Jews for Jesus

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Jews for Jesus is a conservative, Christian evangelical organization that focuses on the conversion of Jews to Christianity.[1][2][3] Jews for Jesus defines Jewish in terms of parentage and as a birthright, regardless of religious belief[4] and its members consider themselves to be Jews – either as defined by Jewish law, or according to the view of Jews for Jesus.

The identification of Jews for Jesus as a Jewish organization is rejected by Jewish religious denominations[5][6] and secular Jewish groups[7][8] due to the Christian beliefs of its members. The group's evangelical activities have garnered mixed reactions from other Christian individuals and organizations, largely divided between liberal and conservative lines.[1][9]

Founded in 1973, Jews for Jesus employs more than 200 people,[10] estimates its adherents at 30,000 to 125,000 worldwide[11] and takes in about $20 million a year in donations.[12]

History[edit]

Wordmark

The organization was founded by Moishe Rosen an ordained Baptist minister (who was born Jewish and converted to Christianity at the age of 17)[13] and Jhan Moskowitz an ordained Christian and Missionary Alliance minister and son of a Holocaust survivor.[14] Rosen was the head of the San Francisco arm of the American Board of Missions to the Jews (an organization now known as Chosen People Ministries). In 1973, Rosen broke off from that organization,[15] and in September of that year, incorporated Jews for Jesus as Hineni Ministries with its headquarters in the San Francisco area. Over the next few years, it established branches in other cities. From September 1979 - June 1980, it shut down its branches to retrain its missionaries.[16] It then went on to open more branches, mostly in United States cities, in the 1980s, as well as abroad in the 1990s. Rosen remained its executive director until May 1996 when he was replaced by David Brickner,[1] also a Baptist minister.[17] Moishe Rosen died in May 2010. The organization has maintained its headquarters in or near San Francisco, California since its inception.[18]

Aims and organization[edit]

Jews for Jesus is based in San Francisco, California. Jews for Jesus official mission statement is "to make the Messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to our Jewish people worldwide." Through media advertisements, production and distribution of literature, producing music and organizing person-to-person evangelism, the organization asserts that "a specifically Jewish mission" is necessary, saying, "Jewish people tend to dismiss evangelistic methods and materials that are couched in Christian lingo, because they reinforce the assumption that Jesus is for 'them' not 'us'."[19]

Jews for Jesus promotes awareness of the Jewish heritage of the Christian faith. Their website contains brief descriptions of Jewish festivals.[20] The group also provides programs that provide their Christian interpretation of Jewish holidays such as Passover, Sukkot and Hanukkah, explaining what they consider messianic elements and how they believe these festivals are related to Jesus.

Beliefs[edit]

The New York City office of Jews for Jesus.

A summary of Jews for Jesus' beliefs:[21]

  • The Old and New Testaments, as originally written, are divinely inspired and inerrant.
  • Recognition of the value of traditional Jewish literature, but only where it is supported by the Bible.
  • God the creator exists as a trinity, is perfect, all wise, all powerful and all loving.
  • Jesus is the Messiah, the second person of the Trinity, was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died for the sins of all humanity, rose again, and is co-equal with God. Jesus will return to earth in the near future.
  • People are saved through a belief in Jesus as savior and an acknowledgment of their sins, not by their achievements.
  • Heaven is a reward for those who are saved; Hell is a place of "everlasting conscious punishment" for the lost.
  • Israel exists as a covenant people through whom God continues to accomplish His purposes and that the Church is composed of both Jews and Gentiles who acknowledge Jesus as Messiah and Redeemer.

Jews for Jesus takes the mainstream Christian positions that Jesus is the Messiah, that his coming was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible, and that Jesus is the son of God, the second person of the Trinity. Jews for Jesus believes that their views of the Messiah are entirely compatible with the view of God presented in Jewish scriptures,[22] and that the doctrine of the Trinity, fundamental to the Christian faith, is not entirely alien to Judaism.[23]

According to an article on Jews for Jesus by B. Robinson of Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance,

Their doctrinal statement is basically indistinguishable from Evangelical and other conservative Christian groups. ... They differ from some Evangelical Christian groups in their belief that Israel continues to exist as a "covenant people." They also integrate some Jewish customs and use Hebrew and Yiddish in some literature.[1]

Stated core values[edit]

Jews for Jesus describes its core values in the following way:

Leadership, funding and outreach[edit]

Jews for Jesus is funded by donations from Messianic Jews and like-minded Christians.[25][26] It has a full-time staff of more than 200 employees[10] running branch offices in nine cities across the United States. There are also branch offices in Australia, Brazil, Canada (in Montreal and Toronto), France, Germany (in Essen), Hungary, Israel, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Ukraine (in Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Kiev and Odessa). In addition to its English-language website, the group has websites in Hebrew, Portuguese, Polish, Persian, Italian, Spanish and Korean.[27]

According to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, the group's total income in FY 2010 was US$20,728,530.[28]

Evangelizing[edit]

