Hamas War

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Getting Hoodwinked by Christians in the Holy Land

Sometimes best intentions don't quite work out all that well.  Someone I know visiting from the states had a Tallit on her shopping list for a grandson's upcoming Bar Mitzvah.  Like most Jews, she's not an expert in these things.  In all honesty, Tallitot aren't my expertise either. In a city up north, Tiberias, if I got it correct, she stepped into what seemed to be a lovely Judaica store.  Here's the card:

No doubt, some of you like those who keep up with Jewish Israel know the place.

It was only once she got back to her hotel she noticed something unusual and asked around:

Her tour guide, who obviously knows Hebrew, told her that the blessing on it wasn't the right one:

This is a Messianic Christian faux Tallit.

These are "Christians" who refer to themselves as "messianic Jews". They use Jewish rituals and traditions to dress up their belief in Jesus. By feigning Judaism, messianic Christians hope to blur the lines and break down the theological wall between Judaism and Christianity so that there will be one religion under jesus.
It’s important to let your readership know that the fish/menorah/star of David symbol (see attached) is a messianic Christian symbol. The fish symbol, like the cross, is a Christian icon. Many Jews are unaware of this and mistakenly purchase these items in "Judaica" stores - thinking it is a "good eye" or "fertility sign". Wearing or hanging this icon in one's home would be the equivalent to displaying a Christian cross.

Yes, there are many of this sect/religion in Israel and they try to pass as Jews to trick and proselytize Jews.  One must be very careful.  It can be confusing, because they frequently dress like Torah observant Jews. I once even found myself giving a tour to a group of them at Tel Shiloh.  I was totally confused by the Tel's description of "Christian Zionists" and the very Jewish dress of the participants until I realized the truth about them.

Simply put:
Belief in jesus is not Jewish.  We Jews only believe in G-d as a G-d.


Pesky Settler said...

I hope she plans on returning it.

If she's looking for something, the Midrachov in Jerusalem has real Judaica, as does Geula/Meah Shearim of course.

Jennifer in MamaLand said...

Uch - that's awful! Those tallitot, along with shofars, seem to be very popular with Christians here, if homeschool sites are representative. Look at the wording... "who fulfilled the entire Torah in Yashke..." :-(
In Israel, the missionaries can potentially do so much more harm, because at least here their Hebrew is usually pretty awful and they don't usually have the right paraphernalia.
Small nitpick: All Christians are "messianic." I've heard the head of a prominent counter-missionary organization here refer to them as "Hebrew Christians" to eliminate ambiguities. ("Messianic Jew" doesn't quite cover it either, because we actually do affirm our messianic beliefs in Yigdal, "ani maamin" etc. :-))

ellen said...

Thanks for posting this, Batya.

Pesky Settler should be aware that some of the merchants on the Midrachov in Jerusalem have been known to sell "messianic" gift items.

If these items are meant for Christian tourists, then they should be labeled as such, so as not to confuse Jews. But then again the entire "messianic" enterprise is meant to confuse and blur lines between faiths...

Jennifer in Mama Land should consider that there are many messianic Christians living in Israel who speak excellent Hebrew. Missionaries were "planted" in Israel years ago by evangelical churches and they have since had children, gained adherents and have developed thriving congregations.
The messianic community in Israel currently numbers around 20,000 (that's up from 10,000 in 2008) and they have between 120 and 150 congregations in Israel.

Batya said...

Ellen is my expert

Jennifer, the person was on one of those quick tours and may never be back, certainly not to That city.

Pesky not easy.

Anonymous said...

The Shabbos before last a Gentile family (husband, wife and two daughters) were in shul who in the previous year had been interested in conversion, but then suddenly disappeared for a while. They couldn't get over jc. When I left services to prepare kiddush one of the guys told me that the husband had a tallis on that said in Hebrew, "mashiach yeshua" So basically while he had the tallis on he was flying his colors. Needles to say he was not too happy to be told that wearing that in our shul was totally inappropriate. This is not the first time christians came to our shul attempting to look like Jews. They are stealthy and full of chutzpah.

Batya said...

a, apparently there are cristians who recognize that their Jesus was Jewish but don't realize that he himself as a Jew wouldn't approve of what they believe in.

