Chief Rabbi: ‘Exhume body of Christian missionary buried in Jewish cemetery’

When Amanda Elk died in February 2021, Israeli religious authorities were unaware of her true identity.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel David Lau said Wednesday that the body of a Christian missionary who posed as a Jew for years should be reburied in a non-Jewish cemetery.

“This is a non-Jewish woman who pretended to be an ultra-Orthodox woman, and was a missionary, and even tried to convert people away from Judaism,” Lau wrote in letter to Jerusalem Burial Society head Moshe Shimon published by Srugim.

“Out of respect to the Jews who bought a plot in order to be buried in a Jewish plot, and were buried in accordance with these wishes, every effort should be made to remove her [Elk] to a non-Jewish plot,” he wrote.

Amanda and Michael Elk presented themselves as haredi Jews, becoming respected members of the religious Jewish community in the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem.

Michael Elk obtained a fraudulent rabbinical ordination and worked as a scribe and mohel performing circumcisions, despite lacking any training or qualifications in those areas.

In reality, the Elks had no Jewish ancestry and fraudulently made Aliyah to Israel.

Michael Elk admitted that they pretended to be Jews in order to covertly convert observant Jews to Christianity.

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When Amanda Elk died in February 2021, Israeli religious authorities were unaware of her true identity. She was buried at Jerusalem’s Har Menuchot Cemetery in a multi story plot, with a Jewish woman interred on the level underneath her.

Because Jewish law strictly forbids Jews from being buried with non-Jews, the revelation about Elk’s Christian background sparked serious concern among rabbinical authorities.

A previous Supreme Court ruling banned the exhumation of a Christian from a Jewish cemetery in Rishon LeTzion, and based on that precedent, Elk can only be exhumed if her husband agrees to it.

Lau acknowledged this possibility in his letter, writing that if Elk cannot be exhumed, a fence or barrier should be erected around her grave.