The majority of evangelism used by Jews for Jesus consists of handing out literature on the streets, one-on-one Bible studies, full-page ads in leading newspapers and magazines, ISSUES (an eight-page evangelistic publication for Jewish seekers) and internet evangelism.[29] The organization uses colorful pamphlets and T-shirts to get their message across and is known for targeting populations of Jews which they see as receptive to their message,[30] such as recent immigrants, college students, senior citizens and interfaith couples. Regarding "targeting," Jews for Jesus says this on its website: "The term 'targeting' brings to mind darts or firearms. We can't imagine throwing the gospel at people or aiming to harm them with it. Actually, targeting is a propaganda term that has been misappropriated from the marketing profession. . . . Those who are not Christians use it to disparage evangelism. To scoffers and unbelievers it has a negative connotation. We avoid the term 'targeting' because we see the gospel as something to be presented freely rather than something to be sold. We don't throw our tracts at people; we hand them to those who want to take them."[31] Stephanie Persin writes, "Evangelists in the organization have been trained to recite phrases from the Old Testament and to use Yiddish words so as to convince potential converts that Jews for Jesus maintain Jewish traditions."[14][32] Regarding Jewish traditions, Jews for Jesus says on its website: "As for the accusation that we 'fraudulently use Jewish symbols and Jewish holidays,' we have a right to use Jewish symbols by virtue of our ancestry, and we have a right to celebrate Passover and other Jewish holidays and interpret them according to the teachings of Scripture. The accusation would only be valid if the New Testament were false."[33] On their official website, Jews for Jesus says that they give out 8 million pamphlets a year.[34] They use college-age volunteers for some of their short-term evangelism campaigns.[35] Each July they send a team of 20 to 30 to New York City, which they say has the world's largest and most diverse Jewish population.[36]

Affiliations and support[edit]

On the Christian counter-cult site Apologetics Index, Jews for Jesus is listed as an orthodox member of the Christianity family.[37] Jews for Jesus is a member of numerous evangelical Christian groups, including The World Evangelical Alliance,[38][39] the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability,[28][38] the World Evangelical Fellowship, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada,[40] the Canadian Council for Christian Charities, the Evangelical Alliance of Great Britain, the Evangelical Alliance of South Africa, the Fédération Evangélique de France (Evangelical Federation of France), and the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism.[41]

Here is what some prominent evangelical Christians have said about Jews for Jesus:

J.I. Packer, Board of Governors' Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia: "Jews for Jesus is a worldwide Christian mission that was born against the background of California's Jesus movement and has grown steadily ever since. Holding that Jesus of Nazareth -- God incarnate, crucified, risen, and now reigning -- is the true Messiah foretold in the Old Testament and the true fulfillment of Jewish hopes, the mission exists to press his claims on Jewish people everywhere. It is based on two principles. First, Jews who receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and who are 'completed' and 'fulfilled' thereby do not need to leave behind their Jewish identity or break with Jewish ways. As Judaizing was not a theological requirement for the first gentile Christians, so gentilizing is not a cultural requirement for today's Jewish believers. Though they belong in the Christian church, which has been mainly gentile -- non-Jewish, that is -- for most of its life, within the church they are free to be as Jewish as they like. Second, up-front, in-your-face challenge, with as much humor, chutzpah, and goodwill as possible, is the way to approach Jews evangelistically."[42]

Dr. Joseph M. Stowell III, past president of Moody Bible Institute, current president of Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and author of over 20 Christian books: "Since Moishe Rosen founded Jews for Jesus in the early 1970s, thousands of Jewish people have come to experience living faith in Jesus as their Messiah through this strategic ministry. And just as important, thousands of Gentiles have as well. We are proud that David Brickner, the executive director, and many others at Jews for Jesus are graduates of Moody Bible Institute. I'm privileged to be associated with them and I encourage you in your association with Jews for Jesus now and in the future."[43]

Mark Bailey, President of Dallas Theological Seminary: "I have watched the ministry of Jews for Jesus for twenty-five years. I have known their chairman of the board, Byron Spradlin, for the same period. Susan Perlman now serves on the board of Dallas Theological Seminary, and I am pleased to call Moishe Rosen and David Brickner my friends. All are committed followers of Messiah Jesus. I have always found the ministry of Jews for Jesus and their traveling musicians to be evangelical in their doctrine and appropriately evangelistic in their presentation. They are both creative and biblical in their communication of the gospel. They help lead the way in Jewish evangelism.[44]

John Stephen Piper, Senior Pastor, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota: "For almost two decades I have followed with joy the ministry of Jews for Jesus. I say with joy" because I love the gospel of the glory of Jesus the Messiah, and I love Jewish people, and I love bold, compassionate ways of connecting Jews and Jesus. All I have seen and all I know of Jews for Jesus makes me happy to say a rousing YES to their ministry. From Moshe Rosen to David Brickner I have admired the leadership. I have seen them up close and in action. I have been a partner in the Behold Your God mission in Minneapolis and have spoken to the band of bold witnesses before they hit the streets. I encourage my people to give support, and I have wished I had a fraction of the dedication and courage I see in the missionaries who put themselves at risk week in and week out. The risk is mainly from misunderstanding. It is inevitable. Bold, loving summons to believe on Jesus as the Messiah will be seen by some as arrogant,by others as abusive, by others as controlling, by others as ethnic assault, by others as the most precious gift ever given. I see it as obedience to Jesus and as the very embodiment of the love of Christ for lost sinners like me. 'Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.' (1 John 5:12) May God give Jews for Jesus faithfulness to offer the Son to all who need him—to the Jew first and also to the gentile."[45]

Torkild Masvie, International Director, Caspari Center, Jerusalem: "I have known the Jews for Jesus organization and senior staff for years. They are an organization with fundamental integrity, i.e. they live up to their stated goals with no hidden agenda. They are characterized by their clear, sober, biblical theology which is in line with the principles of the reformation. They represent a clear voice against the separation of Jewish and Gentile believers in Messiah and encourage active membership of Jewish believers in Jesus in local churches."[46]

Opposition and criticism[edit]

