When did Jews for Jesus begin?
While the movement is as old as first-century Christianity, the modern-day organization was incorporated in September 1973 in California. An outgrowth of the Jesus Movement of the early '70s, Jews for Jesus was founded by then 38-year-old Moishe Rosen, a Jew who had come to believe in Jesus years earlier and was serving as a missionary to Jewish people. Along with a handful of Jews in their early twenties, the group experimented with original music, drama and home-made literature to communicate their story. Major news outlets picked up on it, and “Jews for Jesus” became a national phenomenon.
What’s the size and location(s) of the Jews for Jesus organization today?
Jews for Jesus has a worldwide staff of 240, with branches in 13 countries and 25 cities. Its international headquarters is located in San Francisco where the organization first began. Some of its key branches are in New York, Tel Aviv, Paris, London, Toronto, Los Angeles and Moscow. To view more information on any of the branches, click here.
Some have labeled the Jews for Jesus organization deceptive. How does the organization respond to those charges?
We believe in truth in advertising. All of our missionary staff are born Jewish or married to Jews. Within our organization, we embrace Jewish culture, practice and symbols because they reflect who we are as Jewish people. Jews for Jesus also uses Jewish symbols in the same way Jesus himself did—to explain biblical truth. For example, Jesus took matzah (Passover bread) and said, “This is my body.” Jews for Jesus does not see this as deceptive, but as a way to explain biblical truth.
What is the difference between Jews for Jesus and Messianic Jews?
Messianic Jews are not necessarily a uniform group. We express a wide range of opinions and can live out Jewish identity in very different ways. For some, it is merely a matter of semantics, since both terms describe a Jewish individual who follows Jesus as Messiah. However, Jews for Jesus is also the name of this nonprofit organization, which brings that message to Jews who are seeking to know more. The term "Messianic Jews" is also regarded as a worldwide movement of both Jews and Gentiles wherein messianic congregations, umbrella groups like the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations (UMJC), the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA), and organizations like Jews for Jesus are included.
How many Jews believe in Jesus?
Estimates range from as low as 30,000 to as high as 125,000 worldwide. The largest concentration of Jews who believe in Jesus is in the United States, followed by Israel. However, there is no way to take a really accurate census of Jewish believers in Jesus because there is no membership to join.
Does your organization convert Jews to Christianity?
We do not believe that a Jewish person would need to undergo a conversion process to become a follower of Jesus any more than someone from China would need to renounce their Chinese heritage in order to embrace Jesus. Jewish identity can be both ethnic and religious. Our Jewishness is a matter of birth. Our faith in Christ is a matter of choice. Besides, if Jesus really is who he claimed to be, the Jewish Messiah, becoming his follower would be a continuation of our Jewish faith, not an abandonment of it.
Do your staff identify as Jews or Christians?
The term Christian derives from the Greek word Christos, a translation of the biblical term “Mashiach”, or Messiah. So in its most simple definition, a Christian is a follower of Messiah. Just like the disciples of Jesus and the authors of the New Testament, we are Jewish followers of the Messiah—one hundred percent Jewish and one hundred percent Christian.
Are you a Zionist organization?
Jews for Jesus is a one-issue organization whose purpose is to share the good news about Jesus with our Jewish people. Our staff in Tel Aviv, while mostly comprised of Israeli Jewish believers, also includes some Arab Christians. We are supportive of Israel; at the same time, the Bible calls us to be ambassadors of reconciliation. Thus, we applaud the efforts of Arab and Jewish believers who are working to be united as brothers and sisters. We do our best to walk in this unity.
Who are the spokespeople for the organization?
David Brickner, the executive director of Jews for Jesus, is our principal spokesperson. He is a fifth-generation Messianic Jew. He has appeared on Larry King Live, Hannity and other national talk shows. His full bio can be found here.
Susan Perlman, our communications director, is one of Jews for Jesus’ founders. She’s done extensive media interviews, as well, and her full bio can be found here.
Dan Sered, our Israel director, leads the largest branch of Jews for Jesus. A native of Israel, he has presented the Jews for Jesus story on national Israeli television on several occasions. For his full bio, click here.