Category Archives: Holocaust Survivors

Bringing the Light of the Gospel to Tel Aviv

We are now moving ahead rapidly with the new Tel Aviv Messianic Center. The plans are complete, the permits are coming through, and the workers are beginning to build out the empty 4,000-square-foot concrete shell. Our general contractor is an Israeli believer, and it is comforting to know we have someone leading the charge who is both good at his job and prays as he works!

Once finished, the building will be beautiful. The auditorium, or sanctuary, can hold about 130 people. In addition, we will be able to set up tables and chairs for 100 people to enjoy fellowship dinners, holiday celebrations, and our monthly Sabbath dinners. We will also have ample space for Bible studies and children’s rooms.

Our current rented center, which is less than half the size of the new space, is known for its excellent coffee bar, where most gospel conversations take place during events. The new café layout will have an enlarged area where dozens of young people will be able to sit, drink coffee (an Israeli pastime), and talk about the Lord! When we move into the new center, it will be an even more prominent place to gather and talk with espresso in hand.

Like the older rental, our new center will also provide a follow-up location for Israelis who have traveled around the globe after their army service. These young travelers go abroad and return to Israel after their overseas adventures. We envision the new center as a place of many happy reunions for those who traveled to faraway places like New Zealand, Taiwan, Japan, and even the United States, where they met Chosen People Ministries staff and godly volunteers who hosted them in their homes. We will continue the conversations they started while they were traveling. Our team is always ready to reach them with the gospel!

DEDICATION TOUR OF NEW CENTER

I recently returned from Israel, where I had the joy of walking through our new building site with the architect, contractor, and our leader in Israel. As we previewed the empty space, we imagined the voices of children singing and laughing and adults passionately worshiping the Lord while quietly praying for the salvation of friends and loved ones.

I prayed over the new center and would appreciate your joining me in asking the Lord to fill this new place with His Spirit and glory! Let me remind you we are planning a new center dedication tour to Israel in December, which coincides with the Festival of Dedication—Hanukkah!

The tour will include eight days on the ground. On one of those days, we will light the Hanukkah menorah in the new center and dedicate this facility to the Lord. You will find more information by going to www.chosenpeople.com/dedicationtour/. It is not too early to register, as we only have room for thirty-nine people.

The plan for the tour is to arrive in Israel on December 6 and leave on December 15. Hanukkah begins the night of December 7, but we want to be ready for the festivities and allow some time to get over our jet lag! We will enjoy the warm, golden glow of lit menorahs rising over the entire nation of Israel as millions of Israelis celebrate the same feast Jesus observed (John 10). It will be a little chilly and not very crowded at that time of year in Tel Aviv, and we will all be in a celebratory mood as we praise God for the new center and for all He is doing among Israelis.

MAKING GOOD PROGRESS

Thank you for your support and prayers. We are now more than 65 percent toward our goal of raising $6,500,000 to pay for the building, renovation, furniture, etc. We know the Lord will provide the additional $2,500,000 because He is merciful, generous, mighty, and loves His chosen people more than we ever could!

God made promises to the Jewish people, which He will certainly fulfill. We believe this new center is one tool the Lord will use to turn the nation to the Messiah.

THE GREAT COMMISSION

I know you are familiar with the Great Commission, but let me clarify how our outreach to the Jewish people is a central component of our fulfilling the Great Commission. After all, we would never want Jewish evangelism—reaching Israelis and Jewish people like me living outside the land—to become the great omission of the Great Commission!

Matthew records Jesus telling His disciples,

All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 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 28:18–20)

There is a link between the Lord’s command to go and make disciples of all the nations, the Great Commission, and what I refer to as the great mandate found in Romans 11:11. Paul wrote, “I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous.”

These two great gospel threads flow seamlessly in the apostle Paul’s writings, and I hope it will be the same for you.

Paul also reminds us the salvation of the Jewish people is a vital part of God’s divine strategy to reclaim His world and place it under the dominion of His Son! According to Paul, the salvation of Israel in the last days is the final human step leading to the second coming of Christ. The Messianic Jewish apostle wrote in Romans 11,

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.” From the standpoint of the gospel, they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
(Romans 11:25–29)

Jewish evangelism is the gateway leading to blessings for the nations.

Paul previously told the Gentiles the turning of Israel and the return of Christ would bring about God’s blessings for the Gentiles. “Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be! . . . For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead” (Romans 11:12, 15)?

God chose the Jewish people for a unique role, and one day, this assignment for Israel will become even more evident as the end-time remnant of Jewish people repents, and the Lord returns (Zechariah 12:10; Isaiah 9:6–7; Acts 3:19ff.).

Gentile believers have a critical role in the second coming of Messiah, especially by sharing the gospel with Jewish people!

Another critical passage revealing God’s heart for the Jewish people is Romans 1:16: “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).

Jewish evangelism must never become one of the side jobs of the churches. Paul reminded the Romans to prioritize Jewish evangelism when the gospel was just beginning to spread in the early church. Therefore, including the Jewish people in our evangelistic planning is critical.

God chose the Jewish people to be a bridge of redemption to the world by providing the Scriptures and the Savior Himself, who was born of a Jewish virgin. The Jewish people brought the message of eternal life to the Gentiles. He now calls upon the Gentiles to bring the message back to the original messengers!

Reaching Jewish people for Jesus should be an intentional strategy for every Christian and every local church because God loves His chosen people and because the second coming of Christ depends on Jewish evangelism. God calls us to live today in light of tomorrow, as Jesus could return soon—and then our evangelistic work will be done.

Thanks for caring about the salvation of the Jewish people. May the Lord give us many fantastic opportunities to reach our Jewish friends and families for the Lord. Thanks for standing with us!

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Antisemitism Today

Thank you for taking a moment to read our latest news! We appreciate your interest in what God is doing among the Jewish people and through Your Mission to the Jewish People today! We deeply value your prayers and support. 

TEL AVIV UPDATE

I want to update you on the new Messianic center in Tel Aviv. We are working on two fundraising tracks right now. First, we are only in the third month of raising funds for the purchase of this new Messianic Jewish outreach center in the greater Tel Aviv area—home to about four million Israelis!

Second, we are beginning construction on the build-out of the center as this new commercial space will house our Bible study classrooms, weekly outreach lectures and concerts, young adult activities, a café, and hopefully future congregational activities! The entire area is new, so we will need to renovate the interior space by adding walls, flooring, heating and air conditioning, bathrooms, and more.

We could not be more excited about the future as we are finding a new openness to the gospel in Israel, especially among younger Israelis. It is like an unstoppable wave moving across the country, and we are doing all we can to disciple those coming to faith.

Please pray and join us in building the future of the IsraeliMessianic community through your prayers and generous support for the new center. On the back of this newsletter, you will find more information about how you can give toward the purchase and renovation of the property.

Thank you again for your prayers and support. We can only get it done with your partnership!

