Our Dedicated Workers on the Front Lines
Dear friend in the Messiah,
Shalom from New York City and I pray you have a Happy Jewish New Year as we will celebrate Rosh Hashanah on the 25th of this month! According to tradition, we are entering the year 5775. Please pray for our holiday services that will be held all month, as we expect many Jewish seekers to attend.
It has been quite a summer for Your Mission to the Jewish People. We completed a successful evangelistic outreach—Shalom Brooklyn (in Brooklyn of course!). We shared the Gospel with hundreds of Jewish people, and many prayed to receive the Lord. We are now following up with all of these Jewish contacts who are open to hearing more about Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah! Our new Messianic congregations, one in Russian and one in English, are both fully operational and meeting at our Feinberg Center in the heart of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn—the ideal environment for these new seekers!
It has been a very difficult and yet fruitful season of ministry in the Holy Land. In the midst of air raid sirens, falling rockets and the tension of soldiers battling for the security of Israel, the work of Messiah has continued. We held children’s camps, trips for Holocaust survivors, Bible studies, congregational meetings, ministries to drug addicts and so much more.
My Brother and Co-Worker – Maxim Katz
One of the staff members of Chosen People Ministries in Israel that I wish you could meet is Maxim Katz. This dear, hard-working brother leads our ministries among Holocaust survivors and elderly Russian Jews in Israel. He leads our children’s camps and ministries to soldiers as well.
Maxim grew up in the Former Soviet Union in the city of Birobidzhan. As an older teenager, he left home and immigrated to Israel. After a short time, in what he hoped would be his “promised land,” Maxim fell into a very unwholesome lifestyle. He began using drugs and alcohol, and soon he was living on the streets. As terrible as this was, this nonetheless led to some life-transforming experiences that would shape the character and future of this young immigrant to Israel.
The most important of these experiences was that Maxim came to know Jesus. He was raised a Jewish atheist, having no concept of God or what it meant to be religiously Jewish. He knew he was Jewish and that Israel was a place he could go to escape the bleak prospects of life and career in the Former Soviet Union. But, like the prodigal son, he left his home and found himself in a far worse condition than before.
Yet God had other plans! He graciously saved Maxim in the city of Eilat, and this young man began growing in his faith. There were some really rough moments when he was tempted to return to his old lifestyle, but through the ministry of a Christian community called The Shelter and the good influence of many others, Maxim pulled through for the Lord. Eventually, Maxim went through a number of discipleship courses offered in Israel and spent a number of years studying at Israel College of the Bible.
Maxim became friends with the leader of Chosen People Ministries in Israel, Michael Z., another Russian Jewish immigrant who had come to the Lord. Michael encouraged Maxim to serve the Lord in full-time Jewish ministry and in 2002, Maxim began his work with Chosen People Ministries. His life—and the work of Chosen People Ministries in Israel—was never the same!
As I mentioned before, God used the difficult experiences in Maxim’s life to shape his character. From a very early stage in his ministry, Maxim demonstrated a heart of compassion that I have rarely seen among believers. He loves children, elderly people and everyone in between. Maxim works tirelessly to show Israelis the love of Jesus in the most practical ways: listening, feeding them and providing companionship, just to name a few.
Eventually, Maxim began a ministry of both practical and spiritual help among elderly Holocaust survivors, which continues to this very day. There are elderly Holocaust survivors who have opened their hearts to the Messiah because God used Maxim to touch their lives!
During the last few months, Maxim’s ministry among the survivors has intensified because of the war with Hamas in Gaza. Maxim has been able to show the love of Jesus by bringing food, comfort and the Gospel to these precious people, most of whom are between 80 and 90 years old. Some had not left their homes for two or three weeks because they needed to stay within fifteen seconds of a bombshelter—it was simply tragic! Maxim has a tremendous influence among so many of them.
The Daniel Fuchs Memorial Fund: Helping Our Under-Supported Missionaries
There was a time when Maxim wanted to serve with Chosen People Ministries, but because he lived in Israel it was impossible for him to raise support. His English was not good and he was unable to travel to the United States to speak in churches or meet Christians who might support his ministry.
Now, his English has improved—and so has his level of support. But there are others like Maxim who need our help. This is why we created the Daniel Fuchs Memorial Fund, named after one of the Mission’s previous presidents who had a great heart for our missionaries and their families.
