History & Timeline

Here's a little look at our history as an organization

History

It was just after the social ferment of the 1960s. A spiritual revolution was grabbing the lives of young people throughout North America, many of whom were Jewish. Out of this matrix of social unrest and spiritual seeking, Jews for Jesus was born as an organization in 1973. Founded by veteran missionary Moishe Rosen, the organization changed the way the Jewish community looked at the person of Jesus.

But Jews for Jesus began much earlier, as the plaque outside our headquarters building reads, “Established A.D. 32—give or take a year.” The movement of Jews to faith in Jesus began in the first century. And there was a substantial movement of Jews to faith in Jesus in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, both in Europe and in North America.

But this late twentieth century movement was different. Jewish followers of Jesus proclaimed both their faith in Jesus and their Jewishness in a new, vibrant way. Homemade pamphlets called “broadsides” were being handed out on street corners and campuses. A new music genre—Jewish gospel—was developed and the Liberated Wailing Wall was putting out albums of original music. By the mid-1970s, Jews for Jesus had opened several branches in the United States. That’s when we also began our first secular media outreach with a full-page evangelistic ad in the New York Times in 1976 followed by ads in newspapers and on billboards in major cities across the US, Jews for Jesus started publishing ISSUES (a publication that invites Jewish people to consider Jesus) and conducted exploratory witnessing expeditions to Israel and Northern Ireland.

Then came the 1980s. The Rubik’s Cube swept popular culture and Ferris Bueller was having his famous day off. For Jews for Jesus, it meant the establishment of international branches in cities such as Toronto and Johannesburg. In the eighties we also instituted a Masters in Jewish Missions program in conjunction with Fuller Theological Seminary. Like Jews everywhere, we placed a value on education, and we required any of our missionary staff without a higher degree to go through this program. The eighties were also a watershed decade for another reason: the United States Supreme Court ruled in our favor when we challenged an ordinance that banned us from distributing religious literature at Los Angeles International Airport.

On the eve of the 1990s, the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union split apart, ending decades of Communist rule in Eastern Europe. That allowed us to start branches in the former Soviet Union, which, within the space of seven years, became fully indigenized, headed and staffed by Russian and Ukrainian Jewish believers in Jesus. Additional international branches were established, including branches in London, Paris, Sydney and Tel Aviv. We began a website on the fledgling World Wide Web in 1995. In May of 1996, Moishe Rosen stepped down as executive director, believing that a new and younger generation needed to lead the way. David Brickner (a fifth-generation Jewish believer in Jesus) was appointed executive director, having served in various leadership positions throughout his first seventeen years with Jews for Jesus.

As the new millennium began (remember the panic over Y2K?) our Israel branch received amutah, or official status. We opened a branch in Essen, Germany, and completed an outreach (called “Behold Your God,” after Isaiah 40:9) to all 55 cities worldwide that had 25,000 or more Jewish people. Other branches opened in Miami, Phoenix and Montreal. We established a video department in addition to our web department. Both of these later expanded into a full digital media department (including a social media outreach team) complemented by our Information Technology team.

One of our social media projects—That Jew Died For You—went viral on YouTube.

Today, our largest branch by personnel is in Tel Aviv, where we have opened the Moishe Rosen Center, now serving as a vibrant community and outreach center in the trendy Florentine neighborhood. And since many Israelis have moved to Berlin, Germany, in search of better opportunities, we opened a branch there as well.

Jews for Jesus remains committed to reaching out with the good news of the Messiah to our people worldwide, with a staff and corps of volunteers spanning multiple generations including Boomers and Millennials. Check out the timeline below for a more detailed history.

Timeline

1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s

1960s

Late 1960s The Jesus Movement is in full swing and many Jewish young people are coming to faith in Jesus.
1969 Moishe Rosen, veteran missionary, develops broadside-style gospel tracts in New York City.

