כ״ד לחודש השישי תשע״ה
YNET: Meet the Hasidic-slogan-tagging Jew fighting in Syria
Timothy Paul Jacobs Wordsworth has been fighting with the Kurdish YPG in Syria for the past six months; he tells Ynet what brought him to this point, and about his dream of living in Israel.
Liron Nagler-Cohen, 08.31.15
In a special interview to Ynet, Batn El Ghoul, also known as Timothy Paul Jacobs Wordsworth, tells the story of how a British man ended up tagging the walls of former ISIS positions in Syria with Breslov Hasidic chants.
His story is truly something out a movie: He has spent the last six months fighting alongside the Kurdish YPG (People's Protection Units) against ISIS in Syria. He has tagged every house he has liberated with the Hasidic saying Na Nach Nachman, in order to – as he calls it – "Bring some light into the darkness."
In one of his more popular posts on social media, he posted a picture of a building he and his comrades had liberated, saying: "ISIS turned this school, 50 km from their capital in Raqqa, into a prison. I was part of horrible fighting in the area, my friends and I fended ISIS off when they tried to recapture the prison from the next village."
The post continued, "ISIS left women's clothes and underwear on the floors of the cells, a lot of it, evidence of unholy crimes. I wrote Rabbi Nachman's name here to bring some light in to this black sink hole of torture, rape, murder and savage war. Amen."
But Jacobs-Wordsworth's story did not start in Syria. The 37-year-old is a British citizen, and the grandson of a holocaust survivor who made it out of Dachau after losing his mother in Auschwitz, and his father at Theresienstadt. "My grandfather converted to Christianity, and I grew up as a Christian," he says.
Although his grandfather passed at the age of 96, Jacobs says he "always knew he was from a Jewish family, and heard stories about my holocaust survivor grandfather. My mom is a Zionist, and she taught me to love Israel and hate cruelty. She always told me the due to the suffering incurred by the Jews and my family during the Holocaust, made me feel physically ill."
Jacobs Wordsworth did two central things with the education he received growing up: He joined the British army in order to fight against evil, and travelled to Israel with the goal of live here.
"I wanted to help the people of Bosnia, whom I saw as undergoing another sort of holocaust and genocide," he says. "That’s why I joined the British army in 1996, and served several years in the British forces under NATO in Bosnia and Kosovo."
10 years ago he made his dream a reality and visited Israel, believing he could become an Israeli citizen without too much fuss, however things didn’t work out like he planned: "I asked for Israeli citizenship, but I was deported from Israel in 2005 because my visa had expired," he says. "Because I grew up as a Christian in a Christian family, I couldn’t make aliyah through the law of return, although with god's blessing I will be able to return to Israel this year, because my 10 year entrance ban expires soon."
During his stay in Israel, he was exposed to Breslov Hasidism – and immediately fell in love. "I saw Nachman Hassids dancing in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, but it was an Orthodox friend in London who convinced me to travel with him to Uman. It was during Rosh Hashana in 2012, and since then I have been to Uman three times."
In the meantime he got married, and joined the Kurdish forces battling against ISIS in Syria. "I got to them through a Facebook page called the 'Lions of Rojava,' which helps smuggle international volunteers into Syria, most of whom are former soldiers from the Kurdish forces in northern Iraq," he says.
"I fought in Syria for six months, and I wrote Rabbi Nachman's name in a bunch of places where we beat ISIS," he added. "I have met Jewish soldiers with strong Jewish roots from around the world among us here."
Jacobs-Wordsworth tends to close every sentence with "Am Israel Chai," and Rabbi Nachman from Uman stars in many of his Facebook posts. But he does admit that his beliefs are somewhat complex: "I believe that there were two messiahs, as it is written in the Talmud: The messiah Ben Yossef, and the messiah Ben David. I believe that Ben Yossef was already here, and his name was Jesus. (ימך שמו וזכרו) I believe that the messiah Ben David will come soon.
"I plan on filling a request to make Aliyah again," Jacobs-Wordsworth says, and adds that he has undergone a Reform Judaism conversion in London a few years ago. "I am a member of the North Western Reform Synagogue in London," he said. (cont.)
Esser Agaroth (2¢):
This individual is not a Hassidic Jew.
He is not even a Jew!
Leave it to YNET to make up its own "Judaism" as it goes along. No surprises there.
He mentions that he was unable to qualify for Israeli citizenship, because he was raised a Christian. Good! Now he suggests that he will receive God's blessing (חו״ח) to re-enter the land. Apparently, his "studies" have left out some crucial halakhoth (Torah Laws), as to who is actually allowed to live here.
Did he obtain one of those fake conversions as a backdoor into Israel? Or did he obtain it, in order to circumvent his "ban" from entering Israel, and study Torah at a proper institution? I have no idea. However, obtaining a “Reform conversion” makes him a “Reformist,” not a Jew.
I am not even going to touch upon the issue here of Na Nach... not really being Breslov, let alone a "Hassidic saying."
The report from YNET already had a lot of other crap to fill three blog posts!
He still relates to Yoshke, the Christian theological figure, claiming that he was Mashi’ah ben Yosef. Previously, I had thought even the “Reformists” were above something as idiotic as this. But, apparently, I was wrong.
This guy mentions the Talmud. But, he has apparently not learned that the Babylonian Talmud mentions a couple of “Yoshkes.” My favorite is the one who goes down to Egypt to learn magic. Which one is this individual talking about?
This is just another guy trying to graft Christianity onto Judaism, whether he is conscious of it or not. Even if he ever does go through a real conversion to Judaism, if he holds onto these beliefs, at the very least, he would be considered a kofer (denier of crucial aspects of Torah) anyway, like all Christians and Muslims (Ramba"m, Sefer Mitzvoth 51).
At the very least, he needs to be reported to the Israeli Rabbinate, and investigated, and jump through hoops. But, like my real, Jewish convert friends, who have the merit of living in Israel, I am sure that he will not be.
I have no doubt that all he will have to do is flash that silly piece of paper from his "Reformism," fake rabbis, and he will be embraced a social justice hero, having defended the refugees of ISIS violence.
He may even have the "Law of Return" interpreted in his favor, given the assimilationist, anti-Torah, "religious freedom" oriented Israeli Supreme Court, religious freedom, that is, except for Jews.
His Christian mother is a Zionist, and loves Israel. Like all such Christians, they love us, alright. They want to love us to death, take our souls AND our homeland.
By the way, does the term "Jerusalem Syndrome" mean anything to you?