Now there arose new rabbis in Israel who knew not the Rav - Part 2

Part 1 of this series can be read here

Tuesday Night Live for Christians

Reports are coming in that Ari Abramowitz’s and Jeremy Gimpel’s Tuesday Night Live in Texas resembled a Baptist church revival with some token Jews in attendance. The crowd was overwhelmingly Christian, with missionary groups and personalities well represented. Jewish Israel is aware that the messianic Christian Crossover TV Productions filmed the event.

Missionary backing

Arutz 7, which had carried banners on their site for the event, was conspicuously absent, but Mike Isley and his organization Texans for Israel were visibly present- right down to the fundraising envelopes. In addition to hosting Ari and Jeremy’s recent speaking appearances, Mike has been funding Tuesday Night Live in Jerusalem at Heichel Shlomo. Isley is affiliated with the messianic missionary organization First Fruits of Zion –where he serves as a leader in their Hayesod program . Recently Mike Isley hosted a Jewish Sermon on the Mount which promoted a new Hebrew-English Gospel Edition of a publication that has been successfully used by notorious missionaries as an evangelical tool to target Jews for conversion. From the period of February 2010 until June 2010 Jewish Israel monitored The Texans for Israel Prayer page. Due to their open affiliation with Mike Isley, we informed Jeremy Gimpel and Ari Abramowitz of the problematic content at a personal meeting in Mid-March 2010 and again in mid-June 2010 via email. We viewed the page in mid- August 2010 and the overtly offensive references had been removed except for, that god would grant to congregations within Israel and the Diaspora boldness and passion for the son of god.

[update: we checked again on August 26th and the reference to "the son of god" has now been removed]

Rabbi Jeremy declares easter bunny unfit but forgets about the lamb

While in the States, Jeremy Gimpel lectured, as a newly ordained rabbi. One of the venues was el shaddai messianic ministries, where Rabbi Gimpel noted that belief in the easter bunny, and an old man with a beard in the sky, are pagan ideas. However, Rabbi Gimpel neglected to declare to his messianic Christian audience that a belief in jesus as lord and savior is equally false. And without mentioning that not-so-little detail, it appears that rabbis teaching Torah to gentiles are actually reinforcing a belief in jesus.


Nailed to the cross and Mincha for Christians

Meanwhile, Ari Abramowitz – also soon-to-be-ordained as a rabbi - put in an appearance on the Fast of Tammuz at Living Waters World Outreach. There you can find Abramowitz’s church lecture listed between “Father forgive them” and “Nailed to the cross”.

Abramowitz also spoke at the Fellowship Church

and lectured at the Bella Torah messianic congregation, an event hosted at the Squicciarini residence , where Ari reportedly led these messianic Christians in Jewish worship. (Excerpt):

“Although I highly enjoyed his presentation later on in the evening, the most meaningful part of his visit would have to be Minchah prayers. After dinner, our entire family + Greg(my sister’s fiance) had the incredible privilege of praying with Ari. He lead us through Minchah – in Hebrew – starting with Ashrei(Praiseworthy are those who dwell in Your house…), then the Shemoneh Esrei (Amidah – 18 Benedictions), Tachanun (PuttingDown the Head – I’d never prayed that section before), and finishingwith Aleinu (It is our duty…).”

A break with, and rape of, Jewish tradition

The interfaith ventures of up and coming rabbis Abramowitz and Gimpel clearly represent a severe break with Jewish Orthodox tradition, but there’s something more. Counter-missionary expert Penina Taylor of Shomrei Emet explains what can happen when Orthodox rabbis speak at messianic congregations:

“When Orthodox Rabbis speak at messianic congregations, they lend a stamp of approval to them. Gentiles in the congregation feel that the Rabbi’s presence indicates that they are on the right track and reinforces their desire to inculcate Jewish practices and forms into their Christian worship. I have heard several Christian pastors exclaim with pride that they have good friends who are Rabbis leaving the impression not only that Rabbis approve of what they are doing, but support it. Contrary to popular belief these relationships do not cause the Christians to have more respect for Judaism, rather they justify the raping of Jewish tradition and cause an infatuation with Jewish “things” but not with Judaism. Jews are still considered lost and going to hell.

