The Problem
"We came [to Israel] to be Jews.... The missionary activities have crossed the red lines and could incite the community and cause bloodshed. ...The missionaries persecuted us in Ethiopia, and [we must] not permit them to persecute us in the Holy Land." -- members of the Ethiopian Jewish community in Israel
"Despite the fact that opposition to Christianity is absolute in the Ethiopian community, there is great poverty, indigence and disrespect for elders in the community, and so the Ethiopians are easy prey for the missionaries." -- Rehovot Chief Rabbi Simcha HaCohen Kook
"This aliyah [of Christian Ethiopians] is causing irreversible damage to the State of Israel.... These people aren't
You forgot we live in Chelm?
Jewish. It is tearing apart the Ethiopian and Israeli community. " -- a leader of the Ethiopian Jewish community in Israel
"Ethiopian Jews resisted Christian efforts for 1,500 years - not so that they should come to Israel to be assaulted again. I would have thought that an independent State of Israel would have the self-respect and courage to ban and banish missionary activity - but unfortunately it is not so." -- Rabbi Dr. Sholom Gold, founder and dean of the Avrom Silver College and Center for Jewish Unity in Jerusalem
"...despicable behavior..." "...a travesty of Jewish ethics and historical experience..." "...this heinous act" is a "violation of basic Jewish principles and values." -- the reaction of the American Jewish community to the collection and incineration of missionary material which was disseminated to Ethiopian Jews in Israel last week
Now make no mistake, these voices of American Jewry are not speaking up on behalf of their poor Ethiopian Jewish brethren who are being accosted by missionaries. You forgot we live in Chelm?
What you hear is the remnant of our people - left in comfortable exile - empathizing with "the persecuted church" because some Israeli Jew had the good sense to collect the offensive material and destroy it (albeit, publicly burning it may have been a poor judgment call). But this rousing, unified Diaspora defense of the cross basically translates into an endorsement of Evangelical/Messianic/Jews-for-Jesus missionaries.
Under these surreal circumstances - and knowing full well that American Jewish leaders would rather hide behind a cross than seriously grapple with the gut-wrenching, burning Jewish issues of our time - I have decided to issue the following:
Guidelines for the Perplexed
The Proper Disposal of Hazardous Missionary Materials:
a) In general, when we Jews are confronted with soul-snatchers pushing their wares, we should firmly but tactfully make it clear that we don't need to be saved.
(Note: There is the exceptional Jew who may feel obligated to take the material in order to prevent another Jew from being accosted with it.)
b) If one finds oneself in possession of noxious, idolatrous books and pamphlets, then it's best to dispose of it in such a way that no other Jew will ever be exposed to it.
(Note: I imagine tearing , shredding or burning would do the trick. Use your imagination - the stuff is yours to trash, but just be discreet about it - and stay clear of the press.)
(Note 2: It's very important to note that the above applies to the disposal of missionary materials, and not to the disposal of missionaries.)
c) Regardless of how provoked or offended you may be, take a deep breath, count to ten, and report the soul
Remember, above all, keep a sense of humor.
snatchers to the police, municipal officials, or to the counter-missionary organization of your choice (you can try the Knesset, but at this rate a Christian may answer the phone).
You might want to warn your neighbors, too. If you feel particularly violated - and if by some bizarre stroke of luck you've got money to spare - call your lawyer (but not Calev Myers, because the Jerusalem Institute of Justice has a very "discriminating" clientele).
I hope you find above guidelines helpful.
Remember, above all, keep a sense of humor, because the day of the pseudo-Jew will pass. It's in "G-d's plan"... and in Talmud Yerushalmi:
"Rabbi Acha says in the name of Rabbi Huna: In the End of Days, the evil Esau will don his tallis and go sit among the righteous in Gan Eden, and G-d will drag him out of there."
In the spirit of Tevya and for the sake of Jewish unity, I would like to close with a joint Diaspora-Israeli prayer. The first half is American and the second part, Israeli:
May God bless and keep the Evangelical missionary... far away from us!