Jewish­mu­se­um­books Je­susshow­bymis­take

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY TOBY AX­EL­ROD BER­LIN

IT MIGHT have been a lovely con­cert to cel­e­brate Is­rael’s 60th an­niver­sary — but the Jewish Mu­seum in Ber­lin will not be host­ing it any more.

The mu­seum has an­nounced it will not rent out its au­di­to­rium for a May 4 event fea­tur­ing US pi­anist Sam Rot­man, af­ter learn­ing that the self-de­scribed “Ortho­dox Jew” planned to share not only Mozart, De­bussy and Schu­bert from the stage, but also his spir­i­tual jour­ney to Je­sus.

Ac­cord­ing to the mu­seum’s state­ment, the Ber­lin-based mis­sion­ary con­gre­ga­tion Bet Sar Shalom and the US-based Euro­pean Ini­tia­tive evan­gel­i­cal group had wanted to rent the au­di­to­rium for a con­cert by Mr Rot­man.

“It was not known to us that the con­cert... would also be used for mis­sion­is­ing,” the state­ment read. “Af­ter we dis­cov­ered this, and saw that the Euro­pean Ini­tia­tive had ad­ver­tised this as such on their web­site, we de­cided not to of­fer the Jewish Mu­seum as a lo­ca­tion for the event.”

The EI web­site fea­tured promi­nently the Ber­lin event, say­ing that “Mr Rot­man while raised an Ortho­dox Jewish, came to faith in Yeshua, the Jewish Mes­siah. He will tell his fas­ci­nat­ing story at the con­cert.”

Rot­man’s own web­site says he has been com­bin­ing con­certs with re­li­gious tes­ti­mony for at least 10 years, as part of mis­sion­ary or­gan­i­sa­tion, CrossWorld, based in Penn­syl­va­nia.

A mu­seum spokesman said they had in­formed the mes­sianic con­gre­ga­tion in Ber­lin by email of the de­ci­sion not to rent their fa­cil­ity for the con­cert.

Just how both the Jewish Mu­seum and the Is­raeli Em­bassy lent their lo­gos to the event is un­clear. It ap­pears that each saw the logo of the other on pub­lic­ity ma­te­rial, and trusted the event had been ap­proved. The event poster makes no men­tion of pros­e­lytis­ing. A mu­seum spokesman said they had been in­formed by a Beit Sar Shalom con­tact that the con­cert was on the of­fi­cial list of 60th an­niver­sary events sent out by the Is­raeli Em­bassy. It has since been re­moved.

In­stead of not­ing Mr Rot­man’s re­li­gious trans­for­ma­tion, the pub­lic­ity poster em­pha­sised his iden­tity as an “Ortho­dox Jew”. The con­cert’s co-spon­sor, Euro­pean Ini­tia­tive, is headed by Jeff Se­rio, for­mer di­rec­tor of the Tex­as­based Mes­sianic Jewish Bi­ble In­sti­tute, who has claimed he had a dream that he was to lead a spir­i­tual “Ber­lin airlift”, reach­ing out first to Jews.

Ger­many has seen a ma­jor in­flux of Jews from the for­mer Soviet Union since 1990. In fact, the of­fi­cial Jewish pop­u­la­tion has quadru­pled to more than 120,000. There may be an­other 100,000 who are not mem­bers of con­gre­ga­tions. It is th­ese peo­ple that con­gre­ga­tions like Beit Sar Shalom wish to reach. Re­port­edly, the event in ques­tion was also ad­ver­tised in Rus­sian­lan­guage pa­pers.

The con­gre­ga­tion ded­i­cated its new Mes­sianic Cen­ter in Ber­lin in 2006. Sup­ported by the US-based Cho­sen Peo­ple’s Min­istries, Beit Sar Shalom is led by Vladimir Pik­man, who grew up in a Jewish fam­ily in Ukraine, left the Jewish fold, and ul­ti­mately trained at the Dal­las The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary in Texas. Pik­man has es­ti­mated that there are 2,000 “Jewish be­liev­ers” in Ger­many.

PHOTO: AP

Ber­lin’s Jewish Mu­seum: un­will­ing to host “mis­sion­is­ing” con­cert

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