Accusations have been leveled against a father and son in the United States who practice as Orthodox rabbis of secretly being Evangelical Christians.
The father and son in question, Michael and Calev Isaacson, have worked as rabbis in Orthodox Jewish communities throughout the United States. These include Portland, Milwaukee, Houston, and, currently, Phoenix. While in Houston, from 2014-2016, Michael reportedly worked as a supervisor for the local kashrut association.
The accusations against them were leveled by Beynenyu, an Israel-based anti-missionary organization, who claim that they have relocated whenever the suspicions of the local rabbis were aroused.
Investigations conducted by the Jewish Chronicle corroborated these claims, revealing that Michael Isaacson, named Michael Dawson until 2019, grew up Lutheran and was married in a Lutheran wedding, and whose relatives were "shocked" at his claims of being Jewish.
Isaacson also reportedly crafted a background of being halachically Jewish and with a history of practicing Jewish traditions, all of which a family member of his denied to the JC.
Regardless, the father and son have managed to amass documentation from rabbis giving validation to their claims. This includes semicha (ordination), with Calev's being signed off by one Rabbi Michael Aminov, a rabbi in Arizona.
Beyneynu fears, however, that their documentation could lead to them attempting to make aliyah.
The family was noted to have taken part in an event with the Gates of Zion, an Arizona-based missionary organization.
However, when speaking to other rabbis, they denied any interest in missionary work, and claimed they were only involved with such organizations for "humanitarian" purposes.
The investigation by Beyneynu further revealed that the Isaacsons have been confronted before. In these confrontations, though, when asked if they believe Jesus to be the messiah, they have stated “We do not reject Yeshua [Jesus] the Jewish Messiah.”
Throughout their time in the US, the Isaacsons have reportedly performed a number of important Jewish rituals, including conducting weddings and divorces, writing holy scrolls like mezuzot and even officiating Orthodox conversions, the latter of which was done alongside Aminov, allegedly while claiming to be on behalf of Israel's Chief Rabbinate.
If the accusations against them are true, every single one of these rituals would be rendered invalid.
When approached by Beyneynu, the office of Israel's Chief Rabbi David Lau confirmed that Aminov was not approved to carry out conversions.
Founder of Outreach Judaism Rabbi Tovia Singer explained that the Isaacsons are part of a messianic movement that is a "Christian iteration dedicated to converting Jews," and "they seek to infiltrate the Jewish community, often by blurring distinctions between Judaism and Christianity to lure Jews who would otherwise resist a straightforward message."
This is a developing story.