ANTISEMITISM KEEPS JEWISH PEOPLE FROM BELIEVING IN JESUS

As you continue reading the newsletter, you will quickly discover this edition focuses on the alarming and deeply tragic increase in antisemitic incidents in the United States and around the globe. This trend dramatically impacts our efforts to bring the gospel to the Jewish people today. Generally speaking, Jewish people blame Christianity for antisemitism.

Unfortunately, one of the most frequent and negative Jewish responses to the gospel is not driven by differences in the interpretation of Scripture or Jewish tradition but by the past and present experiences of Jewish people with Christianity and the church as an institution.

I remember when I told my grandmother I was a believer. She accused me of joining the side of those who persecuted Jewish people. It was incredibly difficult to convince her otherwise. She immigrated to the United States from Belarus because she experienced pogroms, and later the Nazis murdered her entire family for being Jewish. She thought those men and women were Christians! I cannot blame my grandmother for feeling this way, as she did not know any better. She judged what she thought was Christianity based on the actions of so-called Christians.

Is this claim against Christianity accurate? Historically, it is certainly the perception of the Jewish people. Still, I cannot imagine how true Christians who love the Lord and believe the Bible could hate the Jewish people. It has not been my experience since I accepted Jesus a half-century ago. On the contrary, I found true Christians love the Jewish people and do not persecute anyone! If more of my people had genuine Christian friends, they would immediately discover those who persecuted Jewish people—especially in Europe—are different from those who name Jesus as Lord today.

Jewish people still hold Christianity accountable for the crusades, the pogroms of eastern Europe, and even the Holocaust. Without question, some in the past who called themselves Christians mistreated the Jewish people. This truth is a blight on the history of Jewish-Christian relations. Some Christian leaders spoke and wrote harsh words against the Jewish people in the earlier days of the church. These ideas tragically influenced Christian attitudes toward the Jewish people for centuries.

John Chrysostom (354–407 ce),1 who was considered a church father and the “golden-mouthed preacher” (chrysostom is Greek for “goldmouthed”), wrote a series of eight sermons called “Against the Jews.” In one message, he wrote:

Certainly it is the time for me to show that demons dwell in the synagogue, not only in the place itself but also in the souls of the Jews. . . . Do you not shudder to come into the same place with men possessed, who have so many unclean spirits, who have been reared amid slaughter and bloodshed?. . . Must you not turn away from them since they are the common disgrace and infection of the whole world? Have they not come to every form of wickedness?2

There are many other examples from the writings of the early church fathers as well as later pillars of Christianity, including Martin Luther. They were flawed men who did a lot of good but also mischaracterized the Jewish people in ways leading to what is often called “Christian antisemitism.” This history caused the Jewish people to view Christianity—and therefore the gospel—as a threat rather than a lifeline to salvation.

THE UNDERLYING CAUSE OF ANTISEMITISM

The real issue is much more profound; we must look at the Scriptures to understand it.

Our current dilemma begins in Genesis 12:1–3 and the Lord’s covenant with Abraham. By God’s Spirit, Moses penned this promise, “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 12:3).

From the moment God made Abraham His friend, the devil chose Abraham and his descendants as enemies. After all, Satan understood God would one day save the world through the death and resurrection of a son of Abraham. He also knew the Jewish people would one day repent and call upon Jesus, leading this same Savior to return to reign as king.

When Israel acknowledges Jesus as Messiah (Romans 11:26), all the plans of the ultimate heavenly rebel will fail. Therefore, from the moment of Abraham’s call, the devil tried to hinder God’s plan by moving heaven and earth to crush Abraham’s descendants.

THE SOLUTION TO ANTISEMITISM

The apostle Paul urged the Gentile followers of Jesus to tell Jewish people about Jesus by demonstrating His love in word and deed. For Paul, this lovingkindness would cause the Jewish people to be jealous of the Jewish Messiah living in the hearts and souls of Christians (Romans 11:11–15).

Paul wrote in Romans 11:11, “I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous.”

Therefore, we must ask ourselves why Jewish people often perceive Gentile Christians—whom God gave a primary role in reaching the Jewish people for Jesus—as seeking their harm.

We know the enemy works especially hard at turning all of God’s people against each other. One of those ways is to mobilize the same people God called to bless the Jewish people to do the opposite. This sabotage is his failing effort to keep the people of promise from recognizing their Messiah and thus destroy the plans of God for the ages.

We can stand against the evil one by reversing his evil plan. We can make Jewish people jealous and bring the blessings of the gospel to His chosen people.

We can be part of His effort to reverse the curse. By fighting antisemitism, we challenge the devil’s cosmic plot to undo what God created for the world’s redemptive good.

Therefore, Your Mission to the Jewish People wants to encourage you to oppose antisemitism vocally and publicly when you see it. We are the solution to the problem of antisemitism, which is destructive and keeps Jewish people from considering the gospel.

Together, we can make a difference in changing the mindset of many Jewish people about the gospel. Through simply being ourselves and living as authentic believers, we will show Jewish people the gospel is not antisemitic but rather Jewish in nature. As Jesus said, “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22).

I am sorry to say antisemitism is rising in the United States and around the globe. It is time for Christians to take a stand and oppose antisemitism whenever and wherever it rears its ugly head. We do this not simply because antisemitism is wrong and satanic but because we love the God who created the Jewish people and the Jewish Messiah. We want to see Jewish people come to faith in Jesus the Messiah.

1 John Chrysostom (354–407 ce) was the most distinguished church father of the East and one of the most virulently anti-Jewish preachers. Born in Antioch, he was baptized in 373 ce and ordained a priest in 384 ce. He delivered his eight sermons (homilies) “against the Jews” during his first two years of preaching in Antioch (386–387 ce).

2 John Chrysostom, Against the Jews, Homily I, VI, 6–7, accessed February 2, 2023, https://www.tertullian.org/fathers/chrysostom_adversus_judaeos_01_homily1.htm.

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Outreach in Tel Aviv

Chosen People Ministries began a dynamic ministry among Israelis in the greater Tel Aviv area in 2017. This outreach focuses on presenting the gospel to younger Israelis—most of whom recently served in the military. These young adults are the sons and daughters of Israeli believers who came to faith in the past twenty to thirty years. 

What is amazing about this ministry is we now have a second-generation movement of the Holy Spirit; previously, we barely had a first! Godly parents raised godly children, and these young adults are at the core of our ministry. More than this—they are the FUTURE. These young people are enthusiastic, bold, and willing to tell their friends about the Lord. 

The programs at our current rented center in Tel Aviv are thriving! We sponsor up to four special events each month. Some of these include concerts, Sabbath dinners, and evangelistic lectures. In addition, we host regular Bible studies and much more throughout the month. 

At the moment, we are able to accommodate between fifty and sixty young adults at our events. These “on fire” young people are joining these events and bringing their not-yet-believing friends . . . and we are running out of room! 

