In recent days, First Fruits of Zion has been featured in Israeli media. News reports have contained some inaccurate, exaggerated, and slanderous accusations. However, they have also contained some important truths that we are proud to accept.
First Fruits of Zion does not conduct covert missionary activity. Our organization and our teachings are well known. Our identity as a Messianic Jewish organization is stated in all our materials. We are open and public about what we do: providing Messianic Jewish teaching to Christians and Jews for over twenty years.
We denounce proselytizing and any deceptive evangelism. Instead, like any movement with an ideology, we engage in discussion and hope that more people will see things our way. Our goal is not to win over converts to our creed but to influence society through reasoned, intellectually honest, and mutually respectful dialogue.
Members of Yad L’achim recently visited our Bram Center pretending to be honest, curious visitors. Our staff members openly explained to the visitors upfront that it is a Messianic Jewish learning center, so there would be no confusion. The Yad L’achim members asked for literature, and our staff members gladly provided it.
Most of our efforts are directed toward Christians. Our goal is to combat Christian anti-Semitism and replacement theology. In our view, eradicating those harmful Christian views requires educating them on the Jewishness of Jesus and the unchanging truth of the Torah.
In contrast to historical Christianity, but in concert with modern scholarship, we believe and teach that Jesus upheld the Torah and God’s unique covenant with the Jewish people. In keeping with this perspective, we promote faithfulness to the Torah and a Jewish lifestyle for all Jewish people, whether they believe in Jesus or not.
As a study center for Messianic Jews, we are officially registered in Israel as a non-profit organization and do not purport to be a yeshiva or synagogue. We have a Torah scroll and occasionally host prayer services for our Messianic Jewish members. Contrary to reports, there is no “Tzemach David” synagogue at the Bram Center; it is just the name embroidered on the parochet that we received as a donation. Messianic Jews are often not welcome in typical synagogues or churches. We are not ashamed to provide a home for them where they can worship in keeping with their convictions.
In a free society, any law-abiding spiritual community has a right to exist, conduct worship services as they see fit, and educate their members on how to live. We are hopeful that Israeli society will not tolerate an attack on the freedom of religion in the most religiously diverse place on earth.
We are not shy or embarrassed about our message to the world, both to Christians and Jews. If you want to know what we really believe and teach, our materials are widely available through our website. We hope that by understanding Jesus as a Jew, we can begin to move past baseless hatred and heal the painful divide between Christians and Jews.
STATEMENT UPDATE (June 1, 2021, 4:57 PM CDT): First Fruits of Zion has no relationship or association whatsoever with Michael Elk.