‘They Tried to Convert Me!’

This missionary brochure is designed to look like Jewish material

An unsuspecting woman was shocked to learn she was being set up by J’s Witnesses

A file involving a down-and-out woman who was victimized by cult members was this week stamped “case closed” by Yad L’Achim’s counter-missionary department.

N., a resident of Rechovot, never had it easy. Orphaned at a young age and raised in dire poverty, she married a man whose family rejected her.

Around half a year ago, it looked to her like her luck was about to change. Two friendly women showed up at her door with a “booklet on Judaism that will make you happier.” They got her to invite them in, and listened sympathetically to details of her difficult life.

N.’s new “friends” quickly became fixtures in her home, visiting every week. At first they listened, but then they began talking, or, to put it more accurately, preaching. They gave her a copy of the “new testament.” When she asked what it was, they said it was “an additional volume to the Tenach.”

Over the course of several months, the missionaries became part of her life. At first she didn’t know what to make of them. “If you speak with such fervor about Judaism, why don’t you cover your hair,” she asked.

“These commandments are no longer relevant,” they answered.

One day, the phone rang; it was a woman asking her to contribute to an organization that builds mikvaos throughout Israel. The woman stressed that the donation would be a great merit for N.

N. shocked the caller with her response: “Today there is no longer any need to fulfill these mitvos.”

The astonished woman asked where N. got such information and was told that she was being visited every week by “two good women from J.’s Witnesses who come to my home and teach me Judaism.”

The woman immediately contacted Yad L’Achim with details of the story. Representatives of the counter-missionary department called N. and informed her that her “friends” weren’t Jewish, but missionaries, and arranged to meet.

At their first meeting, which continued late into the night, the Yad L’Achim activists explained to N. how she had been led astray all those months. The more they explained, the more aghast N. became. At one point, she burst into tears: “I only now realize that these women wanted to convert me out of my religion and turn me into a Christian!”

The relationship between N. and the Yad L’Achim activists grew deeper and deeper. She informed the missionaries that she wanted to break off all contact with them and asked them stop visiting her at home.

Meanwhile, she registered her two daughters in local religious schools and began participating in regular Torah classes for women.

The last report in N.’s file described in short, moving words the latest development. The remarks come from D., one of the activists who befriended her.

“N. told me today, with tears in her eyes, that for the first time since her relationship with the missionaries began she visited the grave of her mother and recited Tehillim. This attests to the final break between her and the missionaries, as one of the foundations of the cult is complete rejection of remnants of the soul remaining with the body and visiting the grave of loved ones.”