The Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen and the Founding of Jews for Jesus

Since the heart-wrenching session a year earlier with the elder Rosens, Moishe and Ceil had honored Ben’s edict that they have no direct contact with them. They had, however, made it possible for Moishe’s brother Don to take [their daughter] Lyn to her grandparents’ house for weekly visits. Now that they were moving to New Jersey, Moishe’s father made it known that he did not want to be estranged from his son and daughter-in-law any longer. They would be welcome in his home as long as they did not attempt to discuss religion.

Ben [Moishe’s father] also made it known that he was genuinely concerned about his son’s mental health. He could not fathom how a sane Jew would choose such a life. He’d seen that his son was willing to be rejected, even disinherited–and for what? Had Martin considered that it [his belief in Jesus and call to be a missionary] might be a delusion? Would he make just one appointment to see Dr. Cohen, who was a psychiatrist? Ben was willing to pay for the visit.

Moishe could see that his father was not being sarcastic or mean-spirited, and he agreed to see a doctor, strictly for his father’s peace of mind. It began with a phone call. “Before I make an appointment there are a couple of things I need to know,” Moishe told the doctor. “Is it possible, do you think, that a sane Jew could believe that Jesus is the Messiah?” If the doctor felt that was grounds for declaring him insane, Moishe would not have seen any point in going. However, the doctor did not dismiss the possibility as insane. Moishe continued, “Then, if you examine me and find me of sound mind, will you give me a written statement to that effect?” When the doctor agreed, Moishe made the appointment for the very next day.

At the psychiatrist’s office, Moishe explained that he was there because his father wanted assurance that Moishe was not insane.

“Can you tell me why you think he doubts your sanity?” asked the psychiatrist.

Moishe began, “I have become a believer in Jesus, and lately I have felt the hand of God guiding me …”

The doctor leaned forward and asked, perhaps a little too eagerly, “Tell me, Martin, just where on your body do you feel the hand of God?”

“No, no!” Moishe quickly explained. “That’s idiomatic. I didn’t feel the hand of God physically. I just meant I had an inner conviction, a strong sense that God had a certain direction for my life.” The psychiatrist’s initial assumption was not lost on Moishe. He realized that in just a year he had picked up a great deal of church jargon. He determined that he would never talk to anyone who wasn’t a Christian in a way that he himself would not have understood before he became acclimated to Christian culture.

Moishe continued to explain his plans to go to Bible school and become a missionary. The doctor asked routine questions and concluded that Moishe probably had a condition that he described as a low-grade depression, which he did not regard as serious, nor did he suggest any treatment. He wrote a brief letter certifying that in his professional opinion, Martin Meyer Rosen was of a sound mind, with no indication of insanity. Moishe often joked that no matter how often people accused him of being a meshuggener (crazy person), he had written proof of his sanity.

This is the very last “Sneak Preview” of Moishe’s biography … because the book is finally in print!  You can order your copy of Called to Controversy: the Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen and the Founding of Jews for Jesus today!