Category Archives: Brooklyn

Esther: The Right Place at the Right Time

Your Mission to the Jewish People will soon celebrate the Jewish festival of Purim. This holiday is one of the most joyous on the Jewish calendar. I am sure you know the story, but please allow me to summarize these critical events in Jewish and biblical history and share a few thoughts and lessons we can learn from them.

INTRODUCTION

During this festival, Jewish communities read the entire background of Purim in the book of Esther. The story describes the Jewish people’s deliverance from certain destruction at the hand of Haman, a leader in the Medo-Persian Empire during the reign of King Ahasuerus (Xerxes). Ahasuerus ruled from 486 to 465 bc.

In the story, lots (or purim in Hebrew) were cast in the presence of Haman to help select the date for him to carry out his plan to destroy the Jewish people. Hence the name of the holiday, Purim, comes from the Hebrew word for “lots.”

It is important to recognize the tale’s heroes and how God used them to deliver the Jewish people from Haman’s wicked plan. By God’s providence, Ahasuerus chose Esther to be his new queen through a national beauty contest. She replaced Queen Vashti, who had refused the king’s command to appear at a banquet celebration. The other hero is Mordechai, Esther’s cousin (Esther 2:7), who raised her and played a critical role.

But the true hero of the story is God Himself, who sovereignly arranged all the events to work toward the good of the Jewish people. The name of God never appears in the book of Esther, but His presence and providence are evident throughout the book.

He is not silent! We hear His voice through the actions of Esther and Mordechai!

JEWISH PURIM TRADITIONS

Jewish people celebrate the deliverance from Haman’s evil plot by reading the book of Esther, shaking groggers (noise-makers), and yelling out “boo!” every time the reader mentions the name of Haman and “yay!” when we hear the names Esther and Mordechai. During Purim, we also eat hamantaschen, cookies shaped to resemble Haman’s hat or ears. Children celebrate by dressing up in fun, colorful, and creative costumes and by putting on plays that re-tell the story of Esther (yay!) and her triumph over wicked Haman (boo!).

In Israel, people flood the streets in costume to celebrate, and some ultra-Orthodox Jewish men drink alcoholic beverages until they cannot tell the difference between Mordechai and Haman.

THE MAJOR THEMES OF PURIM

During this time, we center on God’s power to orchestrate the events of life while remaining behind the scenes! Purim shows us how the hidden hand of God guides, empowers, protects, and accomplishes His divine purposes on earth.

The festival of Purim focuses on God’s covenantal faithfulness. It celebrates the deliverance of God’s chosen people and shows the Lord’s faithfulness to the covenant He made with Abraham in Genesis 12:1–3:

Now the Lord said to Abram, “. . . I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Gen 12:1–3)

The promises of this magnificent covenant play out through the story of Purim—the destruction of Israel’s enemies, the exaltation of the nation’s heroes, and the blessing upon those who bless Israel, like King Ahasuerus.

THE RIGHT PERSON IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME

One of the great lessons of Purim and the book of Esther is that God puts His children in the right place at the right time to do His will. The first puzzle piece is that the king chose Esther as queen and put her in the right place at the right time.

The God of Esther is still putting His people in the right place at the right time today! Revisiting the book of Esther during Purim greatly encourages us to accept the places where God puts us as well as the people He puts in our lives!

Mordechai also saved the king’s life by being in the right place at the right time to hear the plot of the two assassins who had lost their jobs in the palace (Esther 2:21–23). Of course, Esther was in the right place at the right time to receive the information from Mordechai to save the king’s life. Ahasuerus was also the right “pagan” king for the right moment—another king might not have ultimately listened to his wife!

The story reaches its zenith with Mordechai telling Esther, “And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). As a result, Esther took the challenge and approached the king even though she could have died for visiting uninvited!

The Lord went before Esther, and she received a favorable outcome to her request to save the Jewish people. So, the Lord switched the lots. Haman was hanged on the very gallows that he prepared for Mordechai, and the king permitted the Jews to fight back and destroy their enemies. So, Mordechai became the king’s most valuable advisor instead of Haman.

Purim is a reminder that God’s all-powerful and invisible hands hold and guide us during difficult times. The Lord is always good and has a purpose for our lives, just as He did for the Jewish people. Indeed, He often allows us to experience suffering so that we may become more and more like His Son.

HEROES FOR THE MESSIAH

Esther was a heroine and was willing to die for her people. Yeshua also loved His people and was ready to perish for them. The history of the Jewish people, the church, and Chosen People Ministries is filled with stories of brave and godly women who served the Lord faithfully, who faced dire and challenging circumstances, and even risked their lives to bring the gospel to the Jewish people.

Allow me to introduce you to one of these godly ladies, a founder and early pioneer without whom Chosen People Ministries would not exist today. Her name was Augusta Sussdorff.

Born in 1867 to German immigrants, Augusta Sussdorff was one of the Mission’s earliest workers. Rabbi Leopold Cohn spoke at her youth group at Hope Baptist Church and invited people to come and sing at the Mission. Augusta and a friend volunteered. Their presence drew more Jewish women and girls to the ministry. Previously, the Mission’s audience was primarily male. Rabbi Cohn was passionate about women studying Scripture and encouraged Augusta to join the Mission full time, which she did around 1912.

She conducted many programs at the Brooklyn headquarters, including mothers’ meetings, sewing school, and Bible classes. Augusta also made home visits, greeted people at the medical clinic, brought clothing to the poor, helped English-speaking immigrants find jobs, and served on the board of Chosen People Ministries when this was quite unusual within Christian work.

She served with the Mission for more than fifty years and continued volunteering long after her retirement.

Ms. Sussdorff was incredibly dedicated to faithfully serving the Jewish people so that they would experience the love of Jesus and hear the message of salvation. To honor Augusta Sussdorff, we are creating a scholarship in her name for women in the United States, Israel, and around the globe who are serving with Chosen People Ministries but have trouble raising their missionary support.

This scholarship is part of our Foundations ’22 campaign, as encouraging godly women to serve the Lord with Chosen People Ministries is a part of who we are. We are praying that more and more women will join the ranks of Chosen People Ministries as missionaries, students at our Feinberg program, volunteers in our VIP program, and so much more.

What better way to re-affirm our back-to-basics approach to 2022—refocusing on evangelism, discipleship, and training—than to help future Augusta Sussdorffs give their all for the salvation of Israel!

