Monthly Archives: January 2021

To the Jew First in 2021

Shalom, dear friend.

It is hard to believe that we are in the middle of January 2021! Time is moving forward so rapidly! Last January, I had such hope in the afterglow of celebrating Chosen People Ministries’ 125th year of ministry. We had a fabulous gala! The future looked so bright, the opportunities to serve the Lord and reach Jewish people with the gospel were electrifying, and the Chosen People Ministries staff was ready to go!

But then tragedy struck, and however you feel about the virus, it has impacted all of our lives in many ways. The effects of COVID-19 on our friends, families, and congregations have been severe. Our economy and the overall stability of our nation suffered as well.

My dear friend, 2020 was a challenging year!

But the Lord is ALWAYS in control. He is sovereign and loves us with an everlasting love. He created us, sent His Son to redeem us, and is coming back, so we are hopeful.

Job’s sentiments very well express how you and I might sometimes feel: “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him. Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him” (Job 13:15).

When there is nothing else to hold onto, we can always cling to the nature and character of our God! He will never disappoint, though His ways, thoughts, and will are so mysterious to us at times (Isaiah 55:8–9).

But we know in the depth of our souls that the Lord is always worthy of our trust!

While I anguish with those who have lost loved ones, businesses, and more to the virus, I believe that 2021 will be a year of restoration. I also have an even greater sense of urgency than ever before to proclaim the gospel to the Jewish people. Your Mission to the Jewish People will move forward in hope, fulfilling the mission and vision God gave Rabbi Leopold Cohn in 1894 when he founded Chosen People Ministries.

The Messianic Jewish Apostle Paul expressed our vision at Chosen People Ministries when he wrote,

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).

I like to remind our staff and prayer partners of this verse every January. It is best to read this verse—and the entire Bible—as literally as possible. David L. Cooper, a missionary to the Jewish people who lived and ministered in the 40s and 50s in Los Angeles, said this about reading Scripture: “When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense.” He explained that, unless there is an obvious reason not to, we should apply Scripture literally.


If we take Romans 1:16 literally, we see that we should not be ashamed of the gospel as it is the power of God for salvation. I know this is true, as I experienced God’s power when I was nineteen years old and accepted Jesus. He transformed my life!

This verse also teaches that we should not keep this glorious and powerful message to ourselves. It is the power of God for salvation, not just for us, but for everyone who believes. Our divinely appointed goal in life should be to present the gospel in ways that others might see the power of the good news and believe in Him as well.

Finally, the text tells us that the gospel should be proclaimed to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Here is where some people find it hard to take this verse literally.

The Greek word translated “first” is protos and does not need to be understood sequentially. I do not think Paul intended for the Roman believers to witness to all the Jewish people in Rome before sharing the gospel with non-Jews! Paul used a nonsequential application of the word first.

To the Jew first means that bringing the gospel to the Jewish people should be a heart priority for every believer in Jesus.

We must find a way to apply the plain truth of God’s Word to our lives. Whether through prayer, giving, or witnessing to Jewish people we know, we all need to be involved in sharing the good news with God’s chosen people.


We want to take Paul’s statement a little bit further in 2021.

We not only want to bring the gospel to the Jewish people first, but we also want to take the gospel to some of the most challenging and resistant Jewish people first. The group I have in mind is the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, usually called the Haredim. A literal translation of the Hebrew word Haredim is “those who fear the Lord.”

This Jewish community represents close to one million of the more than fifteen million Jewish people in the world.

They are viewed as “old style” in their keeping of Jewish tradition and dress. Haredim follow the Torah diligently, live under the rabbis’ authority, and share a vibrant community life that includes schools, jobs, and synagogue life, which is central to this Jewish community.

My heart breaks for the Haredim for many reasons. But the primary reason is biblical, as Paul wrote in Romans 10:1–3. He noted that these beloved Jewish people have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. The Greek word Paul used is epignosis, a composite term that implies full or complete knowledge. The Haredim understand God to a degree, but this knowledge is incomplete because it lacks an understanding of Jesus, who fulfills all that the Bible promises.

I live in Brooklyn. Outside of Jerusalem and a few other enclaves in Israel and the greater New York area, my hometown is the epicenter of Haredi life. However, you will find Haredim in every major city in North America.

We have developed tools designed to reach these dear people through the use of social media in the United States, Israel, and other strategic places where many Haredim live. We are using the Yiddish language, which combines Old German and some Slavic and Hebrew terms but is written in Hebrew letters.

We have the New Testament in Yiddish and the Jesus Film in Yiddish as well, which we are offering for online viewing.


We are also establishing a fund to purchase a property somewhere outside the New York area where the Haredim who are seeking the Lord can safely stay when their community persecutes them. We call this the “Haredi Safe House Initiative.”

God has given us a big vision and ambitious goals. We have already done a lot, but now we are prepared to move full steam ahead.

We expect to receive quite a bit of opposition, and we need to have the prayer support to press on.

We have not yet located the site, though we have a good idea of where we want to be. So stay tuned, and we will tell you more about this later on in 2021.

We are prepared and available to God for this monumental task, and we hope and pray that, in the days ahead, the Lord will use us in the lives of this exceptional part of the global Jewish community.

We are not stopping anything else that we are doing; we are adding to what we have done in past years. This includes a more extensive outreach to campuses, initiatives among children, and more.

The gospel is still powerful, and it is still for everyone; it is the only solution that works for you, me, and every other citizen on earth. But as we apply the preaching of the gospel, we need to take Paul’s words seriously and present the gospel to the Jew first.


Thank you so much for your prayers. I see God’s hand on the Jewish people and especially the state of Israel as part of the unfolding of the end times. I believe with my whole heart that the Jewish people will turn to Jesus before He returns at the end of days. This makes reaching the Jewish people for the Messiah Jesus so very important.