One of the criticisms of Jews for Jesus surrounds the tactics they employ in their missionary and outreach programs. Critics say that the organization uses vague and misleading language along with deceptive tactics in its attempt to convert Jews to Christianity.[47] These tactics include statements that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Jewish prophecy of Messiah and attempts by Jews for Jesus to interpret core principles of Judaism in an effort to bring these Jewish principles into accord with Christian doctrines.[48] To this end, critics say that Jews for Jesus uses the ambiguity in the definition of "Jew" and "Jewish" to confuse their prospective converts into believing there is a possibility of one being a follower of both Christianity and Judaism simultaneously.[49]

On its website in answer to a frequently asked question,"How can I respond to the accusation that Jews for Jesus distorts Jewish religious symbols?," Jews for Jesus says, "Regardless of what anyone says, we are Jews in that we are physically descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. At the same time we are also Christians—those who believe in and follow Jesus, the Jewish Messiah. One classification does not cancel out the other, even though rabbis like to teach that Judaism and Christianity are mutually exclusive categories and hence are antithetical to one another."[33]

Mainstream Judaism[edit]

Belief in Jesus as deity, son of God, or even a non-divine Christ/Messiah or Prophet (as in Islam), is held as incompatible with Judaism by all Jewish religious movements.[6][50]

In 1993 the Task Force on Missionaries and Cults of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRCNY) issued a statement which has been endorsed by the four major Jewish denominations: Orthodox Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Reform Judaism, and Reconstructionist Judaism, as well as national Jewish organizations.[8] Based on this statement, the Spiritual Deception Prevention Project at the JCRCNY stated:

On several occasions leaders of the four major Jewish movements have signed on to joint statements opposing Hebrew-Christian theology and tactics. In part they said: "Though Hebrew Christianity claims to be a form of Judaism, it is not ... It deceptively uses the sacred symbols of Jewish observance ... as a cover to convert Jews to Christianity, a belief system antithetical to Judaism ... Hebrew Christians are in radical conflict with the communal interests and the destiny of the Jewish people. They have crossed an unbridgeable chasm by accepting another religion. Despite this separation, they continue to attempt to convert their former co-religionists."[51]

The director of a counter-missionary group Torah Atlanta, Rabbi Efraim Davidson, stated that "the Jews for Jesus use aggressive proselytizing to target disenfranchised or unaffiliated Jews, Russian immigrants and college students" and that "their techniques are manipulative, deceptive and anti-Semitic."[52]

In his 1997 book The Vanishing American Jew: In Search of Jewish Identity for the Next Century, Alan Dershowitz wrote: "In America, and in other nations that separate church from state, one's Jewishness is a matter of self-definition ..." but notes: "I do not mean to include former Jews who practice Christianity under the deliberately misleading name Jews for Jesus. A Jew for Jesus already has a name: a Christian."[53]

In an interview for Beliefnet, Orthodox Rabbi Irving Greenberg, the author of For the Sake of Heaven and Earth, said:

"There are Jews for Jesus who use the trappings of Judaism to bring people into a religion that teaches that Judaism is finished. Jews for Jesus are worse theologically than the mainstream of Catholicism or Protestantism, which now affirm that Judaism is a valid religion. Jews for Jesus say that it is not. They use the Jewish trappings, but de facto, they are teaching the classic Christian supersessionism--that Judaism was at best a foreshadowing of Christianity".[54]

Outreach Judaism[edit]

Outreach Judaism, a Jewish counter-missionary organization founded by Rabbi Tovia Singer, aims to provide educational resources to individuals targeted by organizations such as Jews for Jesus.[55]

Jews for Judaism[edit]

Jews for Judaism, established by Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz in 1986, is a Jewish organization aiming "to strengthen and preserve Jewish identity through education and counseling that counteracts deceptive proselytizing targeting Jews for conversion".[56] The name Jews for Judaism is a deliberate parody of Jews for Jesus, as Jews for Jesus is one of the missionary organizations that Jews for Judaism was founded to counter.[citation needed]

Christian[edit]

Some Western Christians object to evangelizing Jews because they see Jewish religious practice as valid in and of itself.[57] Some Liberal Protestant denominations that have issued statements criticizing evangelism of Jews include the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America,[58] the United Church of Christ and the Presbyterian Church USA,[59] which said in 1988 that Jews have their own covenant with God.[60] The Board of Governors of the Long Island Council of Churches opposes proselytizing of Jews, and voiced these sentiments in a statement that "noted with alarm" the "subterfuge and dishonesty" inherent in the "mixing [of] religious symbols in ways which distort their essential meaning", and named Jews for Jesus as one of the three groups about whom such behavior was alleged.[61]

In 2003, the sponsorship of Jews for Jesus by All Souls Church, Langham Place, a Conservative Evangelical Church in London, with a launch event on Rosh Hashanah launching a UK mission targeting the Jewish community led to the Interfaith Alliance UK, a coalition of Jewish, Christian and Islamic religious leaders, issuing a letter of protest to the Archbishop of Canterbury.[62]

Islamic interfaith conference[edit]

The Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington includes Muslims, Jews, and liberal church groups.[63] The Conference states that they "support the right of all religions to share their message in the spirit of good will;"[64] however Rev. Clark Lobenstine, has condemned the "proselytizing efforts" of "Jews for Jesus and other messianic Jewish groups."[65] His wording matched the Conference's 1987 "Statement on Proselytism,"[64] which makes claims against "groups that have adopted the label of Hebrew Christianity, Messianic Judaism, or Jews for Jesus,"[66] so it is unclear which claims are directed at Jews for Jesus in particular.

