Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Missionaries in Modiin...

A few readers of the blog have sent the Muqata an interesting issue that has arisen in the city of Modi'in. The city of Modi'in and the Muqata Blog have a love/hate bittersweet relationship. There are pockets of normality in Modi'in and I have many friends in the city -- yet the current issue once again exposes the wacky uber-liberals that seem to rule the place.

For the record, here are some previous posts about Modi'in:

Offensive language in public places
Modiin School prohibits boy from putting on tefillin.
Modiin residents try to keep Chareidim away by charging park entrance fee....(but to be perfectly honest, this is a complex issue)

But lets forget about the past, today we have a whole new story! The following appeared on the Modiin Community Email List [cached links provided by the Muqata]
Hi,

There is a couple named Brig and Michelle Jones that live in the towers on Migdal HaLevanon st. (where I also live) who I believe may be Christian missionaries.

To summarize, Brig is a Christian spiritual leader who has been involved with missionary churches in the U.S. They are here in Israel doing "guerrilla ministry" (according to one of their friends) and are trying to establish a church in Rishon Litzion (a Hebrew website already exists). Brig was involved in an interview titled, "Congregation in Israel-ministry to Jews." They seem eager to form children's groups and friends of theirs have posted pictures online of Brig playing soccer with neighborhood boys in the big park on Migdal HaLevanon (some of whom I know come from religious Jewish families).

It is not clear to me if the parents of these children are up-to-date on the Joneses' background. To be clear, I do not have solid evidence that they are missionaries. But there seem to be enough warning signs to raise a general alert and I welcome a response on the part of the Joneses. I think this issue should be investigated further, as it is my belief that missionary work is illegal in Israel. I am not interested in getting involved in any political back-and-forth with anyone on this list. I just want to alert parents and people in the neighborhood to a potential threat.

Here are some of the things I found:

http://www.rockportbaptist.org/prayerlist.htm
[Cached Link, since original was mysteriously removed/edited]

"Pray for Brig and Michelle as they have returned to serve in Israel and have many decisions to make!"


Apparently the church they were involved with in the U.S. has an active missionary component (see the information at the bottom of the above link. There is an entire section called "Missionaries," which contains the following line:

"Please pray that the Lord will preserve and grow for Vincent and Gift as they undergo persecution for the gospel" - it sounds as if the church is not against sending members to areas where missionary activity is frowned upon).

The following is the account of one of their friends, who visited with "Pastor Jones" here in Israel.

http://bondev.org/pioneerpress/issues/9-September.pdf
[Cached Link, since original was mysteriously removed/edited]

"Brandon Mann serves here at Bonhomme in many ways, including teaching a Spiritual Formation class on Sunday mornings. He also founded and runs a ministry called Ministries@Work—you should ask him about it sometime. But last month, Brandon went to Israel for ten days of service with a dear friend to Bonhomme, Brig Jones. Here are some of Brandon’s reflections on this time of ministry:"

“I spent many days with Pastor Jones experiencing biblically significant sites and doing 'guerilla ministry' including:

Talking to Arabic youths and a restaurant manager in Nazareth about the reality of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension (which is disputed in Islam).

Speaking about Christ’s love to a holocaust survivor’s daughter in Caesarea.

Explaining Jesus’ sacrifice to our Arabic cab driver over lunch in Bethlehem (which is in Palestinian controlled West Bank).

Defending the authority of Jesus the Messiah (i.e. “Yeshua Hameshia” in Hebrew) with orthodox Jews at the Western Wall of the temple in Jerusalem.

Helping lead a Russian Bible study and worship service in Ashkelon (6.5 miles north of the Gaza Strip).

“I also had the great blessing and privilege to teach 'Sabbath School' to about 100 adults at Pastor Jones’ church “Grace and Truth.” Grace and Truth meets in a reception hall down an alley in the town of Rishon LeZion between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem."

Below is the description of an interview posted online:

http://www.khcb.org/interviews/jones_bri.php [Cached here]

Brig Jones
Air Date 1: July 22, 2011
Air Date 2: August 1, 2011
Subject: Congregation in Israel-ministry to Jews
Ministry headquarters are in Arnold, Missouri.
Gaining Christ Ministries
3761 Telegraph Rd.
Arnold, MO 63010

Below is the blog of a family that came to Israel and visited the Joneses.

http://pottebaumsinisrael.blogspot.com/ [Mysteriously Removed...but cached here]

If you look specifically at "day 11" (under "Blog Archive" on the left side, you can choose which day to read about [or click here to see a direct link of the cached backup]), there are pictures of Brig and friends playing with kids in the park in Modi'in.

