The Washington, D.C. area is home to some 183,000 Jewish people, with another 100,000 in the nearby Baltimore area. The Washington, D.C. branch of Jews for Jesus was established in 1989 under the leadership of Bob Mendelsohn. Next Peter Rice directed the branch and then Garrett Smith. A few months ago Garrett and his wife Nici moved to reopen our Boston branch, and Stephen Katz took over for us in D.C. Our office is in Rockville, Maryland in Montgomery County, which is home to 90,000 Jewish people.
One of the great opportunities for evangelism in the D.C. area is reaching out to college students. The University of Maryland has 6,000 Jewish students, and George Washington University has another 3,000. We have several other colleges in the area as well, such as Montgomery College, George Mason, Georgetown and Towson University in Baltimore.
Baltimore, which is a about 45 minutes away from D.C., has a very strong Orthodox community. In fact, Baltimore has one of the most observant Jewish communities in the country, with a high percentage of Jewish people attending synagogue. Jews for Judaism, an anti-missionary organization that seems to have been founded to counter our efforts, is headquartered in Baltimore. Family members of new Jewish believers in Jesus who live in Baltimore are likely to contact these anti-missionaries for advice or to intervene. While Baltimore has fewer opportunities for street evangelism than D.C., we do visit a number of Jewish seekers there.
Washington, D.C. is a place where many well-educated people reside, where many are moving in and out to work with our government or the military. There are also many international people here. The D.C. area also has a well-developed messianic community, with seven or eight Messianic Congregations. So local Christians have a good awareness that Jewish people need Yeshua (Jesus) and that some are receiving Him—which is a big help to us.
Meet Our D.C. Staff
Stephen Katz, our Washington, D.C. branch leader, was raised in a Jewish home in the Chicago area. He came to a saving faith in Jesus in 1975, in part through writing a college paper in which he set out to prove why Isaiah 53 does not refer to Jesus. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana with a Bachelor of Social Work degree, and went on to receive his Master of Social Work degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. After nine years in social work, Stephen felt God was calling him to be an evangelist to the Jewish people. He received graduate training for ministry from the Fuller School of World Mission in Pasadena, California. Stephen has been with Jews for Jesus since 1989, having served in our Los Angeles branch, our San Francisco branch and our headquarters office before coming to Washington, D.C. Stephen has also been involved in music ministry and has written several worship songs. (Some were recorded on a Jews for Jesus album titled He Will Return.”) He and his wife, Laura, have four children: Hani, Ari, Talia and Mia.
Larry Dubin, full-time branch missionary, was raised in a secular Jewish home in Colorado. He served in the US Navy for 13 years, during which time he came to believe in Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. Burdened to know the Word of God better, he left the Navy and got his master’s degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. Upon graduation, Larry joined Jews for Jesus and is passionate about sharing his faith with people, especially through street evangelism. He trained in our New York center and served in Los Angeles before joining the D.C. team. If Larry’s face looks familiar to you, perhaps you saw it on one of our prayer bookmarks over the summer, as he led our last New York City Summer Witnessing Campaign.
Deb Dubin is our office administrator. She is also Jewish and was raised on Long Island. She attended Hebrew school at an Orthodox synagogue but when her best friend, a Christian, took Deb to church she became intrigued about Jesus. But it was not until years later, when she received a gospel tract from Jews for Jesus during our annual New York Summer Witnessing Campaign, that Deb began to learn that Jesus was the promised Messiah. Soon after Deb received the tract, one of our missionaries led her in a prayer of repentance and salvation. She and Larry met in New York City.
Lynn Wein-McCoy is a full-time missionary with Jews for Jesus. Her father was a synagogue officer in Connecticut, but her family was not religious. In 1983, out of curiosity, Lynn came to hear a Jews for Jesus missionary share his story at the University of Hartford, where she was student. She agreed to read the Yeshua book, by Moishe Rosen, and began to study the Bible. Within a month Lynn became convinced that Jesus is the Messiah, and prayed with one of our Co-Laborers (trained volunteers) to invite Him into her heart. Lynn graduated from U of H with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and later from the Fuller School of World Mission in Pasadena with a masters degree in missiology with an emphasis on Jewish studies. She first joined our staff as an administrative worker in San Francisco, then served for many years in our Los Angeles branch before moving to D.C. Lynn was married nearly three years ago to her husband Wayman, who is a talented violinist. And if Lynn’s smiling face looks familiar, perhaps you saw it a few months ago on a prayer card, as she led our Behold Your God campaign in Hartford/New Haven.
Jonathan Emanuel serves as our church relations specialist, scheduling presentations for our missionaries. Jonathan grew up in a Jewish home in the Washington, D.C. area. Like Larry, he became a believer in Jesus as the Messiah while he was in the Navy. He is a talented musician and frequently leads worship at his Messianic Congregation. He is married to Corinne and they have a lovely daughter, Lauren.