Celebrating Israel’s 68th Birthday

Dear friend in the Messiah,

Mitch_GlaserHappy 68th birthday to Israel!

It is hard to believe that modern Israel was established such a short time ago. The modern state of Israel is an answer to the prayers of Jews and Christians and is a signpost of God’s faithfulness to His covenants and promises.

The survival of the Jewish people and their return to the Promised Land of Israel is a clear testimony of God’s faithfulness to His word! The miracle of Israel is a joy to behold, but the glorious future promised by God has not fully arrived yet. There is more to come as so many prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures are still to be fulfilled—and we look forward to that day when the nation of Israel will “look to Him whom they have pierced and mourn as one mourns for an only begotten son…” (Zech. 12:10).

As you know, we are living in difficult days for the nation of Israel as Hamas is still firing missiles into the border towns and personal terrorists are murdering innocent Israelis each week. We are hoping and praying for peace! 

Meanwhile, there are millions of Jewish people and Arabs in Israel that we must reach with the Good News of the Gospel. In order to do this we must have a better understanding of modern Israel so that we can be most effective in our ministries.

The Pew Foundation Report on the Jewish Religion in Israel

Recently, the Pew Foundation, which has done such an excellent job analyzing the Jewish community and many other faith communities,  produced a report on Jewish religious life within Israel. The full report is over 200 pages and is the result of surveys taken between late 2014 and early 2015. You can read it by going to the Chosen People Ministries Facebook page or website where we have posted the full report.

The report did discover seven key findings, and I will note and comment on them here in relationship to how each might impact our bringing the Gospel to the Jewish people in the Holy Land. The first paragraph of the report is a good introduction as to why the foundation felt it was important to do this study:

For a small country, Israel holds a place of great importance for three of the world’s major religious groups. The modern Jewish state is not only the “Promised Land” for Jews, but the only country in the world where they form a majority of the population. For Christians, Israel is the “Holy Land,” because it is the place where Jesus’ life and death unfolded. And, for Muslims, Jerusalem is the place where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.

Here are the points, followed by my comments:

1. Israeli Jews are largely united on the need for their nation to be a homeland for Jews, regardless of their origins.

One would expect Israelis to affirm the need for the nation of Israel. Remember, the modern state of Israel grew out of the ashes of the Holocaust. Also, antisemitism is on the rise around the world and perhaps the number one reason why Jewish people from across the globe move to Israel is because they feel unsafe in their current locale. This is clear from the following response to the survey,

Three-quarters of Israeli Jews (76%) see antisemitism as common and increasing around the world.

This sense of threat which Jewish people feel because of growing antisemitism also gives us opportunities as followers of Jesus to help the Jewish people better understand the promises of God so that they can depend upon Him for safety and security. It also provides us with a great opportunity to show God’s kindness to the Jewish people so that they understand that “true Christians” love the Jewish people because they love the Jewish Bible and the Jewish Messiah. Remember, aside from Islamic extremism, most Jewish people generally believe that Christianity is the source of antisemitism. We would like to change that understanding through our love and actions as believers in Jesus.

2. Virtually all Jews in Israel identify with one of four major religious subgroups:
Hiloni (“secular”),
Masorti (“traditional”),
Dati (“religious”) and
Haredi (“ultra-Orthodox”).

This part of the report was very helpful in understanding the religious divisions among Israelis. The report indicates that about 50% of the Israelis surveyed are secular and the other 50% are religious in one way or another. Therefore, it is actually wrong to think of Israel as a secular country. Other reports and surveys in recent years have indicated a growth in Orthodox Judaism, not only because they seem to have more children than other types of Jewish people, but because they are also making converts from among more secular Jewish people.

This means that our efforts to reach Jewish people for the Messiah in Israel cannot simply be limited to those who are more secular. Certainly, at times it seems easier to reach secular Israelis with the Gospel, but we must remember that there is a substantial group of religious Jewish people, the Orthodox, that we must pray for and give the message of Jesus.

3. Jewish groups consistently disagree on a range of specific public policy issues.

It is clear that there is a great divide between Orthodox, traditionalists and secular Jews in their vision for the state of Israel. The secular would like to have complete freedom of movement on the Sabbath as Israel for the most part does not allow public transportation to run on Friday night and Saturday. There are a host of other issues as well, including military service, as in years past Orthodox or traditional Jewish people were not required to serve.

In light of the above, it is important to note that most Jewish people and those thinking about becoming religious believe they are faithful to God and have a certain idea of what that means.  Paul understood this in Romans 10:2. 
I believe that this divide between religious and nonreligious Jews in Israel provides an opportunity for the Gospel, as long as we continue to show His love to both secular and Orthodox Jews. Remember, we want to reach all Israelis with the Gospel.