To keep up with this growing move of the Spirit, we need a larger facility in Tel Aviv—a place where we can serve the Jewish people in this highest-populated area in Israel for many more years to come. Additional space will allow us to continue to fulfill the Chosen People Ministries mission statement: to pray for, evangelize, disciple, and serve Jewish people everywhere and to help fellow believers do the same.

We found a permanent facility with the potential to meet the needs of our growing ministry. The new space is a 4,000-square-foot space in a mixed commercial and residential building with ninety condominiums. 

Next door, two new large properties are being built with apartments for another 200 families. We will be surrounded by Israelis who have never heard the gospel message! 

We are very grateful for this opportunity because it will give us a presence among Israelis in this important community. God opened this door, and we invite you to come alongside us on this journey to expand His work in Israel.

We Found a Permanent Facility!

The Tel Aviv Messianic Center (“the Center”) will be the hub of Chosen People Ministries’ mission efforts in the greater Tel Aviv area. It will include space for a Messianic congregation, a gospel café, concerts, and young adult outreach gatherings. Additionally, we will host Bible studies, children’s events, public lectures on a wide variety of topics, and ministries to elderly Holocaust survivors. Most importantly, this new space will allow us to develop our community-based activities designed to demonstrate the love of the Messiah Jesus to Israelis. 

This facility is only a seven-minute walk from the border of downtown Tel Aviv, and over the next half dozen light rail stops there are about a million Israelis with no place to hear the gospel, meet believers, or comfortably explore questions of faith. 

Our experience over the past six years of ministry at our now-outgrown rented center confirms our conviction: this area is ideal!

The Importance of Messianic Centers

Owning property in Tel Aviv raises our visibility and makes our statement to the public more powerful: Jesus is Jewish! He is the Messiah, and there are multiple thousands of Jewish followers of Jesus in the Holy Land today. 

There are additional advantages to owning our own property. Permanence is essential for Chosen People Ministries to develop longer-term relationships with the Jewish community. Jewish people will view us as a stable part of their neighborhood. A permanent place for our ministry in Tel Aviv strengthens the idea that Messianic Jews are part of a substantial Jewish movement and should be taken seriously. Building lasting relationships with the Jewish community is critical for evangelism, discipleship, and congregational life. 

Additionally, Messianic believers and ministries in Israel often experience opposition. In fact, the religious Jewish community asked our current landlord to stop renting to us. He has supported us thus far but explained to our Tel Aviv staff how he will be in a difficult situation if the resistance keeps us. He has other businesses, which can be impacted by the unfriendliness. This scenario would be true anywhere we rent in the greater Tel Aviv area. So, you can see, if we want to build a lasting testimony in a particular place, it would be far better to own than to rent as we will be less vulnerable to conflict.

Timeline

Since the facility is raw space, we anticipate the buildout will take twelve months from the time we begin construction. Delays in Israel can come about for various reasons, including social unrest, difficulty in securing materials and workers, as well as the possibility of opposition to our gospel efforts by religious groups trying to prevent our work.

Chosen People Ministries—Israel

Israel is the centerpiece of our global strategy in reaching Jewish people with the gospel! There is only one Israel—the heart of Jewish identity, hopes, and dreams throughout the centuries. Today, more than seven million Jewish people live in the Holy Land. Our Tel Aviv Messianic Center will serve an area where more than 50 percent of Israelis live, work, and raise their families. 

Chosen People Ministries began serving in Israel in the 1930s under the name Beit Sar Shalom (the House of the Prince of Peace, from Isaiah 9:6). Over the past thirty years, we have grown and now have more than two dozen staff members serving with Chosen People Ministries in Israel—and have planted several congregations. We serve the aging Holocaust survivor community of almost 200,000 Jewish people. We conduct children’s camps throughout the year, and we are active in personal evangelism and discipleship as well as digital/web-based evangelism. 

In 2006, we purchased and dedicated our Jerusalem Messianic Center, which serves as Beit Sar Shalom’s headquarters in Israel and is constantly busy with a wide variety of outreach gospel activities.

Our currently rented outreach center in Ramat Gan is home base of an amazing movement of the Spirit among young adults through concerts, dinners, evangelistic lectures, and ministry to children and entire families. By God’s grace, we will now be able to move this already-thriving ministry across the street to a new and more permanent Tel Aviv Messianic Center, doubling our ministry space for an exciting new phase to expand God’s work. 

Local Partnerships

There are very few places for larger groups of Jewish believers to gather in Israel, and our center will provide space for other ministries to use for their outreaches in the greater Tel Aviv area. We plan to make the facility available to the body of Messiah in Tel Aviv for their use as well.

In Israel today, we are not simply reaching Jewish people for Jesus—we are helping build a national body of believers. The church in Israel is growing like never before. This larger and more permanent facility presents us with a perfect opportunity to expand our outreach in the greater Tel Aviv area and to enable like-minded ministries to do the same.

Together We Will Rise and Build

Nehemiah told those opposing his plan to rebuild the walls of the ancient city: “The God of heaven will give us success; therefore we His servants will arise and build” (Neh 2:20). 

This challenge transcends the centuries and remains relevant today. 

Please join us in our vision to build the Tel Aviv Messianic Center. 

We value your prayers, enthusiasm, and financial support. 

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We are thankful for you!

I am grateful to God for you and how He uses the Chosen People Ministries global family to serve in nineteen countries worldwide.

I also want you to know how grateful I am for your love, prayers, and support. We are a faith mission, which means that our missionaries, including myself, are responsible for raising our support. After almost fifty years of personally raising my own support, I think I can translate what this means for you. Simply put, we trust the Lord for His provision for our lives and ministry through the generosity and sacrifice of believers like you and local congregations who believe in our mission to reach Jewish people with the gospel.

I have spent my adult life trying to ensure that Jewish evangelism does not become the great omission of the Great Commission. Jewish evangelism is not one of the side jobs of the church; it should be, according to the Bible, one of its main concerns.

A well-known theologian, Jakob Jocz, who has an amazing testimony, firmly believed in Jewish evangelism. Jakob grew up in a Jewish home. His father became a believer some years later and entered full-time missionary service. Jakob, who would become a leading Messianic Jewish theologian, wrote The Jewish People and Jesus Christ, a must-read for every believer. In another book, The Spiritual History of Israel, Jocz wrote: “If the Church has no Gospel for the Jews, it has no Gospel for the world.”1

Jewish evangelism is essential because of the Jewish people’s role in God’s plan and purposes! In one critical passage in Romans, Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, tells us that the path to world redemption includes bringing the gospel to the Jewish people. Paul 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” (Rom 1:16).

We need to take this passage seriously and literally. It is written in the present tense and implies an ongoing action. Paul was not suggesting that the gospel was to go to the Jews first and then cease going to the Jewish people in order to turn to the Gentiles. Instead, this biblical principle of evangelizing the Jewish people is, for all ages, a priority of heart for all believers in Jesus.

