Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court Bars Missionary Couple from Marrying as Jews

The Tel Aviv-Jaffa Rabbinical Court rejected a request by a missionary couple to marry as Jews.

The Rabbinical Court, headed by Hagaon Harav Cohen, Hagaon Harav Amrani and Hagaon Harav Ben Yaakov, invited a Yad L’Achim expert on cults to cross-examine the couple as to their beliefs. The two stated clearly that they believe in “that man” as the messiah and in the cult’s avoda zara.

In its verdict, the Rabbinical Court justices wrote that they “reached the conclusion that the petitioners had converted to the Christian faith and replaced the Jewish belief in the Creator of the World with Christian beliefs, and were even baptized.”

Furthermore, the Court stressed, “it emerges from the protocol that the petitioners believe it is their mission to spread Christian teachings and that their desire is that the entire Jewish nation should accept their faith. They belong to ‘Tiferet Yeshu,’ a missionary congregation of Jews who believe in Yeshu.”

In a learned ruling that cites extensively from Chazal and halachic sources, the Rabbinical Court rejected the missionaries’ request to be married in accordance with Jewish law and tradition.

It added, however, that “if the petitioners will undergo immersion in the mikva for the sake of Judaism, after accepting upon themselves the tenets of Jewish faith, including belief in One G-d and in the 13 principles of faith, and declare before the Rabbinical Court of the Chief Rabbinate that they are abandoning their Christian faith totally, including membership in the congregation of Messianic Jews and missionary activity, the Court will reconsider their appeal.”

Yad L’Achim, which has led the battle against missionaries and cults for more than 50 years and closely followed this case, said in response: “In our assessment, the missionaries, who indeed converted out of Judaism, sought to marry as Jews in order to use this in their missionary propaganda, intending to present their Jewish marriage certificate as ‘proof’ that it is possible to be a Jew and still believe in ‘that man,’ R’l.”

Yad L’Achim expressed its satisfaction at the ruling. Harav Shmuel Lifschitz, one of the organization’s leaders, said this week: “Blessed is He who Gave His world over to Shomrin. The members of the Rabbinic Court proved that there is someone on guard who won’t allow breaches in the wall that protects the Jewish people. This is an important chapter in the history of the struggle against missionaries.”

Released for publication: The verdict of the Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court