Yishai Fleisher of Arutz 7 radio recently called Jewish Israel to inform us that two Jewish musicians inadvertently played a gig at the missionary Wave Cafe in Jerusalem's Talpiot neighbourhood. Jewish Israel assured the parties involved that we would investigate.
The Wave Cafe located at 4 Yad Harutzim Street, in Talpiot's industrial area, is a popular Jerusalem entertainment spot. The cafe gives no indication on its premises or on its website, wavecafe.net, that it is operated by known missionary Richard ("Ayal") Frieden of JAMM (Jerusalem Artists, Musicians and Media) and JSP and (Jerusalem Street Productions).
"We will raise up a generation of leaders in our kehila that will, by living to their fullest potential, influence their world for Messiah. We will uncompromisingly share the good news of Yeshua the Messiah to our people within the context of our Hebrew cultural Biblical heritage for today's world. (Isa 40:9)"
Wave Jerusalem Church Plant - Wave Church has begun a life-changing congregation in the heart of Jerusalem. We are excited to see God continue to grow this new church plant.
Church Plant or Trojan Horse?
A church plant in Israel would by definition be a Christian congregation which is established in Israel with the purpose of blending among the people and becoming an indigenous part of Israeli culture, so that the Christian gospel can be spread from within society rather than be recognized as an alien intrusion. Jewish Israel thinks "Trojan Horse" may be the better term to describe the various "indigenous messianic congregations" which are proliferating in Israel.
"The people of the land should not perceive the church as a foreign religion but as a part of indigenous society. This does not mean that Christianity will be compromised or that syncretism with non-Christian religious elements will take place. It means that Christian beliefs will be communicated in terms acceptable and meaningful to the culture in which the church is planted."
From "Congregation Planting Movement" by David Garrison:
"…They are indigenous congregations. This means they are generated from within rather than from without. This is not to say that the gospel is able to spring up intuitively within a people group. The gospel always enters a people group from the outside; this is the task of the gospel emissary. However, in a Congregation Planting Movement the momentum quickly becomes indigenous so that the initiative and drive of the movement comes from within the people group rather than from outsiders".
Richard Freiden announced the opening of Wave Jerusalem in June of 2009:
"After three years of patient perseverance and the incredible grace of God we will be dedicating Wave Jerusalem on June 13th, 2009. The first and primary focus is the establishment of a local vibrant Israeli congregation – this will be expressed through the work of a local congregation; Teaching the word of God; Sharing the gospel, making disciples and raising up leaders. This will take perseverance, patience, team and the anointing of the Holy Spirit every step of the way. This vision is all about Yeshua, for Yeshua and because of Yeshua."
One of the unaware Jewish musicians, Yerachmiel , who performed at Wave Cafe, told Jewish Israel that proprietor Richard Freiden had been very nice and accommodating and had assured the two Torah observant performers of the kashrut standards of the premises. Yerachmiel said he would have never imagined that the spot was operated by a Christian missionary. He went on to say that the place was packed with a clientele that included a significant number of Orthodox Jews, and what hurt him the most was to be a victim of this kind of subterfuge.
The other musician, who prefers not to be named, concurred and told Jewish Israel that he would have never booked the engagement had he know that Wave Cafe had missionary affiliations. The musician also stated that he felt "violated" by the experience.
It should be noted that the ad drawing Israeli musicians to the cafe gives no indication that it's a missionary -run establishment.
The kind of shock and anquish the musicians felt is reminiscent of the feelings expressed by Daniel Cohen, an up and coming drummer who was approached several years ago at JAMM's cafe which at the time was located in the Russian Compound. The Jerusalem Post ran an extensive report on Daniel's experience in the article "Jamming for Jesus" (July 2004). Excerpt:
"After two months of hanging out at the coffee bar/youth center, one of Cohen's newfound friends gave him a copy of the New Testament in Hebrew and began to initiate discussions on the subject of Christ. An additional two months passed before Cohen was invited to participate in a youth trip to the Sea of Galilee, where he could join other Jamm youth in a mikveh ceremony.
'He asked me if I knew what Baptism is,' recalls Cohen, who is now 17. 'He said it wasn't a Christian thing, but a Jewish thing for Jews who knew the 'right way.'
'I was shocked,' he continues. 'I was born a Jew and I want to be a Jew and I am not interested in converting away from Judaism. It is horrible when you think you have friends and then you find out that they are actually your enemies'."
Also in 2009 Richard Frieden and his wife Yardena introduced the Muzik Box which sets its sights on youth in Israel:
“Muzik Box”, our new mobile youth media and music outreach vehicle. This is where our 'faith and culture intersect in community'.
We believe that Wave Jerusalem, (the Kehila), together with the cultural events and the Muzik Box offers a great opportunity to reach people in Jerusalem and across other communities. It gives people a place to go, an opportunity to share the gospel, and helps connect people with the purposeful love of God through the local kehila."
Organizations such as Christ's Church list the Freidan's and Muzik box under the category "missionaries and missions we support":
"Richard & Yardena Frieden -- Wave Jerusalem: has a weekly worship service, hosts frequent arts and cultural events, and has a new mobile media ministry to youth at risk."
In addition, the missions center in Holland advertises for evangelical and charismatic (Pentcostal) volunteers to help build a contemporary Messianic congregation in Jerusalem and assist in their coffee house outreach and humanitarian efforts focused on youth.
From the looks of this video, a number of these kids in and around Freiden's Muzik Box outreach van appear to be under 18.
Despite the pathetic lack of missionary legislation in Israel, the following law remains on the books:
"No one can discuss changing religion with a minor (under 18 years of age) without their parent’s permission."
Unfortunately that law is rarely enforced. Jewish Israel notes that there are an increasing number of musical and cultural events organized or frequented by Christian missionaries with the intent of drawing Israeli youth to the messianic scene. Unfortunately, it seems that Israel is too beholden to our good friends, the evangelical community, to risk alienating them and making waves over Wave Café.
Yishai Fleisher read excerpts from our report on his radio show yesterday and also interviewed Yerachmiel.
Yad L'achim and attorney Yoram Sheftel have dealt with JAMM and Richard Frieden in the past. We have contacted them and sent them this report.
UPDATE: Shortly after posting this report, Yad L'Achim contacted Jewish Israel and sent us a link to footage of Richard Frieden standing among throngs of Israeli youth and reporting to METV that "these are the kind of people we want to reach with the gospel of jesus..."
After Jewish Israel published the above report, we received from Frieden this kindly worded “cover-up” email letter, proclaiming his hands are clean, as far as Israel’s anti-missionary laws are concerned. We responded here.