Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Guest Post: Imposters Among Us

An astonishing story in the news recently revealed that an American charedi family living in Israel for many years were actually secret Christian missionaries. Subsequent investigations revealed further "sleeper cells." Paul Shaviv writes the following bizarre account of another such imposter who was prominent in the 1980s. It is disturbing to see how many people were willing to accept the outrageous lies of this imposter without any verification, because it played into a narrative that appealed to them.

When I and my late wife lived in Israel (1982-1990) I did a certain amount of freelance journalism. I wrote for the Jewish Chronicle, including a regular ‘Letter from Jerusalem’.  From time to time I did other articles, and I used to meet once or twice a year with the then ‘Features and Judaism’ editor, the late Meir Persoff, when he visited Israel. At one such meeting, he handed me an envelope. “Someone in Jerusalem thinks we should run a feature on this man.  Can you check him out and write something for us?”, he said.  I put the envelope down, and we carried on our meeting. When I got home I looked at the contents. These were press cuttings and pamphlets about a Jerusalem character called Rabbi Dr. Shmuel Golding, who spearheaded an organization which combatted Christian missionaries. Some of the press reports mentioned that he had previously been an Anglican clergyman, and had converted to Judaism.

By chance, I saw an advertisement a couple of days later that the following week he was going to give a talk about his life and work to one of the groups of English-speaking Jerusalemites.

Jerusalem was, and is, a honeypot for fanatics, fantasists, conmen, wild-eyed religious, would-be messiahs, prophets and all other sorts of strange people, of all religions.  Among the population are also many genuine saints and scholars, and individuals of immense spirituality and immense knowledge.  You encounter them in the supermarkets, or on the bus, or in all sorts of formal and informal settings…  Some are well-known ‘characters’ – familiar sights on the Jerusalem streetscape.

The Christian population includes a subset of all of the above, including representatives and believers of many tiny and historically distinctive Eastern Christian churches.  There are a few Messianic Jews, Jews for Jesus, and a few Christian Missionaries.  But in the main, the more mainline Christians come to study, to experience Jerusalem and to explore their own Holy Places. Some have diplomatic or UN postings. They keep a low profile, and are generally extremely civilized people.  There is also a sub-culture of ‘Interfaith dialogue’ in Jerusalem – of earnest and cheerful Christians, and usually former American or other Anglo-Saxon Jewish Israelis.  Few ‘sabras’ and fewer Haredim have any interest in those discussions.

So – back to Rabbi Dr. Golding!  The following week, armed with a notebook and pen, I turned up to hear his talk, which was at the Yeshurun Synagogue. There was an audience of about 100 or so, mainly British and American, middle-aged, religious. I knew quite a few of them.

In the chair was Rabbi Moshe Rose, whom I knew from London, the former director of  Chief Rabbi Israel Brodie’s office.

Rabbi Golding stood up to speak. He was short and stout, bearded, rather gingery, black-hatted, black suited, and gave every impression of a Haredi Jew. He had a northern British accent.  

But it only took about five sentences for every alarm bell in my head to start ringing!

Golding’s claimed ‘life story’ was a web of impossibilities.

He claimed that as a small child he had been rescued by mysterious people from Babi Yar (in a bus!); smuggled across Europe, and then smuggled into England during wartime. Brought up in Yorkshire as a Christian, he had met and married “a daughter of the Archbishop of Canterbury”.  His father-in law, the Archbishop, had suggested he go to Evangelical Bible College.  Along the way, mysterious strangers had appeared at the house of his adoptive parents, and confided to him that he was a descendant of the ‘Demidovo’ Hasidic Rebbe, and he had relatives in the East End of London.  As an Evangelist, he lived in Turkey for years, smuggling Bibles across the border to Russia.

At a later stage, he had questioned Christianity, and converted to Judaism.

