Back to School
Hi, I’m Josh Sofaer and I am part of the Jews for Jesus team in Los Angeles. I spend much of my time on the UCLA campus and I’d like to tell you a little about my home away from home.”
First of all, The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is big! It covers 419 acres, houses 238 buildings and has a total enrollment of over 34,000 students. The student body of UCLA is diverse; 61.7% of the domestic students are comprised of minorities. Over 90 countries are represented by 1,670 overseas students. On Bruin Walk during a class break, you’ll see people from just about every ethnic background.
The 1996 Hillel guide to Jewish life reports that 6,000 Jewish students attend UCLA, although we suspect the number is more realistically in the 4,000-5,000 range. Either way, with such a large Jewish student population, there are 7 different active Jewish organizations. These groups include the Iranian Jewish Student Union, the Israeli folk dancing club and more. (I include Jews for Jesus as one!) The Jewish population at UCLA also offers great opportunities for evangelism. Over the course of 18 months, I have hand delivered over 50,000 gospel tracts and have built quite a reputation on campus. Often, when a group of students walks by, one will say, “Isn’t that the Jews for Jesus guy?”—even when I’m not wearing a Jews for Jesus T-shirt!
Even so, I am still waiting for a breakthrough on that campus. God has been encouraging me to pray more to that end. I’d like to ask you to join me in that prayer, and I’d also like to pass on some specific requests. Please pray:
- that more unsaved Jewish students would have the courage and boldness to approach me with honest questions about the gospel—especially for Brian and Vlad, two unsaved Jewish students with whom I regularly meet.
- that God would bring unity to the more than 50 different Christian groups on campus. Unfortunately, there has been little interaction between most of these groups.
- that God would build a witnessing community of Jewish Christians on campus—especially for Amy, Michelle, Randy, Loron, and Kim, all Jewish believers whom I am trying to encourage in their faith and walk with God.
Josh Sofaer is the leader of the Los Angeles branch of Jews for Jesus. He is one of four boys, but no one else in his immediate family have come to faith yet. Josh previously led the organization’s New York branch and pioneered their children’s program on the East Coast. He received his theological training at Western Seminary. He and his wife, Annette, have two children, Eliana and Taliah.