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                                   August 1, 2011/1 Av 5770
                  
Leaving No Jew Behind: We Can and Should
Do Better
 
In the past  I have written about  the significance of Jerusalem Day and have often bemoaned the fact that this day is ignored by wide segments of the Israeli Jewish population.  Today, however, I am  going to focus on an another item that requires our immediate attention—and response.
 
Do you remember Isaac Newton's famous principle in physics: "In nature, every action [force] is followed by an opposite and equal reaction [of force]"?
 
All too often we fail to take the initiative and only do the correct thing in reaction to a situation that has al-ready unfolded. Please examine this article which appeared in the May 19th issue of Hamodia.
 
This article (excluding the pictures which are mine) is a prime example of Jews again reacting to a situation. If you carefully read the above article, it is not too difficult to see that the "remedy" proposed therein is an old one:
 
"Rabbi Lipshitz says that 'We must  learn from our enemies . . . and not
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                     
 
 
 
                                                                              (I have added the photos.--Sy)
give up on any Jew….'  Rabbi Lipshitz added that our response [to the work of the missionaries] must be, "in addition to shock and prayers on behalf of these victimized Jews, intensive lobbying for Knesset legislation that will effectively ban missionary activity in Israel."
 
What Rabbi Lipshitz is saying, in effect, is that if you cannot compete effectively  with another's product, have the government ban the sale of that product in your community. Instead of addressing the core of the problem, Lipshitz wants to slap a band-aid over it.
 
What surprises me is that the "remedy" to the missionaries is to be found in the same Hamodia article.  Take another look at the seventh paragraph:
 
". . . the methods the missionaries employ among various target audiences: for the blind, missionary material is printed in Braille; for the deaf, a group of missionaries has been trained in sign language, and for the brain-damaged, some missionaries have undergone special training to learn how to communicate."
 
The article goes on to say that there " . . .is a daily, determined battle waged by Yad L'Achim against the cults."
 
Well, does Yad L'Achim distribute Hebrew Bibles and prayer books in Braille? Have any of our  "Jewish missionaries" undergone training in sign language to communicate with the unfortunate Jews who are deaf?  Do Yad L'Achim personnel learn how to communicate with brain damaged people?  
 
In short, why do these Jewish anti-missionary groups fail to address the root of the problem: there are many, many of our Jewish brothers and sisters here in Israel who are suffering and NO JEWISH ORGANIZATION has made a determined and sustained effort to reach out to the spiritual as well as physical needs of these people.  The Christian missionaries are simply filling a vacuum. The answer lies not in Knesset legislation but in remembering and practicing three words we recite on Rosh Hashanna and on Yom Kippur:
 
                   "But prayer, repentance, and CHARITY cancel the stern decree."
 
If Yad L'Achim, et. al, know who among us are vulnerable to the siren song of the missionaries, then I suggest that they take a line from the missionaries in whose bible it says: "Feed my sheep."
 
Sy
p.s. The 9th of Av will be upon us this month. I suggest that part of our introspection involve tending to the physical and spiritual needs of those in our population who are most vulnerable, and to paraphrase a line from John F. Kennedy's inaugural adress, "not because the communists missionaries are doing it, not because we seek their votes, BUT BECAUSE IT IS RIGHT!"

 





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