As we do each year, Jews for Jesus steps up our evangelism during the Christmas/Hanukkah season. This year, we tried some things new and some things old.
In San Francisco, we set up a table two nights in a row at the Stonestown Galleria, one of the main shopping malls on the west side of the city, close by San Francisco State University. On the table we placed Hanukkah menorot (candelabra), dreidels (the traditional tops for people to spin), chocolate gelt or coins (also traditional), and an assortment of literature. We also had free shopping bags to give out.
On the second night, the mall moved our table from the busy food court to a more isolated location near a Verizon booth. We weren’t sure this would work out very well, but God used that location for good, as Ruth Rosen reports: "A couple walked by and stopped at the Verizon booth. While the husband shopped for a new phone, his wife, who was Jewish, came by to speak and take literature." A Jewish woman also engaged with Lyn Bond about a dreidel. "I asked her, ‘Do you know what the letters on the dreidel are?’ The woman said, ‘I guess I’m a bad Jew—gimmel, schmimmel—what else?’ (The four letters are actually gimmel, hay, nun and shin). I proceeded to tell her about the best Jew who ever lived—Yeshua!"
We also met a college-age Christian woman whose boyfriend is Jewish. She took some literature for him and gave her contact information. One of our college-age interns, Isaiah Ascher, will be following up with them and inviting them to one of our local Shabbat (Sabbath) meals. Please pray that those who stopped to talk will seriously consider Jesus for themselves, and that the college-age couple will respond to the invitation to attend Shabbat.
Across town, we used the tried-and-true approach of handing out literature to the downtown shoppers. Rich Robinson relates, "An obviously upset Jewish man approached me with some choice negative comments. As I blessed him by wishing him a Happy Hanukkah, he came back to me with even more negativity. Finally, he declared that my faith in Jesus made me to be not Jewish because ‘The Supreme Court of Israel said so!’ Aren’t we glad to join with the apostles, who knew from their own experience that no secular or religious authority has the final say about God and His Messiah, nor on who is Jewish or not!"
Meanwhile, in New York City, our missionaries were in a busy subway station at Union Square, handing out glowsticks to the passersby and inviting their interaction over the gospel at our literature table. The glowsticks fit in perfectly with Hanukkah, which is also known as the Festival of Lights. Here is a picture of New York branch leader Aaron Abramson in a friendly conversation with a Hasidic (ultra-Orthodox) Jewish man. Please pray that we’ll see many conversations with Jewish New Yorkers this season, and that God will work in their hearts to continue those conversations with us and bring some to faith.