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New Joseph Forum no.8 

Ephraimites, Two Houses, Joes, Ten Tribes Teachings
14 July 2009, 22 Tammuz 5769
1. Does Anybody owe Brit-Am Anything?
Amnon Goldberg Queries Brit-Am on Religious Matters.
Brit-Am in Turn Challenges both Judah and Joseph
3. Succot: An All-Ephraimite Seminar or a Brit-Am Ten Tribes Movement  Get-Together?


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1. Does Anybody owe Brit-Am Anything?
re NJF-6
#1. Is Brit-Am Ungrateful to Ephraimites? Does Ephraim Owe Brit-Am Something?
You said:
#We owe others (in the moral sense) and those who have received (to some degree, in an abstract manner) owe Brit-Am.#
What does this mean?

Brit-Am Reply:

Anybody who receives something from somebody else in a sense is indebted to them.
We ourselves receive information and important knowledge from very many sources.
We are indebted to all of them.
If we were to frequently use and benefit from one particular source of information in a certain field run by an organization with whose goals we on the whole identified and if this body was in need of funds we would not be offended if they asked us for support in the event that we had the ability to help them even to a small degree. We might not answer with an offering and we might not be able to even if we wanted it. Neverthless we would see nothing amiss in the request itself.

2. Amnon Goldberg Queries Brit-Am on Religious Matters.
Brit-Am in Turn Challenges both Judah and Joseph
From: Amnon Goldberg<>
Subject: Missionary "geirim"

Being that the Ten Lost Tribes long ago acquired the Halachic status of "complete gentiles", what is your advice to a white person of European or American descent who strongly feels "in his bones" that he is connected to "Israel"? That he commence Halachic conversion to become a full "Yehudi"? Or remain a Noahide? Or might there a stage in between, pending the Messianic reunification of Yehuda with the Lost Tribes?
What is your opinion as to the report

that numerous Christian missionaries have undergone Halachic conversion and circumcision, and masquerade as Orthodox Jews with black coats and sidelocks in order to infiltrate the Jewish people?

Brit-Am Reply:
Amnon , Shalom,
As you expected this reply will be posted to our list.
To those of you are not familiar with Amnon Goldberg, he is a scholar who lives in Tsafat, in the north of Israel.
Amnon frequently sends out letters and mini-articles on religious and scientific themes to  various Jewish publications of note.  He often comes up with facts and observations of great value. If he would ever publish a book I would hope to be one of the first to acquire a copy. Amnon  has been an interested observer of Brit-Am for quite a while.
His attitude has not been negative but at times perhaps mildly critical or reserved.
It is for this reason that points in the answer below may seem to have been put a bit more bluntly than is usual.

The question brings up some important points:
(a) The Challenge to Judah and Joseph Posed by Brit-Am Teachings
(b) The Self-Imposed Limitations of the Brit-Am Message
(c) The News Item Regarding Missionaries and Conversions

(a) The Challenge to Judah and Joseph Posed by Brit-Am Teachings
The Brit-Am Movement teaches that the Lost Ten Tribes are amongst western peoples.
These claims affect the peoples in question as well as the Jews.
We refer to evidence in the Bible, Rabbinical sources, and secular studies.
Or we are correct or not.
If we are not correct it should be easy to show how since the sources we refer to are on the whole easily accessible and familiar to a great many.
If we cannot be proven wrong then it would seem we are right.
If such is the case more research should be done to finalize the conclusions and the knowledge should be publicized as widely as possible.
This is the Brit-Am Challenge.
Beyond that it should up to Judah and Joseph to work things out and for individuals from Joseph to take whatever steps Divine Providence directs them to.

(b) The Self-Imposed Limitations of the Brit-Am Message
We try to avoid specific religious and theological discussion as much as possible.
We do not have to have all the answers.
We do however hold that increased Biblical awareness and Bible study are desirable.
Jews should be more Jewish.
For non-Jews it depends on the individual case.
We do not consider it our task to nullify Christianity since we see it as a tool of Divine Providence.

