Thursday, January 31, 2008


Sderot residents offered Scientology workshops (JPost)
In a move seen by some as an attempt to take advantage of Sderot's shell-shocked residents, a nonprofit group is offering them free workshops based on the teachings of the late L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology.

A group calling itself the Association for Prosperity and Security in the Middle East, which denies any connection with the Church of Scientology, has sent e-mails to social workers in Sderot offering to help the residents cope with the Kassam rocket attacks.

It is entitled, "Sick of being bombed?" and asks: "Are you afraid to leave the house in the morning? Don't know if the children will return home safely? Business in danger? Life become a struggle in the shadow of fear? Come make sure right now that the psychological damage will be as limited as possible!" The free workshops are offered to schools and places of work.

Dalia Yosef, head of the Hosen Center - an umbrella organization for all the psychological counseling and professional support provided to Sderot's residents - said several social workers had voiced concern after receiving e-mails soliciting interest in a workshop provided by the organization.....

Mordi Bucai, who answered the Center for Scientology's toll-free line, told the Post that there was no Scientology activity in Sderot. He said that the teachings found in "The Way to Happiness" were "totally different" from Scientology.

Bucai acknowledged that most of the people in the Association for Prosperity, including its director-general, were Scientologists. But he added that some were not, and one did not have to be a Scientologist to work for the association....

Ayelet Kedem, director-general of the Israeli Center for Cult Victims, said the Association for Prosperity was a front for Scientology activities.... Kedem added that Scientologists often tried to take advantage of the weakened psychological state of victims of natural disaster, or in this case, Sderot's victims of terrorism......

A leading rabbi from the Sderot Hesder Yeshiva said he and his students would go from door to door if necessary to prevent Scientologists or those disseminating Hubbard's teachings from making inroads among Sderot residents.  "We have no need for any '-ologies' here in Sderot," said the rabbi. "Attempts to take advantage of peoples' weaknesses in times of distress are worthy of condemnation."

The Association for Prosperity said in response: "It is sad that as the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Jewish state approaches, there are still vile individuals trying to vilify other Jews for their convictions, faith, education, skin color [and] gender, in ways that remind us all of what happened during the Holocaust and that almost resulted in the loss of the entire Jewish people.

"We denounce such behavior, as we do those brainless individuals who choose to find fault with volunteers giving of their time, money and energy for the residents of Sderot, instead of reaching out to innocent Jews under a constant barrage of rockets."

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