God chose the Jewish people as His bridge of redemption to a dark and broken world. His people received, transmitted, and preserved the Scriptures. Jesus Himself was born of a Jewish virgin (as promised), many Jewish people throughout the ages continued to believe in Jesus’ messiahship, and the Jewish people will play a significant role in the second coming when, as a nation, the Jewish community will recognize the promised Messiah (Matthew 23:39).

Our calling is to make disciples because time is short, and the next great event on God’s timetable is the salvation of the Jewish people. The Gentiles have a pivotal role to play in the redemption of the Jewish people today and tomorrow: God calls upon the Gentiles—initially reached by the Jewish disciples—to bring the message back to the original messengers (Romans 11:11)!

Based upon the teaching of the New Testament, I believe every Christian should be, in one way or another, supporting missions to the Jews, either through prayer, giving, or other means of love, support, and encouragement. We are partners in this great work, and I hope this Thanksgiving you will consider joining us in this great work of reaching the Jewish people.

So, please allow me to tell you what God is doing through our staff and your support. 

Around the United States

We are so grateful for our many missionaries serving among the almost six million Jewish people across the United States. Through our Foundations ’22 campaign, we emphasize the work of direct and personal evangelism, discipleship, and training. We are actively building a new generation of missionaries to the Jewish people. Our Charles L. Feinberg Center for Messianic Jewish Studies is now a hybrid program—in person, in Brooklyn, and online.

New York City

We had a great summer outreach in New York City, where we brought a few dozen volunteers and staff for a week of reaching out to both religious and non-religious Jewish people.

We are beginning to do more work among the ultra-Orthodox and would appreciate your prayers for this ministry. It is difficult but so rewarding and worthwhile. We are praying that God will open the hearts of the most religious in our community.

Around the Globe

Last month, we observed the Jewish fall festivals, which include the Jewish new year (Rosh Hashanah), the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), and the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot). All these festivals, in one way or another, point to Jesus. We had a fruitful season reaching out to our beloved Jewish people worldwide through our services, Bible studies, and various outreach ministries.

We held services in Argentina at our beautiful center in Buenos Aires, home to more than a quarter million Jewish people. In Australia, we observed the holidays and spoke to many Jewish people about the Lord at our new congregational and ministry center that recently opened in Melbourne. We were able to do the same in London through the congregation we launched in the heart of Jewish North London.

Please pray for our global missionaries as they press on to reach God’s chosen people everywhere.

Ministry to Holocaust Survivors

One of our most incredible ministries in Israel is reaching elderly Holocaust survivors, who are becoming fewer and fewer each day. There is not much time left to reach them for the Messiah! Yet, we continue to have an excellent entry point into their hearts and souls as we provide comfort, companionship, food, medical care, and, as the Lord enables, conversations about Jesus. We hope to continue this ministry until the last Holocaust survivor has heard the gospel.

Children’s Ministries

We have several camps in the United States and Israel, and it is a joy to be back in person, bringing the love of our Messiah to American and Israeli children. Over the last few months, we had more than one hundred children attend our camps across the globe, and by God’s grace, some of these young people came to faith in Jesus and were baptized. But, of course, we do this all with parental permission, and some of the parents are not yet believers.

During our recent camp in Israel, we discovered quite a few children from immigrant families recently came to Israel from war-torn Ukraine. Please pray for these newcomers, especially the children, as they learn Hebrew, grow in the Messiah, and settle in a new country.

Young Adults

This past summer, we had the joy of mentoring young adults through our Living Waters mentoring retreat in Israel. I taught about leadership to encourage this next generation of leaders working tirelessly in their local congregations and with a considerable amount of spiritual responsibility. We also invited spouses and kids to this retreat so that we could minister to the whole family.

Again, we could not minister in these ways without your prayers and support.

Ministry in Ukraine and to Russian-speaking Jewish people

We recently sponsored a conference in Berlin, Germany, attended by more than eighty leaders from Russian and Ukrainian Messianic ministries and congregations. It was challenging as both Russian and Ukrainian believers who got along well before the war had to work out their unity in the Lord during the week. But it was worth it as they worshiped together, studied God’s Word, and collaborated on how to be more effective in reaching Ukrainian and Russian Jewish people in their countries and in Israel, as many have immigrated to the Holy Land.

Please pray for them as we expect a harsh winter in Ukraine. We will do everything we can in partnership with other ministries to bring relief and comfort to those who have lost their homes, jobs, congregations, and so much more. Thank you for supporting this effort and for your generous gifts.

Happy Thanksgiving! We are so thankful for you!

Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. (2 Corinthians 9:10–11, emphasis added)

1 Jakob Jocz, Spiritual History of Israel (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1961), 160.

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Introducing some of my heroes . . .

I hope you have time to read a little story. I love good stories, and this is a good one! 

Isaac Feinstein is one of my heroes. He became a martyr for Jesus at the start of World War II. Joseph Hoffman Cohn, the son of another of my heroes in the faith, Leopold Cohn, the founder of Chosen People Ministries, tells the story. 

THE COHNS’ LIFE AND MINISTRY 

As you might know from Chosen People Ministries’ history, Leopold Cohn immigrated to the United States in the early 1890s and came to the Lord in 1892. He founded Chosen People Ministries in 1894 and held outreach meetings in a cleaned-out horse stable in Brooklyn! 

Leopold grew up in the Satmar sect of Hasidic Judaism, among whom most members who remained in Europe died during the Holocaust. However, by God’s grace, quite a few from the Satmar community landed safely on the shores of the United States of America, where they have thrived and grown to become one of the world’s largest Hasidic sects.1 

Naturally, Leopold Cohn’s ministry focused on the millions of eastern European Jewish immigrants, like the Satmar, who settled in turn-of-the-century New York City. Leopold’s son Joseph became the director of Chosen People Ministries in 1932 after his father passed into the presence of the Lord. As the ominous Nazi plan to annihilate the Jews of Europe became known, Joseph began to share in the desperation of his fellow Jews in Europe. 

Joseph Hoffman Cohn traveled throughout Europe from 1938 to 1939, encouraging Messianic Jewish leaders to leave the continent because he sensed what was coming. This trip to Europe was Joseph’s last-ditch effort to help as many of the Jewish missionary leaders as possible. His reports of his conversations and adventures appeared in various issues of the Chosen People magazine, some of which I have included below. 

THE MARTYRDOM OF ISAAC FEINSTEIN 

Joseph Cohn was especially fond of Isaac Feinstein, who led the Norwegian Israelite Mission work in Jassy, Romania, before the Nazi invasion. Cohn visited with Feinstein before the war and tried to persuade him and his family to leave Europe: 

It was the summer of 1938. We were walking together on the Buda side of the Danube at Budapest. My companion was Isaac Feinstein, a beloved young Jewish brother who was then stationed at Galatz in Romania, about 200 miles farther east than Budapest, and was carrying on a faithful and brilliant testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ under the support of some Christian brethren in Norway. I coveted this young man and his talents for our work here in the States. 