4. About eight-in-ten (81%) Israeli adults are Jewish…

It is important to note the religious diversity within Israel, not simply among Jewish Israelis but among all Israelis. According to the survey the non-Jewish population of Israel is divided in the following manner,

…the remainder are mostly ethnically Arab and religiously Muslim (14%), Christian (2%) or Druze (2%). Overall, the Arab religious minorities in Israel are more religiously observant than Jews.

As the figures indicate, Christians in Israel are a very small minority, something American evangelicals are not used to at all. Israel cherishes religious freedom and people of all faiths are able to worship as they wish, build houses of worship, print books that reflect their religious traditions, etc.

In effect, there is great freedom to proclaim the Gospel within Israel; however, individualized opposition or opposition coming from smaller groups of more religious Jews and Muslims will always be a challenge. In fact, this is one of the reasons that the Christian population in a town like Bethlehem has been reduced by almost 50% over the last few years. The problem is not the Israelis, but the more religious Muslims who are intolerant of Christians.

5. Half of Israeli Jews (48%) say Arabs should be transferred or expelled from Israel while a similar share (46%) disagree with this.

This is a large and disturbing number and inconsistent with previous surveys. The reason might lie with Pew’s use of Hebrew. It is technical but important. The Pew study used the word for Arab without the Hebrew definite article. This would cause the respondents to be unsure about what the researcher intended. The London-based Jewish Chronicle describes the problem in this way,

Every respondent will have interpreted the question in their own way, which is bad planning by Pew because it needed just one more letter to make this aspect of the question clearer. The definite article is extremely important in Hebrew, and if Pew was interested in what Israeli Jews think about the presence of Arabs, it should have asked about “the Arabs” not “Arabs”—which would have required one extra letter, a hey.

The language in this question seemed to be confusing and should become the subject of vigorous discussion in the days ahead. However, this question did show the lack of good faith between Israelis and Arabs.

This is simply a reminder for us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem as only the Lord can break through so many seemingly insurmountable challenges to peace.

6. Together, Israel and the U.S. are home to about 80% of Jews globally, and there are strong bonds between the world’s two largest Jewish populations.

The ties that bind the United States Jewish population to Israel are strong. The author of the summary further writes,

Most Israeli Jews feel they share a common destiny with U.S. Jews and think U.S. Jews have a good influence on Israeli affairs. American Jews also harbor warm feelings about Israel. Our 2013 survey of U.S. Jews (http://www.pewforum.org/2013/10/01/jewish-american-beliefs-attitudes-culture-survey/) found that most say they are either “very” (30%) or “somewhat” (39%) emotionally attached to Israel, and that caring about Israel is either essential or important to what being Jewish means to them.

This is another reminder of how important it is for evangelical Christians to support the modern state of Israel, not because modern Israel is perfect, but because the Jewish people have come back to the Land promised to them by God. And the relationship between our two great democratic nations needs to be strengthened so that we can show a common front in facing our common enemy—radical Islam, especially as seen in the actions of ISIS, Iran and Hamas. 

7. Israeli Jews overall are more religious than U.S. Jews, partly because Orthodox Jews make up a greater share of their population.

There is no doubt that the Orthodox Jewish population of both Israel and the United States is growing in number and influence. This growth has an impact on Jewish community life, politics and of course, faith. We experience this already in reaching the almost one million Jewish people of Brooklyn as the ratio of Orthodox to non-Orthodox Jews is quite different than in most cities within the United States. Brooklyn has a high percentage of Orthodox, or otherwise religious Jewish people, which shapes our community.

We might be entering a season when more traditional Jews become the Jewish religious norm in Israel and the United States. I believe we will continue to see many Jewish people rejecting religion and faith and others becoming more traditional. 

This is all the more reason for Christians to pray for and support ministries like Chosen People Ministries. Reaching religious Jewish people is better accomplished by Jewish ministries like ours as traditional Jewish people do not often know evangelical Christians. Perhaps this can change as Christians begin to find new ways to love and pray for their Jewish friends, both secular and religious.

As always, I want to thank you for your generous prayers and support without which we could not continue this great work that began in 1894!

Yours in our Messiah,

Mitch


1 http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/ 03/08/key-findings-religion-politics-israel/
2  Michael Lipka (http://www.Pewresearch.Org/Author/Mlipka/)
3 Ibid.
4 http://www.thejc.com/comment-and-debate/analysis/154329/do-israeli-jews-really-want-expel-arabs-the-huge-holes-pew-survey
5 Ibid.

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Happy 68th Birthday Israel!

Dear friends,

Mitch_GlaserShalom in the great name of Jesus the Messiah. On May 12 the Jerusalem sky will be lit with beautiful displays of fireworks and thousands of Israelis will be dancing in the streets!—in celebration of Israel’s 68th birthday.

The modern state of Israel is a great joy to those of us who love the Lord Jesus, believe the Bible and affirm God’s plan for the Jewish people.

