Last Friday, Jewish Israel
received an email response from Shani Sorko Ram Ferguson of yeshuaisrael.com
in reaction to our posting, “The Anti-Semitic "Messianic" Apple doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree”
. In that posting we link to an excerpt of one of Shani’s video blog
postings which smears Orthodox Jewry.
Shani is the daughter of Tel Aviv missionaries Ari and Shira Sorko Ram of Maoz Israel
, and the granddaughter of the late Pentecostal evangelist leader, Gordon Lindsay of Christ for the Nations.
You can read what Shani wrote to us, followed by Jewish Israel’s response.
From: Info [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, July 24, 2009 11:20 AM
Subject: Recent Article
I'm writing in regards to your recent article that was brought to my attention.
While I obviously wouldn't agree with your conclusions, in the interest of being an honest blogger, I would be glad to listen to your civil input as to what specifically was incorrect with my statements about the Orthodox community.
My video blogs are a collection of news articles that I read, watch and listen to on mainstream media. I then summarize and simplify the concept in order to get a point across in the few minutes of my clip. Seeing that the religious community is often hard to
communicate with, it is difficult to get their take on things.
Though I realize that it would be tough to reconcile our world views, I have hold no hatred towards the religious Jewish community nor do I desire to misrepresent any community, and would be happy to correct anything specific information you could bring to my attention.
Jewish Israel Responds:
From: JewishIsrael [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Sunday, July 26, 2009 8:25 PM
Subject: RE: Recent Article
has no intentions of engaging missionaries in dialogue or debate. But please accept our sincere, frank and “civil” response to your email.
We take issue with your claim that the intention of your video blogs are to “summarize and simplify” news reports. The site which you are blogging from, and which you represent, is hardly a generic news outlet. In this particular case, we feel you are oversimplifying and stereotyping in order to further your missionary agenda and discredit those who are Torah observant Jews.
We understand that you’ve been in this country for quite a while. We find it very hard to believe that you have not seen Orthodox Jews, from every sector of society (with a full range of head coverings and varying levels of Torah observance), contributing to this country everywhere and in every way in the public, private, and social sectors. That you justify your prejudice by claiming that you’re simply summarizing what you “read, watch and listen to on mainstream media”, is indicative of your unwillingness and inability to discern, and to truly understand Israeli society and to respect the Jewish people.
But as an evangelizing Christian, you will never get to know and understand the Jewish community to your satisfaction. And adopting and adapting Jewish rituals, symbols, and the Hebrew language will not give you access to Jewish hearts and souls. The Jewish people have the right and obligation to retain, protect and preserve their uniqueness. Every Jew retains the privilege to cherish and develop an intimate relationship with G-d within the bounds of Torah - without outside forces infringing on, influencing, and disturbing that relationship. And that should be okay, as respect for privacy, for boundaries, and for differences, should potentially form the foundations of healthy relationships between all faith communities and all peoples.
Contrary to your report, Orthodox (Torah observant) Jews do consider Christians of all denominations to be human. But you obviously find it disturbing that Orthodox Jews – like the rest of mankind- are human. That the Jewish community and Israeli society –both secular and religious – has its flaws, is no secret. But it’s simply wrong and malicious for you, as a member of a very imperfect evangelical community, to flaunt and magnify very human shortcomings that you perceive among certain members of the Jewish community in order to further your agenda of distorting, corrupting and destroying the Jewish faith. That, Shani, is called Anti-Semitism.
For you and other members of the evangelical community to accuse the Orthodox Jewish community of attempted murder in an unresolved criminal investigation is unjust. There has been a court-ordered gag placed on the Ortiz case, and up until now the only party claiming responsibility for the incident has been a well-known Arab terrorist group. To take advantage of a media black-out in order to throw accusations at the Jewish community and present the evangelizing Christian community as being victimized is nothing short of a blood libel.
For what it’s worth, save for one secular staff member, the rest of the staff of Jewish Israel
are Orthodox Jews from varying backgrounds. We and the members of our families work full time, pay taxes, serve in the army, donate blood, contribute generously to charitable causes, and take an active and productive part in Israeli society – and we even manage to get our Torah study in, too.
And truth be told, none of the Orthodox Jewish Israel
staff voted for exclusive religious parties, nor did we vote for the same parties. Politically, Israel is divided into a number of factions and special interest groups. But all civilized nations regularly grapple with partisan politics, divisions and corruption. Political systems and the people who create them are imperfect.
You mentioned in your email that you do not “desire to misrepresent any community” and that you would be happy to correct any misinformation we could bring to your attention.
Well, Jewish Israel
has brought your gross misrepresentation of the Torah observant (Orthodox) community and the misinformation you disseminated, via video blog, to your attention. Let’s see if you have it in you to make the appropriate and sincere corrections.
In closing, we would like you to understand that although most of the staff of Jewish Israel
are Torah observant Jews, the members of the Jewish Israel online community categorize themselves as Jewish, Bnai Noah, and Christian. Our Christian members all honor and respect differences between faiths, and the right of the Jewish community to remain a separate faith community. As such, these Christians disavow proselytizing.
Among our Jewish members are those who identify themselves as national religious, hareidi, hassidic, modern orthodox, conservative, reform, and secular. With all of the innumerable differences between us, we do enjoy one outstanding common denominator that unites all of us Jews. None of believe in Jesus as lord and savior. We all deem a belief in Jesus to be beyond the pale of Judaism, as such a belief would be a direct affront to our G-d and to our Torah, and would constitute and abandonment of our faith. And we all believe in our right and obligation as Jews to protect and defend our spiritual borders, our Torah, and our G-d.
The Jewish Israel