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Filed under Anti-Semitism, Brooklyn, evangelism, Holidays & Festivals, Jewish Christian Dialogue, Jewish Holidays, Jews and Christians, Judaism, Messianic Jewish, New York City

A Renewed Focus on Personal Evangelism and Discipleship

Chosen People Ministries, now in our 128th year of ministry, will continue to build on the solid foundation laid by our founder, Rabbi Leopold Cohn, and the hundreds of missionaries and servants of the Lord who preceded today’s staff family.

Jesus emphasized this need for a firm foundation when speaking to His disciples after giving the Sermon on the Mount: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matt 7:24).

Jesus is the foundation and cornerstone of our faith!

The psalmist pointed to the One who, though rejected, would be the cornerstone of the kingdom: “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes” (Ps 118:22–23).

Chosen People Ministries is built upon the foundation of Jesus the Messiah and the Bible—the word of God. Paul wrote to believers in Ephesus about this foundation:

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. (Eph 2:19–22, emphasis added)

We learn a lot from the Apostle Paul about building a solid foundation for the Lord’s work. He was an experienced ministry builder and wrote quite a bit about the importance of a solid foundation.

Wherever Chosen People Ministries staff have gone and whatever we have done throughout the years to build the Lord’s work among the Jewish people, the foundation is always the same—the Lord Himself and the Bible. We make Jesus known for all He is and what He did, and we teach and preach the Bible to those with genuine spiritual hunger.

The Great Commission also never changes. We are called to proclaim the gospel, lead others to faith in the Messiah, and make disciples of all who believe (Matthew 28:19–20; Acts 1:8). This foundation includes the importance and priority God places on Jewish evangelism (Romans 1:16), if one takes the words of Paul literally!

The Goal of the Foundations ’22 Campaign

Our goal for the Foundations ’22 campaign is to build Chosen People Ministries for the future—until the Lord returns! To do this, we need to return to and embrace the very foundation of our ministry and reaffirm the basic elements of our work.

This clarion call to evangelize, disciple, and train others to do the same grows out of the Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19–20, emphasis added).

The task never changes!

The opportunities and circumstances of the day might influence how we carry out the commission and the tools we use. But our message and work is always the same!

For example, Chosen People Ministries has confronted two world wars, various global economic disasters, the Holocaust, the establishment of the State of Israel, and the multiple wars in the aftermath of 1948 (i.e., 1967, 1973, its Lebanon Wars, and two intifadas). These challenges impacted the ways in which we carried out our Jewish gospel mandate and led to creating new tools to reach and serve the Jewish people. God used our staff, particularly in the aftermath of the Holocaust, to help Jewish people who survived the Holocaust re-settle in Europe and Israel and feed the poor survivors as they returned home to their European communities.

We have helped immigrants from the former Soviet Union, many of whom were Holocaust survivors as children, but today, of course, are elderly and have so many needs. The greatest of these needs is hearing about Jesus, and over the last two decades, we have served these dear people and have shared the message of hope through Jesus with hundreds. By God’s grace, many Holocaust survivors have given their hearts to the Lord.

The recent pandemic also required us to shift strategies as so much of our effort was focused online, which was the best way for Chosen People Ministries to enter the homes and lives of Jewish nonbelievers and believers alike. We needed to limit our usual method of meeting with people in person during the pandemic, but we were still able to carry out our ministry goals.

Now, it is time to get back to in-person meetings and to even greater involvement in the lives of those we serve.

This year, we will strengthen our ministry in three areas, which should come as no surprise. First, we will emphasize direct personal evangelism as we are able. We will also disciple those who come to faith and help them grow in their faith and become part of congregations. Additionally, we will train the next generation of Jewish and Gentile believers to serve the Lord with greater depth and expertise.

Your Partnership in the Foundations ’22 Campaign

You can partner with Chosen People Ministries through prayer and personal involvement.

Prayer

Please pray that Chosen People Ministries missionaries remain faithful and effective in proclaiming the gospel of the Jewish Messiah.

Pray that the seeds of the gospel land on good soil and produce much fruit.

Finally, pray that the Lord raises up more Jewish and Gentile believers from the next generation to minister to future Jewish not-yet believers!

Personal Involvement

1. Introduce us to your not-yet-believing Jewish friend. 

We need your help identifying Jewish people we can talk to about Jesus. Use the enclosed card to provide their information, and we will be happy to send your friend a free copy of my book, Isaiah 53 Explained, and ask if they would like personal contact with one of our ministers.

2. Connect us to Jewish believers you know. 

We would like to reach out to Jewish believers you know and encourage them with the various growth and service opportunities available to them through Chosen People Ministries. We have materials, retreats, mentors, and so much more to help Jewish believers grow in their faith. You can also help us identify those called to full-time Jewish ministry as missionaries or as support staff, such as writers, graphic designers, and administrators.

3. Join us in training for Jewish ministry.

We have many training opportunities available that you can be part of and also promote these to your congregation, church, or Bible study groups. For example, you might know those who would appreciate our short-term mission trips or consider taking a course through our new online video-based Bible institute, which begins soon. Our Charles Feinberg seminary program is also available in person and online for those who want graduate-level training for credit and are more serious about either joining the staff of Chosen People Ministries or serving in their local community as a volunteer.

As I mentioned, we will describe some of the specifics of the Foundations ’22 campaign in the months ahead. I will begin by sharing vital information and fuel for your prayer life about some of the hard-to-reach Jewish communities with whom we are already engaged and hope to serve even more effectively in the future as part of our Foundations ’22 campaign.

Thanks for caring, praying, getting more involved, and supporting our ministry among the Jewish people.

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Filed under Brooklyn, evangelism, Holocaust Survivors, Israel, Jewish Christian Dialogue, Jews and Christians, Judaism, Messianic Jewish, New York City

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.

A LITERAL APPROACH TO ROMANS 1:16

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.

REACHING THE HAREDIM IN THE UNITED STATES AND ISRAEL

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.

HAREDI SAFE HOUSE INITIATIVE

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!

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,
Mitch

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Filed under Brooklyn, evangelism, New York City

I am excited about 2020—are you?

Shalom in our Messiah!

Happy New Year! Your Mission to the Jewish People is now entering our 126th year of ministry. We had many wonderful celebrations for our 125th year including conferences, banquets, and evangelistic ministries in New York, Israel, and around the globe.

We spoke to more than 5,000 Jewish people about Jesus during our summer outreach in New York City and housed almost 2,000 young Israelis traveling in New Zealand who heard the gospel through our staff and volunteers. We also met almost 10,000 Jewish people online, many of whom asked for the free copy of our evangelistic book, Isaiah 53 Explained, in English and Hebrew!

Our I Found Shalom video testimonies were viewed by millions!