An opposition has emerged from Muslim imams and leaders in the light of the emergence of "Messianic Muslim" Evangelical missions directed at the Muslim community modeled on Jews for Jesus, with the presentation of Evangelical beliefs in Arabicised terms and encouragement of Muslims to become "followers for 'Isa",[67] and on 10 December 2003, a joint Jewish-Muslim Delegation supported by the Office of the Chief Rabbi in Great Britain together with Muslim imams presented a protest to the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres.

Other[edit]

America's Religions. An Educator's Guide to Beliefs and Practices contains "[a] note about Jews for Jesus, Messianic Jews, Hebrew Christians, and similar groups: Jews in these groups who have converted to Christianity but continue to observe various Jewish practices are no longer considered part of the Jewish community in the usual sense."[68]

There are several other organizations that oppose identification of Jews for Jesus as a Jewish group.[69][70]

Litigation[edit]

1987 – freedom of speech[edit]

In the case of Board of Airport Commissioners of Los Angeles v. Jews for Jesus, Inc., 482 U.S. 569 (1987), The Supreme Court held that a law which banned "First Amendment activities" within the Central Terminal Area at L.A. International Airport to be invalid as substantially "over broad," and therefore, invalid on its face. As Justice O'Connor stated, in her opinion, such a law could even be construed to prohibit a traveler from approaching a ticketing booth and asking when the flight from Des Moines was scheduled to arrive. The municipal agency in charge of Los Angeles International Airport had barred the group from distributing leaflets at the airport "as part of a larger ban on what they described as First Amendment activities. Jews for Jesus challenged the airport's right to institute such a sweeping ban."[71][72]

1992 – civil rights violations[edit]

In 1992 the New York Court of Appeals ruled against Jews for Jesus in a suit the organization brought against the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRCNY), an umbrella group representing 60 Jewish agencies in the metropolitan New York area. The case addressed the JCRCNY's 1985 warning to Long Island rabbis that Jews for Jesus was seeking a venue to conduct a Passover seder. Jews for Jesus sued the JCRCNY for violating its civil rights; the decision upheld a lower court ruling that the JCRCNY communication did not "go beyond the proposal stage" and that there was no evidence that any of the Long Island rabbis had actually contacted establishments for the purpose of discriminating against Jews for Jesus.[73]

In a 1992 lawsuit brought by Jews for Jesus against the JCRCNY, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the efforts of the JCRCNY urging Jewish organizations not to patronize a New York country club because it allowed Jews for Jesus to hold its annual convention on its premises were not protected as an exercise of the JCRC's First Amendment rights.[71]

1993 – refusal of automatic citizenship in Israel[edit]

In 1993 the Supreme Court of Israel, in a case involving a couple affiliated with Jews for Jesus, ruled that Jews who adhere to Christian beliefs are regarded by Israeli law as "members of a different faith," and are not eligible for the automatic citizenship that Israel grants Jews. This is done not to try to change Jewish Law, but to preserve the Jewish character of the State of Israel – i.e., that allowing in people whose sole mission is to get Jews to become Christians is inimical to one of the core ethics of the country (to be a haven for Jews; see Israeli Declaration of Independence). In its summary of the ruling, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the belief that Jesus is the Messiah "cannot be reconciled with Judaism" and "marks the clear separation between Judaism and Christianity."[71]

1998 and 2005–2006 – online name[edit]

Jews for Jesus has been involved in litigation regarding Internet use of its name. In 1998 they successfully sued Steven Brodsky for cybersquatting — registering the domain name jewsforjesus.org for a site criticizing the organization.[71] The domain now belongs to Jews for Jesus and is used for their main site.

In 2005 Jews for Jesus sued[74] Google for allowing a Blogspot user to put up a site at the third-level subdomain jewsforjesus.blogspot.com. In September 2006 Christianity Today reported that "Jews for Jesus settled out of court with a critical blogger identified as 'Whistle Blower' on jewsforjesus.blogspot.com. The evangelistic ministry assumed control of the site."[75]

2006 – misuse of Jackie Mason name[edit]

In 2006 comedian and actor Jackie Mason filed a lawsuit against Jews for Jesus, alleging that they unlawfully distributed a pamphlet which used his name and likeness in a way that suggested he was a member of the group. In fact, Mason is Jewish and not associated with Jews for Jesus.[76] Jews for Jesus has issued a detailed response to the allegation on their website.[77]

A judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York denied a preliminary injunction against Jews for Jesus over the pamphlet, finding the distribution of the pamphlet to be protected by the First Amendment, and also stated that the pamphlet did not suggest that Mason was a Christian.[78]