"Day 4," entitled "The Playground," sounds like potential missionary work (and details possible missionary techniques). [click here to see a direct link of the cached backup]

They have set-up a website in Hebrew (like other Christian missionaries in Israel have done) to promote their church: http://www.graceandtruth.org.il/?lang=heb [cached copy before it gets mysteriously deleted as well]

Here is Brig speaking about his church in Israel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qw_Khsl-RUU [youtube video removed...haven't had the time to "resurrect it" from cache]

Here are publicly-posted pictures of them (and pictures from the towers) for anyone who wants to warn their kids to keep their distance: https://picasaweb.google.com/104094530848615380806/Israel2009#5420740224791162578 [Picasaweb album removed...haven't had the time to "resurrect it" from cache]

I also found this: http://rockportworship.blogspot.com/2009/06/brig-and-michelle.html [Cached here, after being mysteriously deleted]
Modiin, being Modiin, immediately had its share of knee-jerk reactions from the uber-liberals.
That was the post.

Modiin, being Modiin, immediately had its share of knee-jerk reactions from the uber-liberals.

My personal favorite arrived just moments ago:
Btw. I know from personal experience that there are orthodox Jewish movements who are actively working on bringing secular Jews (back) to a religious lifestyle or trying to convince gentiles married to Jews to consider conversion to Judaism, but that wouldn't be considered missionary activity, right?
Because after all, living in the Jewish State, educating people about Judaism should be outlawed (in Modi'in).

Other include:
I would strongly recommend against harassing the missionaries because that can be considered illegal depending on the type of harassment. Also, historically, missionaries have not been very successful in converting Jews in Israel so I wouldn't' worry about it too much.
No one said anything about harassing them, but this commenter wouldn't worry too much because missionaries aren't very successful. Sort of like pedophiles...they aren't always that successful...so why bother letting the community know about them? After all, they are only targeting kids.

The following was also classic:
I was very sad and a bit stunned to read this posting, which reminds me of the pashkvilim (posters) one sees in Mea Shea'rim.

I happen to know this lovely couple and the posting is a gross violation of their privacy and defamation of character.

I would think that those who are so "haredim" about their religion would also be concerned about not falling into lashon hara.
Yes, warning people about missionaries is exactly the same as the pashkevilim in Mea Shearim. The lovely couple's privacy was defamed because someone listed all the links from them on the internet? Then the uber-tzadekkes aims for the "lashon hara" grandslam...

The bottom line is this: There are certain BASIC issues about living in Israel that one expects, and not having Christian missionaries target children is one of them.

Kudos to the remaining sane people in Modiin that stand up for the protection of their children, and my utter disdain to those who in the name of pluralism believe that everything in Modiin should be allowed.

And to Brig and Michelle Jones, please missionize somewhere else...Gaza would be a nice place to start.

Update: And for all the legal geniuses in Modiin who claim it is not illegal to proselytize in Israel -- missionizing to minors is absolutely illegal, and punishable by 6 months in jail:

"לא ידון איש על המרת דת עם קטין (מתחת לגיל 18) ללא הסכמת הוריו." (ראה חוק הכשרות המשפטית והאפוטרופסות,
תשכ"ב-1962: 31א., המרת דתו של קטין ,תיקון: תשכ"ה, תשמ"א, תשנ"ו)

A person shall not discuss conversion with a minor (under 18) without his parents consent.


"המשדל קטין, בפניה ישירה אליו, להמיר דתו, דינו - מאסר ששה חדשים." (חוק העונשין תשל"ז-1987 סעיף 368 ב.)
"העורך טקס המרת דתו של קטין או עושה פעולה אחרת המביאה לידי המרת דתו של קטין, בניגוד להוראות סעיף 13א לחוק הכשרות המשפטית והאפוטרופסות, תשכ"ב-1962, דינו - מאסר ששה חדשים." (368א.)

A person who solicits a minor to convert his religion, the punishment is 6 months in prison. A person who conducts a conversion ceremony for a minor or any other action which could cause a minor to convert, in violation of law 13a, the punishment is 6 months in prison.

Visiting Israel?
Learn to Shoot at
Caliber-3 with top Israeli Anti-Terror Experts!


Follow the Muqata on Twitter.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

26 comments:

Yonatan said...

