Missionaries in Flatbush Approaching and Preaching to Children


missionariesDear Editor,

On Friday, Erev Yom Tov, two individuals were found preaching Jews for J—– and giving out pamphlets with the same to children in Flatbush. This occurred on East 7th and Avenue N. The older  enough to tear up the pamphlets and the younger children ran and told me about it.

I tore up the remaining pamphlets that they had, threw it back at them, made them clean it up, made it clear to them that Jews are not interested in their garbage and to head back to Pennsylvania (the car that seemed to be theirs had Pennsylvania plates and they were Amish looking). They did not resist and ‘seemed’ to have left, although they may just be planning on going somewhere else with less attention and resistance.

That is why I am writing this to get the word out to all fellow Yidden to be on the lookout and to remind your children to never even listen to strangers, surely not to take anything from strangers, not even something as ‘seemingly’ harmless as paper (the pamphlets said, “The Way of G-d”). They were small 4″x4″ or so in size, multi-page pamphlets, made simple and attractive and seemed designed specifically for children. That is what is most alarming.

I notified Shomrim of the incident. I also spoke to the police who believe it is legal but were more than willing to send a car around if the individuals reappeared. Strange adults should not be speaking to children for any reason.

A friend of mine thought that it might be illegal to preach religion to minors. I called the Agudah today and spoke to someone in the legal department who was going to look into that question and get back to me.

Please post so we can all help each other protect the future of Klal Yisroel. Any feedback on the law would be helpful.

Kol tuv,



  1. “and they were Amish looking”

    Yeah, with a car? Did they really have long beards? C’mon, there are tens of tousands xtian denominations and you davka picked out the one that almost positively didn’t do this…

  2. so? welcome to the world. i grew up in a neighborhood with a tiny frum commnuty and we encountered these people on a regular basis.
    j’s for j, j-witnesses, even christians who looked like frum jews who were doing the equivalent of what we would call “kiruv” and outreach to lost souls.
    BH we were taught by experience the tools to deal with these peopel and it gave us street smarts and intelligence and knowlege of certina ploys and key facts beyond what we would learn in the yeshiva system.

    So now its relevant because it wasi n your daled amos? what do you think your kids will have to deal with when they becom investment bankers and actuaries?

  3. Avrohom,

    Thank you for your efforts in seeing to maintaining the moral and ethical purity in our children. However, according to your assertion that what they are doing is illegal, it would be just as illegal for people to take to the streets for kiruv purposes. Certainly, kiruv especially in today’s day and age is invaluable in the work that it does towards reclaiming the wayward youth. Perhaps we’d be better off educating our children, seeing to it that they cannot be vulnerable to fall prey to these missionaries who themselves no nothing other than a few passages that they are taught to perform their missionary work with.

  4. They may have been from PA, but I’m sure they were not Amish.

    Amish do not proselytize and if they did, it wouldn’t be for J for J.

  5. does it scare you (us? klall yisrael)
    that our children might actually think?
    might actually increase their emunah?
    (that sound you heard was a bunch of people reading this and grasping for air)
    This might spark your child to ask “why do we wear tzitizs Aba” Or why we say Shmea Yisarel abba,or what’s this whole shabbos thing…or so on. Someone insecure in his emunah, and torah education system, is fearful of a child, or any age individual, being prompted with difficult questions, and not ahving answers and then pushing these kids/people off the derech…you really think trying to suppress reality your child is going to come out fine?? Spend 10 minutes with your child discussing OUR belief’s and our tradtions, and you’ll have nothing to fear from any other relgion. remember, the torah never assured christianty, for christans or islam for muslisms.

  6. if you guys actually fear of your emuna from some missionaries then your emuna to begin with was hardly there . you are exposed to more issues by walking into walmart or walking the streets

  7. It seems to me that the reason this is mentioned all together is because these J for J people had the AUDASITY to walk into a seriously jewish neighbourhood, where without doubt many people know alot about their heritage and study it feavertly, and do what i like to call ‘thow an Amelakite'(jumping into the hot water). It is obnoxious and a desperate attempt at preaching to the vunrable and gullable who are still growing in their knowlege and are still ill equipt to deal with these occurances. Torah centers are there to forfeight jews so that LATER when the comfront these shekarim they will be able to laugh it off.

