A special Yad L'Achim team was flown to Ukraine during the Rosh Hashana season to counter members of the Christian cult "Messianic Jews" who had arrived in the city with missionary material in Hebrew.
Calls to Yad L'Achim over the past two years indicated that cult members were targeting Uman during the Rosh Hashana period, distributing flyers in areas where Jews were known to congregate and setting up a booth designed to attract innocent Jewish passersby and engage them in arguments about religion as a means of getting them to convert.
Learning from past experience, Yad L'Achim dispatched a team to Uman a few days before Rosh Hashana, which plastered the city with notices inviting anyone who had been accosted by a missionary to contact them.
As Yad L'Achim heads expected, the special team encountered widespread activity. "In some cases, activists who patrolled the city gathered up missionary material in Hebrew that had been scattered in places that attracted large Jewish crowds. In others, activists responded to calls phone into a local hot line number," said a member of the organization's counter missionary department.
Department heads expressed satisfaction that the team's activities forced the missionaries to go underground, distributing their materials surreptitiously. They also gave up on setting up a booth aimed at converting Jews.
Yad L'Achim officials noted last week that the events at Uman proved the chutzpah of the missionaries. "It's unbelievable that even in a place where tens of thousands of Jews come to daven on Rosh Hashana, the missionaries have the gall to disturb them with nonsense and try to get them to convert out of their religion," said one. "We pray that the coming year should be the year in which we merit to fulfil the goal of 'eliminating idols from the land.' "
Missionary material distributed at the Pushkina square in Uman