Missionaries trying to convert IDF soldiers
Missionaries trying to convert IDF soldiersYad L'achim
I have always been a Kiruv (Jewish outreach) worker and very conscious of the reasons why it is so important to help the Baal Teshuva movement grow. Part of this is watching out for the dangers that face the Jewish people in the age of assimilation in modern times.

There are so many dangers and threats that confront the Jewish people on so many fronts both in and out of Israel: The Arab-Israeli conflict, antisemitism, ignorance of Judaism, assimilation and intermarriage, and perhaps the most heart-wrenching of all what is termed Shmad in Hebrew, apostasy in English.

Outside of Israel many Jews have succumbed to becoming Christians after marrying a Christian, a slow form of national suicide if you will. But probably one of the worst dangers facing Jews, with the growth of the Internet and its "sub-branches" the smartphone, the personal computer, the laptop, the tablet, is the ability of Christian missionary movements to reach assimilated and Jewishly ignorant Jews and even disaffected religious Jews in a way that was not possible in previous generations.

I recall various forms of missionizing that used to take place, and still do, the knock on the door and "home visits", unsolicited mailings of pamphlets, books and and videos, "cute" flyers handed out on street corners, but now we have the most powerful effort of them all, using technology and the digital age to hook unsuspecting Jews into the missionary lures.

In Israel they have gone many steps further by setting up a Hebrew-speaking missionary college in Netanya that provides a full "academic" program providing the knowledge, the how tos and the ins and outs of missionizing to Israelis in their own language. They have set up a sophisticated media center designed to reach ordinary Israelis caught up on their cell phones and computers. And, tragically, they are succeeding.

Their reach is extended by the use of of social media such as Facebook and others, where they can buy infomercials with the vast sums of money they receive, some reports put it at the hundreds of millions of dollars from Evangelical Christian groups in America hell-bent on converting the Israeli Jews to Christianity no matter what it takes.

They are very creative and over the last number of decades have created "Hebrew-Christian" groups such as "Jews for Jesus" and "Messianic Judaism" that preach that you "can have it all" and in fact that to be a "good Jew" you must actually become a believer in Jesus whom they have re-christened "Yeshua" and not "Yeshu" since they know that "Yeshu" has negative connotations among Jews, while "Yeshua" is a "better" name to these groups.

I have had online debates with so-called Messianic Jews and their Evangelical godfathers a few times over the years, and I never fail to point out that Judaism and Christianity are actually opposite and opposing religions in spite of the attempts to "prove" the "messiahship" of "Yeshu/Yeshua", that you can't have it both since Judaism as a religion REJECTS Jesus as the Messiah, something that was always well known to the Jewish masses and still is in many respects.

If anything, Judaism regards Jesus as a false messiah and certainly not a "son of God"! This is the very gap that the Messianic missionaries try to bridge with false beliefs that "Jesus was Jewish" to which I tell them "so what?" And then I go on to tell them that the historical Jesus, if he existed at all, was a very bad Jew. This I know from the Talmud, which they hate, that tells us in no uncertain terms that a certain 'Yeshu" was one of the worst people who ever lived and that he is stuck in hell forever.

These things need to become clear to all Jews regardless of their level of observance or non-observance. To have warm and fuzzy feelings for Christian Messianic Evangelical groups, colleges, individuals, preachers and their online programs just because they are "Zionist" or "Jewish" or can spout chapters of the Bible, is a mortal danger to the present and future of the Jewish people, no less than the rockets and terrorists of Hamas and Hezbollah.

It is aimed at piercing and destroying the heart and mind, the body and soul, of the Jewish people and trying to cut the unbreakable bond between the Jewish people and their God, the Holy One Blessed Be He, Our Father In Heaven may He have mercy on His holy people and redeem them from all that afflicts them speedily in our times.

Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin is president and founder of the Jewish Professionals Institute. An alumnus of Yeshiva Chaim Berlin and Teachers College, Columbia University, he has dedicated his life to Jewish outreach and education, served for 7 years as full-time director of Sinai Heritage Centers in Manhattan and 3 as an AJOP trustee, .among many oher endeavors.