Chief Rabbi of Efrat, Shlomo Riskin, recently shared the podium at New York’s West Side Lincoln Square Synagogue with Christian missionary Joel Rosenberg in an interfaith theological exchange sponsored by Ohr Torah Stone’s Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC).
The event was a coup for Rosenberg, a bible prophecy novelist and founder of the Joshua Fund, who identifies himself as “an evangelical Christian from an Orthodox Jewish heritage”. Rosenberg openly and enthusiastically supports the proselytizing of Jews. Rosenberg’s pre-event publicity blog headlines placed special emphasis on the fact that he would be appearing with an Orthodox rabbi in a synagogue. Indeed, while sharing the synagogue podium with Rabbi Riskin and CJCUC’s executive director David Nekrutman, Rosenberg did not miss an opportunity to witness his faith in jesus.
Even more disturbing is the enormous promotional boost Rabbi Riskin has given to major missionary organizations such as Chosen People Ministries (CPM), which closely rivals Jews for Jesus in the race to convert Jewish souls. CPM’s president Mitch Glaser was present at the event and proclaimed the following (excerpt):
“I attended the dialogue and am convinced that it was a significant event! I have been a believer for forty-two years, I come from a traditional Jewish background, and I never thought I would hear a clear testimony for Jesus in a modern Orthodox synagogue (the type of synagogue in which I was raised!)
Joel [Rosenberg – JI] did a wonderful job of explaining the Gospel and was winsome and generous in his approach. Rabbi Riskin is an Orthodox Jew who has a better-than-average understanding of evangelical Christians; he started an organization, based in Israel, which engages Evangelicals, Catholics, Orthodox and others in dialogue. I am sure he understands that believers, like Joel, will not shy away from making the Gospel message clear when dialoguing…”
CPM’s Facebook page reports that Rosenberg “clearly shared the Gospel during the discussion [with Rabbi Riskin and the synagogue attendants- JI] …this is a new day!
Rav Soloveitchik was Right
What Rabbi Riskin’s interfaith discussion clearly demonstrates is that there is a direct and disturbing link between dialoguing with evangelical leaders and empowering the missionary agenda directed at Jews. This validates JewishIsrael’s long-time stance and adherence to Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik’s position opposing interfaith theological dialogue.
Ironically we note that Rabbi Riskin cited Rav Soloveitchik during the discussion with Rosenberg and strongly suggested that among evangelicals Esau no longer hates Yaacov. But it seems that nothing could be farther from the truth given the fact that so many Evangelical “lovers of Israel” remain active and persistent in their pursuit of Jewish souls.
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For more video clips on Rabbi Riskin’s interfaith activities see JewishIsrael’s video library