There is no record of children rescued from Babi Yar, let alone in a bus (there were one or two adult escapees); it would have been near-impossible to be smuggled all the way across Nazi-occupied Europe; there was no way to be smuggled across the North Sea into wartime Britain; the Demidovo Hasidim are unknown; no Archbishop of Canterbury would send anyone to Evangelical Bible College (would R’Moshe Feinstein suggest to a son-in-law that they should take some courses at HUC?); and was Turkey known as a base for Christian Evangelists???

Who was this strange person?  And, why didn’t anyone else in the room seem remotely disturbed by his story – or by any of the three or four alternative stories of his origins which he subsequently spun!

Let me answer the second question first. As I discovered, he was pressing the right buttons.  There are two things that are guaranteed to overcome the natural defences of any Israeli (or religious Jewish) audience – first, “I was rescued from the Holocaust!” and second, “I used to be a Christian priest until I converted to Judaism!”. After the session, I approached the Chair, Rabbi Rose, and asked him what he thought. “Well, he has an interesting story!”, he responded.

At the same time, Golding’s anti-Missionary campaign rolled into action. Reports started appearing in the ‘Jerusalem Post’ and other media of aggressive tactics being used by a new wave of missionaries in and around Jerusalem.  It made the ‘New York Times’ in 1984. Profiles of ‘Rabbi Dr. Golding’ began appearing in English and Hebrew media, including ‘Yom Shishi’, Hamodia and even Maariv. A magazine sponsored by the Jewish Agency ran a feature.  All repeated the same stories he had told at the meeting; none of the reporters seemed to have checked out any of the facts. I called several of them, including some then – and now – very well-known names.  “Did you check the facts?”, I asked.  Not a single one had.  All accepted his story at face value.

He was now being presented as the authority on missionaries in Jerusalem (“I am maintaining files”), and the coordinator of anti-missionary semi-vigilante activity. He claimed a network of volunteers whom he directed by a radio network. He brandished a walkie-talkie in front of visitors to his office – “As soon as we get a report of missionary activity we can send volunteers”.  Someone who visited him tried to look at the files of information in rows of binders on his office shelves when he momentarily left the office. They were all empty! Reporters, rabbis, and heads of religious activist organisations trooped up to his office/apartment near Ben Yehuda, and issued him with letters endorsing his activities. MK Geula Cohen visited him, and commended his work. American yeshivah and seminary programs invited him to speak.

There were more sinister developments. Priests and nuns in Jerusalem reported abuse and harassment on the streets. Some Christians living in an apartment near the Mount of Olives were assaulted.  All of this began to be reported in Christian newsletters circulated overseas.

I went to interview Golding. I noted that his domestic setup was strange. There was a wife – and another young woman with a baby, with her head covered in the style of religious women.  He volunteered the information that she was his daughter, and that her husband was “overseas”. He confided that his daughter had been long-lost (I can’t now remember how), but that he and his wife had been travelling in Spain, and had stopped to pick up a hitchhiker – who, amazingly, turned out to be his long-lost daughter!

Amidst all of this, Golding launched ‘The Jerusalem Institute of Biblical Polemics’, offering courses to (mainly American) yeshivah and seminary students on how to combat and refute missionary arguments.  It was financed by an American “millionaire”. This ran for quite a number of years. In the absence of real missionaries – what was its purpose? We will return to that question. Suffice it to say that his major achievement seems to me to have been introducing dozens and dozens of religious Jewish students to detailed study and reading of the New Testament – a book they would otherwise never have dreamt of opening.

I started to follow leads.  Who knew this man? I spoke to some of the ‘Establishment’ anti-Missionary organisations – ‘Yad l’achim’ and others. They all admitted that there was no real missionary threat – perhaps isolated incidents, but there were no longer the institutions – schools, clinics, hospitals, soup kitchens – that had operated in previous generations.  But the ‘anti-Missionary’ banner was good for fundraising in the USA.  They were all deeply uncomfortable with Rabbi Dr. Shmuel Golding, and deeply suspicious of his bona fides. I spoke to one rather reclusive scholar, to whom I had been referred. Where did Golding’s rabbinic ordination come from?, I wondered.  He looked at me wearily. “He hasn’t got one”, he replied.  “Then how can he call himself ‘Rabbi’”, I asked.  My interviewee looked even more weary.  “If all the people in Jerusalem who had no qualifications were barred from calling themselves ‘Rabbi’, half of the city would be out of their jobs.”

