I'd rather be focusing more on preparing for Rosh Hashanah, but we are at war and the battle for existence comes before anything else. Truly, there is so much going on that I could not possibly attempt to address every threat out there, but the things that land in my inbox I try to deal with as they come.
Today, a kind reader sent me information which led to a quick research of the "Makuya" of Japan. (And I find that another dear reader contacted me about them, also, months ago, but I never followed up. My apologies!)
Don't let the exotic name fool you. These are the same Hebrew-Roots Christians that we find all across America and Europe and even into Africa, since missionaries have carried these ideas to every corner of the globe. Like the Christian religion itself, it usually starts with one man who gains a following. In Japan, it was a man called Abraham Ikurō Teshima.
He saw the establishment of the new State of Israel as a fulfillment of prophecy, as do all so-called Christian Zionists, and named his "Nonchurch" movement after the Mishkan (Makuya in Japanese). This may sound revolutionary to Jewish ears, but it's not at all an uncommon development among Protestant Christians. Many who have joined the Hebrew-Roots phenomenon left the established church and met with like-minded people in private homes or other "Nonchurch" facilities.
Jews hear these things and immediately surmise that these are people "coming out of Christianity" and looking for Truth; that they are on the path to becoming Bnei Noach. So, they want to rush to help and encourage and teach. But, because they don't really understand what they are dealing with, they make mistakes and those mistakes can impact adversely on the entire Jewish people.
Jews vastly underestimate the Christian commitment to JC. To them, he is not only alive and their dearest friend, he is also their god and they are body and soul sold out to him. (I have a family member who told me he would follow JC straight into the gates of hell, if necessary. Interesting since that's where he is to be found.) They are suddenly enamored of the Hebrew language and all things perceived Jewish because HE was Jewish and they want to emulate him, the same way we try to emulate HKB"H, l'havdil.
When this "One New Man" theology is clearly defined by its adherents as a means by which to break down all the walls and erase all the barriers between Jews and non-Jews, which the Torah and halachah demanded for our own good and protection, then we know that any Jew who embraces these non-Jews, either literally or figuratively, is falling into a terrible trap.
It's hard for Jews to connect with the idea that Christians would spend decades nurturing relationships with Jews in the hope that someday their hearts would soften to the Christian message as a result of all the good feelings generated. Not to mention the sense of hakarat hatov that every Jew possesses and which engenders feelings of obligation towards those loving, giving Christian "brothers." But, it's true nonetheless.
Here are a few excerpts from articles describing this group. When you read, keep in mind that these people still believe in and follow their False Testament. They are still Christians who believe JC is the god of Israel, God forbid! And they worship him as such, even in the midst of all the Jewish trappings they have adopted.
From a March 18, 2009 JPost article...
A FRIEND IN DEEDWhat really makes them any different than American Messianics? Nothing that I can see. Except, Jews open right up to them because they don't understand that a Christian anywhere in the world is still a Christian and by practice and belief, an idolater. And that bit about how they "have no agenda".... Where have I heard that one before?
At least once a year - beginning shortly after the state's founding in 1948 - a delegation of Makuya makes a pilgrimage to Israel. They have only one objective: to show their support for Israel and - even more unusually - to emphasize their unconditional love for Jews and Judaism. The Makuya aren't converts. They aren't political. They aren't asking Jews to change anything, let alone convert to their own religious beliefs. In fact, the Makuya have no agenda of any kind. All they ask is to be able to visit several of Israel's holy sites, socialize with the Israeli friends they've acquired over the years, and immerse themselves in Jewish and Israeli culture. This year's pilgrimage of 43 Makuya from Japan arrived in Israel in late February and made their way to Beersheba in early March. Accompanied by a contingent of Makuya students who are spending six months in Israel, staying either in Jerusalem or studying Hebrew at Kibbutz Heftziba, near Mount Gilboa, this year the whole group decided to march for the first time in Beersheba. With the women dressed in delicate and colorful kimonos, the men decked out in happi (traditional festival coats) in blue and white, with the Star of David on the back, they paraded through portions of Beersheba's Old City, singing Jewish songs in perfect Israeli-accented Hebrew. At mid-point, they paused, accompanied by an accordion, to perform several Israeli dances. Some distributed exquisite little origami birds among the gathered crowds. As the Makuya filled the Old City streets and plazas, Beersheba's cafe crowd, sitting outdoors and enjoying the warm sun after a week of cold wind and rain, couldn't quite believe what they were seeing. Who were all these traditionally-clad young Japanese, waving Israeli flags, singing "Shalom Aleichem" and "Am Yisrael Chai?" Once the dancing started, things changed. Most of the cafe patrons joined in, singing and cheering. There was a Pied Piper effect, as bystanders joined the parade, curious - if nothing else - about what this highly unusual group might be doing. "The Makuya came because we love Israel," said Yeremiyahu Norio Kado, who lives in Jerusalem as the group's permanent representative in Israel. "We feel a very strong connection here, so every year - war or no war - we come to visit holy sites and to learn about Israel.
