A few days ago, friend, Eliyahu Berkowitz shared a link for the following article that he authored. This terrific, must-read, piece spells out the battle for how we, non-Jewish supporters of Israel, should be view as compared to how some actually view us. Along with several others of the Administrative Council for B’ney Yosef North America, I have been blessed to spend a fair amount of time with Eliyahu and learn his heart for Israel, for us and for a return to “Temple Judaism” v. “Diaspora Judaism.” May his public redress of Fuchs and public challenge of the Rabbinate be heard and heeded.
The recent op-ed by Donny Fuchs (“Snakes in the Vineyard,” Aug. 7) accuses HaYovel, a non-profit organization that brings Christian volunteers from all over the world to serve Jewish farmers in Israel, of being a missionary organization attempting to convert Jews to Christianity. From personal experience, interviews as the chief reporter for Breaking Israel News and my own research, I feel Fuchs’ article reeks of a form of xenophobia that was appropriate to galut (exile) Judaism, but that now holds Eretz Yisrael Judaism back from its higher, global purpose.
Fuchs writes that accepting non-Jewish volunteers to work in Israel violates halacha (Torah law), but he fails to cite which halacha this violates. If he is referring to the section of halacha dealing with avoda zarah (idol worship), then he is bringing up a very complex issue and an issue about which many rabbinic experts disagree. You can compare Fuchs’ statement, for example, to the simple and blunt assertion that a kosher-eating Jew cannot consume pork. It seems obvious, but this statement is not entirely accurate, as it discounts the sections of halacha dealing with taarovet (when a non-kosher mixture inadvertently occurs) or yavesh b’yavesh (when pieces of kosher and non-kosher foods are mixed). I am not a great rabbi. As such, I rely on the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, a globally accepted halachic authority, who has welcomed HaYovel – and founder Tommy Waller – with open arms. Rabbi Melamed wrote a halachic ruling on the subject in which he states that the litmus test is a love of Israel. The rabbi instructed Jews to welcome Christians who love Israel, and to consider them allies in geula (redemption). Continue reading…