Let’s face it—the existence of the modern state of Israel is a miracle! Yet, we know there is so much more to come as the Bible is filled with prophecies about Israel’s glorious future. I am sure you are looking forward to that great day when the Jewish people receive Jesus as their Messiah (Romans 11:11-25), and the Prince of Peace sits on His glorious and rightful throne in Jerusalem! Your generous gift today will help us continue to take the Good News of Messiah to Jewish people worldwide.

I believe this great day is coming!

1605PZLW_Israel-Independence-BS62359205Israel: Let Freedom…of Religion Ring

The modern state of Israel is a bastion of hope in the midst of a war-torn Middle East. Israel is a modern democratic nation that practices freedom of religion.

You have never heard of Israel persecuting Muslims, Christians or any other people of faith have you? There has been some discussion about Orthodox Jewish people persecuting Messianic Jews, but most of the reports you hear about the persecution of Messianic Jews in Israel are overplayed.

Let’s Celebrate!
I hope you will find a way to celebrate the 68th birthday of the nation of Israel! We have so many reasons to be thankful: the fulfillment of prophecy demonstrating that the Word of God is true and the fact that Western countries have a friend and ally in the Middle East that is both democratic and practices religious freedom.

1605PZLW_Kotel-with-israeli-flag-BS6162403Yet there are also hosts of social problems and challenges that face Israel today—just like any other country in the world. Israel is a divided society, and we need to pray every day for God’s peace to fall upon the Promised Land so that both Jews and Palestinians are able to live their lives and raise their children without worrying about their safety.

 

I believe that this is the dream of every Jewish and Palestinian mother!

We know that these issues will not be solved until Jesus reigns on His rightful throne. This is why it is so important to bring the Gospel to the Jewish people in Israel—and also to the many other groups that live within Israel.

The need is great, but the opportunity is greater.

Your Prayers Are Needed
First of all, may I ask you to pray for the work of Chosen People Ministries in Israel? Please pray for our growing staff. Also, our media evangelistic programs are changing lives! We have produced almost a dozen Messianic Jewish testimonies in Hebrew that are being watched by tens of thousands in Israel today. We now have between 50 and 100 Israelis asking for our Isaiah 53 Explained book in Hebrew each week. I never thought I would see this happen.

Would you honor the 68th birthday of Israel with a gift of $68?

Your gift of $68 or more allows us to:

  • Send twelve Isaiah 53 Explained books to Israelis seeking the Lord
  • Scholarship one child for almost a full week of camp
  • Help us pay the rent on our Tel Aviv facility where our 100-plus-member congregation of Russian Jewish believers meet each week
  • Help us run our Jerusalem Center, which is the national headquarters for our ministries throughout Israel

I hope you will be generous as wonderful opportunities for evangelism are increasing every day! In fact, our budget for the next fiscal year begins July 1 and calls for almost a half million dollars to maintain all of the programs, people, and facilities that Your Mission to the Jewish People supports in Israel.

1605PZLW_Christians-Sukkot-BS109412108Your generous investment in the spiritual future of Israel will make a big difference in the lives of everyday Israelis—because they need the Lord! Perhaps you would like to give a more substantial gift to help us support this growing work as we look forward to the great day of the Lord’s return. 

There’s just no place like Israel on planet Earth! Would you help me help our staff reach Israel for Jesus?

Happy 68th Birthday, Israel!

Your brother in the Messiah,

Mitch

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The Jewish Messiah is the Passover Lamb

Dear friend in the Messiah,
Mitch_Glaser
Shalom and Happy Passover. I must admit, it is very unusual to observe Passover after already celebrating Easter. This is the result of the early church deciding not to follow the Jewish calendar! This decision was made at the Council of Nicaea in 325AD and, in my opinion, and it reflects a symptom of a deeper problem we address each and every day as we try and reach Jewish people for Jesus the Messiah.

The Chasm Between Jesus and the Jewish People
Jewish people generally feel alienated from the Gospel. This chasm between Jesus and the Jewish community becomes even more profound during the holiday season. We so often define ourselves religiously by the holidays we keep. For example, Jewish people celebrate Passover and Christians celebrate Easter. If it were a different season of the year, I would say that Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah, and Christians celebrate Christmas.

Oftentimes I wonder how this difficult situation we face today came to be and why it is that Jewish people feel so distant from the One we believe to be the fulfillment of the Hebrew Scriptures—the Jewish Messiah.

May I tell you a quick story about my grandparents? It might help you understand how Jewish people feel about the Jewish relationship to Jesus and Christianity.

I remember a conversation I had with my paternal grandparents many years ago. My father and I were visiting his parents and we were eating lunch at the table in my grandparents’ apartment in Coney Island, Brooklyn. My dear grandparents were trying to figure out why I believed in Jesus and not Moses or Marx.

I finally had the chance to get a word in and asked a question. I said, “Dad does not believe in God, and like Grandpa he never attends synagogue. Yet, he still says that he is Jewish. I, on the other hand, believe in the God of our fathers, learned Hebrew, married a Jewish girl but believe Jesus is the Messiah. Which one of us is the better Jew?” Grandma did not hesitate to respond. “Your father,” she replied. And I dare say she spoke for the majority of the Jewish community!