Many people erroneously believe that Messianic Judaism is a stepping stone for Jews who have converted to Christianity to come back to Judaism. The theory being that since Messianic Judaism teaches some level of Torah observance, it is bringing the Jewish person one step closer to true Judaism. The truth is that although there certainly are some Jews who have returned to Judaism who first experimented with Messianic Judaism, for the vast majority it is a trap of the worst kind. Much like an inoculation which fools the body into creating defenses against a disease by introducing the disease in an impotent concentration, Messianic Judaism fools the Jewish believer into thinking that he has the true Judaism. The cries of his Jewish soul are quelled with the illusion of Judaism fooling his conscious into believing that he is being true to himself by being a Messianic Jew and therefore has no need to explore traditional Judaism.”

Ask a Rav

Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik z”l is greatly missed but, thank G-d, rabbis like Rav Sholom Gold are here to offer us guidance.

Last February, Jewish Israel noted that Ari Abramowitz interviewed Rabbi Gold on Arutz 7’sA Light Unto the Nations” program. Abramowitz asked Rabbi Gold whether Jews should be teaching gentiles Torah, and seemed rather reluctant to take no for an answer.

With characteristic good humor, and in the face of what can only be described as a friendly interrogation, Rabbi Gold stated, “Ari, I’m sorry you’re not going to get me on your side. I’m beginning to think you guys set me up over there on the street outside the Israel Center.”

Later in the segment Rabbi Gold reiterated, “You’re asking me as a rabbi what I believe we should do…There I have to tell you precisely what I believe. You can accept it - you don’t have to accept it. But I think it’s far, far too dangerous for us to enter into the business of teaching Torah to non-Jews.”

Noting Rabbi Gold’s vast experience and knowledge, Ari Abramowitz responded, “I think me not accepting something you say would be the most crazy proposition…”

But red lines have been crossed and it appears that some of us have entered into the territory of the absurd.

Part 3 of this series will be posted next week.

(Hat Tip to Geula Girl)


The Rav Series

Part 1: Now there arose new rabbis in Israel who knew not the Rav

Part 2: Now there arose new rabbis in Israel who knew not the Rav

Part 3: Fallen apple breaks interfaith fence

Part 4: A Missionary Sham and Shame for the Knesset






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Comment by Sharbano on August 18, 2010 at 8:55pm
I'm wondering if there isn't another issue here. There seems to be quite a few Xtians (aka Ephraimites) who believe they are part of the "lost tribes", primarily because they have an affinity for the nation of Israel. Some seem to believe, merely because of this affinity, it is an indication of being part of the tribes. I think I've heard Ari and/or Jeremy make this point. Since there have been several programs on the Brit Am phenomenon and others with similar positions I'm left to wonder if the reasoning behind such a close relationship is the thought that these are "lost Jews" and thus not being so bold to antagonize those people. I wouldn't think this would be the correct tactic, if such were the case.
Comment by ellen on August 18, 2010 at 5:28pm
I don't know how funds are allocated. But read the above report. The fundraising envelopes reportedly had "Texans for Israel" printed on them. According to the flyers and publicity it was clear that Isley's organization "Texans for Israel" was hosting numerous events for Ari and Jeremy. TheTexans for Israel site does prominently feature the story of Isley's involvement in the birth on TNL. Plus the messianic First Fruits of Zion HaYesdod program has had a large banner advertisement on the Texans for Israel site. Mike Isley as an indivdual is visibly affiliated with a number of messianic endeavors and under the Texans for Israel logo can be read on Facebook endorsing the Trinity Fellowship Church in Amarillo - which supports a whole list of agressive missionary endeavors in Israel - Maoz Israel among them.

So Mike as an individual is very openly affiliated with, publicly endorsing, and engaged in messianic endeavors. He's not the low profile Christian donor. Ari and Jeremy were made aware of this months ago.

