Coping with Life and Death: Jewish Families in the Twentieth Century

By Peter Y. Medding | Go to book overview

Evangelists in a Strange Land:
American Missionaries in Israel,
1948–1967

Yaakov Ariel
(university of north carolina, chapel hill)

The establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 made a strong impression on American evangelicals, not only enhancing their messianic hopes but inspiring them to devote more energy and manpower to missionary efforts in the newly sovereign state. The American missionary experience in Israel between 1948 and 1967 was in many ways unique. Contrary to all expectations, Christians were allowed to evangelize in the independent Jewish state, but there soon developed a gap between the missions' initial ideals and expectations and their actual modes of activity. Missionaries encountered unparalleled situations and found unprecedented means to carry out their agendas, but in the process found that the ends as well as the means were often transformed.

American missionary endeavors in the Holy Land, motivated by a messianic premillennialist view of Jews and their role in history, had begun as early as the 1820s, when the first American missionaries arrived in what was then called Palestine. Characterized by a more literal reading of the Bible than was the case in mainstream and liberal congregations and adhering to a messianic belief in the second coming of Jesus to establish the kingdom of God on earth, premillennialist evangelicals adopted an appreciative attitude toward the Jewish people, recognizing them as the “historical Israel” and thus heir to the covenant between God and Israel. American missionary attempts of the1820s did not bring about many conversions, and they came to an end after a relatively short period of time. Missionary endeavors in the Holy Land were renewed in the 1850s, and continued throughout the century.

One of the factors encouraging this renewed interest was the spread of dispensationalism, a new school of messianic thinking, in America. Dispensationalists believe that human history is divided into eras, each of which is characterized by a different divine plan that can be derived from the biblical text. 1 The last era is the millennium, the thousand-year reign of Christ on earth, and the present era is believed to be the one before the last. According to this eschatological scheme, the Jews will return to their land “in unbelief”—that is, without having accepted Jesus as their savior—and will establish a sovereign state there. When the events of the end of this era begin, the Jews will suffer a period of turmoil, known as “the time of Jacob's trouble. ” 2 The

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Coping with Life and Death: Jewish Families in the Twentieth Century
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Studies in Contemporary Jewry *
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Symposium - Coping with Life and Death: Jewish Families in the Twentieth Century *
  • The Place of Ethnic Identity in the Development of Personal Identity: A Challenge for the Jewish Family 3
  • Notes *
  • Marriage, Americanization and American Jewish Culture, 1900–1920 27
  • Notes *
  • Making Fragmentation Familiar: Barry Levinson's Avalon 49
  • Notes *
  • The Economics of Contemporary American Jewish Family Life 65
  • Notes *
  • Children of Intermarriage: How “jewish”? 81
  • Notes *
  • What Happened to the Extended Jewish Family? Jewish Homes for the Aged in Eastern Europe 128
  • Notes *
  • Cohesion and Rupture: the Jewish Family in East European Ghettos During the Holocaust 143
  • Notes *
  • The “family-Community” Model in Haredi Society 166
  • Notes *
  • We Are All One Bereaved Family: Personal Loss and Collective Mourning in Israeli Society 178
  • Notes *
  • Essays *
  • Evangelists in a Strange Land: American Missionaries in Israel, 1948–1967 195
  • Notes *
  • Balfour's Mission to Palestine: Science, Strategy and Vision in the Inauguration of the Hebrew University 214
  • Notes 228
  • Review Essays *
  • Vichy and the Jews: A Past That is Not Past 235
  • Notes *
  • Mastering the Middle East: Israel in a Regional Context 250
  • Examining the Oslo Process: A First Cut 256
  • Notes *
  • Book Reviews *
  • Antisemitism, Holocaust and Genocide 265
  • Notes *
  • Notes *
  • History and the Social Sciences 281
  • Notes *
  • Notes *
  • Notes *
  • Language, Literature and the Arts 307
  • Notes 309
  • Notes *
  • Religion, Thought and Education 325
  • Notes *
  • Zionism, Israel and the Middle East 339
  • Notes 349
  • Recently Completed Doctoral Dissertations 351
  • Studies in Comtemporary Jewry XV 360
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