Today I discovered that at least one and most likely two very nice young couples are in reality, the worst kind of Jew scammers.
A few weeks ago, during the Kiddush after Shabbos services, I met two couples that are so young, I was surprised they were married. They were dressed as Orthodox Jews right down to the tzitzit on the men (although the women’s heads were uncovered) but there was something, “off” about them. During our conversation I discovered that they were Christians that were looking to connect with and eventually convert to Judaism. I asked them if along their path they had ever been involved with any messianic “Jewish” organizations such as, Hope of Israel. They said no but they had been members of Bella Torah. I must have looked askance because they quickly disavowed the group. They said that they discovered it was phony Judaism and that was why they were here.
The following Tuesday I was at the JLI (Jewish Learning Institute) at Chabad and one of the couples was there as well. We spoke again and they were such a nice young couple that I let my guard down.
During Kiddush a week ago, my husband overheard the men making irreverent comments about what one of the Rabbis was saying. He later told me that he got a bad vibe from them, even thinking that they might be Jew Scammers.
It was the last JLI class last night and the placards with our full names on them were clearly visible. I copied down the names of the one couple that was there. The next morning I started my investigation. Sadly, I quickly found out that they were still active members of Bella Torah. I have written about Bella Torah and their connection to First Fruits of Zion (FFOZ). FFOZ is a Torah centric, educational clearing house for groups of messianic “Jews”. They teach them to do everything they can to be more like the Jews. It is a slightly different form of Messianic “Judaism” as they tell the Jews they do not want to convert them, just study Torah together. This Torah however is not our Torah. They then take their time bringing in the Jesus centered conversations.
Once I had gathered all my evidence, I called Chabad and spoke to one of the Rabbis. He asked me to send the information to him which I did. It was a very sad moment for me and for the Rabbi as well. He told me that Joseph Squiccharini had assured him that they had no intentions of trying to convert any Jews.
The first thing Joseph told me when I was introduced to him was that he was Jewish. When I commented that his name was very Italian sounding and asked if he might be Sephardic, he quickly backpedaled and said that his whole family was studying to become Jewish. When I met his wife moments later and asked how she was doing in conversion classes, she looked at me as if I had two heads. She emphatically stated that she, Joseph and her children were all Christian and had no intention of ever becoming Jewish. Joseph heard me talking to her and after giving his wife one of those “looks” said that they hadn’t started conversion classes yet but were hoping to in the near future. Rule one; like Doctor Who, Joseph lies. In fact, they all lie, all these Christians who devote their lives to make themselves seem Jewish to lure Jews into becoming Christian.
As I write this post I can feel my sadness turning to anger. How could I have allowed myself to be duped by these people? Every other time I have met one of these Jew Scammers the hairs on the back of my neck have literally stood up. Not this time. I was fooled by the obvious warmth of these four young people and ignored my own early suspicions. That will never happen again.
Here is my biggest fear; if I can be fooled, even for a short time, how many others will be as well. The evangelical Christians are spending millions, possibly billions of dollars to do one thing; get Jews to accept Jesus as their savior.They are fanatics and they will not be stopped. The only answer is to keep educating Jews, not only about the multitudes of Jew Scammers out there but about their own religion. Judaism is full of beauty and spirituality. It is there for you to learn. Judaism is our beautiful heritage and why any Jew would look for that light elsewhere is a question for which I have no answer.