Spark United

Spark United
Michaela Lawson

With Ashira Yosefah

Menorah Books / 172 pages

Spark United is the heartfelt and personal presentation of a journey from fundamentalist Christian to orthodox Jew. The author tells it as it is, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Whether the topic is phony rabbis and batei din, or the evil schemes of fundamentalist Christian groups trying to penetrate into the Jewish community, there are “no holds barred” in this very moving diary type reader.

From social ostracisation to phony batei din, and doubts whether the decision to convert is the right one, Spark United shares with use the Ruthian process that those who leave the fundamental Christian world are forced to face. Nevertheless, the book is distinct from most others of this genre as it is written by a Christian insider who became Jewish; it is not the story of a ba’al teshuva who became frum. Make no mistake, there are tremendous differences between the two, they are two very different journeys. For example, fundamentalist Christians come to Judaism with a thorough knowledge of the Bible, along with a pre-existing belief in God and intention to observe His commandments, which is generally not the case with ba’alei teshuva. So too, from both a religious and social perspective, the conversion process of a secular gentile would be different, as well.

Culminating with several other personal stories of converts from fundamentalist Christian backgrounds, including a nightmare account on the “challenges” of converting in Israel, the book is an easy read, with most chapters being only 2 or 3 pages. It is required reading for Christians considering conversion, and it is certainly recommended reading for the rest of us.[1]

(As an aside, I remain of the opinion that there are a number of fundamentalist Christian-Zionist groups who do not proselytize or attempt to “infiltrate” the community. Yes, I am well aware that they would love us to accept Jesus, and they believe that we are going to hell for not accepting him, but as mentioned, there are some who have dropped proselytization from their agenda. Nevertheless, as long as Jesus doesn’t get in the way, I feel that we should work with such groups for the benefit of Israel and the Jewish community. I’m not sure if the authors would agree with me.)

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[1] Erratum: On p.71, on a discussion of the mikva, it is implied that most observant men go to the mikva every Friday, and that there may be a mitzva to do so. This is incorrect. Weekly immersion in a mikva is practiced by a small minority, and it is only a custom. The only time when a man –might- be required to immerse in a mikva is Erev Yom Kippur.

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