Keeping Jews Jewish in cyberspace – Canadian Jewish News (blog)

Sponsor Content: Willie Sutton, the notorious criminal, was once asked why he robbed banks. He reportedly quipped, Because thats where the money is! With a world tethered to iPhones, tablets and laptops, Willies lesson has not been lost on missionaries targeting the Jewish community for conversion. For years theyve declared that the Internet is now their most fertile field for evangelism.

Recognizing that cyberspace has become the front line in the struggle for Jewish hearts and minds, Jews for Judaism launched its unique YouTube channel five years ago. More than 200 videos have been produced, covering issues from Jewish meditation to critical responses to missionary claims, and are being viewed over 2,000 times a day. Feedback has often been dramatic.

Sharon recently shared her incredible story. Three years ago she met Robert and began dating him. Unbeknownst to her, Robert was a trained missionary who moved to her city to work for an organization seeking to convert Jews. On their third date, Sharon discovered this and was understandably both upset and confused. She didnt want to end their relationship and suggested that they explore their religious differences.

While searching online, they came across the 15-part Jews for Judaism Counter-Missionary Seminar and used it for their study of the differences between Judaism and Christianity. Sharon and Robert spent months going over the material, debating and thinking. Ultimately, Robert found the videos so compelling that he began to consider Judaism as an option. After two years of further study, he converted to Judaism and they married. Today, Robert and Sharon are committed to living and growing together in their Judaism.

One special playlist on the YouTube channel was developed for deaf Jews. This population is particularly vulnerable to missionary efforts directed at them and very few Jewish resources are available to help the Jewish deaf. Education Director Rabbi Michael Skobac has produced seven videos, simultaneously signed on a split screen, focusing on Jewish spirituality and counter-missionary content.

A serious challenge to Jewish identity, particularly on college and university campuses, is the growing impact of anti-Israel propaganda and the BDS movement. Jewish students are often poorly prepared for and intimidated by this hostility. To help inspire young Jews to be more knowledgeable and confident regarding Israels just cause, a new section of the YouTube channel is dedicated to educational programs focusing on the Jewish connection to Israel.

The impact of these videos is enhanced through their integration into a widespread presence on social media, including Facebook and Twitter. This allows viewers the opportunity to go beyond the videos and explore further by asking questions and engaging in an ongoing dialogue.

Positive feedback comes in each day. Sarah recently wrote, My husband and I learned so much from your YouTube lectures. I feel like we are coming home for the first time. I wanted to thank you for being a light. We are very grateful for all that you do. You inspire so many.

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Keeping Jews Jewish in cyberspace – Canadian Jewish News (blog)

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August 23, 2017   Posted in: Jews |

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