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).
Prayer & Conversation on the Streets of New York
R., a 30-something young lady, came up to Jerry and Israel. She is from Jerusalem, but spoke like a New Yorker. R. has dual citizenship, two kids, and lives in the Judean hills outside of Jerusalem. "As I walk the Judean hills, I feel the spirit of Jesus there. It's a faith thing," she said.
Israel said that it was no coincidence that he met her! He gave her a copy of Isaiah 53 Explained in Hebrew, as well as The Report. She was more than happy to receive them and eagerly gave all of her contact information. Definitely a divine encounter!
Kathleen and Robynne met L., a 90-year old lady and a third-generation Jewish New Yorker. She wasn't interested in talking about the Messiah until Kathleen said that the Messiah brings comfort to people. This made L's face change and she was immediately interested in hearing more. "Everybody needs comfort," she said. Robynne found out that she had a lot in common with her, and gave her a copy of The Report.
Kathleen met D., an Israeli student. He started chatting with the team about Israel, and then the conversation progressed to talking about the Lord and Scripture. He stuck with the team for hours, and accepted all of the evangelistic materials.
Kathleen and Bobby met S. in Washington Square Park. 93 years old. She did not want prayer at first, but she really fell in love with Bobby and his sharp wit. She eventually allowed Bobby to do a blessing over her. She accepted a copy of Isaiah 53 Explained, and said she would read it.
An Orthodox Jewish woman and her children were walking along the water in Brooklyn and stopped to look at the bridge. I approached them, and they could see the outreach team in t-shirts not far off. I greeted her and offered her something to read. She said "I know about Messianic Jews".
I asked what she knew, and she replied "Enough".
I then asked if she knew about Yeshua (Jesus). She thought for a moment and said "No" - so I said the best way to know about Yeshua was from the Torah(five books of Moses), Tenach (Hebrew Scriptures) and His own words. She thought again, nodded her head okay and accepted the literature.
Please pray that as she reads she would discover the true Biblical Jesus who loves her. By the time I walked back to the rest of the outreach team, there were several people in long conversations with Orthodox Jewish people sitting on benches by the water.
Tali, one of the Shalom Brooklyn team members, started out the week thinking, "Great, all these people have the gift of evangelism, and I don't. What am I doing here?" She spent all of Sunday really confused and afraid of what to do, but her husband encouraged her to love people and be more lighthearted about talking with people.
On Monday, she was impassioned to step out in faith. Seeing a Jewish young woman on the street, Tali asked with a newfound boldness, "Have you read Isaiah 53 before?" Tali was surprised to hear the woman respond, "Not yet!" It turns out the Jewish woman was working through reading the entire Tanakh (Old Testament), and had not yet reached Isaiah 53.
Tali then discovered that she and this woman had a similar name; there was an instant connection and Tali and her husband Travis were able to share about Yeshua and give her evangelistic materials. This victory was the highlight of Tali's week!
Another team member, Gale, was very intimidated about doing evangelism and "thinking on her feet." When she was at Kings Highway, a man took a Russian Bible and asked Gale, "What do you believe?" Gale then proceeded to share her testimony, emphasizing that Jesus came to the Jew first and that the New Testament is a Jewish book. Word after word poured out of her mouth, beyond what she imagined to be her ability. She prayed for the man and realized that she could do all things through Messiah who gives her strength - including sharing the Gospel!