When people ask us when Jews for Jesus began, we always like to say, Around 32 A.D. give or take a year.” After all, the first Jews for Jesus were His twelve disciples. But that doesn’t mean we are not mindful and thankful that God drew us together as a band of modern day Jews for Jesus—37 years ago this month!
Following is an excerpt from one of our very earliest newsletters, which was printed on both sides of a single piece of eight and a half by fourteen inch paper. At that time Moishe Rosen wrote:
WE’RE STILL AN INFANT BUT…
Praise God! We’ve just completed six months as an organization and we could not have done it without your gifts and prayers. Thank you!
In seeking counsel regarding the formation of an organization, I was told by knowledgeable and devout Christian leaders that it would be impossible, that no organization starts out with such a big undertaking and so many staff members when it does not have a regular constituency of donors.
The advice was sound, but we felt led of God to do the work. With eight staff members, we decided to live and operate on as much money as might come in… and the probability of having to miss a couple of our monthly checks was anticipated.
But praise God for His faithfulness! We’ve not only met our bills, and provided living allowances, but now we’re a staff of 17, plus 20 volunteer workers who are a big part of our work. We’ve distributed a half a million broadside tracts. I guess we’ve preached or witnessed to more than 50,000 people. This does not count the numerous radio and television interviews and newspaper stories.
If this sounds like a boast, let it be a boast in the Lord, that He has done more than [we] could expect, AND DEAR FRIENDS, HE HAS USED YOU.
Since those words were clicked out on an old electric typewriter, we’ve handed out tens of millions of our gospel tracts. I [the editor] wouldn’t even know how to begin tabulating how many millions of people have either received a one-to-one witness from our staff or volunteers, or have seen our gospel ads in the secular media, or were helped to faith because a friend passed on one of our books or films. Nor is there any way to know how many have considered Christ because of something they saw on our website. (In 1973 if you had asked us about a website we probably would have thought you were talking about a meeting place for spiders!) What I do know is that God has continued to use you, and that you have helped us reach and stretch and bring the gospel to far more places and people than we ever dreamed possible.
Yes, our staff has grown, and yes, modern technology has enhanced the ability to communicate the gospel creatively—but we know that it is only by the grace of God and friends like you that Jews for Jesus continues to exist.
Maybe you would join us in a traditional Jewish prayer for celebrating almost any special event. It’s okay if you can’t follow the transliteration of the Hebrew words, you can just say the English perhaps substituting “Jews for Jesus” where it says “us”:
Baruch ata Adonai, Elohenu melech ha-olam, shehecheyanu v’kiy’manu v’higianu lazman ha-zeh.
Blessed art Thou, O LORD our God, King of the Universe,
Who has granted us life and sustenance and permitted us to reach this season.