Jerusalem they will join Jerusalem Institute of Justice volunteers who pick up trash in Jerusalem's poorest neighborhoods to build a platform of caring. They also may visit Myers' congregation.

"We are delighted to enter into a new and loving relationship with this congregation," Rutland said.

Messianic Jews are blamed for many things in Israel, Myers said, but "favor is coming on the Jewish believers in Israel today."

He urged Jewish believers from around the world to relocate to Israel, as his family did when he was 18.

"We believe the day is coming, friends, when Jesus once again will reveal himself to Israel, to the Jewish people," he said.


3 comments:

  1. Rabbi Eidensohn, actually this has not been the least bit unnoticed. Not by Rav Druckman or by anyone who lives with and deals with immigrant society in Israel (and that includes giyur). Many of us have been dealing with this for quite a few years now in the only real ways possible: Through a tolerant, welcoming and broad-minded Torah education, and through a warm community welcome by the religious population.

    (No, we don't yell and scream and make a chilul Hashem like Yad le-Achim. Instead we just try to welcome long-lost family members back into our family.)

    What is important is not the Israeli Supreme Court. What really matters is the fact that the missionaries have been working so hard for so many years to create a reality of "Christian Jews". And they have succeeded.

    Now contrast this to the conversion debate. You have a family that suffered Nazism and Communism but nevertheless survived with its Jewish identity intact. They immigrate to Israel as a family of Jews, though some are halakhically Jewish and some are not. In Israel they receive the stigma of being "goyim" from the frum world. Websites even post articles and comments about them being the "erev rav" while the missionaries welcome them with open arms.

    (Think about it: A gentile woman suffers anti-Semitism because of who she married, but remains loyal and accompanies him to a distant land, and wants to join his people because she loves them, or for her children's sale--she is an "erev rav." There are tens of thousands of families just like this. But instead of the erev rav, they remind me more of Ruth...)

    What happens to this family? Not just to the halakhic non-Jews in it, but even to the halakhic Jews? The missionaries appeal to both alike. What is the result to Israeli society and ultimately to Torah of an approach that is utterly indifferent to questions of identity and community and peoplehood within the makeup of a Jew or of a convert?

    What have we done when families who eat matza for a week on Pesach, built a sukkah for sukkot, get married under a chuppah, say kiddush on Shabbat, risk their lives as Jews to fight for their country's survival, but then get their conversions "revoked" by a charedi beit din?

    And the most horrific thing of all is when these values--identity and community and peoplehood--are called by Rabbi Eidensohn "Zionism" in direct opposition to "Halachah." As if "true halakhah" need not or should not deal with the reality of these values in Israeli life today because they are tainted with "Zionism..." Rabbi Eidensohn, isn't "Amech Ami" also a Torah value and a halachic one?

    It's not "Zionism" versus "Halachah" but rather two completely different visions of how the Ribbono Shel Olam wants us to apply halachah in a reality that includes the State of Israel. Please Rabbi Eidensohn, in the future, state this fairly.

    When the missionaries approach this same population, don't be surprised if they have a lot of success. And at least some of that success is in the direct zechus of Rav Elyashiv and the Badatz. Baruch Hashem that Rav Druckman and the RZ rabbonim are trying to do what they can...

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  2. Messianic Jews are the problem that we understand as a threat. But the bigger threat is those that are hidden within our communities who we perceive as our allies.

    When a Christian goes through a "conversion" that is less than the halacha requires, he does not stop being a Christian. The only difference is that now we accept and regard him as a Jew.

    I am admittedly hyper sensitive to issue of Christian missionaries. My parents were chasing missionaries in the 70s and this was a big influence. I see Christian missionaries EVERYWHERE I go in the frum world.

    I will share some of the experiences that we have had with missionaries WITHIN the strictly Orthodox community.

    1. Bais Yaakov - principle of secular studies is a woman who had an Orthodox conversion to marry a Jewish man. She subtly selects girls who are not doing well in school, befriends them and introduces them to Christian theology which coming from a sheital wearing woman, they believe is Judaism. Should any of their parents question some of the ideas these girls are bringing home it is insecurities about their own education that will stop them from questioning. After all, it is coming from Bais Yaakov, it must be Torah.

    This particular principal hired several teachers who were Southern Baptists who were more actively missionizing the girls, giving them gifts of books and feeding them unkosher food that she told them came from kosher places.

    All were eventually fired but not soon enough to do damage.

    Missionaries working in Bais Yaakovs and Mesivtas are not an isolated phenomenon. There have been dozens of cases throughout the US.

    Christians know and believe that for a Jew eating unkosher food will affect his faith. Therefore they will try very hard to be in a position to feed us treif.

    Think about this next time you read about a Gentile restaurant owner being caught with treif chicken.

    While it is true that kosher meat costs more, the difference in cost per serving is negligible. It does not make business sense to risk the reputation of an establishment to save pennies per serving. The cost difference on a $9 plate of Chinese chicken would be about 50 cents per serving. When caught, and they eventually are, it costs thousands of dollars to rekasher, pay for new supervision and the loss of good will. Anyone who can run a successful restaurant will know that there is no cost effectiveness to saving pennies per plate at such a risk. There are ulterior motives.

