ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - An evangelical group is targeting Jewish people in St. Louis. The I-TEAM caught one of the calls on tape.
I-TEAM reporter Leisa Zigman was on the other end. The caller from Israel Restoration Ministries said he had a message of hope and gladness to give her. It sounded a lot more like fire and brimstone.
REPRESENTATIVE: I was calling on behalf of Mr. Cantor. He cares very deeply about the Jewish community so that's why he is sending a free message.
LEISA ZIGMAN: He's looking for Jewish people? And the reason is to do what?
REPRESENTATIVE: Send a message of hope and gladness to the Jewish community.
LEISA ZIGMAN: How did you find my name?
REPRESENTATIVE: From the White Pages, ma'am.
LEISA ZIGMAN: ...And you just look for Jewish sounding names?
REPRESENTATIVE: Yes...Goldberg, Cohen
LEISA ZIGMAN: ...Names like that?
Anti-Defamation League regional director Karen Aroesty said the call was "Definitely targeting, definitely stereotyping and causing a great deal of discomfort." She said several other families reported similar calls to the ADL in the last few months.
"People were startled and in a couple of cases thoroughly intimidated. When you get these calls out of the blue, your first instinct is why me? And if the answer is I have a Jewish sounding last name, that hits you, that hits you where you are," said Aroesty.
NewsChannel 5 researched the Israel Restoration Ministry. Based in Santee, California, its website claims more than 1.5 million volunteers across the country. Tom Cantor leads the ministry. He calls himself a secular Jew who's trying to find the "lost Jewish people of the world" and convert them.