  8. To #6

    Not exactly. My cousin was approached, about a year ago, by a J for J.

    They asked him, How could you believe in Chazal, if they thought that the sun goes over sky during the night, and the moon is like fire with its own light, and that in the winter it gets cold because the sun gets covered with a blanket of ice.

    None of his Rebbes were able to help him.

  9. Sol, #11,
    Nothing doing my friend. I’m a simple yid
    No where near a rebbi
    And can tell you in this weeks Torah portion
    In the medrash I believe
    It says clearly that the chachamim knew
    That the moon only reflects light
    And you other comments… Where does chazal say it?

    Sounds like you got a problem on you hands sol

  10. To Sol, I’m sorry about your friend. I think he (and probably you) should find someone to answer those questions. Just because there wasn’t a satsifactory answer given to him doesn’t mean there isn’t one. His rebeim should have done their homework to find an answer to placate him.

    Another possibility is that he didn’t want to hear the answer.
    These missionaries look to trip the Jews with their questions and take things out of context. There are a lot more questions to ask about their religion that we could make them stumble a lot quicker.

  11. #8, btw, its audacity. and you think brooklyn is the first? see the articles recently when they were all over central avenue, the heart of the frum 5 towns.

  12. Avraham is obviously upset that the missionaries chose the location in the heart of Flatbush. These missionaries do very poor scouting jobs.

    Baruch Hashem there are no laws in America prohibiting expressing religious beliefs, reading aloud from a religious text in a public square, or handing out religious literature (as long as they don’t request a fee).

    I am suprised that many people take this lightly or as some type of joke.
    First, as I wrote, any strange person approaching any children should alarm any decent parent or person.
    Second, for those who say (more or less) that this is not an issue, or it “makes street smarts” post 2, “better off educating our children” post 3, “that our children might actually think?” post 6
    “might actually increase their emunah” post 6, “Someone insecure in his emunah” post 6, “you guys actually fear of your emuna” post 7, then let me remind you, this was many CHILDREN as young as 5,7 9,10 years old. From your posts you seem to imply that this is healthy for them. How sad your spirtual state of affairs must be if this doesnt alarm you. Children that young should be ‘sheltered” from such garbage. Send your kids out into the sewer so they can “learn” what it smells like but I’ll keep mine away and I’ll help others who care, to do the same.
    Chazal say that an adult should not hear such kifirah none the less a pure child.
    Next, with all the creeps in the world who says these guys were really out for just preaching. Too many kids L’A disappear in America (there is a text going around today that a 13 yr old girl is missing in Brooklyn and my wifes friend says she verified it cause she knows the family).
    I spoke to these guys and they seemed liked the wierdest poeple you ever spoke to like zombies or on drugs or both. You think that people like that should be hanging out with your kids in your neighborhood or even approaching them. Maybe if you met them as I did you would understand.
    Last I said they were AMISH LOOKING. I didnt say they were amish. I was describing them casue the pictures I took could not be uploaded to matzav, (the picture posted is a file photo, it has nothing to do with the story. These guys looked like Amish as much as you can imagine, but again thats a physical description not a religous affliation description.
    for post number 8, I am glad to see that someone out there still has sense.

  14. #5, exactly what is your comment supposed to mean? Would you write what you did, if the missionary activity happened somewhere outside of Flatbush? Why do you call yourself Truth?

    It sounds like you’re anti-Flatbush or anti-Brooklyn. There are 4 words for people like you – Sinas Chinom and Loshon Hora.

    If a Jew is concerned about missionary activity in his neighborhood and is warning people to watch out for it, why does that warrant a nasty comment?

  15. Right on, #18, Avrohom!

    #2, you wrote, “j’s for j, j-witnesses, even christians who looked like frum jews who were doing the equivalent of what we would call ‘kiruv’ and outreach to lost souls.”

    Kiruv is done by Jews to help other Jews become more Torah-observant.

    Jews are FORBIDDEN to do “outreach” to have non-Jews convert to becoming Jews. As a matter of fact, the conversion process to becoming a Jew is made NOT easy.

    So how can you compare Kiruv to Christian missionary activity?

