Chosen People Ministries, established in 1894, exists to evangelize, disciple, serve and pray for the Jewish people, and to help fellow Christians do the same. Our ministry began in Brooklyn, New York through the efforts of Rabbi Leopold Cohn, a Hungarian-Jewish immigrant whose life was radically transformed when he discovered that Jesus is the Messiah. Over the last 119 years, our ministry has expanded into the cities all over the world with the highest Jewish populations. Currently, we minister in seventeen countries, with over 200 staff members consisting of administrators and support-raising missionaries.
One of the ways that we are fulfilling our mission is by raising up and training new leaders in Jewish ministry through our seminary program - The Charles L. Feinberg Center for Messianic Jewish Studies. Several years ago, we recognized that there is a great need in Jewish missions for more seminary-trained leadership. Through a partnership with the Talbot School of Theology of Biola University in La Mirada, California, we received our accreditation through the New York Board of Regents and the Association of Theological Schools, and began classes in summer 2007. We currently have twenty-six students enrolled and have graduated eleven thus far.
The Feinberg Center degree program is 98 credits, and awards a Master of Divinity in Messianic Jewish Studies from the Talbot School of Theology. Our program is still the only one of its kind in the world; we offer a unique course of study that prepares leaders to enter Jewish ministry as missionaries, Messianic pastors, Messianic leaders, and educators. We also offer reduced tuition rates and housing subsidies for our students, with the goal that they have the opportunity to graduate debt-free and go directly into full-time Jewish missions.
A New Opportunity
From the beginning, we knew that if this program were to be successful, we would eventually have the challenge of finding a larger and more suitable space to house the seminary. For the past five years, we have been able to host the classes in the international headquarters building of Chosen People Ministries in Manhattan, and rent office space for the library only a few blocks away. Yet a few years ago, as we saw the Lord continue to bless and grow the seminary, we began to search for a new facility to house the program, and the Lord miraculously provided an incredible opportunity in the heart of the Jewish community in the borough of Brooklyn.
Brooklyn is home to more than 750,000 Jewish people, which means this one borough of New York City contains the highest concentration of Jewish people in the entire United States. We came across a building that had functioned as a Jewish funeral home. A rare, three-lot-wide, 14,000 square foot facility with three floors and a basement, a sanctuary on the first floor, located in the heart of a more "religious" Jewish neighborhood, seemed too good to be true.
We were offered a generous two-part matching gift by a Chosen People Ministries donor who had a burden for training a new generation of leaders for the field of Jewish evangelism. As only God could provide, we were able to negotiate the purchase price of the building to the exact amounts of the matching grants!
We prayerfully initiated a capital campaign in the late spring of 2010, and by God’s grace were able to raise the needed funds, closing on the building without debt in June 2010.
The opportunities this facility gives us for expanding our ministries are numerous. The location alone, situated on the borders of Orthodox Jewish, secular Jewish and Israeli communities, and an even larger neighborhood of Russian Jewish immigrants, will provide opportunities for evangelism and Christian benevolence that are unprecedented, as there is no other Jewish ministry in the area. It is clear the Lord wants us right in the middle of this key location.
After an extensive renovation, which is almost complete, the building will allow the following functionality:
- 1st Floor – Chapel/Sanctuary for 170 people, greeting lounge, multipurpose ministry room, warming kitchen
- 2nd Floor – Three Classrooms, study areas with computers, professor and missionary offices
- 3rd Floor – Living space for eleven single students, and a studio apartment for a professor or guest
- Basement – Feinberg Center Library, with more than 12,000 volumes
In addition to housing the seminary, the facility will also give us increased ministry space. We plan to not only house the Feinberg Center in the building, but also our current Brooklyn Messianic Center, which is currently operating out of a rental space a few miles away. The ministries supported by the current Brooklyn Center include a Russian-speaking Messianic congregation, benevolence ministries, ESL classes, and addiction care and recovery programs.