We have many other staff members living in Israel, Russia, Ukraine and Western Europe who are willing and ready to serve, but need our prayers and financial support to get started! Thank God for the United States of America, Canada and other countries where supporting God’s work through individual missionaries is a fundamental principle of our faith and walk with Jesus. We are privileged to live in places where we can worship as we please and provide resources that can be used to spread the Gospel around the world—to the Jew first and also to the Gentile.
Would you please consider a gift today to help some wonderful ministry workers, who for one reason or another are unable to raise their support? We want to help them get started and to provide support until, by God’s grace, they are able to raise the support themselves.
The average need varies considerably with the country in which the worker lives—so it is hard for me to tell you how much we need. One staff member in Israel needs about $25,000 each year to make ends meet, while another in Russia needs between $10,000 and $15,000 per year. Some of our staff in Brooklyn need more than this.
We try to invest in staff members who serve in areas where raising support is especially difficult, and we also try to do the most for those who are in the beginning stages of their ministries. Your gift today can help put a missionary on the field!
Thank you for your generosity, your love for the Lord and the Jewish people— and for your prayers for the peace of Jerusalem! I would like to send you a copy of our new Messianic Jewish Art Calendar as a thank you for your gift of $200 or more. I know you will love it and be reminded to pray for Your Mission to the Jewish People each day!
P.S. Maxim will be coming to the United States to participate in a special banquet to raise funds for our ministries among the poor and needy in Israel. The date is December 6, and I hope you will pray for this important event—or attend if you are in the area! For more information, visit www.chosenpeople.com/holidaybanquet.
Thank you for asking me to describe our difficult situation today. We live in Sderot, an ordinary, small city in Israel. But there is something that makes life here different than other places in Israel. We are one and a half miles from the border of Gaza!
For almost 14 years, enemies have fired missiles at our city and during the middle of the recent conflict, the number went up to 40 rockets a day.
It has been so frightening for my friends and me. Sirens go off all the time, day and night, and sometimes up to nine or ten per hour. Only a few seconds separate the siren sound and the actual time the rocket or bomb falls, and we hear the bombs hitting some targets either in our city or in Gaza.
Of course, we are terrified that the next target might be our home. We are even more afraid that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren who live in cities like Tel Aviv, Ashkelon and Ashdod might be bombed!
We are on the verge of a nervous breakdown and are living in permanent fear.
There are around 80 people like me who survived the Holocaust and live in the social apartments, and we cannot afford to leave. Most of us never thought that we would experience the fear of being killed again…especially in our own homeland!
As the president of Chosen People Ministries, I am privileged to lead one of the oldest and largest mission agencies reaching the Jewish people with the love of Jesus the Messiah. The above is just one of the many moving stories that have crossed my desk recently, and it moved me to tears!
I know you love the same Lord, and that your heart is broken over the recent events related to the war between Israel and Hamas terrorists. Innocent victims suffered on both sides, and we continue to shed tears for those whose lives were shattered by the conflict.
One of the hidden groups of Israelis who have endured the most distress is the almost two hundred thousand elderly Holocaust survivors still alive today in Israel. These dear people, who have been through so much in the past, need the help of loving Christians today.
Maxim, one of our faithful staff members who leads many of our ministries among the Holocaust survivors, writes:
Esther wrote the above letter. Seventeen years ago she came to Israel from Ukraine. She was in the Ghetto during the Holocaust, and her mother was shot before her eyes. Being a child, she was about to be shot together with other Jews but someone pushed her, she fell and somehow was spared.
Nowadays, she is responsible for the Holocaust Survivors Organization in Sderot and helps us in various projects. As you remember, our ministry among these precious Holocaust survivors began with the second Lebanon war when tens of thousands of Israelis living within the range of missiles fired from southern Lebanon fled their homes and moved as far south as they could.
We put together a team that fed and cared for almost 300 people for more than a month. Many of these were elderly Holocaust survivors; they grew to love us and we grew to love them too. We discovered that the survivors were organized into groups in various regions around Israel. We were especially drawn to the small group of elderly Holocaust survivors in Sderot. We began visiting them and doing what we could to help them experience God’s love through Jesus the Messiah and to teach them the Scriptures.
Thank you for helping me reach these precious people through trips, holiday events, Bible studies, food distribution and
so much more. But now we need to do even more, as they have suffered terribly during the conflict.
Maxim organized a Hanukkah party for Holocaust survivors in Sderot
I am so grateful for Maxim's ministry! I asked him for some suggestions on how we might help after the conflict is resolved... for now! Let me summarize Maxim's suggestions for you:
Show Love in Practical Ways
We need to show these people love in very practical ways in order to win a hearing for the Gospel. Let me offer the following suggestions as to how we might help in this time of emergency, now that the terror of the conflict has subsided. The real work of rebuilding shattered lives begins now!
Maxim mentioned three key groups to me who will need our help - the Holocaust survivors, the children and Israeli soldiers - especially those who do not have family in Israel.
Maxim told me that he wants to bring Holocaust survivors to Poland for a break, as he has done before. There today, in contrast to the horrors of the past, they are loved and ministered to by committed Polish Christians. They also have a time of Bible teaching and the chance to get far away from the stress of living so close to Gaza. We need funding to take them to Poland. These beautiful people range between 75 and 95 years old, and we think that the Lord is offering us the opportunity now to change their view of Jesus! We need your help to do so.
Helping the Children
We have also been asked to organize a camp for children from the South (the areas closest to the conflict) that would focus on providing biblical and godly counsel to help these kids process their experiences during the war. Remember, many of them come from homes where a parent was called up to active military service.
There is another group of people we cannot forget. Last time, after the military actions, we organized a weekend conference for soldiers. We asked believing soldiers to take their nonbelieving friends to a place where they could have rest, fellowship and Bible teaching. I think that it would be good to do this again.
We will invite Christian counselors who provide biblical counseling on how to cope with post-traumatic stress in the aftermath of war. This will be very helpful to them.
Your Prayers and Gifts Matter!
Thanks so much for caring - and most of all for praying for the peace of Jerusalem. There were times we thought this war would never end!
Your gift will go towards the work of Chosen People Ministries in Israel. You can specify if you want it used for the Holocaust Survivors, the Children or the Soldiers.
Please write either War Relief or Ministry in Israel
in the "Special Designation" box
If you do not specify, we will use your generous gift to fund our work in Israel: our centers in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and all of the various ministries that we are engaged in each day - especially now - to reach Israelis with the Gospel.
For your gift of $300 or more, I will send you a copy of our new book published by Kregel Publications entitled, The People, the Land and the Future of Israel. This is a very timely book and I know it will be a great blessing to you!
Yours for the Gospel,
Ministry Update: Brooklyn
Shalom dear friend in the Messiah,
Your Mission to the Jewish People has had what I can only describe as an electrifying summer! It has been action-packed! We’ve had four summer camps for children in the United States and Israel, as well as two weeks of intensive outreach during Shalom Brooklyn. Additionally, we conducted two short-term mission trips to Israel and a heightened season of ministry in the war-torn Holy Land, enabling us to show the love of Jesus to elderly Holocaust survivors and many others.
We need a rest from the summer!
Thank you for your prayers and generous financial support that allowed us to reach so many Jewish people for Jesus during the last few months.
We are turning our eyes and hearts to the tremendous opportunities ahead, as Jewish people will begin celebrating the High Holidays in September: the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah), the Day of Atonement
(Yom Kippur) and the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot). We will be inviting Jewish people to attend services at Chosen People Ministries’ branches and congregations to hear the Gospel with the holidays as a backdrop.
New Beginnings in Brooklyn
This will be our first full year of ministry at our wonderful new Brooklyn Messianic Center in the heart of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn—the very borough where Chosen People Ministries began in 1894.
There are almost one million Jewish people in Brooklyn, and less than a half of one percent of them believes in Jesus. There are more religious Jewish people in Brooklyn than anywhere else in the world outside of Israel. Brooklyn is “Orthodox Central” and the key rabbis that lead the more Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish movements around the world are based in Brooklyn.
Religious Jewish people rarely travel outside of their communities, so it would be impossible to reach them without living and ministering among them. This is why I believe our new Messianic center in the heart of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn is important.
There are also hundreds of thousands of Russian Jewish immigrants in the immediate vicinity of the new center who have shown a tremendous interest in the Gospel.
Forty Russian Jewish people gave their hearts to the Lord last summer during Shalom Brooklyn. We have planted Russian Jewish Messianic congregations in Brooklyn as well.