Christian contacts of mine in the city were also suspicious.  His claim about being the son-in-law of the Archbishop of Canterbury did not stand up to examination.  We looked at all the Archbishops and their children going back for decades.  None had married anyone who could have been Golding.

When he first came to Israel he had lived in a southern Israeli town called Yeruham, which was home to a group of Anglo-Saxon immigrants who had chosen to settle there.  I spoke to one.  He described Golding as a ‘man of mystery’, so much so that he and others had drawn Golding to the attention of the Israeli security services.

One magazine editor who had published a profile of Golding wrote to him and asked him to verify some facts, including his connection to the Archbishop; his ordination and his doctorate.  Golding’s reply, which she shared with me, was interesting. He claimed that he had said that his father-in-law was ”regarded LIKE the Archbishop of Canterbury by his followers”, who were members of an American Church (whose name I have forgotten).  That was definitely not what he said, because I heard him, and wrote it down. What was the Church, though? It so happened that a week or so later I was in the library of the American Cultural Centre on Keren Hayesod in Jerusalem.   On the reference shelf I noticed a directory of American Churches.  I opened it. The very first entry was that very church – it was a Black Evangelistic congregation.  I suspect(ed) that Golding, needing the name of a church, did exactly what I did – he went to the American Cultural Centre, found the directory, opened it on the first page, and appropriated the first entry.

More was to come. Golding published an “Autobiography” – a small booklet of about 40 pages. (There were actually two versions of this – a later one deleted derogatory references to yeshivah bachurim and haredim). This was also a fantastic tale, featuring ghosts passing through walls in the Yorkshire village where he was allegedly brought up; it gave names of his ‘relatives’ in Brick Lane in London; and some tales of his time in Turkey, along the way claiming that that was where he had been converted to Judaism.

A journalist in London, Jenni Frazer, looked through old street directories and other reference works. There was no trace of his relatives, who bore suspiciously fake-sounding Jewish names. That was the least of the improbabilities in his story. We passed photos of Golding around Christian journalists and others in London – no one recognized him. At the same time I found myself in Istanbul, attending the funeral of the victims of the attack on the Neve Shalom synagogue.  I took the opportunity to speak to David Asseo, the then Chief Rabbi. In Hebrew, he told me that he was “Very troubled to hear of the activities of Golding in Israel.” He said that Golding had indeed been in Turkey, he thought somehow attached to a British engineering company. He had approached the Jewish community; Asseo had in fact converted him, although he was puzzled by his story.

In the late 1980’s and 1990’s Golding continued his activities, but toned them down – concentrating on running his courses at his ‘Institute’. He was financially supported by an American sympathizer. He published a few anti-Christian books. In ill-health, he passed away, I believe, in the early 1990’s.

All of this was good. But there was one thing that I could never discover, and which prevented me from writing up the whole story at the time.

What was his real name?  And who was he?

I never knew.

UNTIL… Every few years I would idly Google his name. Nothing much came up – references to the books he wrote, and references to him in several books discussing Jewish-Christian relations in Israel, or books by evangelicals about Missions to the Jews. Occasionally an endorsement by a former student of his would surface. But suddenly, in the mid-2000’s, an astonishing item surfaced. (I had never seen it before, and it is no longer on the web.) It was a plea by his daughter in England – a middle-aged woman – for information by anyone who had known him. I immediately contacted her (I am going to protect her privacy and not disclose names). “Golding” – not, obviously, his real name – had been an Evangelical pastor in England, who had undertaken Evangelical ’Revival’ tours of England in a double-decker bus.  But at some point, perhaps in the 1970’s, he had simply abandoned his family, wife and children - he walked out of the house and disappeared.  His family had no idea where he was, and his daughter – who lived in eastern England – had never recovered from sudden abandonment by her father. She emotionally described her loss, and the feelings of unresolved emotions. She knew he had ended up in Israel, but knew little about his life there, although she was in touch with a woman who was apparently his granddaughter. I now knew his real name, and a little about his original Evangelical background.

