Nov 7, 2017
Italian Woman's Deathbed Wish
Illustration photo by Gable Denims

2 Christian missionaries courted an Italian Jewish woman to abandon her faith - but her deathbed wish gave them a final blow.

By COLlive staff

Last year, a phone call was made to the Yad L'Achim organization concerning a Jewish woman in her 70s who had begun to believe in Christianity.

The caller, who delivers a regular Torah class in Dimona, was told by one of the participants about a neighbor who had immigrated from Italy and was being visited by missionaries from the J's Witnesses cult.

These missionaries were taking advantage of her difficulties acclimating to a new country to forge a close relationship.

"They visit her home regularly and preach to her," the concerned neighbor revealed. "Recently, they even gave her a copy of the 'New Testament,' plus other missionary material in Italian."

Yad L'Achim responded by sending an Italian-speaking activist to the woman's home, to develop a connection with her and offer spiritual counsel that could serve as a counter to what she was hearing from the missionaries.

The new immigrant, Sofia (a pseudonym), was most welcoming to the Yad L'Achim activist. After a few meetings, she confided that the only ones who had taken an interest in her since her arrival in the country were those two missionary women. They would visit her home regularly with fresh pastries and showed her lots of warmth and love.

It turns out that the missionaries, themselves Jews who converted out while still in Italy, had been paying Sofia weekly visits for more than a year and had become her close friends.

Sofia, in her innocence, revealed that they had been pressuring her of late to join the church and convert out of Judaism.

Despite the entreaties of the Yad L'Achim activist, Sofia refused to cut ties with the missionaries. But she did agree to hand over the book and leaflets the missionaries gave her and to receive in exchange a siddur and Jewish reading material in Italian.

A short while later, after the relationship between Yad L'Achim and Sofia had grown stronger, there was a dramatic development: Sofia collapsed and was brought to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheva where she was sadly diagnosed with a fatal disease. Doctors didn't give her much time.

The activist quickly made her way to the hospital, where she was warmly welcomed by a pale, weak Sofia.

She said that the missionaries had already been to Soroka and were trying to convince her 'to do the right thing' and abandon her faith before leaving this world.

As Sofia's condition deteriorated, the Yad L'Achim activist understood that it was a race against time and against the missionaries. She began visiting daily, keeping in close contact with the doctors to assure that Sofia was given the best care.

The activist spoke to Sofia's husband and was shocked to discover that he had had no idea as to the identity or agenda of the two Italian women who spent so much time with his wife.

Two days later, the activist arrived at the hospital to find that Sofia's bed was empty. She had returned her soul to its Maker the night before.

During the funeral, Sofia's husband approached the activist and said he had something important to tell her, relating to his wife's final moments before losing consciousness. "I promised my wife that I would tell you about it," he said in tears.

"With her last remaining strength, my wife asked me to call the missionaries and instruct them not to contact her any further, and to deliver the following message: Leave me alone! I am a Jew and that's how I want to leave this world."

A senior Yad L'Achim official sadly noted that this was further, painful, yet an uplifting testimony to the fact that we can never give up on any Jew.

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Opinions and Comments
(11/7/2017 7:35:20 PM)
Amazing woman
-- Inspiring us even after 120 years!
Hakitzu v'ranenu shochnei afar -- and I want to meet her then!
(11/7/2017 8:08:46 PM)
Sad but good if u know whst i mean but why are these evil j for j allowed in israel???
(11/7/2017 8:29:52 PM)
Missionaries are after our souls. Yad L'achim is helping our most vulnerable brothers and sisters win the battle.
RIP Sofia.
(11/7/2017 9:13:26 PM)
when is yad l'achim coming back to make a program in Crown Heights?
(11/7/2017 9:45:53 PM)
What so sad these missionaries are Jews but converted out!!
(11/7/2017 11:35:29 PM)
From Israel
Missionaries here are a real threat. They infiltrate even the frummest neighborhoods and put tremendous pressure on the vulnerable and lonely. Even though officially they are banned from Israel, there must be hundreds, if not thousands, in the country. I have seen Mormon boys in the Old City. Yad L'achim has far fewer resources to fight their influences - they need to be fully funded by the government.
(11/8/2017 4:53:00 AM)
That was her her Test
Hashem had a test for her before her souls left this world and she proudly left as a Yid and her neshama was satisfied with its completion of the goal and time in the finite world, people who are these woman why are they allowed,how can we stop them. But we must understand that everything is from hashem and even the things that might now make fully sense is from hashem and it is for us to part our faith and trust in him that it is ultimately for the good. May her neshama have an Aliya - thanks for sharing!
(11/8/2017 7:28:15 AM)
To #5
Yad le achim rep was in ny succot and just went back to israel a week or so ago
(11/8/2017 8:29:30 AM)
Need help in MI fighting this
There are many Eastern European Jews in central MI who converted to J Witness. They even print their literature in Russian targeting them. We need more humble Shluchim in this area!!!
(11/8/2017 8:56:38 AM)
J's Witlesses are not Xian
ask any Xian, whether Catholic, Orthodox, or the various Protestants lemineihem, and they'll all tell you the Witlesses are not Xian, because they don't believe that Oso Ho'ish is a god. (Neither are the Morons, who believe there are many gods, each of whom has his own world.)
(11/8/2017 11:16:30 AM)
So ...
where were the sincere Jewish befrienders and helpers BEFORE the missionaries came to offer their services and influence?
(11/8/2017 1:55:37 PM)
#12, wrong question
That's like asking where were all the dedicated doctors and nurses BEFORE the person got sick, or where were all the search and rescue people before the child got lost. They weren't needed, and were tending other people who did need them.
(11/8/2017 6:05:35 PM)
What do you expect, it's bichlal a miracle that found out about her etc.. Do you expect yad l'eachim, a finite organization with finite resources to somehow befriend and shield every single oleh?
(11/8/2017 7:26:01 PM)
to #10
what does "more humble shluchim" mean? combating missionary activity is truly a 24/7 job. what you probably mean is that the area needs a full time shaliach who devotes his entire shlichus to this alone. You can do your share by offering to help him with the fundraising.
(11/8/2017 7:26:54 PM)
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