I live in Modiin and a member of the list. Yes we have our fair share of loony lefties here, but there are more nationalistic and/or religious than it seems. Whenever an issue comes up that requires comment from a religious/nationalistic perspective, we generally get cut off from publication of those post from the moderators. Their view is that they want it to be strictly about Modiin and once it takes any broader dimensions they end the dialog. It does get frustrating at times as nationalistic/religious topics do affect Modiin residents.

crazycatcousin said...

I'm surprised there was no reference to carroling

Pastor James said...

How dare you compare Christian Missionaries, who spread the holy word of our Lord, Jesus Christ, to that of Pedophiles!

Modiin Secular Zionist (but against Missionaries) said...

Pastor James: Perhaps you should read this blog about the rampant sexual abuse of children in Fanda, Senegal by Jesus-loving Christian Missionaries.

Jameel: Thanks for posting this.

I'm not religious at all, but we live in a Jewish State, and even Modiin is entitled to be missionary-free. I'm sorry there are so many freaks on the over-moderated Modiin list.

Lurker said...

Pastor James: How dare you compare Christian Missionaries, who spread the holy word of our Lord, Jesus Christ, to that of Pedophiles!

Good question, Pastor. Here's the answer:

(1) Both of them target children.

(2) Both of them expose children to things that the childrens' parents and communities vehemently oppose.

(3) Both of them engage in subterfuge to hide their targeting of children from the childrens' parents and from the community.

(4) Both of them engage in illegal activity (in Israel, at least).

I hope that answers your question. Any more questions I can help you with?

rrW said...

As a religeous orthodox jew living in Modiin - I have no objection to Christians living in modiin - they make fantastic Shabbat goys. I do object them trying to convert my children ! - I did not make aliya in order that my family would be converted to Christianity.

Pastor James (from Modiin) said...

Lurker: But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed… for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger (Romans 2:5, 8).

rrW: You are living in the Holy Land where Christ walked and preached against the Jews. It is only natural that true believers introduce you to the word of The Lord.

MJ said...

It's Uber liberal to prefer to live in a country with freedom of religion? Do all you can to let your friends know that your aryan looking christian neighbors, Brig and Michelle Jones (clearly very clever pseudonyms) don't live in Modiin because Brig enjoys the humidity, but because they are here to spread love of Jesus.

But if you want to combat missionaries then instead of making their religion illegal, reach out to the disaffected Russians who they are targeting.

yoni r. said...

A small point, but from a legal point of view, if missionary activities are against the law, I fail to see how kiruv activities can fall on the legal side of things. The law would have to be worded very carefully and deliberately (maybe it is, I haven't seen it) in order to keep kiruv legal while still precluding other types of missionary activities.

I'm not saying that kiruv is the same, especially in Israel, but the "kiruv-should-be-OK-in-a-Jewish-state" argument, while appealing from a sentimental point of view, falls short of any standards based on legal rigor. (That's not to say that there's no legal argument in favor of kiruv, or that your argument would not have its place when drafting such a law, but it does not seem to be appropriate in the specific context you presented.)

MJ said...

By the way, from listening to lots of evangelical christian radio back when I lived in the midwest for entertainment, I have learned that if there is one thing evangelicals thrive on its the idea that they are being persecuted. Harass a missionary or make his vocation illegal and hallelujah! he feels just about as giddy as Jesus felt on the cross (minus the whole "oh lord, why hast thou forsaken me?" part)

The contributions will start pouring in and before you know it Beit Yeshu of greater Modiin will be holding Saturday morning services complete with a kiddush of yerushalmi kugel and qvutzat yabne pickles.

Proud Zionist said...

Pastor James wrote, "You are living in the Holy Land where Christ walked and preached against the Jews. It is only natural that true believers introduce you to the word of The Lord."

Yes, and for thousands of years, we Jews have resisted your "word," often "causing" you "peaceful Christians" to massacre us at the point of a sword (which was totally moral, as long as we accepted Jesus shortly before death). As G-d predicted in the Torah, we have returned to our Holy Land. And we are staying!

עם ישראל חי

Proud Zionist said...

Pastor James,

Brig Jones' friend bragged that he and Brig tried to "speak the word" to the daughter of a Holocaust survivor. That must make you proud, huh, finishing the work that Hitler started (vanishing the Jews)?

MJ, if the choice is between inflaming their persecution complex and giving them unfettered access to our kiddies, I'll take persecution complex for 200 please, Alex.

Jameel, another great post on some of the ridiculousness that occurs on the Modi'in list. I particularly like the post that referenced a "witch hunt." Good stuff. Apparently being a missionary targeting kids is totally fine, but exposing someone who is doing that is immoral.

