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Tokyo - Japanese Ger Who Was Former Minister to Help Imprisoned Bochurim

Published on: July 2, 2009 02:23 PM
By: VIN News By Ezra Reichman | Hashavua B'Yerushalayim
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Japan: Ger Tzedek Moshe Haturi, Japanese who Lives in Israel, flew Today with Chida Weiss to Japan to help out with Court Case of 3 Bucherim who are Locked up there in Jail. Japan: Ger Tzedek Moshe Haturi, Japanese who Lives in Israel, flew Today with Chida Weiss to Japan to help out with Court Case of 3 Bucherim who are Locked up there in Jail.

Tokyo - Rav Moshe Haturi, a former Japanese Protestant minister who converted to Judaism and lives in Israel Shaarei Chesed, has traveled back to Japan to help the two remaining bochurim on trial.

Although every ger tzedek has his own amazing story, Rav Haturi’s story is unique. Born Novo Taka in the city of Naguya in 1960, Haturi was a spiritual individual since his youth. He studied to be a minister for 6 years.

He received a divinity degree, married, and became one of the youngest ministers in Japan. At 27, he received his first position in a church. He engaged in missionary activity in schools and universities, and worked with young and old.

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His first visit to Israel took place in 1985 with a group of fellow ministers. He was brought to all the Christian sites, but felt apathetic to them. He found the Jewish sites much more interesting. He went to the Kosel and was riveted by the worshippers wearing tefillin. One day, he parted from his group for a few hours to walk through Meah Shearim. He bought several books on Judaism in English including a siddur and began to study them when he returned to Japan.

“When I became a minister, I hoped that my questions on faith would disappear,” says Haturi, “but they only intensified.” He found himself preaching to his congregation, while in his private chamber he was studying Judaism. “I lived a double life. In the morning I preached Christianity and at night, I learned Judaism.”

Finally he gathered his courage and told his wife about his faith dilemmas in Christianity. He was surprised when she told him she felt the same way. Together they began to study Judaism.

They began to keep mitzvos as they found about them. Haturi was particularly attracted to Shabbos. One Friday night his wife lit candles, he made Kiddush and they spent the rest of the day doing nothing because he didn’t know what one is supposed to do on Shabbos. When it got dark, he made Havdala and then went to his room to prepare his church sermon.

Once he was carrying out the sacraments in church, and as he lifted the tray, the words spilled out of his mouth “Baruch Ata Hashem…” He caught himself, although his congregation looked in puzzlement.

After this, he and his wife looked at each other and said, “It’s time to leave the church.” At that point, he submitted his resignation and told his congregation he wanted to spend a few years in Israel to study Tenach. They happily sent him to Israel, because they thought he would return after a few years and be a leading light in their church. No one dreamed what was going on in his mind.

Haturi and his wife flew to Israel, unsure where they would live or what they would do. “We weren’t planning to convert. We kept mitzvos because we simply loved them. We found an apartment in downtown Yerushalayim. Every evening, my wife and myself wondered what we should do now,” Haturi recalls.

He was assailed by many doubts. How would he make a living? If he would convert, would he be accepted in Jewish society? Conversion meant losing his large family in Japan, because they worship idols. For instance, if a family member passes away, everyone must bow down to him because he attains the status of an idol. If one won’t bow down, and then suffering befalls the family, everyone will blame him.

It took Haturi a month and a half until he decided upon giyur. “I wanted to be able to recite the blessing ‘asher kidashonu bemitzvosov’ with all my heart,” he explains.

After opening a file in the Rabbanut, many tried to talk him out of it. He told the rav, “How can I learn Torah if I don’t convert? A goy cannot learn Torah.” He took a private teacher who taught him in Hebrew, and he translated for his wife.

“I loved learning Torah and fortunately, the people who were taking care of our file in the Rabbanut saw we were serious,” he recalls. Within a short time, he was permitted to complete the process and he and his wife became Moshe and Tzipora Haturi.

After becoming Jews, he sent a letter to his church asking for their names to be removed from the church’s membership roster. The church sent an outraged messenger to Israel with a letter full of curses. “I understand them,” says Haturi. “They invested a lot of money in me so I would become their minister and I betrayed them.”

Haturi had still not found his place and a community where he would feel comfortable. Then eight years ago, he came across the sefer “The Gaon—the life and teachings of the Vilna Gaon” by Rav Dov Eliach and found the inspiration he had been seeking.

