This forum is for JI members to share their personal stories about how they become interested in counter-missionary work.

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I grew up in England (UK) at the edge of a suburb of London which had a relatively large (and today has an even bigger) Jewish community. Although there was (and still is) a modern orthodox Jewish primary school at the other end of the neighborhood, it was not the "in" thing for parents who are like my parent's level of observance to send their children to such a school. Not only that, but it would have been difficult for me to reach there as it was almost a half hour walk from where we lived including crossing a main through road. We also belonged to the shul of the adjoining neighborhood, which was closer. Thus my pre-barmitzva Jewish education was at that shul "cheder" on Sunday morning for a few hours and then twice a week for an hour or two (can't remember exactly how long) after school.

We knew we were different from our Xtrian neighbours because they believe in "J" and we do not.

It was the policy of the primary school that I was at to make the Jewish children go to the "general" assembly of the school. I remember the head-mistress of the school announcing that "the Jewish children do not have to sing the word 'J____' " when we sing their hymns. Although, no way I can remember the lyrics (apart from that england's pasture lands was Jerusalem - lo alainu), I realize that basically we were been brainwashed to think that there is not really much difference between Xtrian religious thought and Jewish religious thought except that they believe in "J" and we do not. With this viewpoint our "Saturday" should not be too much different from their Sunday.

There were other ways the school try to blur this difference, for example making us go to the religious instruction lessons and hear the "good samaritan" story et al. I am sure that there are Jews out there today, who know very little of their tradition, and want to accept this blurriness to day.

It is these memories from the mid 60s that make me cringe so much time later, when I hear stories now that may be very different, but where the perpetrators have a similar purpose.

To finish off, I wish to share a sweet story from the classroom:-
I remember a girl - C.H. was her initials - if she recognizes my name and this story and also is reading this then she is welcome to come forward to me personally. She had a debate with a Non-Jewish classmate "Did J____ exist?" It went something like "Yes!", "No!", "Existed!", "Didn't exist!"

I hope that this girl was able to raise her Jewish education (like I was able to a certain extent).

As aside to that story, I think that most of our sources say he did exist as a person but either in the minimum scenario fell off completely the Rabbinic track and in the maximum scenario did a few good things but did not do what was necessary that we were able to declare him as Mashiach.

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