1970s

Summer, 1970 Fellowship of Christian Testimonies to the Jews has Jewish executive, Sid Lawrence, speak. Lawrence tells the mission leaders they are ineffective. Moishe Rosen moves to San Francisco to be part of the Jesus movement to minister to young Jewish believers in Jesus.
1971 Jews for Jesus Presentation Group formed (later named the Liberated Wailing Wall).
1972 New Jerusalem Players drama team formed.
June, 1972 “Jews for Jesus”s” slogan is picked up by the national media. Jews for Jesus film with Les Crane airs on network TV.
August, 1972 Moishe Rosen speaks at the Jesus Joy Rally at Madison Square Garden.
January, 1973 Volunteers at Jews for Jesus covenant to stay together for eighteen months.
Summer, 1973 Liberated Wailing Wall goes on first tour.
September, 1973 Jews for Jesus incorporated as Hineni Ministries. Staff consists of a mobile singing group, the executive director and his secretary.
Autumn, 1973 First Liberated Wailing Wall album, Hineni, produced.
1974 Jews for Jesus book by Moishe Rosen and Bill Proctor published.
June, 1974 Jews for Jesus attends Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization (LCWE) meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Summer, 1974 First annual summer witnessing campaign in New York City.
Autumn, 1974 Los Angeles branch established.
Autumn, 1974 Approved student program instituted.
January, 1975 New Jerusalem Players kick off first tour.
January, 1975 Move Jews for Jesus Headquarters relocated from Corte Madera to San Rafael, California.
January, 1975 First weekly staff report.
Spring, 1975 First Israel Witnessing Expedition.
June, 1975 Jews for Jesus Council formed.
August, 1975 New York branch established.
Autumn, 1975 Israelight singing group formed.
Autumn, 1975 First Jews for Jesus Ingathering.
1976 ISSUES publication founded.
Early 1976 Chicago branch established. Boston branch established.
April, 1976 First Northern Ireland Witnessing Campaign.
June, 1976 First full-page evangelistic ad in secular paper (The New York Times).
Summer, 1977 Miami branch established.
February, 1978 Jews for Jesus Headquarters relocated to San Francisco.
September, 1978 Washington, D.C. outpost established.
September, 1979 – June, 1980 Avodah retraining year for missionary staff. All branches temporarily shut down.

1980s

Summer, 1980 First Liberated Wailing Wall traveling bus purchased.
August, 1980 Branches reopened in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles.
August, 1981 Toronto branch established. First world tour of the Liberated Wailing Wall.
December, 1981 San Francisco branch reestablished.
Spring, 1982 Co-Laborer in Messiah program instituted.
Summer, 1982 Probe witnessing campaign in England.
December, 1982 Yeshua secular media ad campaign initiated on a broad scale.
Summer, 1983 Joint London witnessing campaign with other Jewish missions.
September, 1983 Boston branch re-opened.
Early 1984 New York building purchased. Joint World Tour ofNew Jerusalem Players and Liberated Wailing Wall.
Summer, 1984 Jews for Jesus Summer Olympics Campaign in Los Angeles.
1985 Still Not Ashamed documentary film released.
Spring, 1985 Mishpochah Message started (now Havurah).
May, 1985 First academic study program abroad (Israel ’85).
Summer, 1985 Project Nehemiah initiated.
1986 Shalom Hospitality House opened.
Summer, 1986 Jesus for Jews book published (now titled, Testimonies).
September, 1987 Jews for Jesus wins U.S. Supreme Court decision re: broadsiding at LAX in Board of Airport Commissioners of the City of Los Angeles v. Jews for Jesus, Inc.
Summer, 1988 Institution of Masters in Jewish Missions program at Fuller Theological Seminary established.
Winter, 1988 Washington, D.C. branch established.
April, 1989 Willowbank Declaration on the Christian Gospel and the Jewish People adopted.
August, 1989 Merger with Hope of Israel of South Africa.
November, 1989 Johannesburg, South Africa branch established.
December, 1989 First iteration of Project Joshua, trip to Israel for Jewish-believing college students.