We prayed with Jewish people to receive Jesus as their Savior everywhere from New York City to Tel Aviv, as well as Jerusalem, Australia, New Zealand, Ukraine, and in many other countries around the world.

What a year, and by God’s grace we have now expanded our ministries into nineteen countries!

Last year, we took every opportunity to honor our spiritual forefathers who laid a solid and lasting foundation for Chosen People Ministries. But now, it is time to pivot toward the future and look ahead to the opportunities for Jewish evangelism in 2020 and beyond!

After all, we really do not know how much time we have until Jesus returns.

Do you believe we are in the end times? I do, and let me tell you why.

  • Israel now has the largest population of Jewish people in the world.
  • Israel is surrounded by enemies—especially the new coalition between Iran, Russia, and Syria in the north. This is especially dangerous, and we need to keep our eyes open and focus our prayers on this concerning situation.
  • Missiles continue to rain on Israel from Gaza, again funded by Iran.
  • Internally, Israel is in deep trouble because it has been unable to elect a prime minister, which creates instability within the country.

Followers of Jesus have been expecting His return at any moment since the day He ascended. I cannot imagine that Peter, Paul, and the other apostles thought it would take more than 2,000 years.  The fact that we have expected His return in every generation since the ascension does not mean we can become lax and not eagerly await His return today!

I still believe the Lord is coming soon! In fact, according to Zechariah 12:10, where the prophet tells us that Israel will ultimately look to the one who was pierced, Jerusalem needs to be in Jewish hands for this prophecy to be fulfilled. This happened, of course, in 1967!

When speaking of His return, it is true that “of that day and hour no one knows” (Matthew 24:36), but we should not ignore the obvious signs of the times!

There is a growing remnant of Jewish people in Israel and around the world starting to believe in Jesus. There are probably more Jewish believers in the world now than ever before with an increasing number of Messianic Jewish believers in the Holy Land. There are more than 150 congregations in Israel, and thousands of young Israelis are now serving the Lord….in the Land!  This is clearly a sign of His soon return in light of what Paul wrote in Romans 11:25–29!

Chosen People Ministries is in the midst of this exciting time through our ministries in Jerusalem, Ramat Gan (Tel Aviv), Galilee, and northern Israel.

I believe we need to preach the good news to the Jewish people more intensively than ever before!

Next Steps in 2020

This is exactly what your Mission to the Jewish People plans to do in 2020!

And this is why we are initiating our To the Jew First Campaign, based upon Romans 1:16, where Paul said, “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.”

We will focus on three critical areas:

Israel

We are intensifying our outreach in the Holy Land—doing more and more as the Lord enables. We hope one day soon to purchase a center in Tel Aviv. For now, renting a center in the heart of Ramat Gan, one of the largest, most populated, but unreached suburbs in Israel. This has been an exciting venture as we continue to reach younger and more secular Israelis each week through our concerts, Bible studies, evangelistic lectures, and Sabbath dinners.

There were almost forty people who are not yet believers at our last outreach Sabbath dinner, along with protestors standing outside the doors of our little center in Ramat Gan!

We now have more than twenty staff serving the Lord in Israel, and most of them are native Israelis. Our efforts among Holocaust survivors, children’s camps, congregational planting, and much more is all going well!  Thank you for your prayers and for your ongoing support for this work in Israel.

Opportunities Online

We are maximizing the use of digital media in Israel, the United States, and around the globe for the gospel.

We now have more than one hundred testimonies of Jewish believers online.

Our Isaiah 53 campaign continues, and we are meeting lots of Jewish seekers online!  The campaign costs about five dollars per book, including advertising and shipping costs.

This year we will send out more than 10,000 Hebrew Isaiah 53 Explained books to Israelis!

We also developed a full range of online discipleship Bible studies so Jewish people seeking the Lord can study the Bible and grow in their faith once they become believers.

The Joshua Initiative

Finally, we are increasing our efforts around the globe to train young believers to serve the Lord.

This is what we call the Joshua Initiative.

This includes those seriously studying the Word of God and learning more about Jewish evangelism at our Charles L. Feinberg Seminary program in Brooklyn. Thank God, our beloved supporters enabled us to purchase the Feinberg Center’s facility without debt!

You can tell how excited I am about entering 2020 and beginning our 126th year of Jewish ministry!

I would rather be disappointed if He does not come today, tomorrow, or even this year. I still believe we need to do all we can with the greatest sense of urgency to proclaim the gospel to both Jews and Gentiles each and every day.

So, call me a fanatic!  I suppose I am and if you want to know why, please watch my testimony on our I Found Shalom web site and you will know why!

Please join me with your prayers and efforts in reaching out to a dark and broken world—to the Jew first and also to the Gentile.

Have a Happy New Year and know that our staff loves and appreciates you. We could not do all we do without your partnership.

Blessings in 2020—however long we have to enjoy it!

Your brother and fellow fanatic,

Mitch (Romans 1:16)

 

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Filed under Brooklyn, Digital Media, evangelism, Israel, Messianic Jewish, New York City, Uncategorized

Defeating the Darkness of Antisemitism

Shalom dear friend,

I am sure you remember or know the opening line of Charles Dickens’ 1859 novel A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” I think the entire quote is worth reading:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.

As I write to you this morning, I completely identify with these words. A certain darkness has settled upon my soul as I write with a broken heart about the repeated antisemitic attacks in the New York City area!

Like you, I was trying to enjoy the recent holiday season with my family. Yet, over the course of a few weeks, I was shocked to hear about the latest series of antisemitic attacks in New York City, where I live and where Chosen People Ministries has our world headquarters. It became a daily nightmare to discover that another attack against my Jewish people had taken place!  I suppose I was hoping they would just end once and for all!  But this is not the case.

It seems to me that our world is going mad and Satan is again freely roaming the earth as when he discovered Job! These antisemitic incidents are inspired by the enemy of our souls who seeks to destroy all that is good and holy. He has the deepest hatred for the Jewish people and the role God’s chosen people play in His plan of redemption. Every time you think the evil one is done and the Jewish people are finally safe, a new legion of Haman-like characters emerges on the world scene. This time, the demonically inspired hatred of Jewish people is perched on our very doorstep, in our land of the free and home of the brave.

Early on Sunday morning, December 28, I awoke to this headline: “Five Jewish People Attacked in a Home During the Festival of Lights.” My Orthodox Jewish friend, and someone I have grown to love and appreciate through our many debates, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, sent out an alert that his son, a Hasidic rabbi, lived five houses away from this attack. Shmuley, of course, reacted to the attack very personally. We all understand that when things like this happen, we feel horrible. But when it happens close to home, we also feel terribly threatened…and grateful to God for His protection over our loved ones.