Anonymous said...

Ladies and germs,
methinks Pastor James here is an antimissionary trying to rile everyone up

westbankmama said...

Love your last line, Jameel. Gaza sounds like the perfect place for this couple.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

People -- forget Pastor James. It is patently illegal to proselytize to MINORS in Israel.

Update: And for all the legal geniuses in Modiin who claim it is not illegal to proselytize in Israel -- missionizing to minors is absolutely illegal, and punishable by 6 months in jail:

"לא ידון איש על המרת דת עם קטין (מתחת לגיל 18) ללא הסכמת הוריו." (ראה חוק הכשרות המשפטית והאפוטרופסות,
תשכ"ב-1962: 31א., המרת דתו של קטין ,תיקון: תשכ"ה, תשמ"א, תשנ"ו)

A person shall not discuss conversion with a minor (under 18) without his parents consent.

"המשדל קטין, בפניה ישירה אליו, להמיר דתו, דינו - מאסר ששה חדשים." (חוק העונשין תשל"ז-1987 סעיף 368 ב.)
"העורך טקס המרת דתו של קטין או עושה פעולה אחרת המביאה לידי המרת דתו של קטין, בניגוד להוראות סעיף 13א לחוק הכשרות המשפטית והאפוטרופסות, תשכ"ב-1962, דינו - מאסר ששה חדשים." (368א.)

A person who solicits a minor to convert his religion, the punishment is 6 months in prison. A person who conducts a conversion ceremony for a minor or any other action which could cause a minor to convert, in violation of law 13a, the punishment is 6 months in prison.

MJ said...

That's not enough legal cover to ban a Christian from talking about Jesus as long as he leaves conversion out of it (and Christians preaching to Jews in Israel encourage them to "stay Jewish" but accept Jesus), and certainly not enough to prevent him from playing soccer. But good try.

Also the last clause says that punishment will only be meted out for actions that do contribute to the conversion of minor, not that "can" contribute to the conversion of a minor.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

MK: The ambiguity allows for prosecution, even if a minor doesn't convert.

And how do you know what took place during the soccer game? What sort of Christian banter might have taken place?

yoni r. said...

It's well known that Jesus was an avid soccer player (just as we know that YAakov Avinu wore a black hat). That's probably what he discussed with the boys during the game.

MJ said...

What ambiguity? I'll ask my lawyer friend from the Justice ministry what she thinks.

Proud Zionist said...

MJ,

Presumably Brig and Michelle are here on a visa and need the good will of the Israeli govt. (and to prove they aren't skirting laws) if they wish to stay...

MJ said...

PZ,

Perhaps you haven't noticed that the Israeli government's apparent best friends back in the States are evangelicals. There is a strong disincentive for Israel to antagonize them by kicking those who preach the gospel out of the country.

AtTheBackoftheHill said...

Hmmm, waving a Jew in front of a missionary is rather like waving a pork chop at a lion, as I'm sure you-all realize by now. Converting a Jew gets you many more missionary miles and lucky stars on your report card than just convincing some cannibal to stop eating children.

Of course, throwing both Rashi and the Doctrinal Hypothesis at missionaries here in San Francisco is good for sheer hours of meanspirited entertainment - my downstairsikeh is, once again, convinced that I am going to hell. It will probably be another four or five years before she tries again.

Totally rude riddle: How do we know little baby jesus is sweet? Because we put him in the blender, that's how.

Sorry. No offense to any lurking vegetarians intended. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

With all the "wacky uber-liberals" in Modiin, how is it that Mor High School in Reut was ranked #1 as the high school that produced the highest number of IDF officers for 2010. Data shows that 97 Mor graduates finished the officer's course last year. The city of Modiin-Maccabim-Reut also has the highest number of Israel Defense Forces recruits, both among men and women, according to the IDF. Bnei Brak is last. Joe, you really need to get away from the Muqata for a Shabbat and rediscover Modiin. Bring a toothbrush. You'll need it to get that bad taste out of your mouth.

JoeSettler said...

What does this have to do with me?

Proud Zionist said...

Anonymous,

Maybe because these are mostly the kids of the native Israelis who populated the city in the early days. Most of the uber-liberals Jameel is mocking are newer American immigrants who have younger kids...

Anonymous said...

http://www.rockportbaptist.org/notes/062611am.pdf
Let's see if they try to pull this one next....

Search the Muqata

Loading...

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails