“We wanted to show the world we can get along by pretending to fight,” explained Chosen People Ministries President, Dr. Mitch Glaser, on his blog. “In the new version of West Side Story, Chosen People Missionaries will be cast as Sharks and Jews for Jesus Missionaries will be cast as Jets. We’ve also updated the lyrics to reflect what we represent, such as ‘When you’re a Jew you’re a Jew all the way from your first matzah ball to your last dying day’ and ‘I’d like to go make Aliyah/But I can’t cuz I love Yeshua/Everything’s hard when you love Yeshua/Except for your heart cuz you love Yeshua.’ Also, instead of the rumbles being fought with weapons, we will be going back and forth with different tracts, which are essentially saying the same thing. Really, it doesn’t make sense for us to fight with each other at all when we have the exact same message, but musicals don’t always make sense. Hopefully it’ll make for a good show though.”
The new production is set to air on PBS on February 11th and you will also be able to purchase a copy of the show from and
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The energy was electric on the streets of Philly this week during the Democratic National Convention when five of our staff along with a team of ten volunteers went out with tables, postcards, and banners to talk to people about Jesus. Between mingling with thousands of protesters, having hundreds of conversations, and several celebrity sightings, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that God had brought us to Philly for this historic moment.
Seven of our volunteers were actually a group of teenagers from all over the country participating on “Halutzim” (Hebrew for pioneers), an evangelism and discipleship program for Jewish believers ages 16-18. These incredible young people withstood hour after hour of 100 degree weather as well as some nasty comments from passersby as they boldly took a stand for who they are and what they believe.
Jacob, age 17 from Florida, talked to a young Jewish man who had grown up in an ultra-orthodox home, but now was agnostic. “He had really been burnt out by religion, and so I shared with him about the personal relationship that I have with God that is so much more than just following rules” Jacob reported. “I challenged him to go back and read the Tanak (Hebrew Scriptures) as well as the New Testament with an open mind.”
Danielah Blackburn, vice-President of the YMJA (Young Messianic Jewish Alliance) who was volunteering as a Halutzim leader, spoke with a Jewish couple. “The woman was very shy and kept whispering her questions to her partner, who would then say them to me” Danielah said. “They asked me if I was actually Jewish, and then about how my practice as a Messianic Jew. They said ‘We are very interested in what you believe’”. Susan Mendelson, one of our staff based out of Long Island, joined the conversation and asked the couple if she could pray for them. The woman cried as she was prayed over, and afterwards Susan gave them her contact information so they could continue their conversation.
To add to the excitement, celebrity citings were in abundance around the convention center. Our D.C. Branch Leader Larry Dubin spotted Democratic primary candidate Bernie Sanders and called out, “Bernie Sanders, Bernie Sanders! Jews for Jesus, Jews for Jesus!” Bernie turned towards Larry with an open hand, and these two Jewish men exchanged a warm handshake.
Actresses Susan Sarandon took one of our gospel tracks from Danielah, and Halutzim participant Lydia gave our “Did Jesus get stoned?” postcard to actress Rosario Dawson. Dawson told our team, “This is the best piece of religious literature I have ever seen!” We posted about meeting her on twitter and Dawson reposted our tweet, spreading the word about Jewish people who believe in Jesus to her large social media following.
Even more exciting than seeing celebrities is seeing a Jewish person come to find the Messiah. Outside city hall, an Ethiopian Jewish man approached our CLIM (Co-Laborer in Messiah) Ron McDevitt and commented on his t-shirt and Star of David necklace. Ron started to share with him why he is a Jew for Jesus the Messiah and how Jesus changed his life. “We talked together about Passover and how the last supper was a seder meal, and about the plan of salvation” Ron said. “I asked him if he believed that Jesus was our Messiah, and he took my hand and said, ‘Yes’. We prayed together in Hebrew and English and he thanked me over and over. I got his contact information and then introduced him to the rest of my team. It was a glorious, glorious time!”
In their article about the DNC, Vouge Magazine said “The Jews for Jesus, for the record, had also come out in force.” We are still blown away by how God took our small team and used us to make a huge impact in the city of Philadelphia, and we look forward to staying in touch with all the people we met there!