He heard the story of how the Gaon was willing to give away part of his Olam Habo just to get an esrog for Sukkos, and he was convinced that he had found the man of truth he sought. He accepted upon himself Nusach Ashkenaz in general and minhagei haGra in particular.

“The chapter on the ger tzedek R’ Avraham Potozki made me dance in joy.,” says Haturi.

Haturi moved to Shaarei Chesed, planning to pray in the GRA shul there.

“Only afterwards did I realize the hashgocha protis I had,” he reflects. After a few weeks, he summoned his courage and entered Yeshivas Maalos Hatorah and introduced himself to the rosh yeshiva, Rav Shmuel Auerbach. Right away, Rav Shmuel welcomed him and treated him like a son. He felt completely comfortable with the bnei yeshiva.

Since then, he davens daily in the yeshiva and says he feels “hashra’as hashechina.” He feels he has arrived at his final destination.

“In Japan, I wanted to meet my Creator,” he says. “Finally, today, I sit here most of the day with the gemora open and I study Rashi, Tosfos and Rishonim and afterwards the Gaon’s biur on Shulchan Aruch. I truly feel like I’m living with Hakodesh Baruch Hu.”

Haturi says, “Japan is one of the few places in the world where until today, they have idol worship and idolatrous temples. When I study Meseches Avodah Zara, the concepts are well known to me.”

When asked about the controversy over geirus which has rocked Israel in the past year, Haturi says,“I support Rabbinical Supreme Court dayan Rav Sherman 100%. His view is the correct halachic view. There are no compromises on geirus. Long before I saw Rav Sharman’s psak, I knew of the problem and even discussed it with Rav Elyashiv. I’m acquainted with several geirus files.

“Unfortunately, true gerim are very few today. From my personal knowledge, most gerim stop keeping mitzvos after their giyur, because they find it difficult. Until the giyur, they’re willing to keep the 613 mitzvos because they need the giyur certificate, but afterwards, the yetzer hora tells them ‘You’re already a Jew, and there are plenty of Jews who don’t keep mitzvos either…’ But the truth must be said. If the gerim don’t completely accept upon themselves mitzvos, they’re not gerim.”

About the Pope’s recent visit, he was very critical. “The Catholics believe, nebich, that he is a substitute for G-d. He is the symbol of idol worship. To bring him to the Kosel, is like setting up an idol in the Sanctuary.”

He also has much sympathy for the 3 yeshiva bochurim who are imprisoned in Japan. “I don’t believe all the exaggerations they are saying about the boy’s situation and how they are being abused,” Haturi says. “When I was a priest, I was acquainted with Japanese prisons. There are limits to what they will do. But I’m sure those boys’ situation is much worse than that of Hamas terrorists in Israeli prisons.

“With the Japanese, everything goes according to procedure, and there is no negotiating. In Israel, things can change from one day to the next, but not there. For instance, if you go to the bank in Japan, and all the clerks know you, but you forget to bring in one paper, they’ll send you back home. That’s how the Japanese are. There’s no wiggle room.”

Haturi had previously told the rabbonim dealing with the bochurim’s case that he was willing to intercede on their behalf with the Japanese justice system. Rav Weiss from Antwerp and the boys’ lawyers took up his offer this past month. He left for Japan this past Sunday with the blessing of Rav Shmuel Auerbach.

A confidant of Rav Weiss said, “Moshe Haturi knows how to work with the Japanese. We expect that his presence in Japan will contribute much to the efforts to release the boys in custody and reduce their punishment.”



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Read Comments (47)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jul 02, 2009 at 01:32 PM Anonymous Says:

Wow! What an amazing story. I hope he will be able to help the boys in Japan and most importantly, I wish him and his wife a happy, healthy, fulfilling life.

2

 Jul 02, 2009 at 01:35 PM Anonymous Says:

this story is nothing less then amazing....

3

 Jul 02, 2009 at 01:36 PM Bunimfrombrooklyn Says:

Very intersesting
you never know how Hashem sends his ישועות we have to keep on davening

4

 Jul 02, 2009 at 01:42 PM OBAMANATION Says:

wow!!! nice story. i love it

5

 Jul 02, 2009 at 01:46 PM ShatzMatz Says:

I am not so sure this is such a good idea. He says himself that his old congregation in Japan despises him. If they start talking to the press it might backfire.

