Sunday, May 25, 2014

Spark Ignited, A Book Review

How can I begin this book review.....?

Although I have many friends who are converts to Judaism, Spark Ignited tells stories of conversions of the sort I had never heard before. Spark Ignited, by Michaela Lawson and Ashirah Yosefah, features many warnings and stories about proselytizing Christian groups that mimic Jewish customs in dangerously confusing ways.

A few years ago, I had been asked to lead a tour of Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh for a group of "Christian Zionists." Looking at them, with their men in kippot with tzitziyot, and the women in modest dresses, hair covered with scarves, I found myself very confused, especially when the group leaders mentioned that they lived in a yishuv (Jewish town) not far from me. They dressed as Jews, but I was told that the group was Christian Zionists. It was only at the end when I spoke to the leaders and heard their names, that I understood that I had taken around a rather notorious "messianic" group known for targeting Jews.

Michaela Lawson and Ashirah Yosefah, the writers of Spark Ignited tell their stories and of others explaining how some members of these Christian Hebrew cults/sects are sincerely looking for the True G-d but have a very difficult time weaning themselves from worshiping Jesus. In some cases it takes decades. Being born a Jew, although not in a Torah observant home, I cannot understand how someone can worship a person, especially a dead one. Considering how enormous and powerful the various Christian religions are, it's pretty obvious that my way of thinking is a very tiny minority in the world.

Everything written in Spark Ignited is important for us to know. I think that the book would have been more powerful if it had begun with the personal stories which are in the end. It could just be because I'm a "people person" and relate to these personal tales of conversion more than the series of essays that begin the book.

The people whose stories are included were apparently "red-flagged" by the Rabbinate for their Christian-Hebrew activities. I'm comforted by the fact that the Rabbinate is aware of the dangers of these cults or Christian sects and make efforts to keep them out of conversion programs here. The Ministry of the Interior also have them flagged and try to limit and cease renewing their tourist visas.

The personal stories I read in the book were amazing. The converts had to work so hard to convince the Ministry of the Interior and the Rabbis in the Conversion program that they were sincere in their wanting to be Jews and that they no longer believed in Jesus. And even more amazing is that these converts actually sympathize with the Israeli authorities, because they know very well how dangerous to Judaism these Christians can be.

Enough of my reactions to the book. I suggest that you read it yourself. It can be ordered through Barnes & Noble or Amazon besides its publisher MenorahBooks.


in the vanguard said...

You make a point that needs amplification because it gets lost in the context. And that is, that the LEADERS of these messianic movements are usually gentiles, and usually the entrapped victims are Jews who know so little of their heritage. These poor Jews have a spiritual yearning in their souls but their ignorance blocks them from applying proper criteria.

And if the reform leaders ARE Jewish, then chances are high they married Gentiles, so they have an agenda to promote the destruction of pure Judaism.

I got this information from an article I remember reading from the Previous Rebbe. Since then I've had empirical experience with this by corresponding with Reform "rabbis".

If such "rabbis" have blogs, they make sure to censure many of the comments (that make Jewish sense), or, more likely, they simply have blogs that disallow comments.

Batya said...

van, the danger is based on the fallacy of the joint "judeo-christian heritage" people talk so blythely about.

Anonymous said...

How timely... just now reading this book... and at the last few pages now. It was certainly an eye opener. Seemed to parallel my very life too, in some places.

Totally understand the reasoning the Rabbis and Beit Din, and The Ministry of the Interior must be so careful... infiltration is a destroyer... and the Jewish People must be so careful who "joins" them... are there ulterior motives, or are the reasons justified and proper.

The conversion journey is almost like when You all traveled thru the desert for 40 years... in a very small sense... knowing there is a Reward at the end...

Thank you for all your postings and articles...they are all so timely.