What she really was saying is that being Jewish is not a matter of belief, but rather of community identity. And a Jewish person can retain that identity as long as certain lines are not crossed. However, if you do transgress one of these unseen parameters, you could easily cross over and out of the Jewish community. Believing in Jesus is one of those lines, perhaps the boldest of the lines, and once you cross over, there is no return save the renunciation of your beliefs. In other words, you do not remain in the community by virtue of your beliefs, but you can be removed because of them.

The Jewish people you meet might be resistant to the Gospel far more because of their fear of community sanctions than because of any theological disagreement over the true Messiah. Jewish people are generally not going to consider the Gospel—because they feel far away from Jesus, view Him as the God of the Gentiles and have a deep fear of being cast out of the Jewish community for even thinking about Jesus.

The Lord must shed an abundance of grace in the heart of the average Jewish person in order for them to make the great step of faith to follow Jesus when the Jewish community would understand this belief as an act of ethnic suicide. It was certainly a difficult decision for me having been raised in a traditional Jewish home!

How Can You Help?
You can try to help your Jewish friend understand that Jesus is Jewish, the New Testament was written by Jewish people and that all of the early followers of Jesus were Jewish. In fact, the disciples celebrated Passover and other Jewish festivals, never rejected their Jewish identity and did not choose to leave the Jewish community.

The disciples believed that you could be Jewish and believe that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah.

You can take some very practical steps even during this Passover season to help your Jewish friends understand that Jesus is Jewish and that Christians have a deep appreciation for their Old Testament heritage.

Passover is a great time to do this because, unlike some of the other Jewish holidays, most Jewish people celebrate Passover and have a family Passover seder (meal). And of course, Jesus clearly linked Himself to the Passover!

You can also give a small gift to your Jewish friend that shows your sensitivity to the holiday season. You might give your Jewish friend a box of macaroons, wonderful coconut cookies that are made without leaven… this is a Jewish favorite—especially the ones that are dipped in dark chocolate!

This demonstration of love and sensitivity will go a long way to showing your Jewish friends that Jesus is Jewish. It is a way of bringing the Gospel closer to a Jewish person, overcoming the 2,000-year chasm between Jesus and the Jewish people.

You might also celebrate a Passover seder either in your home, with your small group or even at your church.

Chosen People Ministries will be presenting Messiah in the Passover at many different congregations during the holiday season. If you would like to attend one of these demonstrations, please call our Church Ministries office at 888-405-5874 and we will let you know if there is a Messiah in the Passover scheduled at a church near you.

You can also go to our website and learn more about the Passover. We have prepared a booklet to help you understand more about Passover that you can request on our website, and you can also look at some of the Passover videos we have made that can actually show you how to do a Passover seder in your home.

Is it any wonder that Jesus chose Passover as the time to announce the inauguration of the New Covenant between God and man? The focus of Passover is the redemption of the Jewish people from Egypt. Of course, Jesus gives the Passover a deeper meaning demonstrating that new life, forgiveness of sin and an eternity in heaven are assured to those who have faith in the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Let’s not allow the Jewish community we love to feel alienated from Jesus. I hope this Passover season will afford you the opportunity to help your Jewish friends see Jesus in the Passover! That will be a great place to begin your witness.

Thank you so much for your faithfulness, love and support of Chosen People Ministries. We are doing all we can in 16 countries and over 20 cities in North America to bring the Good News of Jesus the Messiah to the Jewish people.

I also hope that you will consider supporting Chosen People Ministries on a regular basis. This is why we created the Watchmen for Jerusalem program. Please click here to sign up!

Your one-time donation is also very important to us as it allows us to continue to support our ministries around the globe—in the United States, Israel and many other countries.

Thank you again for your love and faithfulness and Happy Passover!

In the Lamb,

Mitch

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Jewish People Jewish Way

Dear friend,

For a number of months I have wanted to tell you about the great work being done by our Messianic congregations. Let me first tell you what a Messianic congregation is, in case you are unfamiliar with this wonderful illustration of the body of Messiah.
A Messianic congregation is an expression of Jewish life and culture joined with all the richness of knowing Jesus as Messiah and Savior! A Messianic congregation functions like a good, solid church and offers Bible training for children and adults, outreach and evangelism programs, fellowship for all ages and is a caring, Jesus-centered community where Jewish and Gentile believers can grow in the Messiah!

congregation

We have also found that Messianic congregations are wonderful tools for evangelism. As you know, most Jewish people view the Gospel as traditionally “un-Jewish” and most, including my own family, feel they need to give up their Jewish identities to follow Jesus. This is not true, but a common perception because of the centuries of persecution by so-called Christians.