I live in Brooklyn and my family lives in New York City and nearby areas. The Jewish community is my community and God’s chosen people, and I am sounding an alarm—an alarm that will hopefully spur us on to action and to pray for the Jewish people. We simply cannot allow this to continue without raising our voices in prayer to God and in opposition to those who are perpetrating this evil or creating the climate that encourages violent and aggressive attacks against the Jewish people.

This past summer, we held a rally against antisemitism by the courthouses in downtown Brooklyn and lower Manhattan, and we were joined by hundreds of Christians and many Jewish people who might not have agreed with us on the messiahship of Jesus but they appreciated our willingness to stand with the Jewish community.  We are planning to take action once again and hope you will join us in opposing this “oldest hatred”— antisemitism! I will tell you what we plan to do and how you can help. But first, let me give you an overview of the events that transpired a few months ago that we are now working to counter!

Remember, the following took place within eighteen months of the killing of eleven people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and since the murder of the precious Jewish woman who tried to protect her rabbi during the attack on the synagogue in Poway, California. According to Kenneth Jacobson, the Anti-Defamation League’s national director, there have been thirteen arrests of white supremacists intended to attack synagogues since the Tree of Life shootings.

The Antisemitic Attacks

Allow me to list the specifics of the attacks that took place in 2019 immediately before and during the Hanukkah-Christmas season. There were many news sources reporting on the incidents, but I prefer to share information gathered locally by the New York NBC affiliate, beginning with the vicious attack at the Hasidic rabbi’s home during a Hanukkah party.

  • The Monsey home attack: Authorities say five people were stabbed at a rabbi’s home late Saturday night in Monsey, New York, “the latest and most violent in a string of antisemitic attacks in the greater New York City area in the last few days. Ramapo Police Chief Brad Weidel said the suspected attacker entered the residence around 10 p.m. armed with a knife. Saturday was the seventh night of Hanukkah and was being widely observed in Monsey, a hamlet that is home to thousands of Orthodox Jews.” The Hasidic organization Chabad, citing sources in the community and witnesses at the scene, said someone in the home threw a table at the attacker, chasing him off. He then allegedly tried to gain access to the synagogue next door, but the occupants barricaded themselves inside.[1]
  • The Jersey City Kosher market attack: “Authorities identified the suspects as David Anderson, 47, and Francine Graham, 50. Jersey City Police Detective Joseph Sealswas killed Tuesday shortly before officials say the suspects attacked the store. The victims in the store were identified Wednesday by authorities as Mindy Ferencz, 31; Miguel Douglas, 49; and Moshe Deutsch, 24. According to three sources, Anderson was a one-time follower of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, whose members believe they are descendants of the ancient Israelites, and his social media pages include anti-police and anti-Jewish writings. Investigators are looking to see if it was Anderson himself who posted that material.”[2]
  • Upper East Side attack: “The first attack of Hanukkah was on Dec. 23 on the Upper East Side, according to the NYPD. A 65-year-old man was hit in the face with a closed fist after the suspect made an anti-Semitic remark, then was kicked while on the ground. The victim suffered cuts to his face and hand, police said.”[3]
  • Brooklyn attack: “A 34-year-old woman and her 4-year-old son were attacked in Brooklyn Thursday by someone who yelled anti-Semitic slurs and hit the mother in the head, the latest in a spree of hate during the Jewish holidays that has the community and city officials alarmed.”[4]
  • Brooklyn attack: Another attack took place in the early morning in Brooklyn “when a 25-year-old Jewish man was walking on the sidewalk when he saw a large group of people walking toward him, police said.” That man told police that members of the group yelled curses at the obviously Jewish man “before hurling a Slurpee at him.”[5]
  • Brooklyn attack: “A man in his 50s was standing in front of a building on Union Avenue in a Hassidic neighborhood when he said he saw as many as six people approach him after 5 p.m. on Dec. 24, according to police. One of the people who came up to the man punched him in the back of the head, and the group took off.”[6]

What Can We Do Together to Oppose Antisemitism?

This is a critical moment for those who love the Jewish Messiah to show the Jewish people their concern and opposition to the rise of antisemitism. Whereas we are grateful for all legislation that identifies and even defines antisemitism as illegal activity, this is simply not enough. As followers of the Jewish Messiah, we need to act now on behalf of His “kinsman according to the flesh.”

Antisemitism has been the concern of Your Mission to the Jewish People for more than a century. One of the early leaders, Joseph Hoffman Cohn, the son of our founder Rabbi Leopold Cohn, often appealed to evangelical churches in the United States in the 1930s to take a stand against antisemitism. He took many trips to Europe at that time attempting to rescue Messianic Jewish leaders from the terrible times ahead. Joseph did not know exactly what was coming, but early on recognized the serious threat to the Jewish people in Europe.

One of our ministry’s values is to “seek the welfare of the Jewish community.” We are now doing this by shining the light on modern antisemitism and calling Christians to action!

And so, we must act!

We intend to continue holding rallies in New York City against antisemitism. I also encourage you to consider initiating some type of anti-antisemitism event at your local church or in your community. We have found that Jewish people who are not yet believers in Jesus are willing to stand with our efforts to protest antisemitism. So, do not be surprised if Jewish people in your community will want to be involved with your efforts to counter antisemitism.

Chosen People Ministries would be happy to help you organize this event. It can be as simple as a prayer meeting where you invite folks from your church and the local Christian community to pray for God’s protection of the Jewish people. Contact us for additional ideas.

We are immediately launching a digital petition campaign and will continue the campaign for the foreseeable future.

We are praying that we will move at least 50,000 people to sign this petition of concern for their Jewish friends as a very tangible way of demonstrating God’s love for His chosen people. 

I cannot tell you how much your efforts on behalf of the Jewish people are appreciated. Jewish people, especially those who do not believe in Jesus, will align themselves with us in our joint opposition to the growing antisemitism in our country.

Thank you for your prayers and for your generous support to help us combat antisemitism—in the name of Jesus! Thank you so much for standing with the Jewish people and with Your Mission to the Jewish People as well. I know this will be a wonderful testimony to your Jewish neighbors.

In our Messiah,
Mitch

[1] Jonathan Dienst and Ken Buffa, “5 Stabbed at Rabbi’s Home in Ny; Suspect Charged: Police,” NBC New York, December 28, 2019, https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/mass-stabbing-at-jewish-synagogue-in-rockland-county-ny-reports/2251668/.