As Paul wrote,

For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. This is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins” (Romans 11:25–27).

Let us lift our eyes and hearts together and, by His grace, reach the Jewish people for the Lord. Thank you for caring and for helping us bring the gospel to the Jew first and also to the Gentiles.

Your brother in the Messiah,

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We Thank God for Another Year!

Shalom, dear friend.

Happy New Year!

We made it to 2021, which is encouraging! I thank the Lord for bringing us this far!

I have found the well-known passage from Psalm 23:4 to be a source of strength and hope: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

Maybe, like me, you have rediscovered that all we need is Him!

The pandemic has tested our faith, but I believe we will slowly regain a sense of normalcy and return to the world we once knew. I am sure you have learned some great spiritual lessons in the last ten months. These past months have powerfully reminded me that this world is passing away, and we belong to a coming kingdom, which is unshakable. The hope of Jesus’ return is sweeter to me now than ever before, and I hope this is true for you too.

I long for His coming and the establishment of His righteous kingdom. The book of Revelation promises, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Revelation 21:3–4).

What a wonderful promise!

Meanwhile, Your Mission to the Jewish People is ready for the challenges of 2021. With full dependence upon our good and glorious Savior, we are moving forward, doing what we have done for one hundred twenty-six years—reaching Jewish people with the gospel.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation” (Romans 10:1). I want to be part of God’s answer to Paul’s prayer!

Paul, a Messianic Jew, also penned the following words of Scripture, which became our marching orders when Rabbi Leopold Cohn founded Chosen People Ministries in 1894:

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).

For one hundred twenty-six years, we have focused on this clear, biblical basis for Jewish evangelism every January. We start the year by reminding our staff and friends of this mandate that explains why we do what we do, day in and day out, using the tools God provides. Chosen People Ministries has endured incredible challenges in fulfilling our mission: World War I, the Spanish flu, the Great Depression, World War II, the Holocaust, Israel’s establishment, and the wars fought to keep her safe—and today, we are facing a pandemic!

Your Mission to the Jewish People is still here serving the Jewish Messiah and making Him known among His kinsman according to the flesh!

By God’s grace, Chosen People Ministries has never changed its mission or theology. Irrespective of the circumstances, we exist to reach Jewish people worldwide for their Messiah, Jesus. With the help of an army of prayer warriors like you—including both individuals and local churches who love the Lord and the Jewish people—we will be able to continue the work!


We have spoken in very few churches—about one thousand fewer churches than 2019! Still, He has provided through you. Thank you.

We struggle with not being able to worship and witness in person. Yet, we know His Spirit cannot be quarantined and still works powerfully in the lives of those seeking Him. He is never locked down!

In so many ways, our ministry has flourished during the pandemic. We have engaged with tens of thousands of individuals online. We have met many hurting people whose personal suffering and loss has drawn them to Jesus. We have seen many Jewish people come to faith, be baptized, and become part of our congregations and Bible studies.

I hope this openness continues and that we will continue to find both Jews and Gentiles seeking the Lord during the months ahead.

We are ready to move forward in 2021! We will take it one step at a time, but we see hope on the horizon! Our staff is filled with vision and overflowing with ideas and new strategies!

Will you pray for our workers in nineteen countries around the globe, as you have in the past?

By God’s grace, let us walk arm in arm toward the opportunities ahead. Together, we can meet the challenges of reaching the Jewish community in the United States, Israel, and worldwide!


It takes a village to reach the Jewish community for the Messiah, and both our missionary and administrative staff, which number about one hundred twenty-five in the United States, need our continued prayers and encouragement.

I am especially thrilled with the work of our digital media department. They do some of our most critically important missionary work by creating the videos and social media we use to proclaim the gospel.

We have learned a lot about ministering to Jewish people who understandably want to keep their search for Jesus private. They are concerned about their friends and relatives knowing about their interest in the gospel, which is why our digital media outreach is so critical. We have created four evangelistic websites and are working on a fifth as well. is an entry-level online outreach. The articles address an unbelieving Jewish audience open to the gospel and curious about Jesus. is a video-based Bible study based on the Sermon on the Mount. The videos help seekers who are further along in their search for the Lord, and they also serve to disciple Jewish believers who have come to faith. focuses on the tough questions Jewish people ask about Jesus and the gospel. This site will help Jewish seekers, but it will also help gentile Christians who are trying to answer the questions their Jewish friends are asking about the Messiah. shares the testimonies of more than one hundred Jewish people who have come to faith in the Messiah.


Our newest website, still in development, reflects our growing burden to reach ultra-Orthodox Jewish people for the Lord. An online approach is perfect for an ultra-Orthodox audience since many religious Jewish people do not want their friends and family knowing that they are interested in Jesus, the Jewish Messiah. The website will contain portions of the New Testament in Yiddish, part of the Jesus Film (also in Yiddish), and several other online resources to help ultra-Orthodox Jewish people find the Lord, like our Isaiah 53 Explained book in Hebrew. The ultra-Orthodox speak and read Yiddish, but many are also fluent in Hebrew. The book is available in print and as a downloadable pdf.

There are more than one million devoted ultra-Orthodox Jews in the world today, and we have recently had phone calls from many of them who are seeking the Lord. We feel a tremendous sense of urgency to produce this site and advertise it within the religious Jewish community.


I cannot thank you enough for your faithful and generous prayers and support. Our staff joins me in being deeply appreciative of your partnership.

I know that we have been through a hard time, but I have hope! The Lord is all-powerful, and He has promised a glorious future for those who love Him.

It is my greatest desire to find as many Jewish people as possible to enjoy His eternal presence along with you and me!

Happy New Year and God bless you. We are looking forward to great things in 2021.

Your brother in the Messiah,


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