I don't believe that everyone has to do a massive investigation of every pro-Israel Gentile who wants to donate. However, evangelicals do tend to evangelize by definition. Which is why Jewish Israel is urging the government and rabbinic leaders to establish legislation and guidelines for this relationship. And it is the responsiblity of each and every Jew to be aware of the situation if they choose to partner with envangelical Christians.
Comment by Penina Tal Ohr (Taylor) on August 18, 2010 at 4:15pm
Ellen, is Mike Isley giving money to TNL as an individual or as a messianic organization? We both know that this is a difficult issue - many Jewish organizations feel that its fine to take donations from individual Christians as long as there are no strings attached to the donation, but would never accept it from an organization which would always result in a negative impact. Just curious.
Comment by Jewish Israel on August 16, 2010 at 7:35pm
Mike Isley who we cited in this post as a benefactor of TNL is a Christian who dresses in a kippa and tzitit when in Israel.
Comment by Penina Tal Ohr (Taylor) on August 16, 2010 at 7:13pm
Batya, They already talk the talk. You've probably never heard my talk, but when I tell my story I share about how as Messianics we not only looked like Orthodox Jews but I went to the mikveh and my husband knew how to make the brachas if he was given an aliyah and he had made up a Hebrew name to use, too. Ari and Jeremy are facilitating this phenomenon and even though they may not think so, they are giving it a Rabbinic stamp of approval, as it were.
Comment by Batya Medad on August 16, 2010 at 6:34pm
Ari and Jeremy have been seduced by fame and fortune.
They are seriously endangering other Jews by training j-believers how to act Jewish. It's bad enough that the j4j's dress in "frum" clothes, with Ari and Jeremy's assistance, they'll talk the talk, too.
Comment by Sharbano on August 15, 2010 at 6:23am
Sound familiar? Is not the slogan of so called "xian zionists", "we worship the God of Avraham, Yitzhak, and Yaakov, just like you".

Very interesting. I've thought similarly. Certainly there are many parallels here. When speaking of their "Hebrew roots" they simply haven't traced their roots far back enough. They also have exemplified the personage of the, "good samaritan". They have also began to call themselves Ephraimites and want to lay claim to the Shomron.

The Cuthim never completely accepted Torah or belief in the "unity of G-d", so they were not considered proper converts. When the Jews returned from Babylon the Cuthim wanted to join them in the rebuilding of the Temple, but the Rabbis rejected them. So it was then, and so it should be today.
Comment by Jewish Israel on August 15, 2010 at 1:17am
That's some commentary! Thanks, Geula Girl!!
Comment by Geula Girl on August 14, 2010 at 11:50pm
This is not a new phenomenon. We learn from Melachim Bet chapter 17 the King of Assyria brought foreigners and settled them in the Shomron. These people were idolators and Hashem sent lions to attack them. When this happened the people told the King that they didn't know the law of the G-d of the land, so he sent a Kohen to teach them. It is interesting to note that the Kohen settled in Bet-El. According to the commentary the Kohen realized he couldn't convince the people to give up their idols so he allowed them to continue serving their idols but as intermediaries not deities. They feared Hashem but they continued to worship their own g-ds in addition to Hashem. We see these foreigners later in Ezra chapter 4 when we come back to the land from Bavel to rebuild the Beit HaMikdash.

Ezra 4:1
The enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the people of the exile were building a Sanctuary for Hashem, God of Israel. They approached Zerubbal and the heads of families and said to them, "Let us build with you, for, like you, we will seek your God; it is to Him that we have been sacrificing since the days of Esar-haddon, king of Assyria, who brought us up here." But Zerubbabel, along with Jeshua and the rest of the family heads of Israel, said to them, "It is not for you together with us to build a Temple for our God; rather we by ourselves will build it, for Hashem, God of Israel, as King Cyrus king of Persia has commanded us."

According to the commentary, these people had adopted a distorted form of the Jewish religion worshiping Hashem along with their gods.

Sound familiar? Is not the slogan of so called "xian zionists", "we worship the God of Avraham, Yitzhak, and Yaakov, just like you".
Comment by Jewish Israel on August 13, 2010 at 5:12pm
Hi Jake,
This is where things get complex. Should instances of Torah observant leaders or rabbis speaking and worshipping in churches be viewed from a strictly halachic perspective, or should this break with Jewish tradition be viewed as unwise from a simple common sense perspective? These appearances give legitimacy to an evangelizing church, empowers those Jews who have abandoned their faith, blurs lines between faiths, and sends mixed messages - all of which endanger Judaism.

Ari and Jeremy have obviously studied in a proper institution and one can always find varying opinions and interpretations of the halacha. So what is the best approach?

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