There might be other people more suited to the task, like the frum professor Sherman who lives in Japan and sometimes writes for Hamodia or Raphael Jehudah Zwi Werblowsky, who is an Isreali proffesor who received a pretegious ward in Japan, or someone who was rescued by the famous Sugihara.

6

 Jul 02, 2009 at 01:44 PM Anonymous Says:

may Hashem help him succeed in his holy mission. He sounds like an amazing person.

7

 Jul 02, 2009 at 01:42 PM Anonymous Says:

Note the picture. It is Assur to have a candelabra with seven branches.

8

 Jul 02, 2009 at 01:55 PM Anonymous Says:

what a tzatik i hope that he wont have problems there with the japanese goverment since they sent a outraged messenger to Israel with a letter full of curses.

9

 Jul 02, 2009 at 01:49 PM Lucky Says:

Story is nothing but great!

I still say: hes lucky that he converted already married together with his wife!!! ve'da Le'maiven

10

 Jul 02, 2009 at 02:09 PM Anonymous Says:

is he saying something with his left hand? note the fingers

11

 Jul 02, 2009 at 02:43 PM Babishka Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

Note the picture. It is Assur to have a candelabra with seven branches.

#7 Nothing wrong with that. I am sure it was one of the first souvenirs that he bought in Israel before he became a Jew and that is why he treasures it. It is not assur to have a 7-branched candelabra as long as you don't light it.

#10 Nothing at all wrong with his hand, it is the camera angle.

12

 Jul 02, 2009 at 02:39 PM Anonymous Says:

How can the mere presence of a Japanese Jew reduce a looming prison sentence of unrelated third parties? Didn't he just say the Japs do everything by the book? What am I not getting?

13

 Jul 02, 2009 at 02:39 PM Anonymous Says:

May he be the right Sholiach

14

 Jul 02, 2009 at 02:38 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

Note the picture. It is Assur to have a candelabra with seven branches.

why is it assur to have a candle abra with 7 branches? i see them all the time, but i never knew it was assur.

15

 Jul 02, 2009 at 02:27 PM Askupeh Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

Note the picture. It is Assur to have a candelabra with seven branches.

The Kasha is on the manufacturer. He hasn't learned this yet.

16

 Jul 02, 2009 at 03:19 PM Hatzlocho Says:

Reply to #5  
ShatzMatz Says:

I am not so sure this is such a good idea. He says himself that his old congregation in Japan despises him. If they start talking to the press it might backfire.

There might be other people more suited to the task, like the frum professor Sherman who lives in Japan and sometimes writes for Hamodia or Raphael Jehudah Zwi Werblowsky, who is an Isreali proffesor who received a pretegious ward in Japan, or someone who was rescued by the famous Sugihara.

I agree with comment 16. I thought of the same thing. I wish him luck all the same

17

 Jul 02, 2009 at 03:15 PM The Litvak Yid Says:

B'H he also chose the right minhagim... lol I couldnt help myself! But in all seriousness I think he is a great testament to all gerim! We need more quality Jews like him! I am glad he support Rav Sherman ZTL 100% It shows his true committment to das Torah!

18

 Jul 02, 2009 at 02:55 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #8  
Anonymous Says:

what a tzatik i hope that he wont have problems there with the japanese goverment since they sent a outraged messenger to Israel with a letter full of curses.

The government did that?!

19

 Jul 02, 2009 at 03:49 PM shimon Says:

Reply to #17  
The Litvak Yid Says:

B'H he also chose the right minhagim... lol I couldnt help myself! But in all seriousness I think he is a great testament to all gerim! We need more quality Jews like him! I am glad he support Rav Sherman ZTL 100% It shows his true committment to das Torah!

Rav Sherman SHLITA

20

 Jul 02, 2009 at 03:38 PM shimon Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

Note the picture. It is Assur to have a candelabra with seven branches.

You mean to make one. And even that not unless it IS a menorah mamash. Tzurah (pictures and educational models) not useable for lighting are muttar.

21

 Jul 02, 2009 at 03:34 PM nyfunnyman Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

Note the picture. It is Assur to have a candelabra with seven branches.

it's not asur to have, only to make

22

 Jul 02, 2009 at 03:27 PM Anonymous Says:

Wow! what an interesting story! I hope he has mazel to bring to bring those boys home...