In December 2006, Jackie Mason dropped the lawsuit against Jews for Jesus after they issued a letter of apology to Mason. The group's executive director, David Brickner, stated in the letter to Mason that he wanted "to convey my sincere apologies for any distress that you felt over our tract." Brickner continued that he believed its publication was protected by the Constitution, but the group was willing in the interest of peace and love for Israel to retire the pamphlet. Mason replied in front of the federal court in Manhattan where he accepted the apology, "There's no such thing as a Jew for Jesus. It's like saying a black man is for the KKK. You can't be a table and a chair. You're either a Jew or a Gentile."[79]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Their doctrinal statement is basically indistinguishable from Evangelical and other conservative Christian groups."
  2. ^
    • "During my time with the mission, I found Jews for Jesus to be a Christian ministry (or Messianic, if you prefer) with a passion for the good news about Jesus and a heartfelt dedication to communicating the message of the Messiah in the most loving, forthright and creative ways possible." Pastor Lev Leigh. Hope Baptist Church. Richmond, CA (Letters From JFJ Alumni)
    • "... Jews for Jesus and other Christian groups who hold to the uniqueness of Christ." (Jews for Jesus Leader Contradicts American Catholic Bishops. Jews for Jesus, Press Release. August 19, 2002)
    • "Clothed in colorful shirts with large writing identifying their Christian group, Jews for Jesus has been keeping up with the 24-hour-running city, handing out tens of thousands of literature and promoting their evangelistic campaign – Behold Your God – through media outlets." (Christian Post. [1])
  3. ^ Is "Jews for Jesus" Jewish or Christian?
  4. ^ "We believe that Jewishness is a birthright. It is inherited from our parents. Our people are not of one culture; we have diverse cultural expressions (Ashkenazi/Sephardi, Georgian/Russian, Ethiopian, Persian, etc.). Our people are not of one religion. While Judaism might be the traditional religion for many Jewish people, Jews are still considered Jewish even though they might be atheists or even if they embrace other beliefs. Those who say that Jews who believe in Jesus are errant Jews or misguided Jews are entitled to their opinions. But they are not entitled to negate our Jewishness. We are Jews by birth and that cannot change."Jews for Jesus Q&A: Can you explain how one can be a Jew and a Christian at the same time? That seems like a contradiction in terms
  5. ^ "There is virtual unanimity across all denominations [of Judaism] that Jews for Jesus are not Jewish." (Kaplan, Dana Evan. The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism, Cambridge University Press, August 15, 2005, pp. 139–140).
  6. ^ a b "For most American Jews, it is acceptable to blend some degree of foreign spiritual elements with Judaism. The one exception is Christianity, which is perceived to be incompatible with any form of Jewishness. Jews for Jesus and other Messianic Jewish groups are thus seen as antithetical to Judaism and are completely rejected by the majority of Jews". (Kaplan, Dana Evan. The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism, Cambridge University Press, August 15, 2005, p. 9).
  7. ^
    • "To make the record clear, Jews for Jesus is a Christian missionary organization – period." Jews for Jesus: Jewish or Christian? You Decide, Jews for Judaism website, retrieved September 11, 2006.
    • "Messianic Jewish organizations, such as Jews for Jesus, often refer to their faith as fulfilled Judaism, in that they believe Jesus fulfilled the Messianic prophecies. Although Messianic Judaism claims to be Jewish, and many adherents observe Jewish holidays, most Jews regard Messianic Judaism as deceptive at best, fraudulent at worst. They charge that Messianic Judaism is actually Christianity presenting itself as Judaism." (Balmer, Randall. Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism, Baylor University Press, November 2004, p. 448).
    • "I do not seek, of course, covertly (as sometimes Jews for Jesus do) or overtly, to convert myself, or any other Jew to Christianity..." (Boyarin, Daniel. Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity, University of Pennsylvania Press, July 2004, p. xii).
    • "Certain Christian missionary groups have now set up a front organization called "Jews for Jesus," through which they entice naive Jews to Christianity..." (Stolper, Pinchas. "Was Jesus The Messiah? Let's Examine The Facts", in Kaplan, Aryeh. Aryeh Kaplan Anthology: Volume 1, Mesorah Publications, August 1991, p. 293).
    • "Even as I write, I fear that Christian missionaries or, even more insidiously, Jews for Jesus—people who (unlike the redeeming avant-garde of Christianity) believe that Judaism is superseded, and Jewish have no right to exist as Jews any more—will misuse my words. These people, who believe that Christianity has taken over Judaism like some succubus that must now govern the behavior of its host body, seek to abolish the Jewish religion." (Greenberg, Irving. For the Sake of Heaven and Earth: The New Encounter Between Judaism and Christianity, The Jewish Publication Society, October 2004, p. 97).
    • "It should now be clear to you why Jews have such a problem with 'Jews for Jesus' or other presentations of Messianic Judaism. I have no difficulty with Christianity. I even accept those Christians who would want me to convert to Christianity so long as they don't use coercion or duplicity and are willing to listen in good faith to my reasons for being Jewish. I do have a major problem with those Christians who would try to mislead me and other Jews into believing that one can be both Jewish and Christian." (Lotker, Michael. A Christian's Guide to Judaism, Paulist Press, March 2004, p. 35).
    • "Evangelical Christians are engaged in aggressive and extensive missionary activity among Jews. Among other results, this has given rise to groups of 'messianic Jews', of which 'Jews for Jesus' is the most outstanding example. These are actually Jews who have adopted the evangelical Protestant faith and its precepts." (Wistrich, Robert, Terms of Survival, Routledge (UK), March 1995, p. 343).
    • "Messianic Judaism is a Christian movement that began in the 1970s combining a mixture of Jewish ritual and Christianity. There are a vast and growing numbers of these groups, and they differ in how much Jewish ritual is mixed with conventional Christian belief. One end of the spectrum is represented by Jews For Jesus, who simply target Jews for conversion to Christianity using imitations of Jewish ritual solely as a ruse for attracting the potential Jewish converts. On the other end are those who don't stress the divinity of Jesus, but present him as the 'Messiah.'" "Messiah Truth. Messianic Judaism: A Christian Missionary Movement". 
  8. ^ a b Meeting the Challenge: Hebrew Christians and the Jewish Community
  9. ^ Others who oppose the evangelism related activities of Jews for Jesus:
    • Benjamin Hubbard; John Hatfield, James Santucci (1997). America's Religions. An Educator's Guide to Beliefs and Practices. Teacher Ideas Press, a Division of Libraries Unlimited, p.100. ISBN 1-56308-469-4.
    • Balmer, Randall. Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism, Baylor University Press, November 2004, p. 448