At the end of the day, I have a theory about Golding. I am puzzled by his activities and preoccupation with the New Testament. I have known a number of converts to Judaism.  They all wished to leave their previous lives firmly behind them. No one wanted to be involved with Christianity – except Golding, who occupied himself and others all day, every day, with the New Testament. As I mentioned, he taught it in detail to numerous Yeshivah and Seminary students…  In his writings, and his ‘Autobiography’, he continued to employ the language of extreme Protestant evangelism… references to Gog and Magog, the anti-Christ, and other apocalyptic language.  

I think that he may have been the most extreme Christian missionary of them all.  

In apocalyptic Evangelism, the End of Days and the Second Coming will be brought about by wars between Christians and Jews in the streets of Jerusalem, triggered by the Anti-Christ – who will come from among the Jews. As a convert, Golding technically came from “among the Jews”. He was very deliberately and actively stoking the conflict between Jews and Christians in Jerusalem. Did he cast himself in a gesture of supreme sacrifice as the Anti-Christ – and did he believe he could bring the Second Coming???  

In the crazy pressure-cooker of Jerusalem – nothing is impossible!

Paul Shaviv is a retired educator, originally from the UK, and now living in the USA.  He gives adult education courses on Jewish History in person and online.


  1. I think I went to some of his anti missionary lectures in the 90's. There were a mixed group there of about 15-20 people.
    There was one chareidi (bt) there who was unhappy about his lectures. I think because Golding felt he had the right to disagree with the Gemarah. He complained to (I think)Rabbi Berkowitz (Jerusalem Kolel) who made investigations and withdrew his Haskamah. But felt there was no need to issue a protest.

    ( He said he worked for Israel in Aliyah dept, met somebody very nice. Converted her. married her. Had children. One day she just left him with the children. Also he had a whole litany of bad luck. I did not disbelieve him, but had some doubts at the time. Who knows what is true.)

    1. Whatever Goldings story etc might be, the claim made that tis no xtian missionary activity in Israel is totally false. The various organizations are spending millions in a variety of ways. They are catching a lot of secular Israelis.

  2. Pr. Slifkin - you really take the cake. You fell for every fake "statistic" or claim about Covid (Masks, Vaccines, etc,) because they fed into your fanatical hatred of Charedim. And yet you're able to preface this otherwise interesting reminiscence, with a straight face yet, by saying that people "believed a narrative that appealed to them"???!

    Honestly, it is just too funny.

    1. What are you talking about? Masks prevent the spread of airborne virus - doctors have been wearing them for years and the use of such does in fact reduce Covid spread. Maybe not at levels to your satisfaction to mandate wearing but masks work. Forget the science - logically, a barrier to ones lungs will reduce the things one inhales and exhales. The efficacy of vaccines has been proven again and again. Anti-vaxers typically point to harm potentially caused by vaccines to the youth (specious claim, at best) - concerns not present for adults receiving Covid vaccines. So the argument holds no water there for historic anti vaxers. There is a clear correlation of reduced Covid with increased vaccination. You want to complain about a locked down country or restricted access to shuls and bati midrashim - I get it - but it is complete ignorance to suggest masks and vaccines were and are ineffective, especially compared to a “wait it out” strategy.

    2. None were fake statistics about COVID, masks or vaccines. This kind of ideology puts lives at risk- a decidedly un-Jewish stance. It's you who needs to be called out!