The Charles L. Feinberg Center in Brooklyn
As you know, Chosen People Ministries has purchased and renovated a 14,000-square-foot former Orthodox Jewish funeral home that now serves as our headquarters for our ministries in Brooklyn. It is the perfect location for Jewish evangelism.
The center has ample space for classrooms, a library and offices to house our Charles L. Feinberg Center for Messianic Jewish Studies program. This is our seminary training program affiliated with the Talbot School of Theology of Biola University. The students who train at the seminary are active participants in local outreach to the Jewish community surrounding the center.
We are able to help Holocaust survivors and elderly Russian Jewish people who recently immigrated to the United States. We also give support to Jewish families whose children have become deeply involved with drugs and sadly are in and out of prison.
We are now planting an English-speaking Messianic congregation, which meets in the chapel of our beautiful Feinberg Center. We conduct Bible studies, lectures, café outreach, Jewish movie nights, and more…all designed to reach the diverse Jewish community surrounding the center.
Rich F., one of our new staff members who is planting the English-speaking congregation that will meet at the center, writes,
I wish you could see with your own eyes what God is doing in Brooklyn. After extensive renovation, our Brooklyn property has been transformed into a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose facility to be used by God’s grace for worship, the witness of God’s people to the Messianic identity of Jesus, and the training of the next generation of Messianic Jewish leaders—all of this right in the heart of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn!
Our total budget for Brooklyn projects this year is $150,000. This will cover the staffing of the building as well as utilities, and give us adequate funds to provide what is needed for some of our ministries, food for the poor and elderly, advertising for outreach meetings, and much more.
The Lord blessed us abundantly and we do not have any debt for the building. As a nonprofit ministry, we do not pay any real estate taxes. So, praise God we have a great head start and so much of the funding we receive is used directly for our ministry programs and caring for the facility.
Thank you so much for your love and prayers, and for all you do to help us reach Jewish people for our Lord Jesus.
This is what we are all about, and by God’s grace we have remained faithful to the vision of our founder, Rabbi Leopold Cohn, who started Chosen People Ministries in 1894.
Please pray for us as we reach the largest concentration of Jewish people in the world!
Your brother in the Messiah,
Mitch (Brooklyn-born and bred!)
P.S. Our new book, entitled The People, the Land and the Future of Israel, published by Kregel Publications and edited by myself and Dr. Darrell Bock of Dallas Seminary, will be available in mid-September. For your gift of $300 or more, I would like to send you a special signed copy. I believe this 350-page book will be a great help to everyone seeking to understand the role of Israel and the Jewish people in God’s plan.
From Shalom Brooklyn team member Chris:
Our group went out to do evangelism in Washington Square Park. Unlike previous times when I've been to the park using the literature questionnaire, no one seemed interested and I was getting somewhat discouraged. Then I met an older gentleman standing next to me who does photography for a hobby and he was taking photos in the park. I asked him if he had time for some survey questions and he replied, "Actually I have some questions for you."
The man's name was D. and he surmised from the Shalom Brooklyn shirt and backpack that I was from a "religious organization." He identified himself as Catholic, though he had not been to church for many years. We discussed some spiritual questions, and it was clear that he did truly believe that Jesus was the Son of God who died for his sins. However he told me his wife M., who is Jewish, did not.
I asked D. if he would be willing to share the Isaiah 53 book and some of our literature with M. when he gets home, and I'm happy to say he took a sample of everything! We exchanged information and I plan on following up with him soon. Although I didn't get the privilege of sharing the Gospel with M. personally, my hope and prayer is that D. will. Please pray for them.
Later in the week, I was in Washington Square Park again. A woman was trying to feed some peanuts to squirrels, and she ended up being mobbed by pigeons – one of which even got caught in her hair. I helped her shoo the pigeons away. Grateful for my assistance, she was willing to do the questionnaire.
Her name was L. and she said she was Jewish, though not very observant. When I read the excerpt from Isaiah 53 and asked her who the prophet was talking about, L. said that the passage "sounds Christian." I happily agreed with her that it seems to be talking about Yeshua (Jesus) and assured her that this passage was in fact written by the Jewish prophet Isaiah.
Although L. did not take any of our literature, seeming to become uncomfortable with the conversation, I encouraged her to look Isaiah 53 up in her own copy of the Hebrew Scriptures at home. Praise God for the opportunity to plant a seed - and please pray for L., that the seed would take root and grow (and not be snatched away by the enemy).