This is why we have seen so many Jewish people give their hearts to the Lord at our congregations and why Jewish visitors do not feel compelled to ask the question, “Can you be Jewish and believe in Jesus?”  They see the answer before their very eyes in the worship, style of service and the music and are able to focus on the purity of the Gospel of grace and consider the most important question: “Is Jesus the promised Messiah?”

A number of our Chosen People Ministries missionaries have either planted or serve as the leaders of congregations. Click here to read their stories about what the Lord has taught them about their ministries.

How You Can Help Chosen People Ministries’ Congregations

There are many ways you can partner with Your Mission to the Jewish People in our congregational ministries! First of all, you can pray—for the congregations, the leaders and for the Jewish communities they endeavor to reach.

You might visit a congregation if one is nearby. You can look on our website for a list of Chosen People Ministries’ congregations and I know that our leaders would love to have you visit them! Then get word out to your church and Christian friends that there is a good place to bring the Jewish people with whom they are sharing the Gospel.

May I also bring one particular need before you? We have a growing dynamic Russian-language congregation in Tel Aviv that has struggled to find a place to meet that is large enough to house their congregation and children’s work. We had to help them rent a hall for their ministries, which includes weekly services, children’s work, a ministry to drug addicts and abused women, counseling and much more! Chosen People Ministries committed $6,000 per month to help them pay for rent.

As you know, Tel Aviv is one of the most expensive cities in the world and actually the rent is much more, but we split the costs with another Messianic congregation.

Would you give generously to help these dear brothers and sisters in Tel Aviv? Your gift of $60 or even $600 would be so helpful this month! If you are able to consider taking on a month’s rent or half a month’s rent—that would be so encouraging.

Thanks for caring and for helping us support the ministry of Simchat Yeshua (the Joy of Jesus) congregation in the heart of Tel Aviv!

May the Lord bless and keep you!

Mitch

Seder_Plate_4fa4725514b40_100x100P.S. For your gift of $250 or more we would be happy to send you a beautiful Passover plate made in Israel. You can use it for a Passover Seder yourself or display it in your home as a reminder to pray for the Jewish people who so desperately need to discover the true Passover Lamb.

 

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A New Haman Has Risen

1603NLW_World_Map-antisemitism

Dear friend of the Jewish people,

Shalom in the great name of our Messiah!

One of my favorite Jewish holidays has always been Purim—the biblical Feast of Esther (Est. 9:22). The holiday is observed on the 14th day of the Hebrew month Adar, which corresponds to our solar calendar date this year on March 24. The celebrations last for a full day, but remember, the Jewish day begins the night before and concludes at sunset; therefore the Festival begins on the evening of March 23.

There are many reasons why I enjoy Purim (a Hebrew word which means “lots”). But perhaps the foremost reason why I love Purim is because I am Jewish and if the evil Haman had succeeded, I would never have been born! On Purim we celebrate the survival of the Jewish people, usually against greats odds and far more powerful enemies.

We Are Still Here!

In fact, this pattern of deliverance is such an important part of the Jewish story. As my good friend Dr. Michael Rydelnik, who teaches at Moody Bible Institute, humorously summarizes: “They tried to kill us, we won and so—we ate!” On Purim we celebrate by eating special baked goods called hamantaschen—sometimes referred to as “Haman’s hat” or “Haman’s ears”! These are wonderful pastries with various types of fruit and poppy seeds enfolded into a very buttery and delicious cookie.

The Scroll of Esther

The main event of the Purim celebration is the reading of the Book of Esther, called in Hebrew, the Megillot Esther, the Scroll of Esther; and oftentimes a play based upon the story is used to entertain and educate both children and adults alike. Jewish people are at their most creative in putting on these plays and use different themes each year to keep the story interesting.

I am sure there will be plenty of Purim plays with a Star Wars theme this year! The plays are supposed to be fun and are not viewed as irreverent as they do tell the great story of God’s deliverance of the Jewish people from the hateful hands of Haman.

Second Purim

There is also a phenomenon in Jewish history called the second Purim. These events are not widely known, but perhaps you can already understand why Jewish people created them. A second Purim refers to an instance, aside from what was recorded in the Book of Esther, when the Jewish people were saved from imminent destruction.

The enlightening description of second Purim on the website Jewishgen.org concludes,In a few fortunate cases, the danger (facing the Jewish community) was suddenly removed, or the dreaded law was inexplicably abrogated. Then, that community would commemorate each anniversary of the happy change by observing a “Second Purim,” a festival, which mimicked the original Purim, which marks the deliverance of the Jews of Persia from the evil machinations of Haman. Historians have listed some 90 “second Purim” anniversaries observed by various Jewish families and communities, beginning with the early Middle Ages.1 

There were even times throughout Jewish history when the enemies of Israel selected Purim as the day they would attack the Jewish people. There was an instance during the Holocaust period when Purim became a day of slaughter for a local Jewish community.