    3. In a randomised control trial with a large number of participants mask wearing was shown to have no statistically significant effect on the chances of the wearer contacting Covid. Which isn't that surprising when you consider the diameter of a virus is at least an order of magnitude smaller than the gaps between the fabric of a mask. You might as well wear a chain link fence.

      Efficacy at protecting others has not been established in any high quality randomised control trial.

      Follow the science

      N95/ FFP2 masks do seem to work reasonably well.

    4. GD and Unknown, I'm not going to debate the nonsense. Believe what you want to believe. Go live in Canada.

      It's an interesting story, but of very little practical value. There have been Jews occasionally fooled by imposters since the days of the Gibeonites, through Eldad Ha-Dani, to Shabsi Tzvi, to today. It happens, its part of life. Only Prof. Slifkin - again, because it fuels his delusions - would possibly think this was "disturbing" and "accepted...because it played into a narrative that appealed to them." כל הפוסל, במומו פוסל

    5. To The Hat ....when you consider the diameter of a virus is at least an order of magnitude smaller than the gaps between the fabric of a mask. You might as well wear a chain link fence.

      It's not the diameter of the virus, it is the diameter of the particles containing the virus. The did a trial with hamsters that used the same fabric over cages - that was more a curtain than a mask and it was found to reduce the incidence by some 50% (80% if the curtain was over both cages. These measures, including ventilation and staying home if feeling sickis, when carried out on a large scale, have to have some effect, because the incidence of flu and colds is much lower - something the public health "experts" did not predict - in fact they very publicly worried about flu on top of Covid

      >> Efficacy at protecting others has not been established in any high quality randomised control trial.

      But that doesn't mean anything, except that they wanted trials for everything else.

  3. How cool is that! I heard him lecture and still have a few copies of his booklet "A Guide to the Misled". I remember the Archbishop of Canterbury story, but the booklet only mentions a Doctor of Divinity at Liverpool U. It is devoted to debunking Christian missionary talking points, plus a bit about antisemitism in the NT and a couple of pages about parallels between the accounts of Jesus and figures like Buddha, Krishna, Dionysus...

  4. Why do you write 1970's , 1980,s and 2000's? Shouldn't it be 1970s,1980s,2000s and so on?

    1. Putting in the apostrophe has been a popular strategy for pluralizing numbers for a long time, kinda to "bridge" between the number and the letter. You are probably right that it is indeed more correct to to leave it out. We should probably encourage people to leave it out, if only to stem the epidemic of apostrophes in ordinary plural words ("any question's please call" for example...)

    2. You are perfectly right,Yosef R!

  5. I have known a number of converts to Judaism. They all wished to leave their previous lives firmly behind them.


    This is not my experience. Some have indeed wanted to sever all connections with their pasts. Others maintain good relationships with their families. One convert I know had a Christian minister as a relative who performed his civil marriage; the cleric later attended the chuppah.

  6. I went to Mr. Golding's institute once in the 1990s (some time from 1993-1995). He asked me if I could get a certain book, I believe it was called ספר הויכוחים. I couldn't get that book, but I did manage to buy a pamphlet called ילקוט הויכוחים, which was an anthology taking some of the material from the larger ספר הויכוחים. The book is a collection of the various polemics that the Rishonim said against Christians, such as the Ramban's debate against Pablo Christiani, and material from the Rabbi David Kimchi and his father, Rabbi Yosef Kimchi.

    But doesn't it seem a bit strange, that someone would spend so much time disputing Christianity, only to be a closet missionary himself?

    I was told that missionaries themselves would attend Mr. Golding's lectures--either for entertainment, or דע מה שתשיב, l'havdil--to know what arguments to avoid, because the logical holes in them are too glaring.

  7. I think that I heard him speak in Jerusalem in 1989, when I was on a one year Bnei Akiva program. Although he had toned down his presentation from what is described here, he was an entertaining speaker.

    From what I remember, he described himself as a former Pastor and street preacher who would stand outside cinemas in England calling on people to repent. Eventually he started to question some Christian doctrine, and either converted to Judaism or discovered that he was really Jewish (I don't remember which), and set up the Institute of Biblical Polemics where he worked to combat missionaries.

