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Friday, July 07, 2006

More On the Jews for Jesus NYC Campaign

Here's an update from the NY Post on the Jews for Jesus campaign in New York City that I first posted about here. Apparently, the NYC campaign includes plastering huge signs all over the city's subway stations. One Jewish official expresses his anger with the signs:
"If even one member of the Jewish community is enticed by these ads, that would be tragic," said Michael Miller, vice president of the Jewish Community Relations Council.

"I find their message offensive whether it is plastered on advertisements or handed out," he said. "The idea that someone could be a more fulfilled Jew by becoming a Christian is absolutely wrong."
I agree with his outrage over the message that the group is sending - that somehow we are unfulfilled as Jews unless we accept their doctrine. But I can't get worked up over the signs hanging in a subway station. This is America, after all, and the group is an entitled to paper the subway with their ads as other groups who do the same, such as Chabad.

23 Comments:

Blogger YMedad said...

Wasn't it supposed to have been Rav Shach who commented that the closest religious sect to Judaism is indeed Chabad?

(That was a joke that has been going around for ages all you "anonymous" - or is that anonymora?)

Of course, Chabad does target Jews, not Christians and I can't recall any Jewish group out-reaching, i.e., proselytizing, to non-Jews so while you're on firm civil rights ground on the issue of free speech, OM, there still is a difference.

9:29 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I hear, and my point is not at all that Chabad's outreach to Jews can be in any way compared to J4J's. My only point is that there our constitution allows them both to put up their signs under the same principle, whether we find one's mission reprehensible or not.

9:32 AM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

OM - The constitution permits all sorts of offensive, impolite, and generally bad behavior. I don't see why it would be in any way improper to protest such campaigns, the issue is their propriety not their constitutionality.

Unless you mean to say that, constitutionally, the MTA has to accept their ads just like anyone elses?

10:31 AM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

I think the thing that we, as Jews, should be worked up about is the ignorance of our brethern that makes them targets for J4J and other cults.

There is a fantastic book written in the 1960's or 1970's called "Jews for Nothing" that looks into the different cults and practices that have taken many Jews from the ranks. Chances are the book has not been in print for many years. I have a copy I found at a Used Book Store.

Freedom of Speech is a two way speech. The best weapon in the "marketplace of ideas" is to have better ideas.

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Whitewater Siddur said...

The MTA is going for revenue-- [I recently saw the ad on a QM1] The message is irrelevant, it's revenue $$ for transit.

There are differences between Chabad and J4J. Chabad will stop you, ask if you're Jewish, ask if you've put on tefillin or light shabbos candles (depending on gender).
J4J hands out pamphlets, wear t-shirts and have messenger bags. Each are trying to send a message of authenticity...J4J will give flyers to whomever, while Chabad looks for people who are "identifiably" Jewish.

If you're interested, I've already spotted J4J in Kew Gardens at the Union Tpke station, and at 14th St- Union Sq.

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the entire tunnel in the times square station between 8th ave and 7th ave is plastered with the ads. it's offensive. what if the posters said "moslems for rock-worship?"

3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this may be an even bigger threat - what do you reckon

Official: Israel Might Free Palestinian Prisoners if Captive Soldier is Released

4:49 PM  
Blogger Goy Guy said...

what if the posters said "moslems for rock-worship?"

If the ads said something like that there would be riots, fire bombings, windows being smashed, flags being burned, death threats against the rock-worshipers, Americans and of course the Jews. The Iranian president would be banning all rocks in Iran and ordering them dropped on Israel. I mean the illegal Zionist occupiers of Palestine ;-)

6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like you goy guy ... You really "get it". Even when you express opinions that I disagree with, you always come off as respectful and fair. If there were more Goy Guys this world would be a heck of a lot more of a civil place. Sorry for sucking up goy guy - what can I say, you have a fan.

7:25 PM  
Blogger YMedad said...

The book was authored by former Betar member and now Rabbi Dov Fisch.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Ozzie said...

A barbarian would consider fixing the signs so that they had a more suitable message. Yawp.

3:37 PM  
Blogger DAG said...

Without drawing moral equivlance, Chabad's outreach methodology is incredibly similiar to, J 4 J

9:35 PM  
Blogger Goy Guy said...

Anonymous said...

I like you goy guy ...

Well, thanks Mr Anonymous, I appreciate that:-)

11:03 PM  
Blogger Goy Guy said...

I heard a J4J radio ad today and my friend and I thought it was one of those Saturday Night Live spoof things at first. Holy cow, was it wierd. A little Jewish music in the background. This actor doing this old Jewish guy accent thing. It was offensive in so many ways that it was funny. We were rolling on the floor laughing. If thats the best they can do your kids are safe ;-)

12:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael Miller did NOT say one word implying "they don't have a right to say these terrible things". He just commented, forcefully, on WHAT they said. Please read more closely. This is NOT a free speech issue!

