London Rabbis have said the opening of a new Jews For Jesus shop in the middle of Hendon is “disturbing and upsetting,” as the group plugged the launch of the store, writes Tamara Ezekiel.
Trumpeting yesterday’s opening, Jews for Jesus’ UK director Julia Pascoe said the shop, in Central Circus, was in “the ideal location” and that it would sell “less conventional Jewish wares such as a Hebrew art illustrated Gospel of Matthew coffee table book, and nutrition bars called Chews For Jesus”.
Rabbi Yossi David of Od Yosef Hai, in Finchley Lane, said: “It’s disturbing, but what can we do about it? Most people will be very upset, that Jews should be for Jesus, after all we’ve suffered.”
He added: “I don’t think my people will go there, but the worry is for some of the Israelis who come to London, they’re lost, they don’t have the background.”
Rabbi Dovid Tugendhaft of Nishmas Yisroel, in Brent Green, was worried about another constituency.
“The shop opening is of great concern,” he said. “Every community has its vulnerable people and they could fall prey to Jews For Jesus, who offer them warmth and friendship. We should redouble our efforts to make sure we’re doing our utmost to help them.”
He added: “I’ve debated them many times. Their so-called proof is ridiculous. Most thinking people know it’s false and will ignore them.”
Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board of Deputies, last year said the organisation was “totally rejected by the Jewish community”.