Shalom! European Jewry is in CRISIS! We see it happening everywhere from France, to Denmark, England and Ukraine. I am afraid that soon, many other European countries will also succumb to more overt attacks against Jewish people. The brutal attacks, which seem to be inspired by a fiercely growing Jihadist influence in these countries, are reminiscent of the slow-growing, horrific Nazi antisemitism of the 1930s and 1940s.
Your Mission to the Jewish People MUST sound a warning signal as we need to take action to help those Jewish people that are suffering.
Right now, the Jews of France, a nation with almost 500,000 Jewish people (the third largest Jewish population in the world), are in the greatest danger. Let me share part of a conversation I had with Olivier Melnick, who is on our staff and was born and raised in France. Then I will tell you what we intend to do and how you can help God’s chosen people in the wake of these terrible conditions.
In Raanana, Israel, a woman mourns over the body of her husband who was gunned down in an attack.
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Olivier, your mom had an especially difficult time during the Holocaust. Can you tell us about her experience?
My mother saw her dad taken by the Gestapo in 1942. She immediately was sent to the southwest area of France below the Free Zone. She remained on a farm there until the end of the war, hidden and protected by a family of peasants who recently were named by Yad Vashem as “Righteous Gentiles.” Her father died in Auschwitz.
Did you experience antisemitism growing up in France?
My mother always warned me to not share too much about our Jewish heritage with my friends at school. She feared a return of the Nazis for many years and even forced me to learn German in school instead of Spanish as a second foreign language, just to get by in case they [the Nazis] came back.
In your opinion, what is the root of French antisemitism?
The root of French antisemitism is the root of all antisemitism—and it is Satan. He hates all that God loves, and loves all that God hates. The Jewish people are the “apple of God’s eye” and His chosen people. Satan lives to destroy them. Over the centuries, he has used different people groups to sub-contract his hatred of the Jews. France has a long history of antisemitism: blood libels, Crusades, multiple expulsions, the Dreyfus Affair and the events of World War II.
In January, an anti-terrorism rally in Paris drew people from all over the world.
Can you describe the growth of “modern” antisemitism in France?
Antisemitism became taboo after the Holocaust. There was great hope that the Jewish motto “Never Again” would become a clarion call in France. But today we see a return of this oldest hatred, fanned by the radical Jihadist Muslims living among the five million-plus Muslims in France.
Do you believe French Jews will leave France? Will many move to Israel? Do you have any personal stories you can share which illustrate this?
There is no question in my mind that French Jews are leaving France, a country they have called home for centuries. Last year 7,000 Jews moved to Israel; we might see an additional 10,000 leave in 2015—and the predictions have risen as high as 150,000 in the next five to ten years. The majority of them will go to Israel. This could be massively accelerated if there are more incidents as brutal as those of the past year.
Members of my own family are preparing to make this move in the next year or so. After the terrorist attacks in Paris in early January 2015, they made their decision.
My mother still lives in the same home where the Nazis arrested her father, only 500 yards from the kosher supermarket where the four Jewish people were slaughtered. When I called her and asked her to stay inside while the hostage situation was unfolding, she started crying and asked, “Do you think that they are coming back for us?” My niece lives only 40 yards from the same market and was there, in the market, 15 minutes before the killer went on his rampage.
My 88-year-old mother most likely will stay in Paris, but my nieces have already planned to get out.
What future do you see for French Jews?
The future for French Jews, or even most European Jews, is very bleak if they remain in their respective countries. French Jews have known that Jewish life in France was becoming more and more dangerous since the Ilan Halimi murder in 2006, the Toulouse massacre of 2012, and the near-pogrom at a synagogue in Paris in 2014. The capstone of the recent terror came with the murders at the Super Kosher supermarket last January.
French Jews are frightened—and should be!
What are the French government, media, religious leaders, etc., doing to help Jewish people in France?
The government is paying lip service in saying that they will do everything they can to protect French Jews, but are only placing a few police officers here and there. This cannot and will not solve the problem as long as the government is “soft” on Islamic terror.
My heart bleeds for my people. French Jews need the helping hand of loving believers in the Jewish Messiah. My prayer is that many Christians would seize the opportunity to help Jewish people inside of France and as they move to Israel.
Olivier and his family
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What Can We Do?
I am thankful for Olivier and for his insights. Now, allow me to list a few ways we are planning to help. I hope you will join us in reaching out to the Jews of France with the love of Jesus!
Prayer and Monitoring
The Psalmist tells us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6). This is critical. I hope you will both pray against future attacks and monitor the news, so that you can pray for the victims of new attacks as they come about. You might even reach out to the Jewish people in your community and let them know you are praying for the safety of the global Jewish people.