    I believe that the real goal is to feed Jews treif in order to weaken the Jewish people spiritually en masse. Christians are taught to believe that eating kosher affects Jewish souls. We have all heard the story of the Polish maid on her death bed who was overheard by the Bubbie, a Polish Holocaust survivor telling the priest that she was a good Catholic and fed the Jews treif every day. I cannot count the number of Hispanic maids I have seen feeding Jewish children treif meats they have bought with their own money. Why would a maid earning $5 an hour be willing to feed a child she is caring for meat that costs her an hours wages?

    2. A convert to Judaism becomes a Rabbi from YU and uses his education to become a very powerful missionary. This is the story of Manny Vinas posted earlier on this blog. Successful missionaries such as Manny Vinas are affecting Orthodox Judaism from within by changing the course and make up of the Jewish people.

    3. A woman who converted to Judaism for marriage goes to work in a Jewish agency and is teaching Christianity to the Orthodox women she encounters. Most do not have any idea that what she teaches is not Judaism.

    4. Two women who converted to Judaism seem very enthusiastic and hold shiurim in their homes as Rosh Chodesh parties for frum women. They bring in speakers who look like and introduce themselves as Rabbis, but they are missionaries. And so few would think to question what they hear from a "Rabbi" at a "shiur" that they affect dozens of families in a community.

    5. One of the mikveh ladies is a "convert" for marriage. She has not stopped being a Christian and believing in Jesus. She talks to frum women all day and all night long, in the MIKVEH where they are very vulnerable.

    6. Another "convert" was doing taharas until someone realizes that she is posthumously BAPTIZING every Jew she does a Tahara on.

    7. The son of a woman who converted for marriage becomes a Rabbi. This is viewed as a great success and seems to support the MO Dayyan who was criticized for converting the mother after she had married and had children. That is until the other Rabbeim in the community realize that he is teaching Christianity in the Mesivta where he works and that hundreds of children have been exposed to him for the past several years. He also made sure that his Hispanic friend got a job in the school as a janitor. This janitor passes out coloring books and pamphlets to the children and teaches them Christianity. This is because the "janitor" is not the non English speaking illiterate person the school believes it hired but a well trained multi lingual graduate of a Theological Seminary.

    This "Rabbi" also brings in many "Baalei Teshuva" who are there to missionize Christianity.

    What seems to be lost on so many who would say that "we have to accept them as Jews or they will become Christians and missionize us" is that

    THEY ARE CHRISTIANS!!

    They were recruited and brought to Israel by CHRISTIAN groups so that they WOULD "CONVERT" to Judaism so that CHRISTIANS could BETTER missionize us from within.

    With regard to the Gentile woman who suffers anti Semitism because she married a Jew although she is not Jewish. She does not have my sympathy because one of the reasons she married him might have been because he offered the opportunity to leave impoverished Russia for the relative freedom and wealth of Israel. The hard reality is that the more anti Semitism she suffers the less likely that other goyim will want to marry Jews. And the more likely that she will leave him. I have broken up several potential intermarriages by explaining to the Gentile that "you will suffer Anti Semitism AND the Jewish people will not accept you as a Jew either".

    The fact that in most cases it is so easy to break up a relationship in this way demonstrates what the Syrian community has also found to be true, that is that by accepting intermarriage via conversions, we are actually ENCOURAGING intermarriage because statistically, it is proven that when we ostracize the Jew who marries a Gentile, we discourage other Gentiles from desiring to become involved with Jews.

    Sit down some day and start talking to "kids at risk" and kids who are "off the derech". In my experience, 10 out of 10 of them will tell you that the reason they are no longer interested in practicing Judaism is because of some Christian idea that they have (ie. no one can observe the mitzvot properly so I am going to Gehinom anyway, so I may as well have fun. Or, Hashem does not care about the minutiae of the Oral Law).

    Talk to them about where these non Jewish ideas came from and 10 out of 10 times they will point you to someone who, when you do a background check on them, you will find is not a Jew but a Christian who is living under a Jewish alias, often a "convert".

    This is what I immediately thought upon reading about the discovery of Natan Levi in Lakewood. It meets perfectly the profile of the others we have found in frum communities all over.

    Now that the Rabbis in Lakewood have given their blessing to the wife and her children, they are most likely training the next generation of missionaries who will affect the Jewish community from within.

    The Christian seminaries who train missionaries teach their students that the most effective way to missionize Jews is to convert to Judaism. And the easiest way to convert to Judaism is to marry a Jew.

    Christianity has declared an all out war to destroy the Judaism (and Islam) from within. You would be shocked to learn how many "Manny Vinas" there are out there who are lobbying for changes to Orthodox Judaism and halacha that will make our people more vulnerable to Christian outreach. They have billions of dollars and thousands of lives invested in converting Jews .

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  3. If your Mother is Jewish one is always Jewish. Whether one acts Jewish is another question.

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