We will expand our ministry in the new facility by launching a brand new English-speaking Messianic congregation. We will also take advantage of the warming kitchen and multipurpose room to begin offering a "soup kitchen" style ministry to the needy in the community during the week, and a "Gospel café"-style outreach for the youth in the evenings. Our missionaries and Feinberg students will also hold various outreach events throughout the school year in fulfillment of their field education requirements for the seminary.
We are amazed at how the Lord has provided, and we know He has called us to expand our work in this important Jewish neighborhood. We are confident that the Lord will help us finish what He started, turning over a new page in our outreach efforts in the middle of Jewish Brooklyn.
KLAUDIA Z. - STAFF MEMBER
Klaudia Z. has been an integral part of our Brooklyn ministries for years. Coming from the Former Soviet Union, she knows exactly the needs and issues of these residents of Brooklyn. Many have come to know the Lord through her ministry. She writes,
"There are two Russian congregations that were started in Brooklyn. We will now be meeting in the Brooklyn Center, which is a huge blessing, since most landlords don’t like us because we are Messianic believers. Recently, we baptized twelve people and already, four more people are asking for such a public covenant with our Messiah Yeshua! With our move to the Brooklyn Center, we will be even more visible for people to stop in, ask questions and come to be a part of the congregation. Praise the Lord for this new facility!"
ROBERT W. - FEINBERG GRADUATE
"I recently had the opportunity to give a tour of the new Feinberg Center to a church group of about ten Christians who were visiting the area. While we prayed together in front of the building, a Jewish woman approached us and asked who we were and what we were doing. It turns out that she owns a store just a few doors down from our center. I explained to her that we were a group of believers in Jesus who love the Jewish people and Israel, and I told her that we were praying for the new center which would house our ministry and school. She was a bit skeptical at first (hey, it's Brooklyn!), but she relaxed a bit after chatting with us and seeing that we weren't crazy. Before we parted ways, a gentleman from the church asked her if we could pray for her business. This took her by surprise, but she gratefully agreed. She walked us to her business and after we prayed she was very appreciative. It was a unique opportunity and what stood out to her the most was the devotion of the prayer offered and how genuine our group's love was."
We are dedicating the Brooklyn Messianic Center!
Shalom! We are gearing up for an exciting month as we prepare to dedicate our newly-renovated Charles Feinberg Messianic Center in the heart of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn.
The dedication festivities will begin on Wednesday, September 18 with an Opening Reception and special Feast of Tabernacles service, as we have chosen the week of this great Jewish holiday to celebrate the dedication. It is the same week Solomon dedicated the first Temple in Jerusalem.
This long-awaited, highly-anticipated event is the beginning of new and exciting opportunities to share the love of Yeshua (Jesus) with the Jewish people in Brooklyn. We acknowledge that the Lord has brought about this blessing through the prayers and support of our wonderful friends, like you, who believe in the importance of bringing the Gospel to the Jewish people.
Dedication Week Outreach
In addition to the dedication events, we will be launching an Isaiah 53 Campaign in Brooklyn during the month of September. This campaign is especially strategic as it follows our "Shalom Brooklyn" outreach, which took place August 3-17, when 100-plus volunteers and staff members shared the Gospel with Jewish people on the streets, parks, beaches and subways of Brooklyn and many other key spots throughout New York City.
During the Brooklyn Isaiah 53 Campaign, we will advertise our evangelistic website (Isaiah53.com) on bus shelters, billboards, local newspapers and online - sharing the powerful message of Isaiah 53. The ads will direct seekers to our website, where they can request a free copy of the evangelistic book, Isaiah 53 Explained, as well as contact us directly.
We are also initiating many different types of outreaches in the area surrounding the new building. We will sponsor an Isaiah 53 art show, prayer walks, and a young adult café outreach, as well as outreaches on college campuses and special services in Russian and English. Please pray for these evangelistic events!
The Future of Jewish Evangelism in Brooklyn
In addition to the exciting new ministries we have planned, the Brooklyn Center will also be the new home for our Charles Feinberg Center for Messianic Jewish Studies - our Master of Divinity program in partnership with the Talbot School of Theology at Biola University. This fully-accredited program is the only one of its kind, and is designed to train those called to Jewish evangelism. We have already graduated eleven workers who are actively reaching out to Jewish people. In fact, a number of the leaders of our ministry in Brooklyn are graduates of the Feinberg Center!