Alan said...

Does someone have a patent on tallit?

If not, then the fault is with the person who bought a non-kosher tallit.

I heard that back in the day, the Jebusites whined up a storm because David ben-Jesse stealthily copied their harp designs with which to pray in his own (foreign) religion.

I don't think Jesus ever even existed. Nontheless, I claim that if JewishIsrael can get away with persecuting Hebrew Notzrim, then they ==won't== stop there. The next target will be the Karaites.

Pagan Canaanites were speaking Hebrew before Avram was even born. So JewishIsrael ain't gonna convince me that ONLY THEY are allowed to write Hebrew on religious items.

> if these items are meant for Christian tourists, then they should be labeled as such, so as not to confuse Jews

The person who can't read Hebrew is buying a prayer item inscribed in Hebrew - and then bee-atches when it says something she IMAGINED it wouldn't say? What's next, that Rami Levy will have to also label all the different fruits in Thai script, so that Thai farmhands won't mistakenly buy an apple because they thought it's an orange?

Why is Batya less angry at a foreign dat-Moshe woman who can't read Hebrew, than at a native-born-citizen IDF soldier who wants his Tallit to carry Jesus's name?

Your husband has pointed out that Isaiah wrote SPECIFICALLY that the "sons of the foreigners" will be your ploughmen and vineyard-tenders.

So what kind of label do you want on these Notzri tallitot, Batya?

It can't just be a written-in-Hebrew label.... Batya has ALREADY FAILED to ensure that dat-Moshe people will be able to read it.

Gosh.... what are gonna do.... hey, how about a big cross that's emplaced so that it shows up front-and-center on the lapel?

Wait!! let's make it yellow so that it can be clearly seen even at night. After all, we gotta know who we're sharing a closing-shabat with when we're all dressed in the same IDF uniform!!

Batya said...

Alan, what's your agenda? I'm getting very suspicious.

Let's see them react to something sacreligious on a cross sold to be hung in a church!

Alan said...

You don't need to be suspicious of my agenda: I have repeatedly stated it frankly: I believe the Established Rabbinate to be a corrupt piece of dreck, and also as "pretenders to the Throne".

As an ethnic Hebrew, I want to see total disEstablishment of dat-Moshe in the Hebrew Motherland. Dat-Moshe has a honored and even a central place in the history of the Hebrew People. That is not a good enough reason to let the Rebbes run kashrut (and marriage, and divorce, & etc) rackets aided by the Police Power of the Melekh.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. There is no piece of paper (not even the Tanakh which didn't even come together as a unitary document until after the start of the construction of Beit Shani) that says that Aaron's descendants are the monkeys who will run the zoo.

G-d selected us a Royal House from a non-Priestly family. Try to get that into your head!

The Priests' assigned task is to wear the clown suits, and keep the masses mesmerized so that the King can collect his taxes and enlarge his harem more easily. Bibi decides which Rav gets which Volvo.... not the other way around.

Look at this from another angle: A generation ago, no Notzrim anywhere, wore tallitot when praying. So which side is moving towards becoming like the other side?

If you were as smooth an operator as David & Shlomo were...., you'd be proselytizing the Notzrim who show up at Shiloh. They are ripe for the picking.

I also don't see anything on paper which says that Rebbinate afficianados have an exclusive right to run tours or any other form of circus at Tel Shiloh. Be careful: one of these days, one of these IDf-veteran filipinit kids is gonna notice the money to be made in running Notzrim around Shiloh. Then you'll get shoved aside by a stronger set of "elbows".

And no: I ==do not== have a dog in this fight.

I'm just the bookie.

>> Let's see them react to something sacreligious on a cross sold to be hung in a church!

you don't get out much, Batya.

Maybe you aren't aware of the furor caused by the "art" piece known as "Piss Christ". Go ahead, google on that phrase. It is not the faith community who are in control of the cultural throttles of the western world. You can't make a movie mocking Mohammed without getting excoriated by the US Secretary of State, but you can display Jesus inside a bottle of actual stale urine; that is "protected freedom of speech". Why were the Rebbes so silent when a Notzri holy symbol were being defiled?