    • "Today, many evangelical Christian-Protestant groups are spending between 100,000,000 and 150,000,000 dollars a year to transform Jews into Christians. The best known of these organization is Jews for Jesus...". (Berkley, E. George. Jews, Branden Books, February 1997, p. 129).
    • "Thirdly, there is Jews for Jesus or, more generally, Messianic Judaism. This is a movement of people often of Jewish background who have come to believe Jesus is the expected Jewish messiah... They often have congregations independent of other churches and specifically target Jews for conversion to their form of Christianity." (Harries, Richard. After the Evil: Christianity and Judaism in the Shadow of the Holocaust, Oxford University Press, August 2003, p. 119.)
    • "...Jews for Jesus (Jews converted to 'born again' Christianity who are seeking to make more such converts...". (Marty, Martin E. When Faiths Collide, Blackwell Publishing, January 2005, p. 35).
    • "Jews for Jesus, the leading organization dedicated to converting Jews to Christianity, has long been a concern because of its aggressive proselytizing with a deceptive message: that Jews who accept Jesus as the son of God and their savior remain Jewish." Jews for Jesus: Targeting Jews for Conversion with Subterfuge and Deception, Anti-Defamation League, August 27, 2004, retrieved September 11, 2006.
    • "Jews for Jesus is a sect of a very different nature. This group... has a sole motivational goal of converting Jews to Christianity." Fogel, Keith and Marian E. Conversos of the Americas, Xlibris Corporation, April 2004, p. 169).
    • "Jews for Jesus is an evangelical Christian organization ..." Who are the Jews for Jesus? (exjewsforjesus.org)
    • "... its doctrine is strictly Christian in the fundamentalist/evangelical understanding of Christian faith" Is Jews for Jesus a Christian organization, or is it a Jewish organization? (exjewsforjesus.org)
  10. ^ a b ministrywatch.com
  11. ^ "About Jews for Jesus: How Many Jews for Jesus Are There?"
  12. ^ Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability
  13. ^ The Real Jews for Jesus. The Leaders by Jason Levinson (Torah Atlanta)
  14. ^ a b Jews for Jesus: Targeting Jews for Conversion with Subterfuge and Deception. Methods (Anti-Defamation League)
  15. ^ Randall Herbert Balmer (2002). Encyclopedia of evangelicalism. Westminster John Knox Press. pp. 127–. ISBN 978-0-664-22409-7. Retrieved 21 August 2011. "Chosen People Ministries Shortly after Leopold Cohn arrived in New York City from Hungary in 1892, he forsook his Jewish heritage and converted to Christianity. He founded the Williamsburg Mission in 1894 and started a newsletter, Chosen People, in an attempt to apprise Christians of evangelistic initiatives among the Jews. In 1924, Cohn gave the Williamsburg Mission a new name, the American Board of Missions to the Jews; the administration of the organization devolved in 1937 to Joseph H. Cohn, a graduate of Moody Bible Institute, after the death of his father, the mission's founder. The San Francisco arm of the American Board of Missions to the Jews, headed by Moishe Rosen, broke off from the national organization in 1973 to form Jews for Jesus. The original mission changed its name yet again in 1986, to Chosen People Ministries. The organization, now based in Charlotte, North Carolina, produces a daily radio program, Through Jewish Eyes, occasional television specials, and various evangelistic materials." 
  16. ^ Jews for Jesus Timeline
  17. ^ http://brickner.jewsforjesus.org/about.htm
  18. ^ "Jews for Jesus Timeline". Retrieved 21 August 2011. 
  19. ^ [2] (Jews for Jesus)
  20. ^ Jews for Jesus – Judaica
  21. ^ Statement of Faith (Jews for Jesus) written January 1, 2005
  22. ^ Don't Christians Believe in Three Gods? (Jews for Jesus) January 1, 2005
  23. ^ "While it is true that the Old Testament portion of Scripture does not present as clear a picture of the three-in-one/one-as-three Godhead, there are indications of the plurality of the Godhead in the Hebrew Scriptures." The Trinity in the Old Testament by Catherine Damato. (Jews for Jesus) June 1, 1987
  24. ^ Core values (Jews for Jesus) January 1, 2005
  25. ^ "Finances". Jews for Jesus. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  26. ^ The Real Jews for Jesus. Christian Dollars at Work by Jason Levinson (Torah Atlanta)
  27. ^ "About Jews for Jesus: Branches
  28. ^ a b Jews for Jesus. Financial information for FY2010 (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability)
  29. ^ "What We Do"
  30. ^ Targeting vulnerable population groups:
    • "The organization is also known for targeting vulnerable populations of Jews. New Jewish immigrants and college freshman as well as senior citizens and interfaith couples are easy targets for the organization." (Jews for Jesus by Stephanie Persin. Jewish Virtual Library)
    • "Since people are most vulnerable at times of personal change and transition, the missionaries center their efforts on a number of vulnerable Jewish populations, including high school and college students, senior citizens, and recent immigrants." (Frequently Asked Questions About Hebrew-Christian Missionaries & "Jews for Jesus" New York Board of Rabbis)
    • "Such congregations are designed to appear Jewish, but they are actually fundamentalist Christian churches which use traditional Jewish symbols to lure the most vulnerable of our Jewish people into their ranks."
    (Messianic congregations target Jews by Rabbi Tovia Singer)
    • "Young men and women are particularly vulnerable to evangelicals because so often these adolescents are unsure of themselves, the world around them, and the adulthood that awaits them. ... The elderly are also perilously vulnerable..." (Evangelizing the Jews, Part 2: Who is Most Vulnerable? by Rabbi Tovia Singer (outreachjudaism.org). Also at Aish)
    • "Deceptive proselytizing is practiced on the most vulnerable of populations – residents of hospitals and old aged homes, confused youth, college students away from home. These proselytizing techniques are tantamount to coerced conversions and should be condemned." (Soc.Culture.Jewish Newsgroups. Frequently Asked Questions and Answers)
    • "Individuals are most vulnerable to these groups and their tactics when they are lonely and hurting, overwhelmed or confused, away from their support system or have lost a loved one or a close friend." (College Programs. Got Friends? by Scott Hillman, Jews For Judaism)
    • "Their efforts here have drawn criticism from mainstream Jews and some Christians, who accuse Jews for Jesus of leading the vulnerable – the young, the old, recent immigrants..." (Jews for Jesus missionaries find warmth, hostility By Matthew Hay Brown (Baltimore Sun) August 27, 2005
    • "Nonetheless, JFJ continues to make this contradictory claim, purposefully focusing on young, naïve, or socially vulnerable populations with their campaigns. College students, recent immigrants (most notably Russian Jews), and the elderly are targets for conversion." (Jews for Jesus offends Jews and Christians By Ethan Frenchman and Seth Mayer, Chicago Maroon. October 4, 2005)
  31. ^ Jews for Jesus FAQ
  32. ^ Jews for Jesus by Stephanie Persin (Jewish Virtual Library)
  33. ^ a b Jews for Jesus FAQ
  34. ^ What We Do
  35. ^ "Get Involved"
  36. ^ SWC New York
  37. ^ Messianic Jews | Apologetics Index
  38. ^ a b Associations (Jews for Jesus)
