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.