|Maggid ben Yoseif / Jerusalem Torah Voice in Exile|
|March 20, 2007 / 30 Adar 5767 |
About Maggid ben Yoseif
Maggid ben Yoseif is a retired career daily newspaper editor turned theologian, spiritual seeker and Torah teacher. He is an independent and self-supported Native American minister and intertribal elder associated with the Sundance warriors of the Membreno Apache and is past-Ambassador-at-large for the Central Band of the Cherokee (2010-2011).
He began his career as a sportswriter at the Houma Daily Courier (Houma, La.) and while completing journalism school at Louisiana State, for the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. He moved on to covering urban affairs for the Vicksburg Evening Post (Vicksburg, Ms.), ran the state desk and assisted the city desk at the Monroe News-Star World (Monroe, La.), and became managing editor and executive editor of the Daily Iberian (New Iberia, La.). For editions published during his tenure as executive editor at the Iberian, the 15,000 circulation daily was brought from obscurity and named the best small daily under 40,000 circulation in the State of Louisiana by the Louisiana Press Association. This was in head-to-head competition with larger dailies with more resources owned by the New York Times and Gannett.
In 1982, while editor at the Iberian he had an experience with the Light of God that he said, "scared the bee-Jeezuz out of me and about nine reporters and section editors who witnessed it," and led to his attending seminary.
He completed all but the required systematic theology courses at the ORU Graduate School of Theology in Tulsa, OK., -- forbidden by the same Light to take those courses -- and then moved to the Middle East in 1987.
Israeli news media
Over a 14-year period, he worked six years full-time in the Israeli news media in Jerusalem and the then-Israeli-administered West Bank of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (biblically Judea-Samaria). He was the chief news writer and features producer for Middle East Television, headquartered in Marjahoun, S. Lebanon, covering Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's efforts to rebuild ancient Babylon, the last year of the Iraq-Iran Persian Gulf War, the cease fire that united Shi'a and Sunni against America and the Israeli-Lebanon conflict. When METV's English news, which had been named the most comprehensive and unbiased media outlet in the entire Middle East, was suddenly discontinued by owner Pat Robertson and the staff fired, he was hired the same day his job ended by The Jerusalem Post.
At the Post, he was a pagination design editor, assistant special sections editor, relief religion writer and columnist. A column he published in the Post entitled, "The Speech Nobody Heard in Madrid," attracted him to the attention of several Jerusalem rabbis who allowed him to study Torah and Halachah as a non-Jew in their houses of study. Earlier, while at METV, he had studied Koran with a Moslem imam in Beit Phage as a condition of living in the all-Moslem East Jerusalem village. His ministry there was to simply tell the Palestinian population that God was "bringing home the children of Israel to reunite with the children of Judah."
Return of the House of Joseph
His training in Hebrew and Aramaic Biblical exegesis, Talmud and Koran has led to several innovative proposals attempting to reconcile and dovetail the theologies of all three faiths. He also has promoted the Zechariah Plan, (the biblical state for the Palestinian people in the Gaza and regions contiguous including parts of the fertile Sh'felah valley) and the Return of the House of Joseph.
In 2001, he was exiled from Israel after three political arrests and imprisonment in which he was never charged with a crime and not allowed contact with the U.S. Consul for the first week of his incarceration in violation of the treaty between Israel and the United States and his rights as an American citizen. Rather than comply with orders for his release from the highest level of the Sharon government's cabinet, the Israeli Secret Police instead transferred him to Ma'asiyahu, Israel's highest security prison, where he was incarcerated with Islamic fundamentalists who had "overstayed their visas."
In an unprecedented move with the support of Israeli Interior minister Eli Yishai, and then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, he won his release upon the condition that he would leave Israel voluntarily and not return until the message of the Return of the House of Joseph and the biblical Palestinian state he proposes, "were no longer considered a threat to Israeli national security."
After his release from Ma'asiyahu, he was given smichah (akin to ordination) as a "maggid," by his mentor and friend of 14 years, the Rebbe Shani Dor, who is a member of the Revived Jerusalem Sanhedrin Court. He was charged with the duties of a mokhiah (someone who resolves doctrinal disputes with historical grammatical exegesis).
Native American credentials
Today, Maggid ben Yoseif, mixed Cherokee and a great-great-great grandson of William Griffin, a member of the Cherokee National Council at Red Clay, TN., before the 1830s Removal, lives among the Membreno Apache in the southwestern Colorado Rockies where he is considered a spiritual elder and "gatekeeper." He is a Torah teacher assisting the Membreno with their vision of uniting Native tribes and restoring Native ceremonies.
In the fall of 2009, Chief Joe Sittingowl White, principal chief of the Central Band Cherokee, invited ben Yoseif to serve his Tsa-la-gi (Cherokee) people as one of the 13 Equahiyi-Wasi (EH-KWAH-HE-YEE WAH-SEE). With the help of Creator, this Abraham-Moses society is researching Native American origins, prophecy and spirituality and specifically their Hebrew ties. After presenting Apache demands to the George W. Bush White House that the skulls of Geronimo and other Apache be returned in a sacred manner "before the curse grows much worse", he was adopted as an elder by the Sundance warrior lodge of the Membreno Apache. He is "keeper of the gate" at Eldersgate, American Indian Council., in SW Colorado at the eastern extremity of the Four Corners region anciently known as "Aztlan." During an exchange of gifts at his first meeting with Membreno spiritual leader Jimmy Tenrivers Atencio, he was gifted with his medicine from the land of the Aztecs. In 2004, he was asked by the Bear Clan elder Abe Walkingbear Sanchez, of the Zuni nation, who along with Tenrivers helped ben Yoseif envision Eldersgate, to serve on the board of directors of Turtletribe and begin a working version of the turtletribe.org website. He has also served as an ex-officio board member of Iglesia de Aztlan. His long-standing interest in Native American affairs stems from moderating a debate between representatives of the American Indian Movement and the Bureau of Indian Affairs as a news editor on the campus daily at Louisiana State University in 1973.
NOTE: MbY has recently begun writing down many of his adventures. He believes this may eventually become an autobiographical testimony to the spiritual movement of the Return of the House of Joseph. This work is ongoing, but is available as well at the More about Maggid ben Yoseif link.