Every time I looked into his face I could not help thinking of Nathaniel of old, the Israelite in whom our Lord found no guile. His eyes burned with the explosiveness of impassioned zeal. He had the perfect background for a marvelous ministry to the Jews of New York City. He was young, he was steeped in all the Hebrew lore as on his way he was a master in Israel and could speak to his Jewish compatriots with authority. So I turned to him suddenly and asked him if he would leave Romania, take his wife and six children and come to America and join our staff. 

I pointed out to him the imminent dangers developing in Europe and brutal thoughts of Nazism and asked him to ponder and to pray seriously over the question as to whether the Lord would not have him leave these lands of horror and come to America for a greatly enlarged field of service and testimony. 

He was overwhelmed for a moment, but soon recovered his poise and told me frankly with affection and emotion how grateful he was for this compliment. But that he felt it would be an act of cowardice to leave his post in the face of threatened dangers. He felt that Nazis or no Nazis, it was his duty to stay at his post. There were so many of his Jewish brethren in Galatz who were depending on him for spiritual comfort and leadership that he would feel all his life the terrible shame of having deserted them in the hour of their need. So, we parted, and my last words to him then were that if ever the time came that he found himself compelled to leave Romania, he should take the first boat to New York and report to our office.2 

Cohn continued, 

Came the war, one by one the Nazi beasts took captive country after country. And soon Romania fell victim and the Nazis stormed over the land like the lice in Egypt. And to Galatz they came, spreading cruelties and death on every side. They seized this young brother, who had done them no harm but was a faithful servant to the Lord Jesus Christ. They tied him to a stake and then for days they tortured him. His tongue hung out of his mouth in desperate body-torturing thirst, but never was he shown one shred of mercy or decency. Finally, he died from sheer torture and exhaustion.

Cohn printed a letter from Isaac’s wife, Esther, in the Chosen People magazine in which she thanked him and Chosen People Ministries for their support. She also provided insight regarding her continued ministry among the refugees and the plight of the survivors in general: 

This week I had the great joy to receive a letter from you, though with the date January 14, 1944, so it is just a year ago. 

I cannot tell you how thankful I am for your help which I had never expected, and which came in such a wonderful way to us. I really see that the Lord sent it and I take it from his hand praising him. Of course, I had heard of you through my dear husband, but I shouldn’t have thought to ask your help. It was Richard (Wurmbrand) who wanted me to do it. How glad I should be to have news from our friends there, but what a terrible time they must have gone through. I am looking forward very much to seeing you when you will come to Europe. I shall have lots to tell you. 

Somehow, I feel that you are a sort of a father for my little orphans and I am so happy that you take an interest in them. For the present I am working among Jewish refugee children and am trying to be a mother to those poor dear ones who lost so much. My own children are well, living with friends, except my six-year-old, little Gabrielle, was not healthy like the others and must be looked after in a special home. I use part of the money to pay her board. I ask the Lord to bless for all you do and have done for us.3 

Cohn wrote of the ministry’s continued concern for the wife and children of the martyred Feinstein. He also shared with us his expectations for post-war ministry among the survivors. 

His widow with her six children escaped to Switzerland, and like the woman in the wilderness of Revelation, it is our privilege to nurture her as we send each month, through your generosity, $100 that she may have food for herself and her children. This is only a sample of what will await us once the war is finished and we are told to go across and minister to these, His disciples.4

HEROES OF THE FAITH 

Many Jewish refugees also came to Jesus through the efforts of Isaac’s wife, Esther! I cannot help but think that if the author of Hebrews wrote chapter eleven today, Isaac and Esther would take their place next to Abraham, Sarah, and the other heroes and heroines of the faith. Hebrews chapter twelve describes a cloud of witnesses, and I wonder if Isaac and Esther are in the heavenly stands cheering us on as we reach Jewish people for Jesus today! (Heb 12:1–3). 

YOUR PARTNERSHIP IS DEEPLY APPRECIATED 

I wish you could meet our brave missionary staff serving the Lord in Israel, Ukraine, Brooklyn, Buenos Aires, and many other places where Jewish people are plentiful, and there are few Christians. There are many obstacles and much opposition to presenting Jesus to His kinsmen in the flesh. 

Yet, I rarely hear a complaint about the difficulties our staff experience. Moreover, I believe their peace of soul and confidence in the Lord is partly the result of your faithful prayers and support. We see the light of God’s love shining through the dark clouds of difficulty because of you! So, thank you for caring about the Jewish people and our missionary staff.

1 Hasidism is a form of ultra-Orthodox Judaism characterized by conservative religious values and an insular lifestyle, of which the Satmar group is one of the most extreme. 

2 Joseph Hoffman Cohn, “Salutation,” Chosen People 48, no.7 (1944a): 6. 

3 Esther Feinstein, “Jewish Notes,” Chosen People 51, no. 2 (1945b):14. 

4 Cohn, Chosen People (1944a):6. 

5 Latte Neanni, “Romanian Jewish Chronology,” The Romanian Jewish Community, December 9, 2020, accessed September 6, 2022, https://www.romanianjewish.org/. 

6 Tuvia Friling, Radu Ioanid, and Mihail E. Ionescu, eds., International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania: Final Report (Iași, Romania: Polirom, 2005), 249. 

7 “The JUST Act Report: Romania,” United States Department of State, accessed September 1, 2022, https://www.state.gov/reports/just-act-report-to-congress/romania/. 

8 Romania: Ukraine Refugee Situation Update (UNHCR: The UN Refugee Agency, July 12, 2022), https://data.unhcr.org/en/documents/details/94235.

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Building the Future of Chosen People Ministries for a New Day

I hope and pray this letter finds you rejoicing in His grace and that you are experiencing a fruitful summer. We are getting ready for Shalom New York, our summer outreach program where dozens of staff and volunteers from all over the United States come and witness to Jewish people in the parks and on the streets and beaches of New York City, home of two million Jewish people.

This outreach is a significant step forward in restoring our in-person ministries. It is also part of Foundations ’22—our year-long effort focused on returning to doing what we have done best for more than one hundred years. Your Mission to the Jewish People was founded on the principles of personal evangelism and discipleship of Jewish people and training our brothers and sisters in the church to be more effective in reaching their Jewish family and friends for the Lord.

A QUICK UPDATE ON THE LORD’S WORK IN THE HOLY LAND

I just returned from my second trip to Israel in the last few months—making up for lost time! After spending three days with a group of young Israeli Messianic Jewish leaders and then with our Chosen People Ministries—Israel staff, their spouses, and kids at a staff retreat, I am still on overdrive. I wish you had been there with me to hear the firsthand reports of all the Lord is doing in Israel today. The Holy Spirit is moving powerfully among a new generation of Messianic Jewish believers.

