From Haaretz: A yeshiva for Christians?
Strange as it sounds, some Christians prefer getting their Bible lessons from Jewish teachers – ideally, Orthodox rabbis. Evidence that such demand is on the rise can be found in the growing number of initiatives cropping up around Israel with this particular audience in mind.
“It’s become a phenomenon,” says Rivkah Lambert Adler, an Orthodox-Jewish educator who is active in several such ventures. “What we’re seeing is a profound hunger and thirst among Christians for authentic Torah teaching,” adds the 59-year-old.
By Christians she mainly means evangelical Christians, who tend to take the Bible very literally and see events playing out in Israel these days as fulfillment of its prophecies.
“Many of these Christians see the Jewish people as leaders in Bible scholarship and as individuals who are able to open the door to a better understanding of the Hebraic roots of their own faith,” says Lambert Adler, who published a book on the subject last year called “Ten From the Nations: Torah Awakening Among Non-Jews.”
The title is based on a biblical verse she believes has inspired this new trend: “Thus saith the Lord of hosts: In those days it shall come to pass, that 10 men shall take hold, out of all the languages of the nations, shall even take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying: We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you” (Zechariah 8:23).
Root Source, one of the first ventures of its kind, was launched in April 2014 by Gidon Ariel, an Orthodox Jew, and Bob O’Dell, a Christian philanthropist and high-tech entrepreneur.
For up to $27 a month or $270 a year (there are three pricing levels, “in the spirit of Leviticus 5:6-11”), subscribers to Root Source can access prerecorded lectures on topics that include biblical Hebrew, women in the Bible, Jewish prayer, the Holy Temple, God, Moses and the Book of Proverbs.
Although it may be a bit off-topic, one of the most popular courses offered at this online school is apparently “Islam – Insights and Deceptions.” A blurb about the course notes that it “uses scriptures from the Old Testament and occasionally even the New Testament to make the case that Islam is extremely dangerous.”
Torah School for the Nations, founded by Lambert Adler earlier this year, focuses more on face-to-face learning. Her project offers evangelicals visiting Israel during the three biblical feasts – Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot – the opportunity to participate in a full day of Torah study.
It held its first such teach-in last Passover in the West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim, where Lambert Adler lives. “But so many people wanted to join that the next two times, for lack of space, we had to move it to Jerusalem,” she says. The price is $75 per participant per day, including a kosher lunch.
“Ultimately, my dream is to have a brick-and-mortar facility that operates year-round,” she says.