... the Makuya follow several Jewish traditions. "Many of them light Shabbat candles, and they know all the holidays, they know Kiddush. They don't follow our dietary laws, but they dress very modestly. If you notice, the women all wear a particular hairstyle. That's because Teshima had a dream one night and saw how that was the way women should look, so that's how they wear their hair. "One night in Japan we were sitting talking, and Aviv asked a question. 'Suppose you're in a town where there are no Makuya,' he said. 'There's only a church and a synagogue. Where would you go?' The man didn't even hesitate. 'To the shul.' 'Why?' Aviv asked. 'Because the Jews have a more direct road to God.'" The Meltzers also helped give some of the Makuya Hebrew names. "Most of them have Hebrew names in addition to their Japanese names, especially those who have made the pilgrimage to Israel. But while we were there, we helped give names to some who didn't. There are now second-, third- and fourth-generation Makuya in Japan, because [the movement has] been around that long.
...Alan Baum, on the other hand, has known many Makuya well, having first met them several years ago. "Every year when they come, I enjoy being with them and socializing," he said. "I'll never forget the first time I met them. It was a Friday night dinner, and I was astonished - they knew all the zemirot, Shabbat songs, better than I did. They sang in perfect Hebrew, without even looking at the siddur. Once they come on a pilgrimage, they never lose contact with Israel.
"Unlike other Christians, which use the cross as their symbol, the Makuyas take the seven-armed Jewish menorah as their religious emblem, and display it on their badge or pendant."This is just to reinforce to themselves that they are the most authentic Christian they can be - a "Hebrew" Christian, just like JC's original 12 disciples.
Here is another excerpt from a May 30, 2015 TOI article...
Meet the Makuya, Israel’s most unwavering supporters[NOTE: ALL Christian Zionists identify with and support the State of Israel, not knowing or understanding a thing about its relationship to Judaism and to Torah Jews. "Zionism" is what binds them in a bond of "brotherhood," not belief in the One God of Israel.]
...Often called New Zionism, the Makuya movement was founded by a successful Japanese businessman, the late Professor Abraham Ikuro Teshima. Professor Teshima was a deeply religious Christian who had early on become disenchanted with the established Church....
Makuya members had begun studying Hebrew at the ulpan in Kibbutz Hefziba. Many ulpan graduates have gone on to schools of higher learning in Israel: to date 1,060 students have attended classes or graduated from Bar Ilan University and the Hebrew University, the Technion, and the universities in Haifa and Beersheba. They learn archeology, Bible and Jewish thought as well as music and other subjects, and their mastery of Hebrew is amazing.
...They prefer not to give an exact number, citing David’s sinful census of his fighting men (2 Shmuel: 24:2). But over 300,000 Japanese subscribe to the Makuya newsletter. Thousands of Makuya have already been on pilgrimages to Israel, with thousands more planning to come.
Four students (out of the 35 currently in Israel) live at the Jerusalem Makuya Center, along with its new director Asher Seito Kimura, his wife Tzofiya and their children. Each Makuya member has a Hebrew name, taken, or given to him or her upon arrival in Israel. They chat easily about their faith, which is based heavily on the Old Testament and doesn’t contain even a hint of proselytism. But none of the Makuya will discuss politics. They will talk with feeling, however, about their position on Israel. Every Makuya, they say proudly, identifies with — and wholeheartedly supports — the State of Israel.
No leader has taken Teshima’s place, but the Makuya follow in his path. They planted several forests in Teshima’s honor, and every few years, Makuya members come to Israel in large numbers to celebrate Independence Day. ...Teshima taught that you can find God anywhere, and that it is not necessary to pray in a church. Therefore Makuya worship in houses where they also read the Bible, and study its lessons.What you won't read here is any mention of them giving up belief in JC as god or adopting the observance of the Noahide code. And that is very simply because they are CHRISTIANS; Eisav trying to attach to Ya'aqov here at the End of Days, to become "ONE" with the Jews.
...Each of the Makuya with whom I spoke emphasized that the Israelis they meet take them into their hearts. Said one: “We feel like Israelis, like we are at home.”
Some pertinent quotes from their website in screenshots since it did not allow copy and paste...
Knowing all this now, can anyone make a wild guess as to why this prominent Jerusalem rabbi from an esteemed Israeli Zionist family would be singing along with thousands of Makuya in their "Nonchurch" in Japan?
Watch As Hundreds Of Japanese Sing Along To Popular Jewish Song “Hishbati”