Most of these young Israeli believers:

  • Grew up in a Messianic Jewish Israeli home
  • Served in the Israeli military for the mandatory years of service—three for men and two for women
  • Spent some months traveling the world after the army
  • Returned to Israel to go to school or get a job
  • Married, had kids, and now serve the Lord through a local congregation in Israel

While there are exceptions to this usual pattern, the younger generation of believers takes this typical path, including some of our staff. This season of life is a busy time for these wonderful young people, many who work, go to school, serve in their congregations and ministries, and are raising children. Offering them the opportunity to go on a three-day retreat is an excellent way to support them.

The army experience is often where Israeli believers come to grips with their personal relationship with the Lord. Military service presents a very challenging time for these young, believing soldiers. Thank God there are some army programs offered by various ministries in Israel today that help believers prepare for the challenges ahead and remain steadfast in the Lord throughout their army years.

SOME HISTORY OF THE MESSIANIC MOVEMENT IN ISRAEL

I still remember the days when there were very few Messianic Jewish believers in Israel and, therefore, no second or third generation of believers. Today, many next-generation Israeli believers were raised by believing parents, grew up in dynamic and growing Israeli congregations, and are finding the Lord in the Land. They are also active in sharing the good news with their friends, schoolmates, and fellow soldiers.

There is debate as to how many Israelis are Messianic Jews, but I can tell you that it is a whole lot more than my first trip to Israel back when I was still in seminary in 1976! Our best and most recent estimates say there are between 15,000 and 30,000 Messianic Jewish believers and between 200 and 300 Messianic congregations throughout Israel.

God has done an extraordinary work, but I also feel like we have just begun (Romans 11:25ff.).

LIVING WATERS MENTORING RETREAT

By the time you receive this letter, we will have completed a young adult retreat with about thirty-five mostly post-army young adult Israeli believers. We used to hold this event each year before the pandemic, and it is wonderful to be back in person. Most of the participants either work in a secular or ministry job, go to school, or continue to serve in the army. They are eager to experience spiritual renewal and improve their skills to serve the Lord in the Holy Land more effectively.

This year, we invited Pastor Greg Stone, a Jewish pastor serving at Gateway Church in Texas, to be our guest speaker. He taught these young Israelis how to use the Psalms in personal ministry among those they are discipling and serving.

THE POWER OF GOD REVEALED IN THE HOLY LAND

I want to thank you for your prayers for our growing Israel staff. We have relaunched all our in-person programs, including ministries to Holocaust survivors, personal evangelism, congregational meetings, outreach concerts, and Sabbath dinners. We gather dozens of young people, serve great Israeli food, and preach the Word. Of course, lots of non-believers attend all these events as well.

I am also thrilled to tell you about some of our staff’s new ministries in Israel.

Michael and his family moved to the Golan Heights and are starting house churches in this relatively remote part of Israel. Right now, they are getting to know their neighbors and making friends.

Moti and his wife are part of our Tel Aviv team, and Moti is now a well-known “gamer.” He has a following of thousands of younger Israelis who he reaches through their interest in video games. In addition, he has more than 50,000 Israelis who are part of his online TikTok audience.

Our teams are still very involved in reaching Ukrainian Jewish immigrants and even some new immigrants from Russia fleeing the war zones and moving to Israel. We are helping them adjust to Israel, learn Hebrew, find jobs, and get their kids in school. We express God’s love to them in practical ways, and they are always interested to know why we are willing to help.

I thank God for the dedicated and creative team we have in Israel and again ask you to pray for their ministries.

We are also reigniting our ministries around the globe to traveling Israelis. After the army, young Israelis travel to some pretty exotic spots, including New Zealand, China, Brazil, India, and more.

We send combined teams of Israelis and short-term mission workers from North America and Europe to reach these wandering young Israelis. They are more open to the gospel as they travel when they are free to make their own choices. The environment also causes them to be more open to new ideas and religious beliefs, including learning more about Jesus the Messiah.

LOOKING BACK TO LOOK FORWARD

Over the past 128 years, Chosen People Ministries has faced some major world events, including:

  • the mass immigration of Jewish people to the United States at the turn of the twentieth century
  • rising antisemitism in the United States during the pre-World War I period
  • World War I
  • the Spanish flu
  • the Great Depression
  • World War II
  • the Holocaust
  • the founding of the State of Israel and the wars related to it
  • the fall of the Soviet Union
  • massive Russian Jewish immigration to the West and Israel throughout the 1990s

More recently, we were challenged with the COVID-19 pandemic and the current war between Russia and Ukraine. Yet, all these world events affected the everyday work of our historic Mission to the Jewish People.

These influential events with global impact caused us to pause, reflect on our ministry, and consider new perspectives and ways of sharing the gospel. It has also challenged us to be flexible enough to adapt to the changes thrust upon us.

A TURNING POINT

I believe Chosen People Ministries is experiencing another historic turning point. The dark times of the pandemic seem to be passing, but the days ahead are not without new challenges.

We do not know the future, of course, but we know the One who not only knows the future but shapes the future with His wisdom, power, and love. We have our marching orders: to preach the gospel, baptize, and disciple those who respond to our proclamation of the good news. Our particular field of service is in reaching Jewish people, and we take Paul’s mandate in Romans 1:16 seriously—to bring the gospel to the Jewish people first. This passage guides us and undergirds all our ministry activities.

The Jewish community around the world is more open to the gospel today than in previous years. Jewish people are ready to discover the love and healing available through a relationship with God the Father through the Prince of Peace!

We are excited about the future and the new opportunities to share the Lord person to person and heart to heart with the Jewish people!

Thanks for joining us in the journey through your prayers and support!

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Reaching Secular Jewish People for the Messiah

Thank you for your prayers and support! Chosen People Ministries’ staff could not do this great work of reaching Jewish people for Jesus in these last days without your partnership. Allow me to bring you up to date on what God is doing through our committed staff members in answer to your prayers.

We continue to work among Ukrainian refugees in Poland, Germany, and Israel, as well as with those who remain in Ukraine by choice or necessity. Our hearts break to see the displacement, devastation, and destruction of cities, families, and lives.

Your Mission to the Jewish People is also continuing to implement our Foundations ’22 campaign. We are reaching out to Jewish people and focusing on personal evangelism, discipleship, and training those who come to faith to be lifelong, fruitful followers of the Lord.

MY PERSONAL JEWISH STORY

My family is from eastern Europe, which is why I identify with Ukrainian Jewish people today. We have Ukrainian Jewish roots. My grandparents left eastern Europe during the rapidly deteriorating dark days of pre-Holocaust Europe. Persecution of the Jewish people was on the rise, and many were fleeing to places like Israel, South America, and the United States, where they found peace, opportunity, and freedom.

