This tallis with its missionary message embedded in what is meant to look like a blessing
Don't tell the truth, this missionary guide advises
It appeared to a regular tallis being offered for sale to a group of tourists passing by a booth on Ben Yehudah Street in the heart of Jerusalem. What could be more innocent?
But when one of the tourists opened the tallis bag, he was shocked to discover a startling message on its collar. What began as the standard blessing one recites when putting on the tallis concluded with words paying homage to G-d "who filled the entire Torah with Yeshu the messiah and covered us all in his righteousness."
The tourist quickly contacted the Jerusalem branch of Yad L'Achim and handed in the tallis. "We are turning to you in the hope that you will alert the broader public," he said. "We witnessed innocent Jews getting pulled over to this booth and being given the tallis to take home, with absolutely no awareness that a quintessentially Jewish item had been turned into a missionary product."
In a related development, Yad L'Achim this week uncovered an internal memo distributed among missionaries offering tips on how to avoid slips of tongues that give them away in their interactions with Jews.
Written in English, the memo suggests six substitute terms for missionary expressions that, experience shows, reveals their real intentions and leads to their being rejected by Jews.
"Instead of speaking of 'the new testament' speak of 'the second part of the Bible' or 'the new covenant.' Instead of inviting Jews to 'come to church,' invite them to 'come to a meeting of Bible-believers.' "
Yad L'Achim released a statement this week saying it wasn't surprised by the "contemptible tactics used by the missionaries, using a tallis to convey a missionary message and sharing secrets of what terms to use to hide their real intentions in interacting with Jews. We will continue to stand on our guard and to use all legitimate means at our disposal to enlighten the public and caution them against the spiritual minefields the missionaries are laying for them.
"In these days of Chanukah we hope and pray that at this time, as then, the Jewish people will emerge victorious against the Greeks and the assimilationists."