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"Hear O' Israel, HaShem is our G-d, HaShem alone"

History of Jews for Jesus

Below is some history of the Jews for Jesus and so-called Messianic Synagogue movements. My primary source is a book called Preserving Jewishness in Your Family, by Alan Siverstein. I have also used a very informative book by a former J4J member called Hawking G-d by Ellen Kamentsky, Turning to Torah: The Emerging Noachide Movement by Kimberly E. Hanke (a Christain who was involved in a Messianic "synogogue" who became a Noachide), and an article in Ultimate Issues Oct-Dec 1989, by Dennis Prager called "Is there such a thing as a 'Jew for Jesus'".

"Messianic Judaism is Evangelical Christainity proselytizing to the Jews. The founder of Jews for Jesus, a deceptive proselytizing technique, was Martin Rosen, a former Jew who converted to Evangelical Christianity in the mid-1950's. Rosen was ordainded as a Baptist minister in 1957 and was assigned to serve the American Board of Missions (missionaries) to the Jews. In this capacity Rev. Rosen became sensitized to the theological vulnerability of many American Jews. When approaching those who knew little about Jewish belief, Rosen represented himself as an 'authentic Jew', Moishe Rosen. Yet even the most assimilated Jews resisted formal conversion out of Judaism.

"By 1970 Rosen had developed a solution to his dilemma. Dov Aharoni Fisch writes:

"Over the last 20 years, Rosen's fledgling efforts have grown into a full-blown missionary effort called Messianic Judaism. Misleading advertisements are targeted at Russian, Iranian, Israeli, and other immigrant Jews arriving in America, as well as toward the alienated and intermarried among native-born Jews. Free admission is offered for 'High Holiday Services', 'Passover Seders', ...and other recruitment events." (Preserving Jewishness in Your Family, Alan Silverstein, pp.2-3)

"Jews for Jesus and other groups like them exist and are a threat to Jewish identity. They are dying to drag Jews into their ranks. Jews for Jesus is a well funded missionary macine actively recruiting Jewish people. They spend millions of dollars each year to win converts.

"Christians, Jews, even people active in the anticult field don't know where to place Jews for Jesus. Members of the organization are masters of disguise. They hide thier true nature (sometimes even from themselves) and present a carefully contrived image to the world. ...

"Groups like Jews for Jesus work by preying on our religious doubts and exploiting our insecurities. They seek simple answers to complex questions. They use dogmatism to produce certainty.

"Today, I revere reasoning and celebrate my Jewishness. ..." (Hawking G-d by Ellen Kamentsky, pp. viii-ix of the preface)

The missionaries are given specific guidelines and told to avoid words that may cause a negative reaction among Jews. They are to use Yeshua instead of Jesus, Messiah or Moshich instead of Christ, etc. They are also fed out-of-context verses from the Tanackh that are supposedly prophesies pointing to Jesus as Messiah.

Once a vulnerable Jew is "ensnared by this bait, vulnerable Jews are met with classic, cult-like 'love-bombing' via intense interpersonal contact by missionary operatives. These Jews are gradually persuaded that one need not leave Judaism to become 'completed as a Jew' through faith in Jesus and Christian doctrine." (Preserving Jewishness in Your Family, Alan Silverstein, p.3)

" 'Jews for Jesus' are probably the only people in the world who take on the beliefs of another religion yet deny that they are members of that religion. ...

"The first belivers in Joseph Smith and Mormonism were all Christians, and Christains find that religiously irrelevant. The only difference is that when Christains take on Mormon beliefs, Mormons have the integrety to call these people Mormons, not 'Christians for Smith' (an equivalent form of 'Jews for Jesus') or 'Mormon Christians' (an equivalent form of 'Hebrew Christians'). ...Indeed, the very Christians who support such notions as 'Jews for Jesus' of 'Hebrew Christians' are those who protest the most vociferously when Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses call themselves Christians.

"The fact that the first Christians were Jews is pointless, since the first Mormons were Christians, the first Buddhists were Hindus, and the first Protestants were Catholics. Yet, neither Martin Luther nor the millions of Protestants who follow him called themselves 'Catholics for no Pope' or 'Catholics fo no Sacrements'; Muslims do not call Jews who convert to Islam 'Jews for Muhammed'; and Jews do not demean Christianity or Judaism by calling Christians who convert to Judaism 'Completed Christians' or 'Christians without Christ'....

"Christians who do not readily see the deceit to this approach -- which, incidentally is terribly demeaning to Christianity (it is a tacit admission that almost the only Jews who will accept Christianity are those who refuse to call themselves Christian)-- can do so if they simply apply this thinking to their own beliefs. Imagine how Christians in a Muslim country would react if they were told the following: Muhammad is the final and greatest prophet whom Christians had always been awaitng; Christians who do not recognize that Muhammad was prophesied in their Bible do not understand their own scriptures; therefore to be a completed Christian, a Christian must accept Muhammad and the Quran as his prophet and Bible. Of course, he can still venerate Jesus as a prophet of G-d, just as Muslims do, but he will have to forgo such aberrations as belief in the divinity of Jesus and in the Trinity. And then he is a 'Christian for Muhammad'...

[That "Jews for Jesus" are really Christains] "is even apparent to the children of 'Jews for Jesus', who also see themselves as Christians rather than Jews." (Dennis Prager in Ultimate Issues, Oct.-Dec. 1989)

Jews for Judaism says that between 100,000 and 500,000 Jews have been lost due to the dishonest missionary practices of these organizations.

Suggested reading:

Gary D. Eisenberg, Smashing the Idols: A Jewish Inquirey into the Cult Phenomenon, Jason Aronson, Inc. 1988.
Kimberly E. Hanke, Turning to Torah:the Emerging Noachide Movement, Jason Aronson, Inc., 1995
Ellen Kamensky, Hawking G-d: a Young Woman's Ordeal in Jews for Jesus, Sapphire Press, 1992

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© Copyright 1997 by G. Shapiro