It seems that both the Jewish people and enemies of Israel understood the symbolic value of the story of Esther.

New Hamans Arise in Every Generation

There are new Hamans on the world scene today seeking the destruction of the Jewish people. Israel is under attack and antisemitism is on the rise. We understand that ISIS and all forms of Islamic extremism seek the destruction of Israel. In fact, the existence of the modern state of Israel is actually opposed by almost every manifestation of Islam—
though various brands of Islam exercise this antipathy in different ways. Some are more violent than others.

The rise of global antisemitism has begun to permeate our society and is often subtly wrapped in the guise of an anti-Israel position. We see this virulent form of anti-Jewish behavior actively engaged on our college campuses today.

Unfortunately, this anti-Israel spirit can easily cross boundaries and align itself with an anti-Jewish position, even flowing into the lives and ministries of good Christians and churches seeking to bring the Gospel and comfort to those viewed as suffering injustice.

Let’s face it—there is a lot of propaganda and noise bombarding our culture through the media. It is hard for everyday sincere people to distinguish between what is true and what is false.

As followers of Jesus the Jewish Messiah for all, and as those who believe the Bible, composed by primarily Jewish authors, we should be sympathetic to the Jewish cause.  Historically, most true Christians have been pro-Israel and pro-Jewish without being anti anyone else…but today winds of change are in the air and therefore it is important to reread what the Bible says about Israel and the Jewish people. Unfortunately, we see a growing anti-Israel movement within the church today that also shows the telltale signs of an historic anti-Jewish position as well.

God Is Faithful to His Promises

As followers of Jesus the Messiah we understand that God still has His hand on the Jewish people! This is why we have a long history of second Purims, where we celebrate God’s faithfulness to the Jewish people.

May I summarize the remarkable promises penned in Jeremiah 31:35-37?

The Jewish people will not be destroyed until they fulfill all God intended them to do. God is not yet finished with His chosen people (Rom. 11:29).

The above rests upon the foundational passage in the book of Genesis when God promised Abram that He would bless those who bless the Jewish people and curse those who curse them.  We also see in this passage that God promised to bring blessings to the entire world (Gen. 12:3) specifically through the Jewish people. God created the Jewish people to be a bridge of blessings and revelation to the nations.

These truths of Scripture are clear to me and are a great foundation for our understanding of God’s plan and purposes for the Jewish people!

Happy Purim! I pray the Lord will guide us as we try to understand our times, stay true to the teachings of the Scriptures and remain faithful to our Messiah, Deliverer and Lord!

In Him,

Mitch


1  http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/Piotrkow/pit237.html

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Digital Media Campaigns – Evangelism in the 21st Century!

Dear friend,

Shalom! I have waited to write to you to let you know that we have recently completed a successful Shalom Florida online evangelistic campaign. We used the two evangelistic websites Chosen People Ministries developed. One is a site sharing the personal testimonies of Jewish believers in Jesus entitled I Found Shalom, and the other is our Isaiah 53 site.

EvangWebsites

We had about 2,000 people a day visit our sites, which is really terrific!

We used Facebook ads that focused on reaching the elderly Jewish people and baby boomers living in Florida as our point of contact. These folks are very difficult to reach for a variety of reasons. Most have never heard about Jesus the Jewish Messiah, are negative towards the Gospel and live in gated communities that are so very difficult to penetrate with the Good News!

Our wonderful team of Florida-based missionaries, working out of our Boynton Beach center,
are calling and visiting those who responded to the ads. We have already mailed thousands of copies of the evangelistic book, Isaiah 53 Explained, and a booklet called I Found Shalom, which is a collection of testimonies that corresponds to the information on the website.

The follow-up takes time, coordination and great personal effort, but is worth everything we investeven if only one Jewish person comes to faith in Jesus the Messiah!

1603PZLW_ipad-and-iphone-250518148

Greg, one of our Florida workers, recounts an incredible story of God’s grace in a Jewish man’s life:
I had a lengthy evangelistic visit with a Jewish man, Terry,* who had ordered the book. He was curious, but he also had a lot of objections, and I thought he was not open to the Gospel. About one year later, his Jewish believing daughter called to tell me of her father’s sudden death. However, she told me that a few months before his passing he had accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. She said to me, “My dad went to church because you said something ​he could not refute about Isaiah 53 speaking of Jesus.”

So, please pray as these types of conversations are taking place.

And Beyond Florida…
One of the reasons I was so confident that the Florida outreach would be successful is that we have held campaigns in a number of different communities throughout the year. For example, we focused on Dallas some months ago and had some great responses. One of our new staff members, Travis, was able to connect with quite a few of the Jewish people who gave us their contact information. He reports:
I had multiple phone meetings with a Jewish man named David* in Houston. David was one of the most open seekers we spoke to during the campaign as he had actually been attending Christian Bible studies for some time before we connected with him. He had a very clear hunger for the Lord. At one point he said, “I’ve been fellowshipping with Christians for over a year now, and I think Isaiah 53 is a crucial chapter. The Spirit is drawing me!”