My father’s parents were from Ukraine. My grandfather was loving and kind and wanted nothing more than to assimilate into American life. He was proud to be part of a nation that cherished freedom and believed all men and women were equal in the eyes of God and the state.

While he was not religious, he instilled a love for the Jewish people in his sons. They also had a concern for continuing those cultural and family-based values and traditions woven into the fabric of the Jewish soul.

My maternal grandparents came to the United States a few years after the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia (1917–1923). My grandfather was the son of an upper-middle-class manufacturer who lived in Minsk, Belarus. My grandmother was from a similar Jewish social circle. Unlike my paternal grandparents, they were far more religious and practiced Orthodox Judaism. They ate kosher food, observed the Sabbath, attended synagogue as often as they could, practiced Jewish rituals daily, and spoke Yiddish1 at home.

They had hoped the rest of their family would follow and join them in the United States, but they did not. Eventually, they would all perish in concentration camps when Hitler destroyed the Jewish community in Minsk. Again, my grandparents tried to scrupulously keep the Torah as they understood it. But the culture of the new world and its philosophy of assimilation resulted in none of their children becoming observant Jews. I am sure this was heartbreaking for them, but all their children—including my mom—still proudly affirmed their Jewishness, celebrated the holidays, and participated in the Jewish community.

BEING RELIGIOUS IS ONLY ONE SLICE OF BEING JEWISH

For my family and so many others, Judaism is not always about God or theology. Being Jewish is more often about focusing on family values, tradition, and the need to provide Jewish education and continuity for our children.

The religious side of Jewish life for so many Jewish people today has become watered down. The Jewish community and its leaders know this, and so should you. So when a Jewish friend says, “You know so much more about my Bible [the Old Testament] than I do,” it should not surprise you. This sentiment will be common, and it might amaze your Jewish friend that you know more about the Hebrew Scriptures than they do! That is a positive testimony!

On the other hand, it should not surprise you if your Jewish friend feels somewhat threatened when you speak to them about Jesus. Even secular Jewish people will generally feel a need to defend Judaism when approached with the gospel. You might think, “If they are not religious, why are they responding so negatively?” It is partly because of the tragic history of interactions between Jews and Christians and because you might have inadvertently threatened their lack of religious knowledge about Judaism. When they think others view their faith as deficient, they often feel helpless to respond.

THE BELIEFS AND VALUES OF SECULAR JEWISH PEOPLE

One could describe secular Jews as “culturally Jewish.” Secular Jews often do not understand their religious heritage and the values and laws given to Moses at Mount Sinai. Though detached from its divine origins, our culture is deeply ingrained in our hearts and minds. For example, many Jewish people are very concerned about civil rights and fight for the rights of the marginalized. Is this because we were or are an oppressed people? Partly. But, it is also the message of the Old Testament that we are to care for the poor, widows, orphans, and those displaced within society. For this reason, Jewish people are also often generous philanthropists, concerned with education, and divinely wired for healing others.

You see, being Jewish is not as much a function of belief as it is a matter of community identity. A person could retain that identity as long as they do not cross certain lines. However, if you breach one of these unseen parameters, you could easily cross over and out of the Jewish community. Believing in Jesus is one of those lines, perhaps the boldest of the lines, and once you cross over, you cannot return unless you renounce those beliefs.

The Jewish people you meet and those to whom you witness will be resistant to the gospel far more because of their fear of community sanctions than because of a theological disagreement over the identity of the Messiah.

You can help Jewish believers in Jesus by providing friendship and support, as the Lord can use you to ease the pain of community rejection that is sure to follow their acceptance of the Messiah.

We are eager to help you reach your Jewish friends!

Recently, I presented “Messiah in the Passover” at a local Baptist church. A delightful Christian approached me to ask for help in witnessing to her Jewish friend. She wanted to know if giving her friend my book, Isaiah 53 Explained, would offend him. She really loves her friend, who is in his 90s, and prays for him each day. I suggested giving him the book, encouraging him to review it from a Jewish perspective, and then asking him to let her know what he thinks.

Our staff have dozens of conversations like this each month, and we want to help you share the good news with a Jewish friend. Equipping you is a significant part of our Foundations ‘22 annual campaign.

SUPPORTING FOUNDATIONS ’22

We are reaching many different types of Jewish people around the globe: Israelis, religious Jewish people, elderly Holocaust survivors, displaced Ukrainian Jewish people, and more!

Your generous support enables us to produce websites and printed materials, maintain facilities, employ staff across the globe, and allow our missionaries to focus on evangelism, discipleship, and training.

Thanks for caring!

In our Messiah,

Mitch

1A mixture of German, Hebrew, and Slavic languages. Yiddish was the primary language of the Jewish

people in Europe for centuries.

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Relief for Refugees from Ukraine

Shalom in His grace. I appreciate the opportunity each month to tell you about the good work God is doing through Your Mission to the Jewish People. With the post-COVID reopening of the United States and so many other countries where Chosen People Ministries serves, there is more happening in our efforts to reach Jewish people with the gospel than I can describe.

As you know, we have initiated a three-part campaign called Foundations ’22, in which we are “going back to the basics” of personal evangelism, discipleship, and deeper training for Jewish believers and our Christian friends reaching their Jewish friends and family. This campaign has progressed rapidly as the opportunities now abound. We had a tremendous month of Passover outreach. Our presentations of Messiah in the Passover online and in person in churches across the nation enabled hundreds of Jewish people to hear the gospel and be introduced to Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Yet with all this excitement, I still cannot escape the heartbreak of what is happening to the people of Ukraine, including hundreds of thousands of Jewish people who live there, as the countries of the former Soviet Union still have large numbers of Jewish people within their borders. The Ukrainians have suffered the attempted destruction of their country, without mercy on the part of Putin and his minions.

The tragedy of war fills me with sadness, and I am sure you feel the same way. We are doing all we can to alleviate the suffering of Ukrainians. It is especially terrible to watch as a generation of younger male leaders die defending their homes. Women and children are doing their best to get out of the country and escape to Poland and other nearby countries or eventually to Israel. This tragedy especially impacts children, as so many lost one or both parents or had to flee, leaving their father behind.

Mariupol, a city on the eastern border, was reduced from 450,000 people to less than 100,000, and most of their schools, apartments, and shopping areas were reduced to rubble. For years, we served a couple of Messianic congregations in this once-beautiful city, but now the Jewish believers have scattered. Yet, by God’s grace, many have found one another using WhatsApp, Telegram, and other social media tools. Along with Messianic Jews from other parts of Ukraine, they have regathered in western Ukraine in a safer city and have rebuilt a small community of believers. Some of the funds you have so sacrificially given enables them to survive, and our team also uses funds we provide to help non-believers as part of their ongoing outreach.

