EXCLUSIVE: Remove body of undercover missionary from Jewish cemetery, say rabbinical chiefs

Amanda Elk was a Christian evangelist who posed as a Jew with her husband in order to convert members of the Orthodox community


The body of an undercover Christian missionary who posed as an Orthodox Jew must be exhumed from a Jewish cemetery in Jerusalem, two of Israel’s leading rabbinical authorities have decreed.

Amanda Elk, who went by the surname Elkohen, was a Christian evangelist who posed as a Jew with her husband, Michael Elk, in Jerusalem, in order to convert unsuspecting members of the Orthodox community. 

She died in February of colon cancer at the age of 42 and was buried in a multi-level grave in Har HaMenuchot cemetery, the largest in Jerusalem, above a Jewish woman.

Rabbi Shlomo Shrager and Rabbi Baruch Shrager, head of the Jerusalem Bet Din, issued their decree last night after intense communal speculation about the fate of Mrs Elk’s remains. The 11-page letter was countersigned by Israel’s Sephardi Chief Rabbi, Yitzhak Yosef.

The rabbis ruled that should the state authorities block the exhumation application, the body in the grave beneath that of Mrs Elk must be exhumed and relocated.

The rabbinic statement came after the JC exposed the early lives of Michael and Amanda Elk in a special report, proving that they were not Jewish and revealing their Messianic ideology. 

The Elks had moved to Israel from America with their children, taking Israeli citizenship. Both assumed the appearance of strictly Orthodox Jews, living in the French Hill neighbourhood of Jerusalem, whilst maintaining covert links to Christian missionary organisations in America.

Mr Elk, who has since fled and given himself a hipster haircut and sculpted beard, carried out circumcisions and acted as a scribe. He opened up a yeshiva of his own that secretly taught a belief in Jesus.

Four further alleged members of his undercover missionary cell was exposed in the JC last week, as activists from an anti-evangelism organisation called Beyneynu rush to track down all of Elk’s associates before they go to ground.

According to the new rabbinical ruling, all the boys who had their circumcisions carried out by Elk should undergo a remedial procedure carried out by a mohel, in which a drop of blood is drawn.

The tefillin sold by Elk “are to be burnt” according to the Rabbis, as there are witnesses who saw him write them rather than acquiring them from elsewhere. They suggested that he should also be sued for restitution of property.

Any weddings carried out by Elk may also need to be redone if he was one of the witnesses, as his “witnessing is totally void”, the ruling said. Any ketubah would also need to be replaced.

The 11-page Hebrew letter confirmed that after an extensive investigation, it “transpired beyond any doubt that this man is a complete gentile, from womb and birth, going back for all generations.”

Following the JC’s investigation Michael Elk has been seen without his ultra-Orthodox clothes and peyot, prompting the Rabbis to conclude that he “has discarded all Jewish features… [and] is a gentile beyond any doubt.”

Elk’s mother recently spoke exclusively to the JC to confirm that neither she nor his father had Jewish ancestry. Meanwhile, Amanda Elk told a friend in Jerusalem that she had grown up on a Christmas tree farm.

Beneynu, an Israeli organisation which has been uncovering this ring of secret Christian missionaries posing as Jews, submitted evidence about the Elks to the Israeli interior ministry, questioning how the couple were granted Israeli citizenship, but has received no response.

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