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Missionaries Step Up Summer Activity In City

NEW YORK – Summer has come to this city and so have the Christian missionaries whose sole purpose is to proselytize and convert Jews. The missionaries say they’re also Jews – Jews for Jesus.

On street corners throughout Manhattan, members of the messianic cult are distributing brochures to passersby. They are also soliciting money from New Yorkers and residents.

The brochures are illustrated, humorous and deal with Jewish stereotypes. For example, one brochure discusses mothers and how even they are not “free from sin.”

The Jews for Jesus are also paying for full-page advertisements in major newspapers, including The New York Times.

Peggy Tishman, president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, said Jews for Jesus use deception to win converts. “Due to Jews for Jesus’ misleading name,” she said, “many individuals are not aware that the group is in fact a professional missionary organization whose avowed purpose is the conversion of Jews to the tenets of fundamentalist Christianity.”

Dr. Philip Abramowitz, head of the JCRC’s Task Force on Missionaries and Cults, said the Jews for Jesus are also entering suburban and rural communities and attempt to proselytize to Jews “who are not certain of their heritage.”

For example, he said, Jews for Jesus have established what they call a messianic synagogue in Twin Falls, N.J. called Beth Simcha. The synagogue offers free meals after Sabbath services and counseling for congregants with emotional problems.

“They mingle and socialize there,” Abramowitz said. “One person who lost his child to leukemia joined the group.” In addition, the group has a cable television program in which a man wearing a skullcap discusses Jewish issues without mentioning Christian beliefs. (Continued on Page 44)

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