Dozens of survivors who, with Yad L'Achim's help, have left missionary cults and are returning to traditional Judaism, gathered last Wednesday for a special evening of Torah study.
The participants, all residents from the center of the country who once belonged to cults, including two who were among the leaders of "Messianic Jews," assembled for the first time to learn in a group setting with yeshivah students they had previously learned with one on one.
The sweet sound of their Torah learning filled the Beis Medrash, as dozens of pairs of learners, survivors matched with bachurim, delved into topics chosen by the survivors.
After two hours of intense learning, the participants davened Maariv, some for the first time in their lives. They then adjourned to a luscious banquet, at which they were addressed by Rabbi Shmuel Lipschitz, one of the heads of Yad L'Achim. His inspiring words described the one-and-only truth, that of Judaism and Torah.
A particularly poignant moment came at the end of his talk, when one of the participants, who hadn't yet completely severed his ties with the missionaries, shared his feelings. With tears in his eyes, he said: "I've just decided to cut off all contact with missionaries. The things we heard now from Rabbi Lipschitz answered all of my questions and doubts, one by one. I thank Hashem and thank you for making it possible for me to participate in this extraordinary evening."
Also addressing the event were Rabbi Chanoch Gechtman, head of Yad L'Achim's counter-missionary department, and Rabbi Yoav Robinson, who is responsible for outreach to survivors.
At the conclusion of the evening, one of the participants, a former senior missionary radio broadcaster, asked for the floor. "This evening brought us all to new spiritual heights," he said. "On behalf of all of the participants, I want to ask you to arrange such get-togethers more frequently. Studying Torah in such a clear fashion with these young men, and gathering afterwards to hear such inspiring words, had a profound impact on my Jewish soul."
After the survivors returned home, it was the turn of the yeshivah boys to express their amazement at the unforgettable evening. "If we had not seen this with our own eyes, we wouldn't have believed how a Jew could rise from such depths to such spiritual heights."
Truth only in Judaism. Rabbi Shmuel Lipschitz, one of the heads of Yad L'Achim, addresses participants