On the night of Yom Haatzmaut, my wife and I passed through Kikar Rabin to celebrate with thousands of our fellow countrymen. As we left the square on our way home, we passed some blue and white clad people handing out glossy, colored pamphlets. My instinctive reaction was to politely wave them off and continue walking. As I passed them, I noticed that these patriotic looking activists were Jews for Jesus. I remembered having seen them on NYC street corners, but I never expected to run into them in the proud and independent Jewish homeland.
A few steps further down the street I stopped. How could I just go on with my own business as if nothing was wrong, leaving these missionaries free to ensnare unwitting young Jews? Now, I’m sure that most of the Jews that took pamphlets subsequently deposited them in the nearest trash bin (or more likely just threw them on the sidewalk) without a second thought, but what about those that didn’t. As a Jew, especially a rabbi, wasn’t I responsible to stop these missionaries, or at least to inform my brothers and sisters what they were really up too? But it’s a free country, right? Well, I figured that I have a right to speak too.
I turned around and headed back to where the missionaries were plying their trade, stood right next to them, and as people walked toward them I let them know that these were christians spreading a warped form of their religion. Hearing the truth, no one took pamphlets. Of course, the Jews for Jesus were really annoyed and yelled at me, but I wasn’t too worried, knowing that the police, and 99% of the people around were on my side.
Unfortunately, it was already after midnight and we had to get home, so, frustrated and sad, I left the missionaries to continue unmolested. I had no one to call to continue the battle, no reinforcements to smash the enemy that so brazenly attacked us in our own home, on the day of our independence.
What would you have done if you had been there? Aren’t we all responsible for our brothers and sisters?