Bits from the Branches
New York City
| Stewart sharing in front of our window
display at a more conventional hour.
Stewart Weinisch reports, “It was 11:30 on a Saturday night after the last speaking engagement of my recent tour. I’d just unloaded materials at the office and the only thing on my mind was going home—when I realized that I’d left my glasses inside the building. Because I had to retrieve them, I left the office for the second time just as a couple had stopped to take pictures in front of our display window. Rebekah and Jacob introduced themselves as a Jewish couple from Pennsylvania.
“‘What is this stuff?’ Jacob asked me.
“‘We are Jews who believe that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah.’ After fully sharing the gospel, I urged Jacob to investigate before reaching a decision. He seemed willing to do that ,because when I gave him a copy of ISSUES with my story in it, he said he’d read it and get in touch with me. Please pray that he calls back challenged by what he’s read. I guess it’s a good thing I can’t drive without my glasses, or else I may never have met Jacob and Rebekah!
|Susan Mendelson broadsiding in New York|
Susan Mendelson reports, “We have four Messianic Congregations here on Long Island all of which are dear friends of our ministry. I had some meetings with the leaders of one of the congregations, Beth Emanuel Messianic Synagogue in Holbrook. They are very outreach-oriented and after some meetings we planned a day together. I came to the service and brought the Saturday morning message. Afterwards, they brought in lunch and I gave some brief tips on door–to–door outreach.
After the training, twelve teams of two people went out into the neighborhoods that were planned by the congregation’s rabbis. The rabbis had made packets to leave at each home with information about the congregation, as well as their children’s ministry and young adult ministries. They also had a chip clip made up with the congregation’s name on it and a prayer card for people to return, for those who weren’t home. The teams reached over 200 homes and got a wide variety of responses.
We reconvened afterwards to have refreshments and share stories. Please pray for these 200 neighboring families that received the info, for the work of Beth Emanuel, and our continued partnership with them!
Melissa Moskowitz reports, “New York City offers an abundance of neighborhood tours and recently I signed up for one called ‘Hasidic Williamsburg.’ (Hasidic refers to a very Orthodox sect of Jewish people whose communities are very separate from secular society). Michal* was an experienced tour guide, familiar with all the famous sites, as well as the shopkeepers and restaurant owners in the Brooklyn area.
“It became obvious that Michal was more than just an experienced guide with a script. His fluent Yiddish—unusual in a 25-year-old Jewish man—clued me in that not only had he studied Hasidic culture, but he had lived it himself.
“Intrigued, I asked question after question, feeling my way through what was appropriate and what Michal seemed willing to share.
“Michal had lived an extremely rigid Orthodox life in Monsey, New York. (Monsey is a small settlement with a large community of Hasidic Jews.) Three years ago Michal began questioning the rigid boundaries of Hasidic and Orthodox Jewish faith. The last question his father asked him before he was thrown out of their family home and community was, ‘Do you believe that God gave the Torah to Moses?’ Michal realized at that time that his only true response was ‘no,’ even though he knew it could cost him his family’s favor.
“He was now living an ex-Orthodox lifestyle, one filled with questions about God and life. He said there were ‘droves’ of young people like himself leaving the Hasidic community. At the New York branch of Jews for Jesus, we haven’t had much firsthand experience with young adults who are leaving the Hasidic community to find a more viable faith.
“As we were walking to see the last synagogue on our tour, I told Michal that I had found a relationship with God through Yeshua and knew of other Hasidim (plural of Hasid) who’d found Him as well. He was so surprised as he had never heard of this. After a few more moments of sharing my story, the tour ended and we all went our separate ways.
“A few days later, I wrote Michal and asked him if he’d like to come share his experience with a group of Jews for Jesus. He said that he would not only like to come share his story, but that he’d like to hear ours as well.
“A week later we gathered in my family room for an evening filled with questions. By the time it was midnight, we had had many opportunities to tell him our experiences, but also had heard why he, and others like him, are leaving their ultra-Orthodox upbringing.
“As Michal was leaving, he told me that he loved being with us. He promised to come back for Shabbat in the near future, and I believe he will.”
From Tel Aviv: Israelis respond to That Jew Died for You video
|Alex Adelson in conversation in Israel|
Alex Adelson reports, “I spoke with Max, a man whose grandparents died in the Holocaust. He had watched That Jew Died for You, and was interested in reading the book we were offering, The Last Jew of Rotterdam. I explained that the book was about God’s love, demonstrated by Christians hiding the Jewish people from the Nazis during the Holocaust. I told Max that God is always with us, even in the most difficult situations. Max is eager to read the book and speak with me about it.
“Aviva, whose parents survived the Holocaust, was also interested in the book—but was concerned it would conflict with her Jewish identity. I told her that Yeshua is the Messiah and explained that He was one of us. Aviva understood and ordered a copy for herself and her sister. Please pray for the salvation of Aviva, her sister and Max.”
Abigail reports, “We called to follow up with a young woman who ordered the book after seeing our video. She believes in God and sometimes reads the Old Testament. This was the first time she’d heard about Yeshua and she wants to hear more from us. Oded and Bimini will continue to minister to her in Israel.”
Leonid Dolganovsky reports, “Sometimes missionaries get a ‘difficult’ person, someone who thrives on making us feel uncomfortable. Dmitry would listen attentively to what I’d say, but seemingly only to come back with questions that he thought could ‘outsmart’ me. In seeking God’s wisdom for how to minister to him, I came upon the story of the paralytic man in Mark 2:3-5, ‘Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.”‘
“The men’s faith in God’s power gave them the strength to climb to the roof, dig a hole, and lower the paralyzed man down to Jesus—and Jesus helped their friend. I was encouraged, and knew that my faith was more powerful than my contact’s unbelief.
“When I shared Mark 2:3-5 with Dmitry, he replied, ‘The four Jewish people are you, and I’m the sick person.’ ‘Yes,’ I said. ‘You are paralyzed with your sins and can’t set yourself free. I want to bring you to the One who can set you free.’ ‘And this is Jesus? This is serious; I will need time to think.’ ‘Jesus is waiting for you, I told him, ‘but you don’t have forever to decide what to do.’ He agreed, and I think next time we will have a very different kind of visit.”