We now have a whole new group of future leaders enrolled in the Feinberg Center, and I hope you will pray for them.
Allow me to introduce you to Steve and Jenna I. They are both graduates of Moody Bible Institute and are excited about being a part of the ministries of the new center. Steve, who has already been helping to lead one of our Russian Jewish congregations, writes,
The Brooklyn Center's opening will make a big difference in the future of Jewish evangelism globally and in Brooklyn specifically, as it will give us a variety of new opportunities to minister to the Jewish community. We will have a great space for Bible studies, where we can answer the questions of seekers, and a beautiful sanctuary that wonderfully captures the feel of a Jewish house of worship for the different Messianic congregations we are planting. The center is more than a location for mission work; it is also a training center for people called to share the Gospel of Yeshua with His Jewish people. The unique training we are receiving at the Feinberg Center allows us to learn Hebrew, Greek, Bible and Theology, Jewish studies, as well as apologetics for Jewish people.
Eryn and Elizabeth Black, also students of the Feinberg Center and active staff workers in Brooklyn, expressed their excitement about the new center:
The dedication and opening of Chosen People Ministries' new Brooklyn Center is really exciting for Elizabeth and me - one of the main reasons we moved to Brooklyn last year was in anticipation of all the new ministry opportunities the center will afford workers like us. For the past several years, we have become increasingly convinced that it is very important for believers to do outreach, service, and evangelism in their communities. When we were told that we would be able to get in on the ground floor of this new and improved work in Brooklyn, we felt the Lord confirming the desire we already had to do ministry in New York. Now, all the plans are coming to fruition; it’s a wonderful thing to behold the work of the Lord being knit together before our eyes.
During the dedication week, we are helping lead a movie event and a young adults' coffee house, and both activities have a lot of potential to reach the Jewish people in our community. This ministry has been a dream of ours for several years, and we couldn't be happier to see it coming true.
The center brings together theological training with the practical everyday work of Jewish ministry, so that our Feinberg students graduate with both the knowledge and ministry skills to serve the Lord among the Jewish people.
Perhaps this should go without saying, but let me remind you why establishing this ministry in Brooklyn, New York is so critical to worldwide Jewish ministries. Whereas the "official" number of Jewish people living in Brooklyn is about 800,000, the real number is closer to one million. This would mean that almost one-third of this borough of 3.4 million people are Jewish!
This is about the same number of Jewish people as in Tel Aviv - an entire city - and more than double the number living in Jerusalem. The Jewish leaders in Brooklyn, especially among the most religious, have a profound influence on Jewish communities in Israel and in other parts of the globe. By reaching the Jewish people of Brooklyn, we are also reaching the Jewish people of the world. Your partnership in Brooklyn will have an impact on the global Jewish community.
May I ask you to consider a generous gift to the Charles Feinberg Center in Brooklyn?
Our Board and staff have given generously to the center, and I am praying that you will give generously and sacrificially as well! It looks like we will move into the new center without debt; however, we still need additional funds for the renovation as well and approximately $300,000 for the furnishings, technology, chairs, carpets, and much more.
Forgive me for being so forward in asking, but I believe we have a golden moment to join together in reaching Jewish people that may only come once in a lifetime.
Thanks so much for your prayers and generous support! May the God of Israel fill you with His joy and bless you as you bless the Jewish people.
Your brother in the Messiah,
P.S. For your gift of $1,000* or more, we will send you a beautiful picture of the new building that you can frame and use as a prayer reminder.
*The amount of the contribution that is deductible for federal income tax purposes is limited to the excess of money contributed by the donor over the value of goods or services provided by the organization.
Thank you - from our staff
Both our missionary staff in the field and our administrative staff, who handle the behind-the-scenes work, need your help.
Would you open your hearts to encouraging our staff by giving an extra gift this summer?
These brothers and sisters need your prayers, support and encouragement to keep giving their all for the sake of reaching God's chosen people.