RELIEF IN JESUS’ NAME

We are focusing our ministries of relief and care on nations bordering Ukraine like Poland, Hungary, Romania, as well as on other European countries that have welcomed refugees. Much of our efforts are within Poland and Germany where a combined few million Ukrainian refugees have fled. We are working through our Chosen People Ministries staff and volunteers in these countries to support ministries in campgrounds, congregational facilities, and the homes of Christians. We are helping the refugees find safe housing and meeting some of their basic needs. We even brought in teams of Russian- and Ukrainian-speaking believers from Israel to help the refugees.

We are also assisting Ukrainian Jews wanting to move to Israel by renting some apartments in the Holy Land to temporarily house these new immigrants. During the last twenty-five years, God has done a wonderful work among Russian-speaking Jewish people. About 60 percent of the believers in Israel today speak Russian or Ukrainian as their primary language. Our staff in Israel have benefited from this movement of the Holy Spirit, and we have an abundance of Russian-speaking staff who can minister to these refugees.

So many of those moving to Israel are coming without husbands, sons, and brothers, as the men could not get out of Ukraine, where they are fighting the Russian invaders. Many of the men do not want to leave, choosing rather to stay and fight.

In the past, Chosen People Ministries has served the community of single mothers in Israel. Throughout the New Testament, we see Jesus helping those on the margins of society, and the Scriptures strongly encourage believers to help widows and orphans specifically (James 1:27).

One of my favorite passages is in Matthew chapter 9, in which we see our beloved Messiah focusing on the physical and spiritual needs of those who did not receive a lot of help from the rest of society. Matthew wrote:

Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” (Matt 9:35–38, emphasis added)

We are trying, by God’s grace and in the power of the Holy Spirit, to follow the example of the Messiah Jesus and minister to those in need, especially those who others might not be able or willing to help.

REPORTS FROM THE FIELD

Since the beginning of the war, we have received daily updates from our staff on the ground in Europe and Israel. Most of the emails are from Boris Goldin, who is coordinating our Chosen People Ministries work in Ukraine, and Maxim Katz, who is based in Israel but is currently working extensively with our Chosen People Ministries team in Poland. Please pray for them!

We also thank God for our German partners, Beit Sar Shalom (House of the Prince of Peace) and their director, Vladimir Pikman, who along with his wife, Inna, became believers through the congregation we planted in Kiev during the early 1990s. The teams in Germany are working day and night to meet the needs of the hundreds of thousands of refugees entering Germany and have attracted dozens of displaced Ukrainian Jewish believers who are now attending their congregations across Germany.

The email below from Maxim to our Israel director, Michael Z., is one example of the needs described during the early days of the conflict that encouraged Your Mission to the Jewish People to take action!

Misha shalom,

In connection with the war in Ukraine, I would like to inform you of what we are doing. Miraculously, the Lord opened up possibilities that we could not even imagine. A few days ago, the Sochnut1 turned to Ostróda (the place where we hold camps2 in Poland) to request to accept Jews from Ukraine. Today they contacted us through them, and together, we are coordinating the arrival of a group of Jews to Ostróda. I contacted my friend from the transport company, and the bus went to the Polish border to pick up 15 families. These are Israelis and new immigrants. They will be able to fly to Israel only after March 10. Until that time, they will live in Ostróda.

We were also asked for help in finding a place for 200 children from the Beit Chabad orphanage in Odessa. They are now in Romania and are looking for a place for a week. They are ready to stay at a Christian place but have asked to use as little symbolism as possible and to help with kosher food. I spoke with Dorin and his brother in Romania who is ready to help. I gave his coordinates to Sochnut and they already spoke. I hope everything will work out.

Misha, I think if you let me fly to Poland . . . and serve on site, I think it will be a fruitful help and ministry.

Thanks,

Maxim

Your prayers and support are so important to us, and I pray the Lord will guide you to support these efforts to bring the love of the Messiah to those suffering the ravages of war. I am praying about the rebuilding of the Ukrainian Messianic community throughout the globe, and your gifts of support will help in these rebuilding efforts wherever they will take place…Ukraine, Israel, Poland, Germany, as the Lord leads and allows.

I will send further updates as the Lord enables.

Your brother in Messiah,

Mitch

P.S. I was able to see the crisis firsthand during a recent trip to Poland, and my heart is just broken. Again, your prayers and financial support enable us to do more to help both Jews and Gentiles suffering in what can only be described as a modern humanitarian disaster. Thank you for your love and partnership.

1 The Jewish Agency, which coordinates the aliyah of Jewish people around the globe

2 Camps for children from Israel and Holocaust survivors

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Pray for Ukraine

I am writing with an urgent plea for prayer for the people of Ukraine, including many who are Jewish and who Chosen People Ministries currently serves.

Unfortunately, Russia and Ukraine have entered into a regrettable time of war. This conflict may have devastating effects on the people we love and to whom we minister as well as on their families, their friends, and their congregations.

Since the 1990s, 1.5 million Jewish people from the former Soviet Union have emigrated to Israel from their countries of origin. We have also seen an incredible movement of the Holy Spirit that has impacted the Jewish people and has opened ministry opportunities in Israel, Ukraine, and Russia.

Over the years, our staff team has provided leadership to a network of Messianic congregations in multiple cities in Ukraine. The first congregation in Kyiv, Beit El-Gibor, planted by Chosen People Ministries, celebrates its thirtieth anniversary this year.

Through these congregations, we work with youth, children in orphanages, families, prisoners, substance-abuse victims, and elderly people, including Holocaust survivors. Presently, we also have more than two dozen Ukrainian- and Russian-born missionaries on our staff serving across the globe.

Many Chosen People Ministries staff members still have family in Ukraine. They also have many friends and ministry leaders there with whom they have worked over many years.

Our hearts break for those now in the midst of the tragedy of war, which we hope and pray will be short-lived.

In addition to praying for God’s wisdom upon Ukrainian leadership and for protection for all people—especially in targeted areas—please join us in praying specifically for the Lord’s safeguarding of the roughly 200,000 Jewish people in Ukraine and for the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is also Jewish and subject to the violence of war.

Please also continue to pray for peace in Ukraine, safety for those we have been serving, and that God’s hand of mercy will permeate the region.

We have just established a relief fund for Jewish victims of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

We will use a portion of the funds to help with food, housing, and transportation for those fleeing to the western part of Ukraine. We even hope to help some of these precious war-torn souls find their way to Israel. The needs abound, especially among the elderly, those who have young children, and others who cannot access their limited bank accounts.

We are especially heartbroken and burdened for those who are part of the small Messianic congregations we have been helping in eastern Ukraine. They need our prayers and support immediately!

If the conflict ends quickly, whatever we do not use from this fund will help our ministries among aging Holocaust survivors in Israel.

Thank you so much for your sacrifice, prayers, and generosity.

Most of all, please join us in praying for this tragic situation TODAY.

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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