  39. ^ Members (Interdenominational Foreign Mission Association)
  40. ^ Affiliates (Evangelical Fellowship of Canada)
  41. ^ Associations and Memberships
  42. ^ "Letter from J.I. Packer"
  43. ^ "Letter from Joseph Stowell"
  44. ^ "Letter from Mark Bailey"
  45. ^ "Letter from John Piper"
  46. ^ "Letter from Torkild Masvie"
  47. ^ Jews for Jesus – Targeting Jews for Conversion with Subterfuge and Deception
  48. ^ Judaism Teaches... or Does It? by Moishe Rosen (Jews for Jesus) March 1, 1997
  49. ^ Jews for Judaism, The Challenge of Missionaries and Cults
  50. ^ A belief in the divinity of Jesus is incompatible with Judaism:
    • "The point is this: that the whole Christology of the Church – the whole complex of doctrines about the Son of God who died on the Cross to save humanity from sin and death – is incompatible with Judaism, and indeed in discontinuity with the Hebraism that preceded it." Rayner, John D. A Jewish Understanding of the World, Berghahn Books, 1998, p. 187. ISBN 1-57181-974-6
    • "It has always been recognized, for instance, after the rise of Christianity and Islam, that these two religions are incompatible with Judaism and that no Jew can consistently embrace them while remaining an adherent of Judaism." Neusner, Jacob & Avery-Peck, Alan Jeffery. The Blackwell Reader in Judaism, Blackwell Publishing, 2001, p. 8. ISBN 0-631-20738-4
    • "Aside from its belief in Jesus as the Messiah, Christianity has altered many of the most fundamental concepts of Judaism." Kaplan, Aryeh. The Aryeh Kaplan Anthology: Volume 1, Illuminating Expositions on Jewish Thought and Practice, Mesorah Publication, 1991, p. 264. ISBN 0-89906-866-9
    • "...the doctrine of Christ was and will remain alien to Jewish religious thought." Wylen, Stephen M. Settings of Silver: An Introduction to Judaism, Paulist Press, 2000, p. 75. ISBN 0-8091-3960-X
    • "For a Jew, however, any form of shituf is tantamount to idolatry in the fullest sense of the word. There is then no way that a Jew can ever accept Jesus as a deity, mediator or savior (messiah), or even as a prophet, without betraying Judaism. To call oneself, therefore, a 'Hebrew-Christian,' a 'Jew for Jesus,' or in the latest version a 'messianic Jew,' is an oxymoron. Just as one cannot be a 'Christian Buddhist,' or a 'Christian for Krishna,' one cannot be a 'Jew for Jesus.'" Schochet, Rabbi J. Immanuel. "Judaism has no place for those who betray their roots", Canadian Jewish News, July 29, 1999.
    • This July, Hebrew-Christian groups such as Jews for Jesus will work to convert Jews to another religion. The Jewish Response to Missionaries (NY Board of Rabbis)
    • Judaism and Jesus Don't Mix (foundationstone.com)
    • Jews believe that "Jews for Jesus," "Messianic Jews," and "Hebrew Christians" are no longer Jews, even if they were once Jews (whatjewsbelieve.org)
    • "If you believe Jesus is the messiah, died for anyone else's sins, is God's chosen son, or any other dogma of Christian belief, you are not Jewish. You are Christian. Period." (Jews for Jesus: Who's Who & What's What by Rabbi Susan Grossman (beliefnet – virtualtalmud) August 28, 2006)
    • "For two thousand years, Jews rejected the claim that Jesus fulfilled the messianic prophecies of the Hebrew Bible, as well as the dogmatic claims about him made by the church fathers – that he was born of a virgin, the son of God, part of a divine Trinity, and was resurrected after his death. ... For two thousand years, a central wish of Christianity was to be the object of desire by Jews, whose conversion would demonstrate their acceptance that Jesus has fulfilled their own biblical prophecies." (Jewish Views of Jesus by Susannah Heschel, in Jesus In The World's Faiths: Leading Thinkers From Five Faiths Reflect On His Meaning by Gregory A. Barker, editor. (Orbis Books, 2005) ISBN 1-57075-573-6. p.149)
    • "... there are limits to pluralism, beyond which a group is schismatic to the point where it is no longer considered Jewish. For example, everyone considers Messianic Judaism and belief in Buddha as outside of the Jewish sphere." (Why did the majority of the Jewish world reject Jesus as the Messiah, and why did the first Christians accept Jesus as the Messiah? by Rabbi Shraga Simmons)
    • "No Jew accepts Jesus as the Messiah. When someone makes that faith commitment, they become Christian. It is not possible for someone to be both Christian and Jewish." (Why don't Jews accept Jesus as the Messiah? by Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner)
  51. ^ Frequently Asked Questions About Hebrew-Christian Missionaries & "Jews for Jesus" PDF Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. Spiritual Deception Prevention Project
  52. ^ Portland Jews Brace for Assault by 'Jews for Jesus' By Paul Haist (Jewish Review) May 15, 2002
  53. ^ Dershowitz, Alan (1997). The Vanishing American Jew: In Search of Jewish Identity for the Next Century. Little, Brown; 1st ed. p. 324. ISBN 0-316-18133-1. 
  54. ^ Disagreeing in the Service of God
  55. ^ Rabbi Tovia Singer interviewed by Way of the Master Radio. See Flash Video for information on how to play this recording.
  56. ^ Homepage Jews for Judaism
  57. ^ Pluralistic opposition:
  58. ^ Guidelines for Lutheran – Jewish Relations, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America . Retrieved July 5, 2009.
  59. ^ Spector, S. Evangelicals and Israel, 2008, Oxford University Press: Oxford, p. 114
  60. ^ A Theological Understanding of the Relationship Between Christians and Jews, 199th General Assembly (1987) of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
  61. ^ Jews for Jesus: Targeting Jews for Conversion with Subterfuge and Deception, Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved July 5, 2009.
  62. ^ The Guardian Imams join plea for gay tolerance 26 September 2003
  63. ^ IFCMW membership
  64. ^ a b "PCUSA's excerpt of the IFCMW's 'Statement on Proselytism'". Retrieved 2011-06-21. 
  65. ^ David Cho (August 17, 2004). "Conversion Outreach Plan Stirs Outrage. Jews for Jesus Trains 600 for Street Work". Washington Post. Retrieved 2011-06-21. 
  66. ^ "IFCMW Statement on Proselytism in a longer quote". Retrieved 2011-06-21. 
  67. ^ See for example Messianic Muslim Followers of Isa
  68. ^ Benjamin Hubbard; John Hatfield, James Santucci (1997). America's Religions. An Educator's Guide to Beliefs and Practices. Teacher Ideas Press, a Division of Libraries Unlimited. p. 100. ISBN 1-56308-469-4. 
  69. ^ Jews for Jesus by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
  70. ^ Balmer, Randall. Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism, Baylor University Press, November 2004, p. 448
  71. ^ a b c d Legal Cases Involving Jews for Jesus (ADL)
  72. ^ Airport Comm'rs v. Jews for Jesus, Inc. 482 U.S. 569 (1987)
  73. ^ Jews For Jesus, Inc., Et Al., Appellants, V. Jewish Community Relations Council Of New York, Inc., Et Al., Respondents
  74. ^ Google Sued for Trademark Infringement Based on Third-Level Subdomain by Eric Goldman (CircleID) December 30, 2005
  75. ^ Christianity Today News Briefs September 1, 2006
  76. ^ Comic sues Jews for Jesus
  77. ^ Press Release: Jews for Jesus and Jackie Mason (Jews for Jesus) August 25, 2006
  78. ^ Jackie Mason Charges Against Jews For Jesus Denied By U.S. District Court, November 8, 2006
  79. ^ USA Today, nymag.com (and many others) quoting an Associated Press release, December 4, 2006.

