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.
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
“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’s “A 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