23

 Jul 02, 2009 at 04:12 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #11  
Babishka Says:

#7 Nothing wrong with that. I am sure it was one of the first souvenirs that he bought in Israel before he became a Jew and that is why he treasures it. It is not assur to have a 7-branched candelabra as long as you don't light it.

#10 Nothing at all wrong with his hand, it is the camera angle.

Not true. It is assur to make a 7-branched menorah, even if you don't light it. Yoreh Deah 141:8

The Shulchan Aruch doesn't say whether it's also forbidden to keep it, once it's been made, and the poskim are unsure about it. So perhaps his rov paskened that he can keep it.

24

 Jul 02, 2009 at 03:07 PM Anonymous Says:

Its not a real candelabra, its a miniature, a copy of one the symbols of israel, not a working candelabra. The rambam brings down not to make a menorah with seven branches, because thats what was in the beis hamikdosh

25

 Jul 02, 2009 at 04:34 PM UBET Says:

I wish him well, but i hope since he left Japan, they wont put him in jail, G0d forbid! In there you never know!!!!!!!

26

 Jul 02, 2009 at 04:23 PM The Truth Says:

Reply to #8  
Anonymous Says:

what a tzatik i hope that he wont have problems there with the japanese goverment since they sent a outraged messenger to Israel with a letter full of curses.

Not quite - if you read the article it says "The CHURCH (that sent him to Israel) sent an outraged messenger to (him while he was in) Israel with a letter full of curses."
Nothing to do with any government.

Geirim always have my respect and admiration. I wish him success in all he does.

27

 Jul 02, 2009 at 04:53 PM Askupeh Says:

Reply to #17  
The Litvak Yid Says:

B'H he also chose the right minhagim... lol I couldnt help myself! But in all seriousness I think he is a great testament to all gerim! We need more quality Jews like him! I am glad he support Rav Sherman ZTL 100% It shows his true committment to das Torah!

Right Minhagim? It’s sheer arrogance to think that only your Minhagim are correct. The twelve tribes had different Minhagim from each other, and so did Mishpachas Halivni and Mishpachas Haparchi.

28

 Jul 02, 2009 at 07:20 PM Anonymous Says:

Some of you make such inanae comments. I wish him hatzlocho in his mission to help the boys imprisonned in Japan. The mitzva of Pidyon Shevuyim is very great. It can't hurt for him to try, it's not a crime.

29

 Jul 02, 2009 at 08:24 PM clever Says:

what a amazing story... wish him & his wife well.. not sure though about the decision 2 send him since the church is upset @ him & god forbid they shouldn't mix in... well hashem should help he should b the good sholiach & he should have a lot syate dishmaye! amen!

30

 Jul 02, 2009 at 09:29 PM heshy Says:

Reply to #29  
clever Says:

what a amazing story... wish him & his wife well.. not sure though about the decision 2 send him since the church is upset @ him & god forbid they shouldn't mix in... well hashem should help he should b the good sholiach & he should have a lot syate dishmaye! amen!

Japan is not a christian country, the church has no influence.

31

 Jul 02, 2009 at 09:29 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #27  
Askupeh Says:

Right Minhagim? It’s sheer arrogance to think that only your Minhagim are correct. The twelve tribes had different Minhagim from each other, and so did Mishpachas Halivni and Mishpachas Haparchi.

Look at his comment again- he was joking. How about some basic reading comprehension before posting silly outraged comments?

32

 Jul 02, 2009 at 10:45 PM Yisrael Says:

It is Assur to make a seven branch menorah only if you copy the exact dimensions that was in the Beis Hamikdash and with materials that is kosher to be used. e.g. metal.

33

 Jul 02, 2009 at 11:11 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #32  
Yisrael Says:

It is Assur to make a seven branch menorah only if you copy the exact dimensions that was in the Beis Hamikdash and with materials that is kosher to be used. e.g. metal.

It is NOT necessary that it be the exact dimensions of the one in the BHMK. So long as it would be kosher to use in the BHMK it is assur to make it for civilian use. That means it can be of any metal, any size, and any layout. See YD 141:8

34

 Jul 03, 2009 at 06:43 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #10  
Anonymous Says:

is he saying something with his left hand? note the fingers

He was singing Lipa's 'henteloch'.

Let's pasul him.