Travis adds,
David’s only objection was that he did not sense the presence of God in his life in the way he wanted. I am praying that God would bring him deeper into a relationship with Yeshua so that he can experience the personal relationship with God he is seeking. 

Please pray for David.

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​​Isaiah 53 in Israel Too!
Gabriel G., one of our faithful young workers in Israel, oversees the Isaiah 53 online campaign there. He is encouraged by what God is doing through the clear message of the Gospel found in this great chapter…and I am sure you will be as well.

At the end of the second year of the campaign in Israel, we have sent out more than 500 Hebrew copies of Isaiah 53 Explained!

1401PZLW-Is53-Explained-book-coverGabi writes,
Israelis ordering Isaiah 53 Explained are as diverse as the country itself. Religious and non-religious Jewish Israelis, men and women, university students and businesswomen, Arab-Israeli Muslims along with Arab-Israeli Christians have all ordered the evangelistic book! Advertisements on Facebook and YouTube are the main source for Israelis to learn more about the previously unfamiliar chapter of Isaiah 53 and order the book for free.

Conversations range from a simple interest in the historical person of Jesus to deeper conversations on the need for forgiveness through Messiah. Along with people ordering books for themselves, there have been dozens of Israeli believers who have ordered copies for friends and family members.

I had a conversation with Gefen* who lives in Ashdod. After she ordered Isaiah 53 Explained I contacted her by phone and she told me that she recently came to believe that Jesus is the Messiah! We are working to connect Gefen with a local congregation so that she can grow in her faith.

Sarah* is a religious woman and both of her children attend religious school. Sarah shared that she does not want her children to only understand the Bible in one particular way. Instead, she wants to expose them to other interpretations such as the belief in Jesus as Messiah! Please pray for Sarah that she will become more open-hearted to the Gospel.

We Are Partners in this New and Creative
Evangelistic Ministry

You can help by praying for this outreach.

Your support is also needed.

We can get an evangelistic book into the hands of a person for only $10, which includes the printing and mailing of the book, as well as the ad costs. This is far less expensive and more effective than using other forms of media such as radio and television.

Additionally, online ministries work especially well with Jewish people who would rather consider Jesus in private, as exploring the Gospel is often misunderstood by the friends and family of Jewish people. I am sure you understand this!

Would you consider sponsoring books for five people—only $50or by God’s grace $500, which allows us to put 50 books into people’s hands and to follow-up? Perhaps you can sponsor our sending 500 books for $5,000! Whatever the Lord leads you to give will help and we will be grateful for your faithful and generous partnership.

I believe we can send out more than 100,000 books this year to non-believers, Jews and Gentiles, as well as Christians who would like to give the book or booklet to a Jewish friend…if we had the funds. We are going to move in this direction—because the TIME is NOW…and after years of experimentation, trial and error, we finally know how to initiate these campaigns.

1603PZLW_Latkes-Outreach-DSC2503I believe this is the greatest opportunity for Jewish evangelism we have had in decades…and I do not say this lightly!

We have also had more than half a million people watch the Messianic Jewish testimonies on our I Found Shalom website and even more on the website of our partners in Israel!

Your prayers and support are the bedrock for these online outreach campaigns! We are ready to reach out and make personal contact with those who respond but we need your partnership.

Thanks for caring!

Blessings in our great Messiah,

Mitch Glaser

P.S. We will send you a copy of the book Isaiah 53 Explained for your gift of $50 or more. I know you will enjoy reading about this great prophecy of our Lord’s passion.

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Reaching Jewish Students

Jewish-Students

Dear friend in the Messiah,

There is no doubt in my mind that the college campus is one of the best places there is to engage Jewish students with the Gospel. According to the recent Pew Report, 60% of the Jewish population in the United States are college graduates, which is twice the number of our general population.1

We know that students are more open to new ideas as they are often away from their parents and other types of community support. Since Jewish young adults are generally taught not to believe in Jesus, this fresh openness to new viewpoints in general is a great time to introduce Jewish students to the Jewish Messiah.

We of course must be careful to be sensitive to the vulnerability of many young adults and respect the way they have been raised. We need to meet the students in the marketplace of ideas and make sure these Jewish students want to hear the Gospel. We need to offer the Good News and make Jesus so attractive that Jewish students will want to hear more and more!

We usually encourage campus evangelism to be primarily done student-to-student if possible, though of course, campus ministries, local churches and Messianic congregations near campuses can be supportive of believing students reaching out to Jewish young adults and provide wisdom, warm fellowship, a home-cooked meal and lots of love!

There are many challenges to reaching Jewish students on campus. Any significant effort will likely be opposed by the campus rabbi, Hillel (the largest national Jewish campus group) and an Orthodox (Chasidic) group called Chabad, which is active on many campuses.

