Jews for Jesus in Chicago
Did you know that currently 250,000-300,000 Jewish people live in the greater Chicagoland area? The early Chicago settlements of Jewish immigrants were on the South Side in Hyde Park and also on the West Side around Roosevelt and Harlem. With economic gains the Jewish community moved northward, first to Albany Park and then to Rogers Park. The migration continued north to Skokie and to what is known as the North Shore, stretching from Skokie up to Highland Park and Deerfield.
Jews for Jesus opened the Chicago branch in 1975 under the leadership of Barry Rubin, operating out of Winnetka Bible Church. Tuvya Zaretsky led the branch from 1977- 1979 while attending Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS). In 1980 Jhan and Melissa Moskowitz opened a new branch office in Skokie, with Jhan as director. In 1986 they moved to our New York branch. David Brickner ran the Chicago branch from 1986-1990, when Jhan and Melissa returned.
In 1997, we purchased a building for our offices in Skokie, just ten blocks away from our previous location. Part of that building is a resource center/bookstore. We use it as a drop-in place, a place to cultivate relationships with seekers as well as equip Gentile and Jewish believers to witness to their friends.
Because the Chicago branch is located near Moody Bible Institute, Wheaton College and TEDS, the branch has historically been involved in mentoring missionary candidates who attend these schools. In particular, we have a student-mentoring program for Jewish believers who are enrolled in the Jewish Studies program at Moody Bible Institute. These students live either on campus at Moody or in the apartments above the Jews for Jesus Resource Center.
Meet Our Staff:
Jhan Moskowitz, branch leader, was born and raised in the Bronx in New York City. From his refugee parents, he learned at an early age what it means to be a Jew. He was disenchanted with religion in his teens, but was committed to the survival of his people and became a short-term volunteer on a kibbutz in Israel. It was there that he became a seeker. He found his answer in 1971 when he came to terms with God through His Messiah, Jesus.
Jhan was one of the “original” Jews for Jesus volunteers, even before the organization’s incorporation in 1973. He received a B.A. in history and philosophy from Long Island University and received theological training from Simpson College in San Francisco. He also has a master’s degree in missiology with concentration in Jewish evangelism/Judaic studies from Fuller Seminary, and is currently doing postgrad work at TEDS in Deerfield, Illinois. He was ordained through the Christian and Missionary Alliance in 1979. Jhan co-founded the New Jerusalem Players (a mobile drama team of Jews for Jesus) and toured the United States as leader of that team for several years. He has headed up the New York branch, where he also served as pastor of a Messianic congregation in Manhattan. Jhan has taught a Bible study for the legal community of downtown Chicago for the last 20 years.
Jhan also serves as a platform speaker for Promise Keepers and has brought the message of reconciliation through Messiah Jesus to tens of thousands of men. He mentors college students at Moody Bible Institute, as well as being a wonderful father to two grown daughters of his own.
Melissa Moskowitz first volunteered with Jews for Jesus in 1975. She was quickly “promoted” to a missionary as she traveled to Belfast, Northern Ireland, where our small team handed out tracts, washed people’s feet and spread the love of Yeshua on Belfast’s war-torn streets. She and Jhan were married in a New York City public park in 1976—complete with curious passersby and a few dogs. They traveled with the New Jerusalem Players for two and a half years before settling in San Francisco. Melissa completed her bachelor’s degree in art history, and edited the Jews for Jesus Newsletter for a while before she and Jhan moved to Skokie to open the branch office in 1980.
During the summers Melissa finished a graduate degree in missiology from Fuller Seminary. She also authored The Jews for Jesus Family Cookbook, and currently edits a publication for Jewish believers called Havurah. She also directs Camp Gilgal Midwest. Melissa enjoys photography and mosaics, as well as cooking and ministering to young adults.
Alan Bond, senior staff missionary and his wife, Lyn, have been with Jews for Jesus for over 25 years. They joined the Chicago team in the summer of 1997, following assignments in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Dallas. Their children, Asher and Bethany, attend two different colleges in San Francisco and live with Lyn’s parents. Alan has a master’s degree in missiology from Fuller School of World Mission.
As a Gentile, Alan enjoys conducting Jewish evangelism visits from his unique perspective. He also enjoys working with volunteers, who benefit from the spiritual exercise of sharing their faith. When not on the field visiting seekers or handing out tracts, Alan can usually be found poking around a soundboard, working at a printing or folding machine or perhaps even playing his guitar or bass with one of our ad hoc music groups, centered around a branch event or Bible study. On vacations, don’t bother looking—he might be in the woods or at a ball game.
