This man’s alleged spiritual conversion efforts seem faraway from kosher.
Rabbi Michael Elkohen, a self-proclaimed “good Jewish boy from New Jersey,” has been outed because the missionary in Jerusalem who led an alleged down-low effort to remodel Jews to Christianity, in line with a bombshell new report from the Bergen Document.
Born Michael Elk in southern New Jersey’s Salem County, Elkohen moved to Israel in 2006, and spent 15 years allegedly major a bizarre double life residing in an ultra-Orthodox area of Jerusalem. Not solely did that embrace sporting a hat and rising his hair into aspect curls, nonetheless he was moreover reportedly tapped to hold out bris circumcisions and even write Torah scrolls.
Elk, 42, is the daddy of 5 children and has been the subject of investigations by two missionary watchdog organizations. He’s generally known as the allegations in direction of him “a lie.” He’s moreover talked about that he “was born Jewish” and that, “seven or eight years in the past,” he “repented” for his missionary work to date.
“The household has been below surveillance for at the very least seven years,” talked about Shannon Nuszen, a researcher at one group, Beyneynu, talked about in a press launch to the ultra-Orthodox web page Behadrei Haredim, in a report remaining week that first uncovered Elk’s alleged objectives. ‘[We have been] investigating the case of a covert missionary in French Hill for a few years,” however opted to go public in 2021 “because of one of many missionary’s children proselytizing at college.”
As moreover reported in Behadrei Haredim, Elk’s 13-year-old daughter had instructed a classmate that Jesus Christ “accepts everybody, even when they’re unsuitable.”
Based on the Bergen Document, the act of missionizing is allowed in Israel, nonetheless there are exceptions. For event, there’s a ban on proselytizing to children. Elk might face charges along with falsifying his id, immigration fraud and performing ritual circumcisions illegally. Within the case of Elk’s daughter, any makes an try to remodel a minor in Israel are illegal besides there’s parental consent.
One of many reverse watchdog groups monitoring Elk was Outreach Judaism — and its director, Rabbi Tovia Singer, talked about in an interview that Elk instructed totally different missionaries on the place to go in Israel.
“The thought of those messianic teams is to blur distinctions as a way to lure Jews who would in any other case resist the Christian message,” talked about Singer.
Elk and his late partner, Amanda — who talked about she was the daughter of Holocaust survivors and died in February of most cancers — allegedly moved to Israel with stable paperwork and with the assistance of Morningstar Missions in South Carolina. The Document research that Elk seems to have beforehand labored as a minister in Washington State and attended a Christian college named Japanese College.
Additionally part of his private historic previous sooner than heading to Israel: admitting that he had confronted a “downward spiral,” which included ingesting and a failed marriage.
In Israel, Elk ran a school for Messianic Jews — and, consistent with the watchdogs’ allegations, wrote anonymous blogs about his work as a down-low evangelist. In a 2011 video for Morningstar Ministries, as an illustration, Elk is seen in observant Jewish garments and says to “stir the Jewish individuals to jealousy” and “deliver them again to [Jesus] as soon as once more.”
Nuszen believes there are some 30,000 missionaries in Israel, as successfully as 300 groups pushed to evangelize Jews and 200 web pages that function for conversion.