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DU latest stop for cleric out to aid the 'victimized'

By Jean Torkelson
Rocky Mountain News  Religion Writer

 

The Rev. Reuben Drebenstedt of Denver is out to win the hearts of the Jewish people

and Rabbi Tovia Singer couldn't be more upset.

 

   The two have collided over Jews to Jesus Christ, a movement with both national and biblical proportions that is causing a stir at the University of Denver.

 

   "In a sense, they're saying Judaism is defective. They have the right to do that, but the problem is, they're being deceptive," Singer complains.  The New Jersey rabbi was on campus in late April to speak against so-called Messianic Judaism, a movement that Singer says has won over 200,000 Jews worldwide. For 15 years, Singer's full-time job has been saving Jews from being "victimized" by what he calls Hebrew Christianity. He says Christian fundamentalists have allocated more than $150 million to convert Jews.

 

    "Apparently you can be a Jew and believe in anything except Jesus", retorts Drebenstedt, the founder of MENORAH-Menorah Ministries-.  It's one of several groups around the country actively seeking to convert Jews.

 

   In 1994, Drebenstedt filed a lawsuit in Denver District Court after DU refused to allow his group to dispense materials, while allowing distribution by a dozen other religious organizations, including Jews, Catholics, Mormons and the Bahai faith.  The suit charged that DU is a public accommodation and is obligated to grant all religious groups the same access. It was settled out of court last November.

 

   There are at least two national umbrella groups representing about 150 Messianic congregations, according to a spokeswoman for the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America, based near Philadelphia.  The largest congregation in Denver is Roeh Israel, which has about 400 people attending regularly says co-pastor William Berg, who converted from Judaism about 12 years ago.

 

   Although Jews may be found in leadership positions, Singer believes he knows who's really behind the movement: "the Christian-right. - the Evangelical, born-again Christians throughout the world"

 

Above Reprinted article was on page 4 of the Rocky Mt. News newspaper,

 Denver, Colorado on May 6, 1996.


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