1990s

March, 1990 Argentina work established.
October, 1990 Israel Witnessing Campaign.
November, 1990 South Florida branch reopened.
Winter, 1990 Dallas chapter established.
Summer, 1991 First Camp Gilgal on East and West Coast of U.S.
August, 1991 Retraining Week of Missionary Staff Worldwide at Asilomar.
September, 1991 Odessa, Ukraine branch established.
January, 1992 London branch established.
January, 1992 Establishment of Purple Pomegranate Productions.
April, 1992 Paris branch established.
August, 1992 Thousand Tongues Witnessing Campaign  London and Amsterdam.
September, 1992 School of the Prophets Odessa, Ukraine.
January, 1993 Moscow branch established.
March, 1993 Theological Consultation on Theology and Law.
August, 1993 conducted our first street witnessing campaign in Moscow
December, 1993 Second Asilomar Missionary Retraining.
December, 1993 Liberated Wailing Wall at Urbana.
May, 1994 Israel Worker established.
Summer, 1994 Paris, Toronto, New York and Moscow witnessing campaigns.
September, 1994 Moved into our own facility in Westwood, California.
December, 1994 First Project Caleb – Israel Teen Program.
March, 1995 Jews for Jesus Website launched.
April, 1995 – June, 1995 Liberated Wailing Wall World Tour.
Summer, 1995 Paris, Moscow, New York campaigns.
May, 1996 David Brickner elected executive director.
Summer, 1996 New York, Toronto, London witnessing campaigns.
Spring, 1997 Jewish Doctors Meet the Great Physician published.
Summer, 1997 Paris, New York, Moscow witnessing campaigns.
January, 1998 Argentina branch closed.
February, 1998 Witnessing to Jews published.
Spring, 1998 Kharkov branch established.
Spring, 1998 Kiev branch established.
April, 1998 Multimedia/Video department of Jews for Jesus established.
April, 1998 Juden für Jesus/Deutschland established.
June – October 1998 Decapolis — ten plus 1 witnessing campaigns conducted throughout Ukraine and Russia.
Autumn, 1998 Sydney branch established.
Autumn, 1998 Dnepropetrovsk branch established.
Autumn, 1998 Messiah’s Shofar music team (Ukraine) evangelizes in Germany.
December, 1998 Purchase of residential buildings in New York.
December, 1998 Walk With Yeshua, first children’s book, published.
Spring, 1999 Jewish Evangelism Seminar video produced.
Spring, 1999 Skokie, Illinois property purchased.
May, 1999 First Israeli-born staff trained and deployed to Israel.
July, 1999 Future Hope published.

