Thousands of evangelical Christians are turning to Jewish educators in pursuit of “authentic Torah teaching,” reports Haaretz.
Through online or brick-and-mortar facilities in the Holy Land, Jewish teachers, including Orthodox rabbis, are part of a growing number of initiatives.
“It’s become a phenomenon,” Rivkah Lambert Adler, an Orthodox-Jewish educator, told Haaretz. “What we’re seeing is a profound hunger and thirst among Christians for authentic Torah teaching.”
Haaretz said Lambert Adler, who published a book on the subject last year called “Ten From the Nations: Torah Awakening Among Non-Jews,” said many evangelicals “see the Jewish people as leaders in Bible scholarship and as individuals who are able to open the door to a better understanding of the Hebraic roots of their own faith.”
One of the first ventures of its kind, Root Source, was launched in April 2014 by Gidon Ariel, an Orthodox Jew, and Bob O’Dell, a Christian philanthropist and high-tech entrepreneur.
Online subscribers to Root Source can access prerecorded lectures on topics such as biblical Hebrew, women in the Bible, Jewish prayer, the Holy Temple, God, Moses and the Book of Proverbs.
One of the most popular courses, Haaretz said, is “Islam – Insights and Deceptions.” According to a blurb, the class “uses scriptures from the Old Testament and occasionally even the New Testament to make the case that Islam is extremely dangerous.”
The newest Christian yeshiva in Israel is Align With Zion, which will provide both online and live lectures on topics such as the fulfillment of biblical prophecy, Hebrew language, the Jewish festivals and the centrality of Jerusalem in the biblical narrative.
Founder AnaRina Heymann says there is “a genuine and growing wave of interest from pro-Israel Christians, and we have a responsibility to respond and engage through the common ground of biblical narrative – which in turn provides them with advocacy tools to stand with us against the growing wave of anti-Semitism in the world.”
Lambert Adler estimates that “a few thousand” Christians have participated in classes offered by this new crop of yeshivas now open to them. The only hindrance to growth, she said, is the lack of qualified and available teachers.
She acknowledged that Orthodox Jews in general tend to be “very defensive about Christians.”
“We tend not to trust them, we tend to think they have a missionizing agenda 100 percent of the time, and we tend to want them to just leave us alone,” she said.