photos by Rachel Friedlander

We reported on our New York Summer Outreach in July, but this year our branch decided to have a two-part outreach, with the second half in September. Once again, we handed out cold brewed coffee, water and honey sticks for Rosh Hashanah. We also set up tables with poster boards for people to interact with us, asking people, “What are you for?” Throughout the nine-day fall outreach, fifty-three not yet believing Jewish people gave information for further contact.  The team had 287 conversations with unbelieving Jewish people. (See breakdown describing those conversations at the end of the article.)

Meanwhile, we want to pray for fruitful follow-up with people our team met; here are snippets of their stories so you can join us in praying!

Eryn reports, “While we were handing out water at Kings Highway in Brooklyn, a guy started to walk past me, then stopped and said, ‘Hey don’t I know you?’ I said, ‘Did we talk at Union Square this summer?’ It turned out we had, and though he did not give his contact info the first time, this time he did. He was looking around, not wanting the Orthodox community to see him give me his email address as he said, ‘I want to talk more; here’s my email.’”

Liz reports, “At Washington Square Park it was so, so busy in the morning as we were handing out coffee that people were lining up and waiting for us to serve them. This was probably our fourth or fifth time there, so there was some recognition building. Three people I met last week acknowledged me as we recognized each other. One Jewish woman, Julia, sought me out because she wants to know more about Jesus.”

Elizabeth (left) taking contact info

Elizabeth reports, “I began one day feeling tired and discouraged, and sensing others were as well. During our chapel, I did a lot of praying. I think we all did, and it turned out to be a great day. The Lord provided a lot of good conversations and contacts. I was at Baruch College and met two Jewish women who gave their contact information. One’s dad was Catholic and her mom was Jewish, and she was really interested in how we celebrate Shabbat, and in connecting with us. Then at NYU I met three more Jewish people who want to be in further contact.”

Karol reports, “I met Dinah* while doing outreach in Brooklyn, and met her a week later doing the same thing in Manhattan. I invited her to our Rosh Hashanah dinner, and she actually changed her plans to come be with us. When the dinner was over, she looked across at a Jewish believer who is one of our regulars, and asked how she came to believe in Jesus. That started an hour-long conversation about the gospel. Dinah said, ‘I just knew that this was going to be the best of the Rosh Hashanah options I could choose.’ She said she wanted to come back for our Yom Kippur break fast, as well as our Sukkot celebration. Please pray for her salvation.”

before dinner chat

Stewart reports, “Nine or ten not-yet-believing Jewish people attended our Rosh Hashanah celebration, including my mother. Shirley,* another woman her age came, and they really connected. Shirley also has a son who believes in Jesus.  When her son first believed, about 30 years ago, Shirley and her husband had him ‘kidnapped’ and sent to Israel for deprogramming (it didn’t work). Thirty years later, she was coming to celebrate with us. I later heard from her daughter-in-law that on the way to our celebration, she got a phone call from her friend who asked, ‘What are you doing?’ and she said, ‘I’m going to the Jews for Jesus celebration, God forgive me.’ But she came. And it appeared that she had a really good time.”

Sam reports, “I was with Giselle at Kings Highway handing out water, when two women came and asked, ‘What’s this?’ I said, ‘We’re Jews for Jesus.’ One said ‘Oh, we’re Jews, and we need Jesus.’ And I thought they were joking, but they were very serious. We invited them to Shabbat dinner, and they both gave Giselle their phone numbers and I think they took Giselle’s phone number. They were excited to hang out with us and find out more about Jesus.

Brews for Jesus   

“I also met an Israeli guy who was in New York visiting his daughter for a few days. He approached me, wanting to know more about Jesus. He said ‘In Israel you see Jesus’ name everywhere, but nobody really knows much about Him. Jews in Israel don’t believe anything anyway unless they’re religious, and I’m not into that kind of thing. But Jesus seems really interesting; there has to be something to Him.’ I told him that we have Jews for Jesus in Israel, and asked, ‘Would you feel comfortable if I give them your phone number?’ He replied  ‘That’s exactly what I want! I want someone to call me and I’d love to talk with them.’ His name is Aaron* and he’s excited to find out more.

“Campus outreach has also been great. At Brooklyn College a student came up all excited and said, ‘I’ve seen this all over the Internet and I was wondering when you were going to come there; I know you’ve been to other colleges.’

“A student at NYU came up and said how much she enjoyed our coffee, and she brought her ‘brews for Jesus’ cup to her marketing class. The professor said he’d seen several others with the cup on campus and he wanted to discuss it in their class!”

*not their real names

Key to the numbers of conversations our New York team had with Jewish people during the Fall outreach:

152 “Level A” conversations: This level is pre-evangelistic, and may initially be responding to casual curiosity level as people ask things like, “What is Jews for Jesus?” Often this is a first-time connection and after a brief exchange, the person moves on.
114 “Level B” conversations: These are spiritual conversations; the people are asking pointed spiritual questions and we are able to share the gospel with them. They might be inclined to have further contact.
21 “Level C” conversations: These are conversations with people who are spiritually searching, and being drawn to Jesus. They may have reservations, but they are wrestling with faith issues. Usually they are willing to have further contact.

2015 New York City fall outreach gallery

Susan Perlman answering a skeptic