(In these contentious times, if you absolutely can't stand what someone says, everybody assumes, instantly, insultingly, that you want their posters torn down, their pamphlets burned and their people arrested or worse. Wait a minute! He just disagrees with them! Yes, very strongly.)

Obviously, these J4J folks just want our money. We are a very profitable congregation.

You don't like the J4J bloodsuckers? Kiss a Chabadnik today! Or, carefully explain your frum ideas to a secular Jew, taking the time to look in his / her eyes and explain what it means to you, and that you are not crazy or medieval. MAYBE even invite him or her to dinner, or even a Shabbat dinner, for the second dinner. After the first non-Shabbat dinner they will have seen your family are not a bunch of ritual-besotted superstitious lunatics. THEN they can graduate to the mood of Shabbat... Oh boy.That could be potent.

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a GREAT thread to contemplate a scandal of our times: the failure of mainstream, non Chassidic, Mitnagdish, Yeshivish Jewish Orthodoxy to reach out to the non-religious Jews or even provide them a passsive pathway into observant Judaism, if they simply decide they are interested.

Barnes and Noble's Judaica section is the pathway in.

The shuls are locked, except when services are scheduled. The churches, by contrast, have live-in clergy, and are open 24-7, with clergy or acolytes or somebody available for any dropper-in.

Judaism doesn't work that way. It can be very clubby.

Most American Jews are not religious. Exactly WHAT did you do in the past thirty days about that?

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The MTA is one thing, but I'll never understand Hadassah Magazine accepting J4J ads (in the 80s).

Those ads always confused me. I could tell they were not quite right, but I had no idea why.

7:44 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

anon 3:11 - I think discussion has been had here before (not that it precludes you raising it again of course). Two basic points.

Point one is that "non-chassidic Mitnagdish, Yeshivish Jewish Orthodoxy" seems to have an awful lot of kiruv yeshivas and kiruv organizations for a group that has "failed to reach out to the non-religious Jews".

Point two is that kiruv is not for everyone, and should generally not be engaged in casually by individuals without consulting proper rabbinic authority as to how to go about it. That being said, it is of course an admirable and positive thing to engage in when done properly, and its not that hard to get yourself involved properly (through organizations such as Partners in Torah for example).

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Goy Guy said...

"The shuls are locked, except when services are scheduled. The churches, by contrast, have live-in clergy, and are open 24-7, with clergy or acolytes or somebody available for any dropper-in."

I'll go out on a limb here, and say that the pastor of my parish would probably like it if folks take that 24/7 thing as just a figure of speach ;-)

11:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, a figure of speech. But: the churches are open, in a way synagogues are not.

That is just the way our tradition works: Judaism was always transmitted by FAMILY. But that doesn't always work now, given the last two hundred years of history.

At least there is Barnes and Nobles, for people who are not ready to make a phone call, just want to put a toe in.

After the toe is in for a while, he/she walks to the nearest shul.

SO: let the rabbis offer their own committed congregants a pamphlet, or a conversation, about how to do outreach properly, and anything to avoid.

They should state from the bima that this is available, if desired: if anybody knows a non-observant Jew(s) whom they wish to communicate with, in the right way.

ARE THEY DOING THIS?? No. It has never occurred to them! We don't think this way!

So let's change that. You frummies, why are you leaving it all to Chabad???

The J4J's are here. YOU have to think! YOU know the target people!

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Hadassah Magazine made a mistake once, it was twenty years ago. Scream at them if they ever do it again, but let it go, if they don't.

11:10 AM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

Anon 11:05 - While I admire your objective in pushing kiruv here, I must note again that you are being quite unfair to the "frummies" out there in accusing them of "never having thought" of doing kiruv. There exist numerous Yeshivas that exist specifically for the purpose of kiruv as well as many organizations devoted to kiruv, including the above mentioned Partners-in-Torah, which sets up frum baalei batim to learn with non-frum people who are interested. So while I'm sure there is room for an increase and improvement in these activities, it is base lible to imply that nothing significant is being done in the yeshiva world.

1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, I stand corrected.

What is a Yeshiva that exists specifically for kiruv? I have been BT for quite some time, so why don't I know this? Please explain.

I still think Orthodox rabbis should mention to their congregations that it is nice to reach out to non-observant acquaintance in a FAMILIAL, not at all an INSTITUTIONAL, way. Just, "come to dinner". No strings!

ONE dinner in a frum house, seeing the warmth, the respectful, decently dressed children, the home-made food, the reverence for something Above one's self - - an earthquake.

An earthquake!

The non-observant visitor will FLY home, will want to discuss the whole thing...

After a little qvetching about the role of women and what's so bad about a cheeseburger... well, they are on their way.

Seeing is believing. Pun intended.

3:46 PM  

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