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November 08, 1985 - Image 48

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-11-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

48

Friday, November 8, 1985

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

GARY R. MILLER &
ASSOCIATES

NEWS

Zionist Group In Japan
Has 50,000 Members

"Photography with a personal touch"

SPECIALIZING IN:
• VIDEO TAPING
• CANDID
• FAMILY PORTRAITS • ENGAGEMENTS

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BY RABBI BERNARD S. RASKAS

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Some 150 Japanese teens recently planted Jewish National Fund
trees in the Makuya forest in Jerusalem.

When I was recently. in Tokyo,
the first conversation I had was
in Hebrew. It was with Dr.
Akiva Jindo, the head of the
Makuya Bible Institute.
Makuya is a Japanese-Christian
sect that is theologically and
actively pro-Zionist. They now
have 50,000 members through-
out Japan, but mostly in Tokyo.
Makuya is a Japanese word and
is a translation of the Hebrew
phrase ohel moeid (tabernacle).
The founder of the sect was
Prof. Abraham Ikuro Teshima.
In 1948 he had a religious ex-
perience at Mt. Aso and his phi-
losophy began to evolve: It is
simply that history is directed
by God as shown mostly in the
Torah and somewhat in the New
Testament. According to him, its
purpose is to restore Israel to its
land.
In 1967, when Jerusalem was
reunited, Prof. Teshima took
this as a divine sign that God's
word was being confirmed. To
quote him directly: "When the
news of the liberation of the
whole of Jerusalem reached us,
our hearts leaped for joy, our
blood stirred within us."
Prof. Teshima's words were
backed by action. He established
a relationship with Kibbutz
Heftsi-Bah and hundreds of
members of Makuya have lived
there to learn Hebrew. When
the Lod massacre occurred the
Makuya donated an ambulance
to Magen David Adorn. In No-
vember 1975, when the United
Nations declared that "Zionism
was Racism," 3,000 Makuya
marched in downtown Tokoy
proclaiming that Japan had dis-
honored itself with its affirma-
tive vote. They they collected a
petition of protests with 37,000
signatures and presented it to
the Secretary General of the
United Nations. During the
lifetime of Teshima and after
his death, the Makuya have
sponsored countless group visits
to Israel, sometimes numbering
400 people.
But, when I visited one of
their assemblies in Tokyo with
my wife, we were hardly pre-
pared for the experience. The

room was overflowing with
people. They were all sitting
with their legs folded under
them in the Oriental squat posi-
tion, barefoot, having left their
shoes in the hallway. In a side
room, a teacher was instructing
teenagers in a lesson based on
Isaiah's verse: "Nation shall not
lift sword against nation." The
rapt attention seen in the
teenagers' faces would be the
envy of any teacher in an
American classroom. -
In yet another room the ac-
tivities in the main assembly
hall were shown on closed cir-
cuit TV for the benefit of
mothers with infants.
We returned to the prayer-
meeting and were formally es-
corted to the front platform. As
we walked down the aisle, hun-
dreds of Japanese were singing
with wild enthusiasm "Heveinu
Shalom Aleichem."
When we sat down, I saw
large Japanese signs. Dr. Jindo
told me one sign contained the
words of God's promise to Ab-
raham as recorded in the Book
of Genesi.: "I will give this land
to you and your offspring
forever." On the other side of
the room was quotation from
Abraham Joshua Heschel, "Just
to be is a blessing. Just to live is
holy."
They asked me to speak. First
I spoke in Hebrew with no
translation, and was amazed at
the number of people who un-
derstood me. Then I spoke in
English with a Japanese trans-
lator. Afterwards my wife of-
fered greetings. When we con-
cluded, the Makuya sang in per-
fect Hebrew with wild clapping:
"May God bless you from Zion
and may you see the good of
Jerusalem." We were deeply
touched.
We were then introduced to
individuals that we selected at
random. They came from all
walks of life. One was a space
scientist, another a professor of
music, still another owned a
chain of restaurants. There were
many students. It is a represen-
tative movement.

Copyright 1985, WNS-Seven Arts.

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