[2] Jonathan Dienst and Minyvonne Burke, “Jersey City Suspects Targeted Kosher Store Where 3 Died, Officials Say,” NBC News, December 11, 2019, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/jersey-city-suspects-targeted-kosher-store-where-3-died-motive-n1099606.

[3] Erica Byfield and Myles Miller, “‘Open Season On Jews’: Outrage Over Spike in NYC Hate Attacks,” NBC New York, December 27, 2019, https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/open-season-on-jews-reports-of-anti-semitic-attacks-during-hanukkah-cause-for-concern/2250584/.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

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A Vision for the Next Generation

Dear friends,

Shalom in His grace and Happy Thanksgiving. I am sure you are grateful for all the Lord has done in your life and in the life of your friends and family.

Years ago, I did my master’s thesis in seminary on Psalm 119. I examined the supposed synonyms for the Hebrew word Torah (Law) in this lengthy psalm of 176 verses! I concluded that the various terms that seemed to be interchangeable with Law—commandments, testimonies, judgments, etc.—were actually different parts of the corpus of the Law and not merely synonyms. It was a fascinating study and I learned to love the Word of God even more than before! But one of the added benefits of the project was that I regularly had to pass through Psalm 118 to get there!

Psalm 118, which invites us to thank God for His lovingkindness and mercy, and for His person, is quite different from Psalm 119, which teaches us to appreciate God’s Word. The two psalms are fairly close in theme and are great portions of Scripture to read and reflect upon during the Thanksgiving Day meal. Of course, if you read all of Psalm 119, your turkey might get cold!

David writes regarding the Law, the true love of his life:

O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day (119:97).

How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth (119:103).

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (119:105).

Therefore I love Your commandments above gold, yes, above fine gold (119:127).

These are beautiful words and an invitation from the King to feast on Scripture and not just on mom’s delicious sweet potato casserole! I find myself grateful for His provision of the Bible as I am able to better understand the will and mind of God and be guided by His Word to live according to His holy plans and purposes.

I am thankful for the Word of God and the beauty of His person.

His nature is also revealed in Scripture and by His Spirit in my everyday experience. As the psalmist penned, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting” (Psalm 118:1).

I rejoice this Thanksgiving because of Him. He is good and He is gracious! The Hebrew term chesed, translated lovingkindness, should be understood as “covenant loyalty.” I am grateful He is a loyal God who cares for His children. And further, His grace and loyalty to me and to the Jewish people extends throughout eternity.

125 Years of Service for the Lord on Behalf of the Jewish People

Your Mission to the Jewish People has experienced 125 years of this loyalty and love! In fact, we only have one more month to go in our celebration of 125 years of ministry to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. It has been a wonderful year of joyous celebration. On November 15, we concluded our year of gratitude with a gala in Brooklyn, where we were born as a ministry. We heard from Jay Sekulow and we were blessed by Janet Parshall of Moody Radio, America’s most beloved radio host. We heard testimonies from Chosen People Ministries staff workers in Israel and Brooklyn and from friends of our ministry who were able to testify to God’s transforming power in their lives through the work of this 125-year-old ministry among the Jewish people.

Very Humble Origins

As you know, we were founded by Rabbi Leopold Cohn who came to the United States from his native Hungary in the late 19th century. Not long after he arrived, he heard a Polish Presbyterian missionary and preacher on the lower side of Manhattan proclaiming the gospel inside a Dutch Reformed Church. Once the Lord gripped the heart of the rabbi, he committed himself to the lifelong effort of reaching his fellow Jewish people with the gospel, and before his death, baptized almost 1,000 Jewish people!

I am the seventh president of the Mission and grateful to be called by God to this incredible position. I know the value of Chosen People Ministries because it was this mission that discipled me, paid my way through Bible college, and gave me opportunities to serve the Lord. Chosen People Ministries also helped me gain the skills to help others who want to tell their Jewish friends about Jesus.

My wife came to faith in Los Angeles through the work of a Chosen People Ministries missionary who trained a group of Korean Christian teens at a very Jewish high school to share the gospel with the Jewish people and, praise God, they shared the good news with my wife.

I have been president of Chosen People Ministries for twenty-two years, and am as excited as ever about the growth and potential of our ministry. Of course, you have heard the aphorism, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life!” Funny thing about this…it is true. Walking with Jesus is never static; it is always dynamic. Our world is changing, the Jewish community is changing, and Chosen People Ministries is changing, too.

We are not changing or adapting the eternal message of the gospel, although our culture pressures us to do so each day. We remain more committed to the essentials of the gospel than ever! But our strategies, methods, and tactics are changing in order to reach a new generation of Jewish people with the gospel.

Without you, we simply could not do the ministry to which God has called us. Your Mission to the Jewish People is now in more than twenty-five cities in North America and in nineteen countries around the world serving the Lord among the Jewish people.

And as we step into 2020—our 126th year of ministry—we are ready, available to God, and thankful for the opportunity to serve our Lord, Jesus the Messiah.

Three Major Focuses in 2020 and Beyond

After a long season of prayer, planning, and discussions with our staff, board, and friends, we have decided to embrace three major areas of ministry starting in 2020 and beyond.

Israel

First of all, we are going to do all we can to reach Israel with the gospel. There are more than six and a half million Jewish people in Israel, and more are moving there all the time. Israelis are now more open to Jesus than ever before. I believe that it is the time to strike while the iron is hot—we are increasing our staff and establishing congregations and centers all across the country. We now have ministries in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and in the northern part of the country among young adults, children, Holocaust survivors, and more! We have more than twenty staff members serving the Lord in the Holy Land.

Digital and Social Media

We are using the power of digital and social media for His glory. We want to focus on evangelism, discipleship, and building community online for those who come to faith. We are having good success through our Facebook campaigns that engage people with Isaiah 53 and a new discipleship series entitled Follow Messiah. Soon, we will roll out other websites like Chosen People Answers, an almost encyclopedic apologetics website for Jewish people that I believe will revolutionize Jewish evangelism.

The Joshua Initiative

We are also investing in the next generation of Messianic Jews and leaders in the field of Jewish missions. This is why we started the Feinberg Seminary program in Brooklyn almost fifteen years ago, which has graduated thirty students, most of whom are serving the Lord in Jewish ministry. We are discipling new Jewish believers and helping them become part of our congregations and centers. We will also intensify our efforts on college campuses and emphasize children’s ministries through camping and providing educational resources. What a joy it is for us to train young people for the Lord.

The Future Is Bright for Israel and the Jewish People

According to the Apostle Paul in Romans 11:25–29, a day is coming when all Israel will be saved. But until then, please join me in praying, supporting, and helping us reach God’s beloved chosen people with the unchanging message of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah.