    A big chunk of his presentation was pointing out places where Christians deliberately mis-read the Bible, such as the claim that the Messiah would be born from a Virgin.

    I don't remember him describing himself as a Rabbi, he did not wear a black hat or jacket, just a kipa, and I don't think that he mentioned any Holocaust Stories, such as described here.

    I think that I took some of the handouts he offered, partially because I knew someone in New Zealand who had become interested in a Missionary organization and I wanted to read up on the best way to open a dialog with that person.

    A quick Google search for his name found a copy of a pamphlet he wrote that says that he dies in 2010.

  8. Thanks for the comments (so far). Over the years, Golding spun many, many stories about himself, and invented many qualifications and degrees. Sometimes he “converted”; sometimes he “discovered” he was really Jewish; he claimed he was a “Rabbi Dr.” - I have a printed letterhead of his with those titles - and later dropped the claims. He did not have a degree from Liverpool. When he arrived in J-m he adopted a Haredi identity. In later years he swapped it for a RWZ image, dropped the black hat/black suit and wore a thick knitted kippah srugah. Interestingly, his description of himself as a “street preacher” is close to the truth. He was associated with an extreme Evangelical group who travelled around the UK in an old double-decker bus. I have a photo of him and the bus (somewhere!). The puzzle of the man is, of course, exactly that he campaigned against Christianity when he was himself a fake - but see my explanation of that! He was knowledgeable about early Christianity and Bible. Finally - Melech - I perhaps should have written that the converts I know generally distance themselves from Christianity/Christian scriptures- not from their families etc. there are, of course, exceptions. A Jerusalem scholar I knew - long deceased - was married to a former Irish Catholic, who came from a large family. Several of her siblings were nuns and priests. When her family visited Jerusalem, my friend enjoyed accompanying her sisters around J-m, in full nuns habits, and introducing them as “My sisters-in-Law”.
    .- Paul Shaviv

  9. I remember hearing Shmuel Golding speak in 1083 at Aish HaTorah where he pointed out the fallacies of Christianity as well told over as his life story. He basically blasted Christianity, and therefore I find it hard to swallow he believed himself to be the Anti-Christ

  10. WTH? What is your point here?

    I don't know Golding's history to verify his life story, but so much of the rest of the article is bogus.

    There isn't any missionary threat? In Israel especially there are a tremendous amount of missionaries, both overt and covert. They have their own online directories listing the hundreds of congregations, outreach orgs, and messianic run businesses.... and hundreds of websites dedicated to converting Jews. TO say it's all hype for fundraising is absurd.

    Geesh - look up One for Israel, Chosen People Ministries, Maoz Israel, FIRM, Tikkun International, First Fruits of Zion, Global Gateway, Morning Star Ministries... the list goes on and on.

    And your view of his teaching and it's purpose is way off. He wasn't teaching the general Jewish population. Most anti-missionaries state that a strong JEWISH education is the answer. He was teaching those interested in pursuing the work of countering missionaries and exit counseling (how to bring Jews out of the church). It was primarily those in the counter missionary field that subscribed to his work.

    1. Agree. I even saw some aliyah- oriented video on the web with an all female chorus. Looked very strange, since they appeared somewhat frum with their hair partially covered, but then, how and why would frum women be singing in a chorus in a music video or in a live show before men? Problem. Solution? The credits revealed they were a gospel-singing group in Israel.

      It's gotta be sad to be a part of a religion whose chief expositor flatly announces that to the Jew he comes as a Jew, and as a pagan to the pagans, so as to win any souls he can.

  11. A friend once pointed out to me that the Orthodox world seems to need BT and ger stories, because there are a lot of Orthodox Jews out there who aren't quite sure they're doing the right thing and need an example of someone who took it on voluntarily to validate themselves, so to speak. In these cases, and also those of "lost tribes," there's also an element of "We may be small, but we have hidden reserves to call on, like millions of Togolese ready to make aliyah, preferably over the Green Line!"