2000s

January, 2000 David Brickner on Larry King Live.
March, 2000 Following Yeshua discipleship manual published.
May, 2000 French testimonies booklet published.
June, 2000 First Ethiopian staff trained.
July, 2000 Not Ashamed by Ruth Tucker published.
July, 2000 Amutah (official status) granted to Jews for Jesus in Israel.
September, 2000 Essen, Germany branch established.
September, 2000 Sam Rotman evangelistic video produced.
November, 2000 Street Evangelism Techniques CD-ROM produced.
December, 2000 Millennial Convocation held to kick off Behold Your God five-year effort.
April, 2001 Survivor Stories video produced.
April, 2001 First Behold Your God witnessing campaign in San Francisco.
July, 2001 Last Jew of Rotterdam published.
April, 2002 Evangelistic CD-ROM “CD-ROM-A-RAMA” produced.
April, 2002 Rio de Janeiro branch established.
July, 2002 Between Two Fathers published.
September, 2002 Boston branch re-opened.
September, 2002 First Spanish-language witnessing campaign, Mexico City.
March, 2003 For Jews for Jesus” web site launched.
July, 2003 Behold Your God CD released
July, 2003 Jews for Jesus RealTime (monthly e-letter) launched
January, 2004 Behold Your God five-year outreach reaches halfway point.
May, 2004 Christ in the Passover DVD/video released.
June, 2004 Forbidden Peace DVD/video released.
August, 2005 The Messianic Movement: A Field Guide for Evangelical Christians published
August, 2005 Montreal outpost established.
May, 2006 Thirty new broadsides written for summer witnessing campaign
May, 2006 Mass mailing of Yiddish versions of the Jesus film sent to 20,000 Hasidim in New York
May, 2006 Days of Moshiach” website launched in Hebrew, English and Yiddish.
May, 2006 A Rose from the Ashes published.
June, 2006 Christ in the Feast of Tabernacles published.
July, 2006 Behold Your God concluded with grand finale in New York/New Jersey: nine simultaneous witnessing campaigns for each significant Jewish community including Russian-speaking Jews, Israelis and Hasidim.
August, 2006 Miami outpost established.
August, 2006 Phoenix outpost established.
September, 2006 Leadership of Israel work transferred to an Israeli-born Jew for Jesus
September 2006 JFJ YouTube page launched.
December, 2006 First ever phone campaign conducted in the greater Tel Aviv area.
January, 2007 Brooklyn branch opens.
January, 2007 Indigenous leadership established in Essen, Germany.
February, 2007 Jews for Jesus Family Haggadah published.
April, 2007 One-week probe street campaign conducted in Tel Aviv.
May–August 2007 First Massah (short-term outreach to Israelis in Israel, India and other trekker destinations).
November 2007 JFJ Facebook page launched.
May 2008 Gush Dan campaign—first Behold Your God Israel evangelistic campaign.
June-August 2008 Second Massah outreach.
August 2008 MessianicRX website launched.
September-October 2008 Upper Galilee Behold Your God Israel campaign.
October 2008 Jewish-Gentiles couples website launched.
November 2008 The 23rd Psalm for the 21st Century published.
November 2008 Jazzed for Jesus: Two Jews Meet Their Messiah booklet published.
2008-2009 Twenty-six new broadsides produced.
April-May 2009 Shephelah and Lower Galilee Behold Your God Israel campaign.
June-August 2009 Third Massah outreach.
August-December 2009 Massah mobile outreach (extended time in various countries).
September 2009 God, Torah, Messiah: The Messianic Jewish Theology of Dr. Louis Goldberg published.
September-October 2009 Jezreel Valley Behold Your God Israel campaign.
October 2009 Kosher Joe website launched.
November 2009 Praise and Glory: The Songs of Jews for Jesus CD released.
December 2009 Jews and the Gospel at the End of History: A Tribute to Moishe Rosen published.

2010s

January 2010 Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Volume 5 published.
January 2010 Comfortably Jewish published.
March 2010 You are Home CD released.
April 2010 Boston branch closed.
April 2010 The Liberated Wailing Wall final tour.
May-June 2010 Sharon Behold Your God Israel campaign.
May 2010 Moishe Rosen, founder of Jews for Jesus, died at age 78.
May 2010 Moishe Rosen tribute page established online, including streaming video of memorial service.
June 2010 Stories of Jews for Jesus published.
June 2010 Blue Mosaic, new mobile evangelistic team, launched.
June-August 2010 Fourth Massah outreach.
September 2010 Geneva branch established.
January 2011 Flowers of the Son DVD released.
March 2011 Moishe Rosen Center dedicated in Tel Aviv.
February 2012 Called to Controversy: The Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen and the Founding of Jews for Jesus by Ruth Rosen published.
February 2012 Awakening documentary film released on DVD.
September 2013 Fortieth anniversary of Jews for Jesus.
April 2014 Jews for Jesus survey of Messianic Jews published.
April 2014 “That Jew Died for You” social media campaign goes viral, with over one million views of the video.
December 2014 Relocation of UK branch and opening of Jews for Jesus Store in Hendon, a suburb of London.
February 2015 Painting Deserts album, by Heartcities released.
June 2015 Grand opening of “Multitudes: Gospel of Matthew” art exhibit in San Francisco.
July 2015 Multitudes” fine art book, an illustrated Gospel of Matthew published.
July 2015 Rio de Janeiro branch closed.
May 2016 Berlin branch established.
June 2016 He Said Then She Said: Helping Jewish-Gentile Couples Find Spiritual Harmony published.
August 2016 Jubilee Campaign in honor of 25th anniversary of the Odessa branch of Jews for Jesus