On behalf of our staff, I cannot thank you enough for your faithfulness in response to His faithfulness.

Thankful to the Lord and for you.

Mitch

“Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation” (Romans 10:1).

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Filed under Brooklyn, Digital Media, evangelism, Israel, New York City, Uncategorized

The Charles L. Feinberg Center for Messianic Jewish Studies

Dear friend,

Shalom in His grace. I hope you are looking forward to the Passover/Easter season this year. We expect hundreds of Jewish people to attend our Passover banquets around the globe. Your prayers for these events are greatly appreciated as we hope that many Jewish people will discover that Jesus is the Messiah and Lamb of God!

We exist to tell Jewish people about Jesus!

Yet, once a Jewish person (or anyone) comes to faith, they need to be discipled and taught the Word of God.

This is why we started the Charles L. Feinberg Center for Messianic Jewish Studies in Brooklyn, New York, in 2007. We have trained dozens of Jewish and Gentile believers, who are now serving the Lord among the Jewish people, and who are capable of discipling a new generation of Jesus-followers!

We named the program after Dr. Charles Lee Feinberg—the first dean of Talbot School of Theology within Biola University in California, and our partner in this wonderful course of study.

Dr. Feinberg was one of my heroes in the faith. He was the reason I chose to attend Talbot after graduating from Bible college in 1974. There was only one person with whom I wanted to study further—and that was Dr. Charles Lee Feinberg.

He was a legend among the young Jewish believers who came to faith during the turbulent days of the Jesus Movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Most of us were the only believers in our families and felt completely alone. We definitely did not know any rabbis or Jewish community leaders at the time who were believers in Jesus. My little group of ex-hippie believers longed for an example or two of older Jewish believers we could look to as role models.

Dr. Charles Feinberg became the spokesman and example we were seeking.

Dr. Feinberg trained as a rabbi but interrupted his training when he came to faith in Jesus. He was in the first graduating class of Dallas Theological Seminary, and then taught there for a number of years. Eventually, he earned a PhD in Archaeology at Johns Hopkins University and moved his family west to take up a new role at Biola (the Bible Institute of Los Angeles).

Dr. Feinberg became a believer in the 1930s through Chosen People Ministries, which was then known as the American Board of Missions to the Jews. His books helped shape a generation of Christian leaders, training them in how to understand the Old Testament. Dr. Feinberg’s superb commentary on the minor prophets began as a serial Bible study in the monthly magazine, The Chosen People.

Dr. Feinberg helped me develop a great respect and love for our historic mission to the Jewish people where I now serve as president. His passion to see Chosen People Ministries grow in fruitful service for the Lord was both relentless and infectious.

Those who attend the Feinberg program and complete the rigorous coursework walk in the footsteps of a spiritual giant. But the proof is in the pudding! After reading these testimonies of past and present students, you will see what I mean.

Brian, one of our graduates, had this to say about his experience:

The Feinberg program provided an invaluable exposure to the world of the Bible and to the Jewish and Christian interpreters who have been studying it for millennia. Learning Greek and Hebrew opened up vistas of depth and nuance I never knew existed. And through study, it was a joy to interact with Church fathers and rabbis as they sought to understand the texts. All of this prepared me for a ministry of apologetics to the Jewish people.

Liz, who completed our Certificate program, shares how the Feinberg program prepared her for ministry.

Before attending the program, I had a big heart for the Jewish people but very little understanding of the Jewish people and Jewish evangelism. Now I feel extremely prepared for whatever direction God takes me in ministry. We were also thrilled at the cost of the program. This allowed my husband and me to complete our seminary education with zero debt!

One of the greatest benefits of the Center is that it is in the heart of Brooklyn, with a mission field just outside the door. Toby, one of our current students, puts it this way:

There is no better place in the world to study Messianic Jewish ministry than in Brooklyn. Imagine learning about a specific group of people and the way they think and live, and then walking outside and that same people group is all around you! I have been able to host Sabbath dinners in my home, take part in street evangelism and campus ministry, and most recently volunteer at an Orthodox-run soup kitchen.

Stephen*, one of our new students, describes the ministry opportunities he enjoys through the program.

Since I am a new student, I have been on rotation, participating in college campus outreach, street evangelism, Messianic congregational ministry, and apologetics writing. Participating in ministry activities during our studies that teach us how to practically reach out to Jewish people with the gospel is invaluable.

The benefits of the Feinberg Center reach far beyond the individual students, as the goal of the Seminary degree is to train leaders—theologically and practically—to take us into the 21st century of Jewish evangelism. Dr. Gregory Hagg, Dean of the Feinberg program, writes:

Many of the leaders in the Messianic Jewish movement have little formal biblical training, and often the Jewish studies component is lacking in the education they do have. The majority come from secular Jewish homes and did not receive a broader understanding of Jewish life and faith growing up. The Feinberg Center provides the best of both worlds through Bible-based and Messiah-centered courses, as well as training in Jewish literature and religion. Since the Association of Theological Schools, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and the New York Board of Regents approved the program in 2007, we have graduated two dozen well-trained leaders now engaged in Jewish ministry and almost every graduate is debt free because of your generosity!

THE PROGRAM

Coursework

We designed the Feinberg curriculum to incorporate both Jewish studies and the courses one would usually take through an evangelical seminary, although every class is taught with Jewish evangelism in mind. Our professors are all excellent scholars with years of personal experience in Jewish ministry.

Field Ministry

We situated the Feinberg Center in the New York metropolitan area because the city is home to two million Jewish people and is the center of Jewish life in America. Our Center is in the heart of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn, and just living in the midst of the Jewish community provides endless possibilities for students to immerse themselves in Jewish culture and ministry while completing their coursework. In fact, each semester we organize Jewish-focused field ministry programs to help each student put what they learn in the classroom into practice.

The Costs

The Feinberg Center provides our students an affordable education and gives them the opportunity to graduate debt-free. To achieve this affordability, we offer a wide range of scholarships and subsidies to offset student costs. We also provide accommodations for single students and housing for families through rent subsidies. The generous and regular support from our ministry partners makes a debt-free education possible, which I believe is critical for missionaries who raise their own support.

Dr. Charles L. Feinberg demonstrated in both his life and ministry that one could be Jewish and believe in Jesus. He loved the Lord, he loved his Jewish people, and he loved our Mission—Chosen People Ministries. And it is in his honor that we dedicated the training program and our beautiful Center in the midst of a very Jewish part of Brooklyn. We hope you enjoy learning about our New York initiatives!

Happy Passover and Easter.

