Meet some of the younger leaders helping to shape the future of our ministry.
by Josh Sofaer, Director of Staff Development | November 08 2023
I want to introduce you to a group of people I’ve come to know and love—some of the younger leaders who are helping to shape the future of our ministry.
Boris Skvortzov grew up in Israel as a Messianic Jew but has been leading our London branch since 2022. He was our first staff member to be sent from Israel to another country to reach other Israelis.
Chaim Birnbaum, also an Israeli from a Messianic home, has joined our team in New York City with his wife and their first baby. Chaim is leading our outreach to the many Israelis there.
Shoshana Birnbaum is from a Messianic family in Mexico. In 2010, she met Chaim’s older brother, Eli, on Massah, our short-term outreach to Israeli backpackers. They fell in love and got married (Eli eventually became our Israel director). Shoshana has used her formal background in art as an integral part in the outreaches at our Moishe Rosen Center in Tel Aviv—and now she is officially leading them.
Yulia Mitnitsky is a Jewish believer from Russia, who serves with her husband, Vlad, in Israel. She has worked with families, children, and teens in Tel Aviv for many years. She’s recently been asked to take the leadership of our Russian-speaking ministry there, and actually accepted the role while participating in the leadership cohort.
Aaron Lewin was born into a Messianic family in Israel but grew up in England. He served as Avi Snyder’s administrative assistant in Budapest, and when Avi opened our work in Berlin, Aaron and his family came to help. With Avi’s mentoring, Aaron soon became the director of our work in Germany.
David Strull grew up as a Jewish believer, mostly in the Chicago area. He’s been involved with Jews for Jesus throughout his life and considered coming on missionary staff. After much prayer and reflection, he realized that he is better suited for an administrative role. He began working in our Finance Department, and now he’s our director of finance.
Tim Coleman is an ordained pastor who leads our North America Philanthropy Team. They connect regularly with partners whose generous support includes such blessings as matching grants. Though not Jewish, Tim is passionate about reaching our people with the gospel.
From left to right, first row: Chaim Birnbaum, Tim Coleman, Shoshana Birnbaum, and Aaron Lewin.
Second row: Boris Skvortzov, Yulia Mitnitsky, David Strull, and Josh Sofaer.
This great group of leaders recently completed our first formal leadership training program. I had the opportunity to facilitate—and I say facilitate because while I do teach, an important dynamic of the cohort is that they learn from one another. Though we are scattered throughout different countries, we gathered in person three times throughout the year, as well as our regular monthly online meetings across the miles.
I love watching the transformations that happen within our cohorts. The friendships people form as they open up to each other and pray through issues are key. This group included some new leaders with some not quite so new, and it was great to see the newest leaders grow in their understanding of, and confidence in, their roles.
I’d like to tell you a little about how this program came to be, why it means so much to me, and how, when you partner with Jews for Jesus, you are investing in kingdom leaders.
Jews for Jesus has always had a strong culture of doing, and we never want to lose that. But we want to be just as intentional in our culture of growing. Getting things done and growing are vitally connected because if we don’t grow, what we do will eventually become less effective.
For example, when Jews for Jesus began, no one had heard of the Internet. Today an amazing array of online platforms adds a huge dimension to our outreach, but we have to continue learning to make the most of new opportunities to tell Jewish people about Jesus.
Growing and learning are important, not only for outreach, but also for developing people who will be able to train up other leaders to carry on the work of evangelism.
In 2007–2008 I had the opportunity to participate in a leadership program with Arrow, a leadership development organization that Susan Perlman introduced me to. I was so impressed and gained so much from their leadership training that we began partnering with them more, and eventually adapted a great deal of what we learned from them into our own leadership training.* Among other things, we train our leaders to take advantage of situations and circumstances that we really can’t predict. We do that by focusing on character, leadership skills, and teamwork.
Maybe you’d like to pray regularly for one or more of the leaders I’ve mentioned. Our website makes it easy for you to send him or her a note of encouragement. You can find them here.
Our prayer partners have always had a big part in helping Jews for Jesus be the kind of ministry where people continue to grow. Many of you knew that this year we celebrated our 50th year of ministry. By God’s grace and with your prayers, we will develop and grow a diversity of men and women from all over the world who will take Jews for Jesus into the next 50 years.
*This is separate from our general missionary training.