Additionally, antisemitism is on the rise on many college campuses in the United States. More than 50% of Jewish college students said they have experienced some type of antisemitism during this past year.2

This is terrible, but it gives Christians the opportunity to show support and solidarity with the Jewish students, letting them know that true Christians love the Jewish people and oppose antisemitism. This is a great testimony to Jewish students.

Meanwhile, in spite of the challenges, our ministries on campus are going well. May I share some wonderful reports with you?

Michael Cohen, our Los Angeles director, writes,
Our ministry is now fully involved and has partners in outreach on three college campuses in the Los Angeles area. One of the keys to having a ministry to Jewish students on campus is to gather a group of volunteers! At Pierce College, in the very Jewish San Fernando Valley, I met a young student, a Jewish believer, who also comes out and witnesses with me. We also have great opportunities to share the Gospel with Jewish students from other countries.  At the University of Southern California, I spoke with a Jewish student from Australia. As we spoke, he shared that he was once Orthodox but is now more secular. I asked how that happened. He told me that over time he simply stopped participating in religious activity until he finally decided that he was no longer Orthodox. Interestingly, he also has some Messianic Jewish friends back in Australia. As I shared the Gospel with him, I told him that Jesus wanted to set him free and to give him the gift of new life. All of this was very appealing to him, as clearly he had been searching for God. Please pray for Jacob,* as I know that God wants him to know the truth. I have had the privilege recently to work with YWAM’s School of Prayer and Mission. For a week in November I helped equip a ten-person team on Jewish Evangelism and Apologetics, including hands-on training at Cal State Northridge. Together, we have shared the Gospel with many students on campus. Please pray for our continued partnership with them.

Ari Hauben, one of our new staff members serving in Philadelphia, describes the following:
Last week, I attended a citywide event in Philadelphia sponsored by one of the Christian student groups. The leaders of this group found out I was a Messianic Jew, working with Chosen People Ministries, and they were excited. I found out why when they introduced me to a very special female student! This young woman is a believer and is Jewish and both her parents are rabbis! She wanted to hear my testimony and had lots of questions about how my family responded when I told them I was a believer in Jesus. She told me she once tried explaining her faith in Jesus to her mom and that her mom started crying and was very upset. Her mom told her not to spend any more time with the Christian groups, which is a usual response because our Jewish parents view Jesus as a threat. She has not tried talking to her mom about Jesus since—and has never spoken to her dad.

She was especially interested in how I continue to identify as a Jew who believes in Yeshua and how I incorporate some Jewish practices, such as Passover, as part of my walk and identity with Jesus. I am looking forward to following up with her!

I am happy to say our work at New York City area campuses is going well. One of our most experienced campus representatives, Doug P., writes,
The Israel-Palestinian debate is a hot topic on campus and unfortunately questions about Israel are often combined with an underlying antisemitism that seems politically driven at first but is much more…and far more sinister! A recent experience at Columbia University highlights this concern and matter for prayer. One large man on occasion stands at the main gate of the school and holds up a large sign that reads “Divest Israel” and spews antisemitic remarks. Another student stopped by our campus literature table there last Wednesday to tell us that many students at Columbia are against Israel. 

So, you can see that this is a real problem. But God is still blessing!

Doug continues, 
An Israeli professor stopped by the table to say: “Keep up the important work!” and took a copy of the small prophecy booklet on Isaiah 53! Our work at Queens College continues unabated, giving out booklets and many cards for the new ifoundshalom.com website. One Israeli girl especially stands out in my mind as she argued that the idea of a Son of God is not a part of Jewish thinking. When I showed her Psalm 2:7-8 in Hebrew, which speaks about God’s Son, she was silent and told me she would have to look it up and study the text. She left me her email to contact her. We need and deeply appreciate your prayers for these many Jewish students who stop by our tables!

Immediately before the Jewish festival of Hanukkah I stopped by our Charles Feinberg Center in Brooklyn and spent some time with our younger missionaries who were about to go out to witness on the Brooklyn College campus. They decided to try a new strategy—a potato pancake (or latkes for all of you Jewish-cooking aficionados) giveaway! The team made 300 latkes and handed them out to students at one of the most Jewish schools in the country. They had more conversations than they could handle, and besides…it was lots of fun! We have an ongoing ministry at this school, which is barely a mile from our Brooklyn Center!

Most of all, I hope you will pray for Jewish students and encourage Christian young people to reach their Jewish friends. Perhaps your church has a student group and would like additional training in campus ministry among Jewish people. We would love to help.

May the Lord fill you with joy, vision and strength in the Holy Spirit!
Your brother,

Mitch Glaser

P.S. For your gift of $50 or more we will send you a copy of a terrific 100-page book on how to witness to college students!

1     http://www.pewforum.org/2013/10/01/chapter-2-intermarriage-and-other-demographics/
2     https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/02/24/bias-reported-survey-jewish-college-students

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