(c) The News Item Regarding Missionaries and Conversions
We are against attempts  to convert Jews:
Before we make an answer please note:
It is not unknown for Christian missionaries or members of their families who come to Israel to end up as genuine converts to Judaism.
Missionaries are de facto enemies of the Jewish people but in some cases their intentions are positive though misguided.
They  may have a genuine love for the Jewish People and mistakenly think they are doing the Jews a favor.
It is not unusual for converts to cling to some aspects of their Christian beliefs though after learning and practising Judaism for some time they usually come to abandon them.
Reports can be exaggerated.
Recently a liberal-though-Orthodox scholar with a taste for history told me that in the 1800s (or early 1900s) two brothers from Ireland named Wilson came to what was then Palestine and converted to Judaism. They were amongst the early inhabitants of the Ultra-Orthodox suburb of Mea Shearim. Each had very large families and so did their offspring and that is why (my source solemnly declared) many of the Jews now living in Mea Shearim do not really look Jewish!
I repeated this story to an acquaintance who laughed and remarked:
"Some people will say anything!"

Regarding the report

It spoke of ca. 60 missionaries who had recently converted to Judaism while still missionizing.
You described them as they who:
##masquerade as Orthodox Jews with black coats and sidelocks in order to infiltrate the Jewish people##
Perhaps you have information we are not aware of?
Otherwise, they would more likely be masquerading as National Relgious who are more liberal and less questioning and therefore easier to infiltrate.
I imagine it would be difficult to adopt an extreme Ultra-Orthodox life-style if one did not believe in it.
Also the Ultra-Orthodox have their own Conversion Set-ups that may be a little stricter than those of the Rabbinate.
The Israel National News version indicated that some of the culprits came from the Bnei Manasseh (Burmese) people who the National Relgious deal with.
Whatever the case a lot of questions arise such as why did the case only come up now and not previously?
Anyway in our opinion it is a very serious offence that has been committed.
It is liable to harm genuine prospective converts as much as anybody else.
In principle the process of Conversion  should be clear cut, straightforward, reasonably short, and not arbitrary.
Once completed the convert should have all the rights and obligations of every other Jew and be treated like any other Jew.
This is what the sources indicate the situation should be.
It is not what pertains in actuality.
The situation at present according to news reports is somewhat scandalous.
The large number of prospective converts and past converts who are not genuine is one of the causes for the present disastrous scenario.
In my humble opinion a solution of the carrot-and-stick type should be tried.
A much higher level of commitment should be required but the process itself should be upgraded, more user-friendly, and quicker.

The Brit-Am Ten Tribes Movement DOES NOT ENCOURAGE  non-Jews to convert to Judaism.
On the contrary we discourage.
This is not what is required of Joseph, at least not at this stage.

There are however exceptional cases.
In our opinion, if a person feels very strongly attracted to the Jewish People, wants to know about Judaism and keep the commandments, and also feels a very strong need to live in the Land of Israel then they should consider undergoing a Conversion Course.
We are not saying that they should convert but rather in these VERY EXCEPTIONAL CASES they should perhaps take the possibility into consideration. We do not see any sense in people attempting to live as Jews but not becoming Jewish.
If someone becomes a Jew then one is, at least for the present, part of Judah and should accept the fact.

3. Succot: An All-Ephraimite Seminar or a Brit-Am Ten Tribes Movement  Get-Together?
Recently, we received an offer to help host an Ephraimite Conference in Jerusalem at Succot.
A third party would pay for a meeting place (along with light refreshments) for two days in Jerusalem.
Ephraimite activists present in Israel (there are quite a few and some more may be visiting) would all be invited along with whosoever wished to attend.
It was suggested that at the conference we all endeavor to:

#craft an agenda that supports the following.
Bibilical context and path of the Return as you have explained for years. This is HaShem move, using people as his tools and not people's move trying to use HaShem.
#b. Work create a working team across different backgrounds
#c. Infrastructural support; financing, talent, supporters, communication, etc

We are still considering that proposal.
Our tendency at the moment is to reject it and let the others if they like go ahead without us.
A final reply has not been given.
We ourselves are struggling financially.
If the means would enable it we would arrange for a Brit-Am Major Meeting at Succot
and this would be followed by regular meetings (every fortnight or so) after that.


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