    In this specific case, don't rule out that this guy may have been a fanatic Protestant out to attack, or get Jews to attack local Christians, very few of whom are Protestant (and very few of whom attempt to convert Jews).

    By the way, this story is much more common than a few examples. A friend who works at the Jewish Agency tells me that they regular get people wanting to make aliyah who are really Christians out to be undercover missionaries. The shlichim are trained to sniff these people out, but some get through, particularly if they take a charedi cover and bypass them. You see this on Facebook all the time, by the way, obvious religious Christians complaining that the evil State of Israel won't let them make aliyah.

    I have some personal acquaintance with some of these people. I know of at least two "shuls" in central Jerusalem that are really Jews for Jesus locations and have met their members, who casually talk about their shul and rabbi and davening without openly mentioning that it's all about Jesus. I know it sounds conspiratorial, but I have first-hand knowledge that at least sometimes there have been secret networks of these people.

    The pitiful part is that they are, by and large, losers in life who never convert a single Jew either.

  12. These stories are exceedingly strange (as are the personalities they involve, obviously).

    I too have to question, what exactly is the “endgame” for these crackpots? I know that Mr. Shaviv speculates in his post above that this guy Golding was trying to “actively stok[e] the conflict between Jews and Christians in Jerusalem” (for apocalyptic reasons?), but what about this guy Michael Elk (“Elkohen”... eye-roll) who was recently unmasked, and his supposed “sleeper cell”?

    Regarding 2 other members of that “cell”, a missionary organization—disavowing their membership—is quoted in the Jewish Chronicle: “If they are secret missionaries, they are incredibly inept and unsuccessful at proselytising. We don’t know of any Jews that have become Christians ... because of [them].”

  13. I knew shmeel, he was a harmless soul. Never did I think he was a missionary nor did he ever preach xtian beliefs. His lectures and courses were curiosities more than anything else. It was exciting even to sometimes hear him debate christian believers who would attend his lectures. I am sure the Almighty has found an appropriate place for him up there, or down under. May his soul find rest.

    1. I also had that impression of him. Many of the lectures at his institute were against Holocaust denial as well--which is a good thing.

      I'm not so bothered about the possibility that he "made up" credentials. I've encountered other people who have done similar things, to gain an air of respectability. I think his institute did good work, overall. That's what matters.

    2. He was not a “conventional model” missionary, any more than the French Hill group. But he had a Christian agenda, however twisted. In later years he was much quieter; but in the 1980’s he courted publicity, was extremely aggressive, and spread lies. We can disagree about people who make up false credentials, and whether that matters or not.....

  14. Christian missionaries are everywhere in Israel some masquerading as genuine members of the tribe. Unfortunately,there are also a number of Jewish Israelis who 'believe' in Yoshke and have a low-key way of insinuating that belief into their day-to-day dealings with others. There is one in particular on FB who is a very active defender of Israel and has thousands of followers.

  15. When I was a kibbutz volunteer in 1986, I spoke with a "Messianic Jew" who led a local evangelical small group in the nearby town. He was an older man, a British naval officer who settled in Israel after his retirement. He said that several years before he and several others in his group attended a talk by Golding. He said that what stood out about Golding was mocking and denigrating attitude toward Christianity -- for example he referred to the trinity as "Dadio, Sonio, and Spook" (for Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). I think he said that when one of his group confronted Golding with some pointed questions, that he seemed stunned and unable to reply. His "take" was that Golding was a fake -- likely someone who used to be deeply involved in the Christian ministry, and that something had "burned" him -- embittered and alienated him, leading him to want revenge on that world by converting to Judaism, and putting his energy into mocking and belittling his former faith. It was just his impression from what he saw, but it makes sense, as Golding's demeanor stands out in contrast to that of other "counter-missionaries" (e.g. Shmuely Boteach) that I know about.


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