A French-Language Israel Online Help Desk
We are creating a French virtual help desk and linking French Jewish immigrants to Messianic believers in Israel who can help them as they immigrate. Our help desk will serve as a lifeline to French Jews who are making this transition to Israel. We will provide advice, helpful hints on where to live, shop, study Hebrew, and much more. We will advertise the help desk on Facebook and social media, so that French Jewish people in France and in Israel will know how to find some of the help they need.
The French Isaiah 53 Explained Book and the Isaiah 53 French-Language Campaign
The French translation of the Isaiah 53 Explained book is now complete and being printed. I would love to give away 10,000-plus books in the next few months—and hopefully many more! We will again advertise online and guide hundreds, if not thousands, of French Jews to our website to hear about the One who loves us and died as an atonement for our sins. There is no doubt that French Jewish people will be looking for spiritual answers to the problems of this world! We hope to provide a loving, biblical and very accessible witness to these dear people—in French!
Urban cafe on rue des Rosiers, a major centre of the Paris Jewish community.
Your Support – Needed Now!
I could not wait to help the French Jewish people until this letter was mailed. We have already been doing as much as we can, but will be able to do more because of your financial support.
I am often asked to be specific about our financial needs. So, I want to let you know what is needed and the impact your gift will have in reaching out to French Jewish people with the love of Jesus.
We know that it takes about $5 to get an Isaiah 53 Explained book into the hands of a Jewish person. This includes the printing, mailing and online advertising costs. Would you consider a gift of $50 to reach ten French Jews, $500 to reach 100, or as the Lord enables you—even more? We believe, based upon our experience in online ministries, that we can send out 10,000 or more if we have the funds available to do so.
We will also need to advertise the help desk. I believe this project will take an additional $35,000 to develop the site and advertise the help we are offering online and through other types of French media as well.
Thank you for taking the time to read this urgent request and for your generosity and prayers for the French Jewish people who are suffering because of the hatred of others!
Ministry News Briefs - March 2015
Jewish Man Finds Messianic Mentor
Staff member Jon Lieberman, representing our Mission at Taylor University’s annual student missions conference in Indiana, met a representative of a medical missions organization there. He asked, “Do you know any one who is Jewish?” She responded that she had met a young, Jewish, professional man at a conference in Ohio. Right away, Jon encouraged her to give him a copy of Isaiah 53 Explained the next time she saw him. The next week, she did just that, and within a week Jon received an email from Marvin* wanting Jon to “mentor him.” During a lengthy phone conversation, Marvin told Jon that he is “excited about starting this spiritual journey.” Jon writes, “I know that I will be investing hours and weeks patiently helping him. But isn’t that what discipleship is all about?”
Friendship Leads to New Life for Jewish Man in Toronto
Anna Bortsova, who serves with the Mission in Toronto, rejoices that Moses,* a Jewish man whom she and her husband, Vladimir, befriended, has become a believer. After having begun attending Chosen People Ministries’ congregation, Moses was greatly moved by congregational leader Ben Volman’s sermon, “The Way, the Truth and the Life.” After the service, the Bortsovs spoke with Moses, who was touched by the clear truth about what Jesus says about Himself. Anna writes, “He could not resist the Holy Spirit and opened his heart. At the age of 70, Moses became a new creature! Praise God with us and pray for Moses’ growth!”
A Tale of Two Shlomos
Chris and Margaret Herud, who serve with Chosen People Ministries’ hospitality ministry in New Zealand, received a call from Shlomo,* a religious Israeli, seeking accommodations for the Sabbath. He also asked if he could bring a travelling companion, another Shlomo,* from the United States—quieter, polite, and a deep thinker. Chris had made some challah bread, a Sabbath tradition, which created quite a positive impression! Although Israeli Shlomo did not participate much in the dinner discussion, Chris was able to give an English version of Isaiah 53 Explained to USA Shlomo. He said he was very touched and that he would read it. Please pray that the seeds that were planted will bear fruit in both Shlomos’ lives.
There Can Be No Doubt
Brooklyn Messianic Congregational Leader, Rich Flashman, had the great privilege of baptizing Shmuel,* the Jewish Israeli soldier who gave his life to Yeshua (Jesus) earlier this year. After Shmuel’s baptism service, Rich took him, his cousin, and Shmuel’s unbelieving brother, Joey,* out for a meal. Over dinner, the Lord opened the door of Joey’s heart as Rich shared the Gospel with him. At one point in the conversation Rich asked, “Have you read Isaiah 53?” Joey replied that he had. Rich then asked, “Who do you think the prophet was speaking about?” Joey said, “There can be no doubt, it’s Jesus.” Please pray the Holy Spirit will press the truth and the incomparable value of the Gospel onto Joey’s heart.
