Last summer I reported an experience describing how One Christian Missionary Can Ruin My Day.
The other day, I encountered more Christian missionaries, but I handled it much differently than the last time.
Last time, I encountered a large group. This time I encountered only two.
Last time, it was in the middle of Shuq, Mahaneh Yehudah, the huge open market in Jerusalem. This time it was on the beach in Yaffo.
How I ended up on the beach in Yaffo in the first place is another blog post for another time.
But, the reason I handled this recent encounter differently was not because the situation was different. I just did not feel that I was very effective last time. So, rather than repeat the same strategy, I decided to try a different approach.
Since my college days, I have been very concerned about the threat posed by Christian missionaries. Back in the 1980's at UCLA, I was glad to have the opportunity to meet Rabbi Ben-Tsion Kravitz, founder of Jews For Judaism, who was actually doing something combating this threat.
I attended a couple of his lectures, and found them fancinating. However, as a college student with a much lower level of maturity than the average 19-year-old, my priorities were set elsewhere, instead of volunteering to help. I was content knowing that someone else was doing something about this threat.
Years later, a high motivation to "deal" with missionaries notwithstanding, I have little experience in doing so. It does not matter how knowledgeable one is of Torah, nor how skilled one is in debate. Over the years, I have learned that approaching missionaries involves much more that the employment of these two, valuable abilities.
So, when I encountered missionaries this time around, seeking a different strategy, I simply contacted someone who had more experience than I.
I got on the phone to 144, Israel's "411" telephone information, and obtained the number for Yad leAchim, which by the way is:
Or call toll-free:
Or call toll-free:
"Re'uven" (not his real name), the man on the phone, was very courteous. I explained that I was witnessing two women walk along the beach handing out literature, and talking to sunbathers, and that I did not know what would be most effective for me to do.
He suggested that I get a piece of their literature, and ask him what they were doing, then call him back.
I walked down to the beach, and did just that, addressing them in English. I said "that looks interesting. May I have one?' They obliged. I asked them if they had a website. They said no, but pointed to the mailing address on the back of the brochure they were handing out.
I thanked them. But even though I was taking a new approach, I still could not help getting in my digs, calmly letting them know that what they are doing is forbidden, and why, and that they "would be contacted."
Silly perhaps, but some habits are just too hard to break.
I got back on the phone with "Re'uven," and provided him with the name and address on the literature. He recognized the name immediately. He said that they were aware of their activities, and that they have not been terribly successful.
I recognized the Hebrew literature as well. This was the same organization, Ohavei Tzion. I encountered in the Shuq in Jerusalem. I told "Re'uven" that I was glad they were aware of this organization's activities, and I wanted to make sure to report them whenever I saw them, as well as to follow any particular strategy Yad LeAchim had.
We thanked each other, and said goodbye. Thanks to Rabbi Kravitz, the seed was planted 20 years ago. I was provided with awareness of the missionary threat, and with hope that there was something that could be done. Thanks to Yad LeAchim, I have a practical and easily accessible resource for how to deal with the threat.
Frustrated as I am with Christian missionaries, and with the Israeli government allowing their activities to continue, I no longer have to let them ruin my day.
Jews For Judaism may be contacted by phone, e-mail, and regular mail. They have branches all over North America, and in South Africa, and will be happy to assist you. View their contact information by clicking here.
Please also see Rabbi Kravitz's recent article, posted on Israel National News, Evangelicals: Knights in Shining Armor or Trojan Horse?. It will help clarify the role and motivation of Christian Zionists.