35

 Jul 03, 2009 at 04:12 AM Moshe L Says:

One interesting point Moshe Haturi brings is the lack of wiggle room in Japan. Strict application of rules might send these boys to jail. But Moshe defends blatant maljustice coming from strict application of rabbinical rules. Also, while defending Rav Shermon, he speaks Lashon Hara against Gerim. Moshe should know that there are many true Gerim in our time, more than the very few he claims there are. Many of these, with stories as impressive as Moshe's, were sent to Rav Druckman. They saw no reason to be suspicious, just as the poor Bachurim saw no reason to suspect the friend that set them up. Moshe Haturi became a Jew by thinking. I hope he did not stop thinking. May he succeed helping free the boys.

36

 Jul 03, 2009 at 03:30 AM avf Says:

Amazing story thanks for the inspiration and I wish Reb Moshe and his family much Siyata Dishmaya.
Also I think as a Japanese who is a full Jew he should have Hatzlocha explaining Jewish concepts to the court (as mentioned in the Mishpacha article).

37

 Jul 03, 2009 at 08:12 AM shabbes is qound the corner Says:

"Unfortunately, true gerim are very few today. From my personal knowledge, most gerim stop keeping mitzvos after their giyur, because they find it difficult. Until the giyur, they're willing to keep the 613 mitzvos because they need the giyur certificate, but afterwards, the yetzer hora tells them 'You're already a Jew, and there are plenty of Jews who don't keep mitzvos either...' But the truth must be said. If the gerim don't completely accept upon themselves mitzvos, they're not gerim, ...... Im more jewish than your average... blah, blah blah!

How dare he make such a sweeping generalisation!!!! The lengths Beis Din go to, to ensure candidates are sincere is extensive, with particular focus on how full commitment to a Jewish life post mikvah.. Whilst I accept there are exceptions and some conversions are not as kosher as others, its really not his place to make such public statement... and his story is not that amazing... dramatised for media affect.... there are plenty of people out there who have 'their story' in the same way your average BT has 'their story'....... yawn!!!!!!

38

 Jul 02, 2009 at 11:40 PM Anonymous Says:

wish him hatzlacha

39

 Jul 03, 2009 at 09:59 AM Anonymous Says:

In other articles about him, his name is spelled Hattori.

www.ou.org/pdf/ja/5766/summer66/24_27.pdf

40

 Jul 03, 2009 at 11:14 AM Anonymous Says:

Can it be that he chose his new last name Hattori after the word 'Torah?' The changing of the ending of Tori from Torah would be like the Torah says, "Chanoch, family of the Chanochi..." This would go well with his chosen first name, Moshe, who brought us the Torah!

41

 Jul 03, 2009 at 12:41 PM Anonymous Says:

Hattori seems like a traditional Japanese name. Haturi seems like a Hebrew name- the one from Tur. My guess is that he may have officially changed his name from Hattori to Haturi.

42

 Jul 03, 2009 at 12:43 PM shimon Says:

Rav Moshe Hatori is presently writing a sefer in Japanese on the 7 mitzvos bnei Noach.

The Chumash HaGra - Hatori edition is named after him. So is the Siddur Ezor Eliyahu.

Here is a video of the Rav:
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3404488,00.html

43

 Jul 03, 2009 at 04:05 PM Anonymous Says:

his story is VERY similar to that of Rabbi Parizi, hu was a christian priest in the US and became a religeous jew.

44

 Jul 04, 2009 at 10:19 PM Be more careful with abolute statments Says:

"Note the picture. It is Assur to have a candelabra with seven branches" The correct statement should have been "It appears to have seven branches" You are looking at a picutre. there could easily be an 8th branch on the backside and away from the camera.
try be a bit more careful with absolute statements. but this is the nature of all bloggers trying to make themsleves feel smart by writing nasty comments or "smart" comments that attack others.

45

 Jul 05, 2009 at 12:47 AM Rochel Says:

imagine the courage this man and his wife had to convert to judaism when you know that Asia is full of idol worship !!
I don't know how he could help the buchorim in Japan but I wish him luck

46

 Jul 05, 2009 at 12:35 AM Anonymous Says:

Rabbi Parizi? I could not find information about about him on the net. The story of Rabbi Asher Wade is also fascinating. I have not found any other Christian clergy who converted to orthodox Judaism and received smicha.

47

 Jul 13, 2009 at 04:28 PM JP Says:

I know Moshe and Tzipora for many years, they use to daven in my shul before they became charedim. they even donate a sefer Torah but, the most amazing, both of them are almost blind, something as 1% of their sight. just amazing couple and deserve our respect.

48

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