Fla. Woman Sues Jews For Jesus For Claiming She Converted

Associated Press/December 12, 2003

West Palm Beach, Fla. -- A Delray Beach woman sued the religious movement Jews for Jesus, claiming its members fraudulently reported that she converted to the organization's beliefs.

Edith Rapp says her stepson Bruce Rapp wrote in a 2002 Jews for Jesus newsletter that he watched while she tearfully and spontaneously converted to the movement at her husband's bedside. She said the account is "completely fictitious" and invented to bolster Bruce Rapp's credentials among Jews for Jesus.

"She is humiliated, shocked, appalled," said her attorney, Barry Silver. The suit was filed Thursday.

Bruce Rapp said Thursday from the organization's office in New York that he was shocked that his stepmother was upset by the article. He said he's called and left several messages to set things right.

Edith Rapp said she had not heard from her stepson. The suit comes as the organization begins a two-week campaign in Palm Beach County seeking to inform Jews of its belief about the divinity of Jesus Christ.

A spokeswoman for Jews for Jesus international office in San Francisco said the lawsuit follows a "threatening letter" from Silver. The letter, received last week, demanded $1 million and an apology, spokeswoman Susan Perlman said.

Since Monday, volunteers and staff of Jews for Jesus have been distributing gospel tracts, knocking door-to-door and calling residents.

To counter, the American Jewish Committee's Palm Beach County Chapter is teaming with two synagogues and other Jewish organizations to present two programs on their opposition to Jews for Jesus.

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