  16. To # 12

    Your approach can be quiet dangerous, because you are citing a Medrash, and no such Medrash ever existed.

    The fact is that the since the Chazal believed that, during the night, the sun travels from west to east, above the blanket we call sky,, the moon Has to have its own light. The moon is like the sun in a small version.

    Most Rabbonim agree to the approach, to tell the children that, not knowing modern knowledge, does not make them any smaller.

  17. To: Question

    Yes, there is a Pirkeh Dreb Eliezer, that the sun has one side covered by ice, and during the winter, the sun rotates so that the side of the ice is facing us.

    All Meforshim are Mitchuning with this, because if this so, then why does the Equator retain the same temperature year round.

  18. 21, vovly, you called my bluff , as I said I’m a layman,
    Your right it’s not a medrash, it was from a Sefer written
    In the style of a contemperary medrash mid 1600 I belwive
    Anyhow, he quotes the levush ( commentary on orach Chaim
    And he quotes a rabbanu bachaya. I’m sure they’ll quote you
    A more proper source, but it’s definatly a concept found in Torah
    it could be in the start when the moon and sun were the same size
    It radiated it’s own life, but that is my personal opinion, which needs

  19. 22 not to be a pain, I’m sure it’s quick where is that PD”E??
    18. Not to be rude, but you didn’t answer any kashas on you.
    So I’m not sure I should respond to your, whatever you call your response.
    If you worried about suspicious people in the area, agreed, no child should be kidnapped but don’t relate that to people handing out flyers or preaching.
    In my neibourhood , chanadniks are handing out flyers, which are / hhave Torah in them, but also have other ideas and opinions which I don’t subscribe to. Based on what you say, and what you say the chachamim say, we must shelter our children from this? How far does your ban go?? Shelter them from mishnnayos too?? This is a big bag I just opened up, but well turn it over to hear opinions first. So is the chanad flyer on the same level r”l as other peoples flyers? C”S.

  20. Technically, according to the First Amendment, they are not violating anything anymore than Jews preaching to other Jews to be observant. However, the more flyers you can pick up from these missionaries and get rid of them from anyone’s sight, the better, so at least a few less Jews will be exposed to this spiritual garbage.

  21. I only read the first few comments and i was TOTALLY horrified! Who do all u ppl think u r?! Thank u Avraham for letting us “sheltered adn in the box flatbushers” Know about what is going on. I happen to live around the corner and DO NOT want those freaky dangerous ppl talkin to any of the kids that I know! If allu ‘Cool and wordly” “Out of towners” have no issue with missionaries talkin to ur kids Just keep ur mouths shut and let those of us who ARE yirei shamayimtake care of our business!

  22. The issue isn’t about missionaries. It’s about strange people approaching our children, no matter what their intentions are. Danger is not only from missionaries. It can come from those who don’t care about religion at all.

    Regarding the tactic that our sages were not proficient in science, keep in mind that the Torah is not a science textbook. Questions asked to rabbanim that required science to answer them was based on the prevailing scientific opinion of the times, based on the Greeks. Do our rabbanim spend their days with scientific experiments? Our science today is based on the world in general’s discoveries.

    The Torah is about belief in the Eibishter. The science issue is to the side. The state of science in another hundred years (Moshiach shall be here by then!) would make this century look as equally ignorant as that of the Greeks.

    So if a missionary asks that, here you go. Although there is no need to dignify a missionary with a response, or scream at them to get out of town (that shows a feeling of being threatened, religiously by their presence, encouraging them to return). One can ask them to not approach young, easily frightened children out of consideration to their parents, or the police will have to be contacted.

  23. And as for the police saying it was legal, I think not. Police do not take children being approached by strangers lightly.

    However, a missionary is allowed, probably, to proselytize to adults.

    Don’t tell the officer, “There are missionaries around,” rather say, “Strange people are handing out things and insist on speaking to our children.”

  24. #19 How would these missionaries like it if we sent out some Lubavitcher Shlichim to the streets of their Pennsylvania town with pamphlets? I wonder what their reaction would be? I’m sure the town would personally drive them out of town and give them some souvenirs to bring back, if you know what I mean. The trouble is that we are not as organized as they are and that’s where they get the chutzpah to come to our town.