Volunteer Outreach Leads to Gospel Witness to Jewish Man
Neal and Kim Surasky, who lead Chosen People Ministries’ Messianic congregation in northern Virginia, recently led a congregational outreach at a local homeless shelter. There they were blessed to pray with a number of people to rededicate their lives to God. That same day, they also met Joshua,* a Jewish seeker who had recently moved into the area, and was volunteering there. Neal and Kim were able to spend some time with him. After some conversation, Joshua asked Neal to pray for him, gave him his contact information and said that he would like to visit the congregation. Please pray that God will continue to open his heart to the Gospel.
*names have been changed
The World’s Greatest Sufferer
Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12
The description of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah chapters 52 and 53 is one of the most compelling passages in the Tenach (Old Testament). This Scripture portion contains five prophetic insights concerning the suffering of the Messiah. The portrayal of Jesus within the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) shows how He fulfilled Isaiah’s prophetic vision.
The Identity of the
Who is the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 52:13-53:12? The Jewish community, almost universally, considered this passage a Messianic prediction until Rashi (1040-1105), the esteemed medieval French rabbi, introduced an alternative interpretation. This great teacher, who interpreted the passage as a reference to the sufferings of the nation of Israel as a whole, has influenced Jewish teaching ever since.
Looking at the text and the context, however, demonstrates very clearly that an individual—namely the Messiah—is the reference, since the Servant is differentiated both from the remnant and from the entire nation. Here, the Servant suffers not only on behalf of Israel, His people, but also for the entire human race.
The Fame and Renown of Messiah’s Sufferings –
Isaiah 52:13 - 53:3
The One described in this prophecy is said to be the “Servant of the Lord” (Isa. 52:13; 53:11). The numerous synonyms indicate the magnitude of His exaltation (Isa. 52:13). Many will be disgusted by His bruised and marred appearance (Isa. 52:14).
There are at least 80 references to Isaiah in the New Testament, and many of these allude to this passage. Philip, the evangelist, did not hesitate to identify Jesus with the fulfillment of Isaiah 53 (see Acts 8:35).
The Purchase of Redemption through Messiah’s Sufferings – Isaiah 53:4-6
Messiah did not die for Himself. No sins are connected with His sufferings. He bore the grief and consequences for His people. Through His death, He made atonement for Israel’s transgressions and iniquities (Isa. 53:4-6). As our substitute, God allowed the Messiah to be attacked, because God’s people wandered off like sheep, so they might experience redemption (Isa. 53:4-6).
This text conveys the great theological concepts of Ransom, Propitiation, Redemption, and Substitution. Messiah’s bruising accomplished each of these
The Resignation to Messiah’s Sufferings – Isaiah 53:7-9
We read that there was no protest or complaint when Messiah suffered. In fact He was meek and gentle. He did not open His mouth to protest (Isa. 53:7). Amazingly, Jesus the Messiah did not ask for a defense.
The depiction of the trials of Jesus mirrors the suffering of Isaiah’s Servant. As the Gospels portray Jesus’ trials, Messiah was absolutely submissive throughout His sufferings and thoroughly resigned to all His cruel treatment (Isa. 53:7-9).
The Rewards of Messiah’s Sufferings – Isaiah 53:10-12
The Servant pleased the Lord (Isa. 53:10) and will see the fruit of His travail (Isa. 53:11). Because He would justify many and would bear their iniquities, He will receive the “portion of the great and divide the spoil with the strong” (Isa. 53:12).
The New Testament indicates Jesus had the privilege of interceding for the transgressors and still does as our great High Priest (Isa. 53:12; Heb. 7:25).
The prophetic insights gleaned from Isaiah 52:13-53:12 point us in one direction—to Jesus the Messiah and the wondrous gift of redemption that God extends to us through His suffering. Have you received that priceless gift?
President's Prayer Letter, March 2015
Shalom. I am thrilled with the wonderful things God is doing in Israel. The war with Gaza was traumatic and many of the most vulnerable Israelis are still recovering from the stress of the war. As you know our missionaries were in the middle of the conflict, doing all they could to comfort the suffering and try to get some of the elderly Holocaust Survivors and children out of harm’s way.
Even today we are still helping some of these beloved folks to recover from the daily threats of rockets, bombs, and indiscriminate terrorism.
May I share a few exciting reports from our post war relief efforts so that you praise the Lord with me for His faithfulness and hard work of our Israel staff?