Avner Boskey, originally from Montreal, has lived and ministered in Israel for decades. Avner served on Jews for Jesus’ Messianic musical team The Liberated Wailing Wall. He has studied Jewish history and theology at Hebrew University, McGill University and Dallas Theological Seminary and over the past two decades he and his wife, Rachel (who is unable to join them on this trip) have lead shepherded weekly worship and prayer services with local Israeli Messianic believers. Avner and Rachel are also well-known recording artists, having released five Messianic albums. Avner also oversees a recording studio in the Negev and encourages and builds up young Israeli Messianics to record their own music.
David (one of Avner’s sons) and Jamie Boskey are a powerful, young Messianic couple in their own right and reside in Isreal. David has a BA in Jewish Studies from Moody Bible Seminary and recently completed an MA in the History of the Jewish People from Hebrew University. David and Jamie head up a thriving college-age Bible Study and lead worship together in various Messianic congregations in Jerusalem. They also have lead worship internationally and have even made appearances with The Land From the Band at the MJAA Messiah Conference.
Or HaOlam is lead by Rabbi Shmuel Wolkenfeld and worships at 7039 West 74th Street, Overland Park, Kansas.
David Brickner is the Executive Director of Jews for Jesus, a missions organization that is reaching Jewish people for their Messiah in 14 countries and 26 cities. He oversees the ministry from its headquarters in San Francisco. David received his Master’s degree in Missiology with a concentration in Jewish Evangelism and Judaic Studies from the Fuller School of World Mission. In addition to this, he has authored several books and has been interviewed on national television shows such as Larry King Live.
Don’t miss this dynamic interview on Bagels and Blessings this Saturday!
“Bagels and Blessings” is on 990 AM in Rochester, N.Y., and online at www.wdcxam.com from 2 to 3 p.m. EST on Saturdays. For more information, visit www.bagelsandblessings.com.
Avi Snyder is a veteran missionary and director of the European work of Jews for Jesus. He pioneered Jews for Jesus’ ministry in the former Soviet Union, before launching works in both Germany and Hungary.
He brings news about what is happening in Jewish evangelism in Russia and Eastern Europe, and he will be sharing a special message from The Word with the people of Nebraska, this Shabbat.
Jews for Jesus is a missions organization on the forefront of Jewish evangelism. The ministry is reaching Jewish people for their Messiah in 14 countries and 26 cities.
Jewish people tend to dismiss evangelistic methods and materials that are couched in Christian presuppositions and lingo, because they reinforce the assumption that Jesus is for "them" not "us." In order to get beyond that assumption, they have to be innovative. Using tailored evangelistic literature, witnessing campaigns, music and drama, and even secular media outreach, Jews for Jesus exists to make the Messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to Jewish people worldwide.
Avi is on the frontline of this mission in Europe, and you won’t want to miss out on the timely update and word he has in store. Visit adat.org for more information on how you can attend and check out jewsforjesus.org to learn more about all that this amazing ministry is up to.
Dan Sered, Israel director, was on an international platform with a staff member of one of these so-called terrorist sympathizers several years ago (in which they both spoke about reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians). Says Sered, “Does that make me suspect? This kind of inference is very dangerous and can lead to terrible misunderstandings. I wish the Jerusalem Post had called me before printing this.”
David Brickner, executive director of Jews for Jesus, responded by saying:
“These are flat out lies. No representatives of Jews for Jesus were ever interviewed for this so called news story. It is simply not true and I ought to know.”
The Jerusalem Post received complaints against its reporter, Rachel Avraham in the past when she ran a piece associating Woman at the Wall with anti-Israel groups back in 2013. At that time, those whom she attacked call her tactics, “a McCarthy-esque crusade.”
The Post did not seek any comments from Jews for Jesus before publishing this article.
Jews for Jesus is the largest Jewish mission agency in the world and has, at its core, the goal of proclaiming the message that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and Savior of the world. They have branches in 13 countries and 25 cities.