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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Oops! Even Me

Ellen Horowitz blogs here, so you'd think I'd be more careful.

Last week, I got a call from Mina Fenton, a former neighbor from Bayit V'Gan Jerusalem who is now a Jerusalem City Councilwoman. She was concerned that a Jews for Jesus tour was going to Shiloh. I didn't know anything about it. Besides my recruiting women to pray at Tel Shiloh, I don't deal with anything officially connected with the Tel or the yishuv.

On Thursday, I got a call from the Tel Shiloh Office asking me to lead a tour on Sunday, of Christian Zionists. I honestly can't remember the last time I've guided such a group. During the past eleven years I was an English Teacher in Beit El and wasn't available much. During the fifteen or more years prior I had been based in Shiloh, I truly enjoyed working with all sorts of groups, including and especially the Christian Zionist ones. There were many years when the only tourists to Shiloh were Christians, and I appreciated their visits.

Yes, I know, like reading a badly written suspense story, you've already guessed, but please continue reading anyway.

I finally met up with the group a couple of hours later than planned, but they really were pleasant. I was enjoying myself. They were attentive and laughed at my jokes. What could be bad? Being a burnt-out former teacher, I especially appreciate a good audience.

As I wrote, I hadn't met with Christian groups for awhile, only Jewish students and tourists. But there was something confusing. I was sure that I had been told that it was a Christian group, but the leader said that she lived in Adam, a Jewish village just north of Jerusalem, and some of the people were dressed as religious Jews, the women with kerchiefs and the men, bearded and kippot. I was having a good time and wasn't about to start interrogating anybody.

It was only at the very, very end, after I had given the leader my email, phone number, etc that I asked her name. That name sounded very familiar. I didn't say anything, but after they left, I called a friend to check. Yes, I had just led a tour for that group.

What's the problem? Simply and linguistically put, "Jews for Jesus," aka "Messianic Jews," is an oxymoron. A Jew, a loyal Jewish-first Jew, cannot believe in any other G-d or man, and that includes Jesus.

About thirty-six years ago, I accompanied a friend to the Israeli Rabbinate for conversion. I helped translate. I still get chills when I remember how she was asked:
"How many G-d's are there?"
"One," she answered.
"Are you sure?"
"Shma Yisrael Adoshem Elokaynu, Adoshem Echad!
Listen Israel, the One G-d is Our G-d, Our G-d is One!"


That was the most important question they asked her. That concerned faith, what was in her heart and mind combined. That couldn't be learned; you had to believe in it strongly. The rest of the test were just facts. I was so moved by her statement of faith, that I could no longer concentrate and my husband accompanied her the next day to finish the test.

Usually, when I'm at the Tel, I find a place to sit and say my T'hillim, Psalms. Today, I couldn't. I felt the need to refocus, like when my computer's internet goes down for a bit and must search for an active "network."


Please get me right. I don't reject friendship, but I do reject Trojan Horses.

9 comments:

Risa said...

It's so tough because it's a very thin line between friendship and missionizing. Trojan horse is a very apt description.

Batya said...

Thanks, Risa. I'm glad you understand.

ellen said...

Hi Batya,
Thanks for this post, and for your honesty. I did indeed blog about this group on these very pages recently. And I did try and catch you this morning via email. But it was too late.

For what it's worth, the rest of their intinerary looks something like this:
Day 4 - Mon. 11/10 Gush Katif Rebuilding Project, Organic Farm in the Negev
Day 5 - Tues. 11/11 Dead Sea, Masada, Ein Gedi
Day 6 - Wed. 11/12 Prime Minister Conference in Jerusalem
Day 7 - Thur. 11/13 Knesset, World Likud Event
Day 8 - Fri. 11/14 Golan, Druze Villages, Mt. Carmel
Day 9 - Shabbat 11/15 in the Golan/Galilee
Day 10 - Sun. 11/16 Beit Shean, Sea of Galilee, Jordan River, Gala Evening Event for the Inauguration of the
Worldwide Biblical Zionist Organization
Day 11 - Mon. 11/17 Hevron, Machpela, Jerusalem
Day 12 - Tues. 11/18 We return to the States.

Batya said...

Ellen, thanks for your understanding and your extraordinary hard work.

goyisherebbe said...

This is addressed to Ellen: Are these people connected to Jan Willem van der Hoeven's International Christian Zionist Center, with offices in Shaar Binyamin? Their dedication was on Sukkot a couple of years ago with all sorts of people in attendance including Yisrael Medad. He used to be head of the International Christisn Embassy in Jerusalem until he was ousted, apparently for in-your-face sympathies to right-wing Israeli politics.

Ellen said...

Goyisherebbe,
Yes. The Bells have had dealings with
Jan Willem van der Hoeven. Joel Bell has his offices in Shaar Binyamin.

Batya said...

Ellen, thanks for answering goyish. I'm still in shock about the regional council, and I'm working in other directions now.

Ben-Yehudah said...

B"H

Important blogs to follow regarding this issue include:

The Key To Redemption
Esav Exposed
Tomer Devorah

Batya said...

Thanks for the extra input.