Post-War Ministry Efforts Among Holocaust Survivors
One of the groups of Israelis who suffered the most during the war were the elderly Holocaust survivors—many of whom we minister to on a regular basis. Let me share with you a brief report from Maxim Katz, who leads this effort.
Shalom Dear Mitch,
I am always excited to be able to do another project for Holocaust survivors because we do not have a lot of time left to reach out to them. Each year, there are fewer and fewer Holocaust survivors so I pray God will give more opportunities to share His love.
Recently, we organized a three-day trip to the Dead Sea where they could rest and, more importantly, hear about God. About fifty people took part—most of them were not believers, and some of them told me that they have begun to sense God’s presence and that they are now open to Jesus being the Jewish Messiah.
We had wonderful fellowship with worship and Bible discussions. We focused on the lives of Abraham, Moses, and Paul. Specifically, I spoke about their lives before they came to know God and how their lives changed after they met Him. I paid special attention to the cause of this change. Thus, we could stress again the influence that God has on those who meet Him.
Most people came from Sderot and they were extremely grateful for an opportunity to leave the town for some time. The most thrilling moment was on the last day of the project. After the final meeting, we separated into three groups with a volunteer in each group and we prayed for these people and with these people for their needs and worries. It was such a great moment to see how they turned to God.
I thank the Lord for all that He does. It is especially encouraging to see the fruit—I rejoice when I see people change and come closer to God. I am happy when I can minister to them, both physically and spiritually.
Many blessings from Jerusalem,
Children’s Retreats – a Time for Healing
Holocaust survivors are not the only ones who need healing. As always in the horror of warfare, it is the children who suffer most unjustly. Chosen People Ministries held a retreat for 50 children, aged 10-14, from cities targeted by missiles.
This was an opportunity for volunteers to help these children and to build relationships with them. It was also another example of a credible witness for the Messianic movement in Israel, and Chosen People Ministries in particular, as this event was actually held in cooperation with the government branch of the Israel Ministry of Education. Maxim reported again,
Shalom dear Mitch,
It is always such a huge blessing to be able to take part in the work of God and in sharing His love. There was recently such an opportunity. This time it was a three-day camp for children from the South—Ashdod, Ashkelon and some other places. They could not enjoy their summer holidays because of constant rocket fire so we were able to give 43 children, aged 10 to 14, a wonderful three-day retreat.
As usual, we had a lot of fun and the children were extremely excited to be involved in all the activities, whether it was a jeep ride, playing games, or a show. For the children it was truly a lot of fun. They could see interesting things and spend quality time with each other and with us.
“From destroyed to restored” was the subject we concentrated on. We invited a woman who is a believer and a social worker. She specializes in working with people who have mental traumas as a result of terrorist attacks. She held a psychological art workshop for the children. The children smashed colored plates and made mosaics out of broken pieces of china. They took the mosaics home as a souvenir to remember that what has been destroyed can be restored and made beautiful again.
Each morning, we started with worship and spiritual fellowship that helped us focus on the day. The weekend coincided with Tu BiShvat—the Jewish festival that is known as the new year for trees. I spoke about the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the choice that was given to man. Deuteronomy 20:19-20 tells us that every tree that does not bear fruit can be cut down.
A person is also like a tree who needs water and, more importantly, spiritual water which we can receive only from Jesus. The choice that we can make is choosing either life or death. In Matthew 3:10, we read, “Every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” Therefore, we should chose and be determined to produce good fruit. I encouraged the children to do so.
I am grateful for the support and prayers that made this event possible.
Your Loving and Faithful Partnership
Our Israel team could not have held these three significant conferences without your help and faithful financial support. I hope you are as happy as I am to have had a role in making these historic conferences take place.
These ministries among the children and Holocaust survivors is typical of the kind of ministries Your Mission to the Jewish People does in Israel, in 20 cities around the US, and in 14 other countries around the world. We believe in loving Jewish people into the kingdom and to always make the Gospel of our Messiah Jesus clear and sensitively presented.
We are always looking for His opportunities to reach Jewish people for Jesus. But, we cannot do this great and prophetic work (Rom. 11:25-29) without your prayers and financial support.
Please pray about giving a generous gift that will allow our missionaries to take advantage of the opportunities for the Gospel. For example, we are developing a strategy to reach French Jewish people immigrating by the thousands to Israel. We are getting ready to launch our Isaiah 53 Campaign in the greater Chicago area—a city with almost 400,000 Jewish people. The time for letting Jewish people know about Jesus is NOW!
Thank you again for your continued support of Your Mission to the Jewish People around the globe!