Diversity Macht Frei
May 22, 2019
Passover worshippers worldwide are outraged that someone tried the “My fellow Jews” meme on them for real.
A few months ago, a couple got involved in the Chicago Jewish community. Rivkah Weber and David Costello started attending an Orthodox synagogue in the West Ridge neighborhood. They looked and acted like Orthodox Jews: Weber covered her hair and wore long skirts, while Costello sported sidelocks and a kippah. The latter took a job at a kosher supermarket.
But on Wednesday, warnings started spreading on Jewish Facebook groups in Chicago and beyond saying the couple, the parents of two children, were actually Christian missionaries.
“[T]o answer the rumors, it is true that a couple moved into our community in the purpose of proselytizing … They are confirmed missionaries,” read one post, which contained photos of the couple dressed in traditional Orthodox garb.
Reached Friday by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the couple said they do believe in Jesus and that one reason they had become involved in the Jewish community was to spread their beliefs.
“We want Jewish people to recognize Yeshua as Moshiach and as a Jewish Messiah,” Costello said in the phone interview, using the Hebrew words for Jesus and the Messiah.
He claims that he never hid his beliefs if asked and spoke with people in the community about them, but would not specify how many. Costello, who peppers his speech with Hebrew and Yiddish words, said the family is sincere in their observance of an Orthodox lifestyle.
“We actually keep the Torah and the mitzvahs,” he said. “We actually have an Orthodox life in our house and every day of our life, and they are saying that it’s simply to deceive and to bring Jewish people to believe in Jesus.” He denies the claim.
On Thursday, JTA spoke with three rabbis who had interacted with the couple. None would allow their names to be printed in the article.
“People feel betrayed,” said one rabbi, who leads a community in Chicago. “If you want to believe in something and sell it, that’s your business. But to come into a community and portray to be something you’re not, prey on people, unsuspecting, is unacceptable.”
This simple story of two people pretending to be Jews to evangelise for Christianity, has provoked a ripple of outrage throughout the Jewish media space. It’s like watching a flock of birds respond to a threat from a predator.
Jew Lawrence Shapiro wrote an angry open letter to Global Gates, the organisation presumed to lie behind the appearance of these “fellow Jews”.
Dear Global Gates,
I was interested to learn that your organization is sending people pretending to be Jews into Jewish areas to trick Jews into accepting the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is part of your mandate to “reach unreached people” on behalf of your Lord.
Resorting to subterfuge to get your religious message across is probably seen by your followers as a virtue in their mission to convert “unreached people” i.e. Jews, but with respect, on the ethical scale, lying to attract followers is the same as a man raping someone and justifying it on the basis that he had a huge need for sex. Deceptive proselytizing is just less violent, but it is ideological rape.
Now the Jews know how we feel when someone assumes our identity in order to subvert it.