Missionary Lyn Bond has been with Jews for Jesus since before there was a Jews for Jesus! She is the older daughter of Moishe and Ceil Rosen. Her parents came to faith just about a year and a half before Lyn started kindergarten. Lyn asked Jesus to be her Messiah when she was in first grade, and handed out Jews for Jesus style gospel literature with her father as early as the summer of 1969. Lyn and her college sweetheart, Alan Bond, were wed one year after graduation. The two came on staff with Jews for Jesus in 1975 and, except for an eight-year maternity leave, Lyn has served on staff with the ministry ever since. When their daughter Bethany started kindergarten, Lyn went back to seminary and earned a master’s degree in missiology.
Lyn has helped to train staff and volunteers for our New York City Summer Witnessing Campaign, but her main duty is one-on-one Bible studies with Jewish women who are interested in knowing more about Jesus the Messiah. Recently one lady, Jen, prayed with Lyn to ask Jesus to be her Messiah. Now that Jen has received Jesus, please pray for her family to come to faith. Lyn would love to have half a dozen more like Jen. Please pray for her continued effectiveness.
Micha Cohen was just stationed in Chicago last August, following six months of coursework in our New York City training facility. This is somewhat of a homecoming for Micha; prior to his training in New York as he earned his B.A. in Jewish studies from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago under our approved student program. Micha’s parents, Steve and Jan, were missionaries with Jews for Jesus for many years. Micha professed faith at a young age, but it wasn’t until high school that he fully surrendered his life to the Lord.
Micha is married to Leah, a Jewish believer who also has missionary parents and a similar faith journey to Micha’s as she learned to trust God on her own. Even though Leah is not officially on staff, she took the training course with Micha in New York in order to better understand and be involved with his ministry. Micha hopes to expand our ministry to college students in the Chicago area. He and Leah are expecting their first child this month—and may well be new parents by the time you read this!
Mike Perlmutter has just joined the Chicago branch as an approved student. He is pursuing his studies at Oakton Community College and helping out part time at the branch. Raised in Long Island, New York, Mike grew up with a Catholic mother and a Jewish father. Mike’s father grew up religious but later became fairly secular. Surprisingly, they sent Mike to Sunday school at a Baptist church. The pastor gave Mike’s father a New Testament and challenged him to read it. Soon after, Mike’s father received the Lord. Mike received the Lord soon after, at the age of eight. He has a wife, Tammy, and daughter, Phoenix.
Melanie Rose, administrative assistant, came to us in 1993 after being selfemployed for 5 1/2 years, owning a word processing business. Melanie grew up in a Jewish home, but when she was 12 years old her parents divorced and she lost touch with her Judaism. She later joined a 12-step group and God used that to introduce Himself to her. Melanie was not yet a believer when her own 13-year marriage ended. Although divorce was not something she ever wanted, God used it to make Jesus an unavoidable issue in her life. After encounters with bornagain Christian friends, and with Jews for Jesus missionaries, she came to faith in Jesus in late 1990. She then began attending the Jews for Jesus Bible study for the next couple of years. In 1993 she joined our staff. Melanie’s family lives in Los Angeles and none of them knows Messiah Jesus yet. She continues to pray for their salvation.
Ben Dallmann, church relations coordinator, schedules our Chicago missionaries to speak at local churches. He also helps out with other administrative projects around the office. He has been with us since May of 2003. Ben grew up in northern Wisconsin, where he was involved with ministry at his local church. In high school he participated in overseas mission trips and leadership roles in his youth group. He attended Moody Bible Institute and received a degree in missions in 2003. In June 2003 he married his wife, Mandy, who graduated from Moody in May 2003 with a degree in music.
Ben and Mandy want eventually to minister overseas. He says, “One thing that is rubbing off on me (besides a little Yiddish) is Jews for Jesus’ passion for evangelism. I know that I will take that with me wherever I go and will always preach more boldly because of my experiences here.”
Chicago Prayer Points
- unbelieving relatives of our Chicago staff to be saved
- creativity in remaining visible during the dark months of winter
- a Jewish evangelism seminar we are planning for the spring, that many will come and become confident and effective in witnessing to their Jewish friends
- more unsaved Jewish people to be willing to meet with our missionaries
- those currently meeting with our missionaries to be saved and/or grow in their faith
- Michael Perlmutter to master the “Christ in the Passover” presentation and have a successful spring tour
- Lyn Bond as she begins a Thursday morning women’s Bible study
- Micha Cohen as he develops campus ministry and as he and Leah learn to be parents