In Him,

Dr. Mitch Glaser

 

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Reaching Jewish People in the Other Holy Land

MitchGlaser_Portrait copyDear friend in the Messiah,

I’m writing to you on behalf of those who would never communicate with you.

I’m writing on behalf of my mother and father, grandparents, uncles and aunts and literally hundreds of thousands of Jewish people who were born and raised in Brooklyn, New York City—the current home of almost a million Jewish people.

I’m writing on behalf of hundreds of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jewish people and Russian Jewish immigrants—many of whom cannot write in English and are already quite elderly!

By now you realize I’m writing to you on behalf of the many Jewish people in the borough of Brooklyn, who do not believe in Jesus.

These are the people who would never ask you to send them a missionary!

1606PZLW_BrooklynTVMovieTourJuniorsBelieve me, so many of these dear, precious Jewish people in Brooklyn are very able to communicate. As you well know, there have been many famous Jewish people from Brooklyn, who are teachers, professionals, thinkers, artists, and musicians. Within the Jewish community, we know that most of our leading Jewish rabbis and Jewish theologians either come from or still live in Brooklyn, which I affectionately call the other Holy Land.

There are also hundreds of thousands of Jewish people in Brooklyn who are more secular and do not think they need a relationship with God at all.

Allow me to tell you a quick story about one of my favorite Brooklyn Jewish family members—my father.

Whereas my mom was raised in a more Orthodox Jewish home, my paternal grandpa was a tailor and a butcher and did whatever it took to help his family survive. He was a good man, but not religious, though his family, of course, celebrated all of the Jewish holidays. My dad followed suit.

Some years before my father passed away, we were sitting in his car in an area of Brooklyn called Bensonhurst, where he lived. I was speaking to him about Jesus, and the conversation went on for about 15 minutes. He listened attentively, and I actually thought that he was more open to the Gospel than ever before. I was excited! So I kept on talking.

By the way, this is a mistake some of us make when sharing the Gospel with non-believers. We should make sure to take a breath every once in a while and ask the person we are speaking to if they are still interested in what we are saying!

Eventually, I paused, and my father looked at me and said, “Son, I really love you, and I know it makes you happy to talk to me about your faith; I’m always happy to listen.”

I stayed quiet for a moment to see what else my dad would say and thankfully he kept talking! He continued, “It’s not that I have anything against Jesus, but I don’t even believe in God.”

I was stunned and disappointed because I thought that he was becoming more open to the Lord. I thanked my dad for being so honest. He knew I would not be happy with his position, but loved me enough to tell me the truth.

My dad was typical of many secular Jewish post Holocaust men and women who live in Brooklyn, in Israel and around the world! A recent study of Israelis reported that 50% of those living in Israel claim to be secular Jews. This does not mean they do not identify as Jews—as my father had a strong Jewish identity. It simply means that they do not practice the Jewish religion outside of celebrating many of the holidays which are viewed as part of the Israeli national calendar.

Those who need the Gospel the most do not know it…and would never ask us to send them missionaries. We know Jesus said the field is ripe for harvesting and the laborers are few, but those who are part of the harvest are SILENT.

They will never issue the invitation for us to come!

My dear brothers and sisters—the initiative is ours to take, as Jesus has already told us to go!

Shalom Brooklyn
Your Mission to the Jewish People has been preaching the Gospel to Jewish people day in and day out…in Brooklyn and throughout the world for almost 123 years! Sometimes we intensify our efforts, as we will this summer in both Brooklyn and Israel.

1606PZLW_SB-Prayer-Brooklyn-DSC08141Would you please pray for our intensive summer outreach in Brooklyn called Shalom Brooklyn?

The Hebrew word shalom means “peace” and Jesus is the Prince of Peace according to Isaiah 9:6. These verses adorn the plaque on the front of our Brooklyn Messianic Center, in the heart of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn. Isaiah writes,

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

Dozens of Chosen People Ministries’ staff and volunteers will be on the streets of Brooklyn for two weeks proclaiming the Good News of Jesus the Messiah to both religious and secular Jewish people. We will be reaching out to both Russian Jewish and Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn. Additionally, we will be placing evangelistic ads on Facebook directed towards Jewish people in the greater New York area.

We expect there will be hundreds of Jewish people who will be interested in receiving a copy of Isaiah 53 Explained and in learning more about the Lord.

I would also appreciate your prayers for our two short-term mission trips to Israel this summer. Chosen People Ministries’ staff and volunteers will be reaching Holocaust survivors, young secular Israelis and religious Jewish people who will listen.

Give on Behalf of Those Who Would Never Ask for Help
We also need your financial support. This summer of outreach is going to be a huge investment, especially as we enhance the work on the street with our Facebook ad campaigns. We are offering a free copy of Isaiah 53 Explained in English, Hebrew and Russian. We can deliver this book into the hands of a Jewish person for $5, inclusive of printing costs as well as the ads.

1606PZLW_SB-EVANG-DSC08406Your gift of $50 will enable us to send ten books and your gift of $500–100 books. We also need your support to help
underwrite
the evangelistic outreaches on the streets of Brooklyn and in Israel. We have budgeted $10,000– $25,000 per week for these efforts, and we have four weeks of outreach planned between Brooklyn and Israel.

Thank you for your willingness to pray and give generously so that we can reach Jewish people with the Gospel of Jesus our Messiah. I especially want to thank you on behalf of those who would never ask or thank you—until they come to faith in Jesus the Messiah.

Have a joy-filled summer in the Messiah and please pray for our summer outreaches!

Yours on behalf of those who are SILENT…but desperately need the Lord,

Mitch

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New Life in the Other Holy Land

Dear friend in the Messiah,

Shalom from the city with the highest concentration of Jewish people in the world! It is not Jerusalem or Tel Aviv—it is New York City! In fact, Brooklyn, one of the five boroughs in this city, has more Jewish people than Jerusalem! I often joke about Brooklyn being the other holy land!

Brooklyn is a wonderful place to reach Jewish people with the Good News of Jesus the Messiah—the Gospel that we love, cherish and proclaim. This is why we established a Messianic outreach center in the heart of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn—and the Lord is blessing the ministries of the Center.

Shalom Brooklyn

We have just completed two weeks of intensive evangelistic outreach in Brooklyn. During the first week we had over 50 short-term missionary volunteers and staff involved with our efforts, and almost the same number during the second week. We distributed Gospel tracts on the streets of Brooklyn, set up book tables in busy areas, ministered in the parks and beaches and shared the Gospel with hundreds of Jewish people.