Further reading[edit]

  • Called to Controversy: The Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen and the Founding of Jews for Jesus by Ruth Rosen (Thomas Nelson, 2012) ISBN 978-1-59555-491-8
  • Not ashamed: The story of Jews for Jesus by Ruth Tucker (Multnomah Publishers, 2000) ISBN 978-1-57673-700-2
  • Sentenced for Life: A Story of an Entry and an Exit into the World of Fundamentalist Christianity and Jews for Jesus by Jo Ann Schneider Farris (Writers Club Press, 2002) ISBN 0-595-24940-X
  • Messianic Judaism: A rabbi's journey through religious change in America by Carol Harris-Shapiro (Beacon Press, 1999) ISBN 978-0-8070-1040-2
  • Evangelizing the Chosen People: Missions to the Jews in America, 1880–2000 by Yaakov Ariel (The University of North Carolina Press, 1999) ISBN 0-8078-2566-2
  • Hawking God. A Young Jewish Woman's Ordeal in Jews for Jesus by Ellen Kamentsky (Sapphire Press, 1993) An excerpt
  • Jews for Jesus: An Anthropological Study by Juliene G. Lipson (AMS Press, 1990) ISBN 0-404-62605-X
  • Smashing the Idols: A Jewish Inquiry into the Cult Phenomenon by Gary D. Eisenberg (Jason Aronson, 1988) ISBN 0-87668-974-8

External links[edit]