Your gift this month will go directly to the Under-Supported Ministry Fund that we have established to make it possible for our staff to receive their full compensation.
An extra $100 or $1,000 would make all the difference in the world, so that we have the funds to provide extra support for missionaries who fall short of their support needs - especially those serving in Israel, Russia and many other countries around the world with large Jewish populations.
A conversation with Maxim (serving in Israel)
Thanks so much for caring, and may the Lord fill you with His joy during the rest of the summer!
Donuts, Coffee and Salvation
Missionary Greg Savitt, who makes his home in Florida, was put in touch with a Jewish man whose wife is a believer. For the past year, Greg has met faithfully with him every few weeks at their favorite place for coffee and donuts. The man was open, curious and sincerely seeking the truth. As Greg writes, “He devoured each evangelistic book I gave him.” Then Greg got a birthday present he was not expecting: “On my birthday, my dear Jewish friend finally prayed with me to receive the Lord.”
Jewish Woman Finds New Birth Through Terminal Illness
Veteran staff member Carole Bahm, who also serves in Florida, met a seventy-one-year-old Jewish woman who has suffered with cerebral palsy since birth. Recently, she was told she has stage four colon cancer and has been given six months to two years to live. She and her late husband had no interest in spiritual matters, but now that she has been confronted with her mortality, she wanted to know what happens after death - as well as the truth about Jesus. Carole spent many hours with her, sharing from the Hebrew Scriptures and how they were fulfilled in the New Testament. Finally one night, this woman received the Lord. Carole asks, “Please keep her in your prayers, as she has a lot to go through.”
Not Too Old to be Born Again
Cathy Wilson, who ministers faithfully to many Jewish seniors in the Scottsdale, Arizona vicinity, often forms warm, personal ties with them. A 91-year-old Jewish friend, Lina* has come to faith in Jesus the Messiah! Cathy noticed that she was nodding in agreement during the Tuesday Bible study Cathy leads at the retirement center. Following the study, Cathy approached her. Lina said that she had learned a great deal from Cathy’s teaching and then expressed frustration at not having known about Jesus previously. Lina then said that she believed that she was a sinner and that Jesus had died for her sins. In the middle of a crowded room, she and Cathy prayed together for her to receive the Lord.
Passover Seders in Russia Bring Jewish Faith Decisions
Reports of new faith decisions from our busy Passover season are still reaching us. Kirill Polonskiy, who is helping to pioneer our revived work in Russia, reports, “We telephoned the Jewish people in our area to invite them to our Messianic Seder, and fifty-two new Jewish guests attended. We gave everyone a copy of the Hebrew Bible as well as the book Isaiah 53 Explained. During the meeting, I asked the people to pray with me to dedicate their lives to the Lord, and many of the new people did so! Also, Mira, our missionary in Moscow, held a Passover Seder in her local Messianic congregation. Twenty-four new Jewish visitors came to this event, of which eight prayed to receive the Lord!”
“Isracamps” Growing in Faith and Service
Summer camps can be a great place to make a faith decision - and it is no different in Israel. Chosen People Ministries’ first Messianic camp was conducted eight years ago for our community in Tel Aviv. At the time, there were ten children and two assistants. Since then, our worker, Maxim K., has organized and held more than forty camps. Today, more than sixty children from different communities in Israel and more than twenty assistants participate in our “Isracamps.” All the helpers are teens who have reached seventeen years of age and, most significantly, were once young campers with us. Our next “Isracamp” will be in Poland in July. More than thirty children from Israel and a group of Jewish children from Russia and Germany will be our guests.
Chosen People Ministries Now Partnering with Southern Baptists in Argentina
Partnership in ministry with like-minded churches has always been a cornerstone of Chosen People Ministries’ evangelistic efforts. That is why we are especially happy to announce a partnership with the Argentine Baptist Mission. One of our ministries together is the Sababa Center (Hebrew for “No Problem!”), a ministry to young Israeli tourists who have recently arrived in Buenos Aires. Our contact in Argentina will be Rick Kunz, who leads a Messianic congregation there. Please pray that the Lord will make this newly-formed partnership fruitful for the Kingdom.