Monthly Archives: February 2016

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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Help Us Hate What Satan Loves and Love What Satan Hates

February 2016

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Dear friend,

Antisemitism is a scourge! Don’t you agree?

In fact, I believe antisemitism is Satan’s favorite tool to use in trying to destroy the Jewish people!
And I am sorry to say that antisemitism is on the rise both in North America and across the globe.

All you need to do is turn on your television and watch the news. Most of us watched in shock a year ago as we viewed reports of four Jewish people in Paris being gunned down by the Islamic terrorist, Amedy Coulibaly. The only “crime” of these victims is that they were born Jewish!

Antisemitism is not only emerging in Western Europe but also in our own country—especially on campuses.

A serious study exploring the issue of antisemitism on U.S. campuses discovered that 50% of the Jewish students questioned had experienced or witnessed some form of antisemitism on campus.

In a recent survey of Jewish people, we discovered that a high percentage of Jewish people in the United States are very concerned with antisemitism today.

My hope and prayer is that true Christians will also be concerned about the growth of antisemitism as well!
Antisemitism Is the Devil’s Tool to Keep Jewish People from Believing in Jesus 
I remember my installation as president of Chosen People Ministries almost 19 years ago when Dr. Paige Patterson (now president of Southwestern Baptist Seminary) encouraged us to “hate what Satan loves and love what Satan hates.”  His comments were based on Revelation 12:13, where we see the devil again trying to destroy the Jewish people.

I agree!

If God loves it, I want to love it…if the devil loves it, I want to “hate” it.

Clearly, Satan hates the Jewish people because he understands the role of the Jewish people in God’s plan. God promised Abram that great things would happen for humanity through the Jewish people!
…And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed (Genesis 12:3).
An Unholy Chasm Between Jesus and the Jewish People
I was raised believing that “Christianity” inspired the Crusades, pogroms, the Holocaust and that Jesus Himself (whom I knew very little about) was anti-Jewish! Imagine my surprise when I found out that Jesus was Jewish!

The devil has created the myth that Christianity is the fountain of antisemitism. But we know from Scripture that though some forms of more institutional “Christianity” have been hostile to the Jewish people, the true Gospel is actually all about a Jewish Messiah who is the Savior of the world! In fact, true Christians love the Jewish people and oppose antisemitism!

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The Christian Response to Antisemitism
I am writing to you because I see the world again turning against the Jewish people. Radical Islam is fueling much of the global antisemitism, in the same way the Nazis did! Many Jewish people think that traditional “Christian” countries are in one way or another sympathetic to Islamic antisemitism today because they have not done anything to stop it and have not repented of their past. 

What I also find to be both tragic and intriguing at this time in history is that the very same people who are persecuting the Jewish people and opposing the right of the modern state of Israel to exist are the very same violent extremists limiting the rights of and even killing Christians in the Middle East,  Africa and in other spots across the globe.

I believe this co–persecution of both Jews and Christians is issuing a wake-up call to the Church to oppose antisemitism and to see through the thin veneer of anti-Israel rhetoric and propaganda. Sometimes passionate views about Israel spill over and become anti-Jewish.

As those who believe the Bible and follow the Jewish Messiah, Jesus we must respond! 

Christians must unite in support of the Jewish people by denouncing antisemitism in our countries and communities. Let us bless the Jewish people and not curse them by hearing and not responding (Genesis 12:3).
What Should We Do?
There is so much that we can do as believers to help the Jewish people at this difficult time. May I make two quick suggestions?

Pray For the Jewish People
First of all, and perhaps most importantly, we can pray. The psalmist (Psalm 122:6) asked us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and so in obedience we should pray that God would bring His peace to Jewish people. This goes far beyond political peace and strikes at the very heart of the matter—the Jewish people need the Prince of Peace, Jesus, in their lives.
I love what the Apostle Paul, himself Jewish, said in Romans 10:1, Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.

It is not enough to simply pray for political peace—we must pray for spiritual peace and that only comes when individuals receive Jesus as their Savior and Lord.

Oppose Antisemitism
I hope that you will oppose antisemitism in your local community. You could write letters to the editors of your local newspapers if you witness antisemitic acts or attitudes taking place in your hometown or perhaps on a local college campus. You can also approach your state and federal representatives if you spot an antisemitic incident on a national or international scale.

Most of all, I hope you will not stay silent when Jewish people are attacked. I hope that you will be very sensitive to the lines that can easily be crossed by those taking a political position critical of Israel and a position leading to antisemitism.
Shine Your Light
Growing up in a Jewish home, I “knew” Jesus was not for the Jews and that most Christians did not like Jews. My attitude was probably shaped by the Holocaust which had ended just a few years before I was born.

However, this dark background actually proved to be very important in my spiritual journey. The contrast I experienced when I began meeting Christians who loved the Jewish people amazed me. In fact, I would say that one of the major reasons Jewish people believe in Jesus today is because of the love shown to them by a Gentile Christian.

Countering antisemitism is one way of showing Messiah’s love for the Jewish people. Believe me, it makes a big difference!
Support Jewish Evangelism
As I mentioned before, one of the devil’s greatest victories is convincing Jewish people that Jesus and His followers are anti-Jewish.

This breaks my heart. 

One of the reasons Jewish people feel defensive when true Christians talk about Jesus is because they believe, as I did when I was not yet a believer, that accepting Jesus meant I was giving up my Jewish heritage. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth! So many Jewish people who become followers find that being Jewish now means more to them than ever before.
The devil has sold us a lie—that one cannot be Jewish and believe in Jesus.

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Would you help us love what the devil hates and hate what the devil loves and bring the glorious Gospel of Jesus the Messiah to Jewish people around the world? In order to do this, we need your partnership—in prayer, financially, and by allowing us to help you shine the light of the Gospel to your Jewish friends.

We do need your financial support as February is traditionally a “low donation month” for a variety of reasons—and shorter as well!

Thanks for your partnership in the Gospel!

Mitch
P.S. Remember to pray for our online campaigns now going on in the state of Florida—to more than 800,000 Jewish people!  We are able to reach out in this way because of your support and prayers!

Earlier, on March 19, 2012, four Jewish people, including three children, were killed at the
Ozar Hatorah Jewish day school in Southern France.
http://www.trincoll.edu/NewsEvents/NewsArticles/Documents/Anti-Semitism Report Final.pdf

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