1509PZLW_SB13-TEAM-08178

It was surprising to see how many conversations our Brooklyn volunteers and staff had with religious Jewish people. There seems to be a real growing hunger on the part of Orthodox Jewish people for the Gospel. There is actually a whole movement under the radar of young people raised in religious Jewish homes—especially in Brooklyn—who are beginning to seek the Lord. We keep meeting these young people during the school year at Brooklyn College and throughout the greater New York area.

Isaiah 53 and I Found Shalom in Brooklyn

As you probably know if you have been reading our newsletter, we are using social media and websites to do evangelism on a regular basis. Our two evangelistic websites are Isaiah53.com and ifoundshalom.com. We have learned how to utilize Facebook and other online advertising tools to drive people to our websites to learn more about the Gospel. The Isaiah 53 site, of course, does this through introducing Jewish people to the great prophetic passage in Isaiah chapter 53, which predicts the death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah in phenomenal detail. We also offer a free book, Isaiah 53 Explained, which I wrote to give further information about this great chapter and how the fulfillment of this chapter in Jesus can transform our lives.

The ifoundshalom.com website is focused on the testimonies of Messianic Jews from all walks of life who have found Jesus to be the true Messiah of Israel. We have literally had thousands of individuals exploring these testimonies each week, and we also offer a free booklet people can request.

We now have dozens of Jewish people that our missionary staff are following up as a result of the on the ground Shalom Brooklyn effort and our cyberspace web-based outreach campaigns. What a great day we live in!

Chosen People Ministries and Jewish Evangelism

1509PZLW_BMC1509PZLW_16_Brooklyn-street

If you are new to Chosen People Ministries, perhaps the best way to help you understand what we are all about is to share with you our mission statement:

Chosen People Ministries exists to pray for, evangelize, disciple and serve the Jewish community and to help others do the same.

This mission statement is based upon some of the great missionary passages of the Bible, including Matthew 28:19-20 (the Great Commission) and Acts 1:8, where Jesus told His disciples to begin preaching the Gospel first in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and then the uttermost parts of the world.

For over 120 years, we have taken this mandate both literally and very seriously. May I share one other critical passage of Scripture with you that will help you understand our ministry?

In Matthew 23:37, our Savior and beloved Messiah Jesus reveals His heart for His own people when He says,

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.

If anybody asks me, “What drives your ministry,” I would certainly refer them to the above passages of Scripture. Most importantly, we seek to evangelize and disciple the Jewish people because of God’s heart for them. He chose the Jewish people for a great purpose—to bring the blessings of Messiah to a sinful world—knowing that the vast majority of those He chose to be His bridge of grace to a broken world would fail to respond positively to the Messiah until just the right moment.

This is what drives us! We believe that moment is in the process of unfolding. God’s word will not fail. He is touching the lives of Jewish people even now, in anticipation of that great day.  

I wholeheartedly believe that what we are doing online and in person is part of God’s process in turning the nation of Israel to Jesus. Regardless of what will happen in the future, we want to see Jewish people believe in Jesus—today!

I hope this helps you understand what our mission is all about. We exist to bring the Good News in a Jewish way to the Jewish people so that the entire world will be blessed.

Your Prayers and Support Are a Blessing to Us!

We deeply appreciate your financial support as without your help we would not be able to reach the Jewish people in Brooklyn, New York City and in so many of the more expensive urban centers where my people live.

We recently entered our new fiscal year and have budgeted $20,000 per month to run the Brooklyn Center. This includes the utilities, staffing, outreach, advertising of events, the hosting of our Seminary training program and more!  But remember, we have no debt on this facility thanks to your generosity. So, all that you give goes towards the ministries of the Feinberg Brooklyn Messianic Center! Please pray about giving a generous donation today to our evangelistic work among the Jewish people. Not just in Brooklyn, of course, but for the more than 25 branches in the United States and Canada and our ministries in 15 other countries across the globe. You can do this through a one-time generous gift or consider giving regularly through our Watchmen for Jerusalem program.

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Thanks so much for caring and also remember to pray for your Jewish friends during the High Holiday season that begins this month. We will have many Jewish seekers attending our services—many who heard about the Lord through Shalom Brooklyn and our online campaigns. Pray that God would open their hearts this month to the Savior!

I also hope you will visit our website and take full advantage of the wonderful information we have provided for you which includes videos, charts and so much more. We also provide some tips for you on how to share the Gospel with your Jewish friends through the vehicle of the Jewish High Holidays.

Blessings in our Messiah Jesus,

Mitch

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Pray for those who persecute you

Shalom from the heart of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn, where I have been part of a prayer meeting with our staff at the new Charles Feinberg Messianic Center. As you will see from the attached article, the religious Jewish community is well aware of our presence in the community, and they are responding in a variety of ways.

One group sent out a video opposing our work, and this same group rented space nearby in order to counter our efforts. Another group, we recently discovered, also rented space across the street from our Center in order to oppose our efforts to tell Jewish people about our beloved Messiah Jesus.

This is to be expected!

So, how do we feel about this intense and very public opposition?

I believe the words of Jesus speak loudest in this instance, as He told us,

Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10)

We are blessed, and our burden has deepened for our fellow Jewish people to open their hearts to the Messiah. We understand that our people do not really understand the message of Jesus.

It is hard for most Jewish people to distinguish between the historic bad behavior of nominal “Christians” who treated the Jewish people so poorly throughout the ages and authentic Gentile Christians who love the Jewish Messiah and the Jewish people. My people simply do not know the difference between the two.

And more importantly, they do not understand that Jesus is Jewish, His earliest disciples were Jewish and that believing in Jesus as the Messiah is not only acceptable for a Jewish person, but the right thing to do!

The question I want many people to think about is not whether it is permissible to be Jewish and believe in Jesus – but whether or not Jesus is the true Messiah of Israel. If my fellow Jews come to this conclusion, then they will choose to follow Him – as I did.

So, please pray for the Jewish people with us!

We are not upset or angry or feeling competitive as described in the article. There is only one Messiah, and we believe with all our hearts that it is Jesus and that He is the One sent from heaven to save us from our sins. My hope and prayer is that my people will be drawn to this loving, forgiving Messiah and find salvation in Him.

We are about to begin the Jewish High Holidays, starting with Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) beginning Wednesday evening. Please pray with us that during this time, when the Jewish people think seriously about atonement and forgiveness, that the Lord would open the hearts of our Jewish people – especially those who oppose us – and reveal to them that Jesus is the promised Messiah for both Jews and Gentiles.

Please read the article, which we feel is balanced and accurate in describing the situation… but of course not a true reflection of our heart and motives for establishing the Charles Feinberg Center in the heart of Brooklyn.

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Filed under Brooklyn, New York City