Jewish History in the U.S.
Jewish history in what would become the United States began in New York City in 1654 when 23 Sephardic Jews from Brazil, seeking refuge from the Spanish Inquisition, arrived at what was then New Amsterdam. By 1815, there were 3,000 Jews in the United States. That number jumped to 15,000 by 1840. In 1880, there were about 230,000 Jewish people living in the United States.
That number has grown to more than 5,500,000 with the vast majority of these Jewish people emigrating from Russia and parts of Eastern Europe. From 1880 to the mid-1920s, about two million Jewish people traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to make a new start in what was dubbed, “The Golden Land.” Many of them landed in New York City and settled there. In 1880, there were about 80,000 Jewish residents in New York City. By 1920, there was 1,650,000–almost one-third of the city’s population.
The history of the Jewish people in the United States, not only in New York City but in other American cities, large and small, is a storied one, where Jewish people have made a disproportionately large contribution to the American way of life.
Chosen People Ministries in the U.S.
The history of Chosen People Ministries in the United States is largely a reflection of the larger history of the Jewish people in America. In 1894, Rabbi Leopold Cohn founded this ministry in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, New York, shortly after he became convinced that Jesus is the Messiah. In its early days, Jews knew the ministry as the Brownsville Mission to the Jews, and its efforts consisted of evangelism and a variety of services and classes for the growing population of Jewish immigrants.
The Mission moved its headquarters to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and then to Manhattan, where the name changed to the American Board of Missions to the Jews. Then, in 1988, the name changed again to Chosen People Ministries.
From humble beginnings and a history of faithful service, Chosen People Ministries stands today as a credible, well-established mission that combines a commitment to Jesus and the evangelization of the Jewish people with cutting-edge creativity. Our presence extends to Jewish communities in the United States, Canada, Central and South America, the former Soviet Union, Europe, Israel and Australia.
In addition to our international headquarters and two Messianic congregations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, Chosen People Ministries has established a presence throughout the United States–particularly in the regions with significant Jewish populations, such as Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., southern California and South Florida.
Evangelism and Discipleship
“Go therefore and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19) is still a biblical imperative. Throughout the world, Chosen People Ministries proclaims the Gospel and nurtures both new and mature believers so that they will grow in the Lord and use their gifts for His glory.
Our Messianic centers are focal points for ministry of all types. In addition to evangelism and discipleship, they provide a setting for worship, Bible study, spiritual counseling and practical help. Seekers find a welcoming environment at our Messianic centers that can lead to new life through the power of the Gospel.
It isn’t always easy for Jewish people to fit into churches. Jewish believers sometimes face rejection by their families, and they especially need the fellowship of those with a similar story. Messianic congregations satisfy this need, and also lift up a witness in the community that Jesus is Lord, and one can be Jewish and believe in Him.
Equipping the Local Church for Jewish Evangelism
Chosen People Ministries has a wide variety of special presentations, such as “Messiah in the Passover,” designed to help the church gain a greater appreciation of its Jewish roots.
Chosen People Ministries also organizes conferences that offer churches and learning institutions a chance to co-sponsor well-publicized major outreach programs designed to reach a broad range of Jewish and Gentile community members.
Chosen People Ministries offers monthly and quarterly publications on topics of interest to church members and Jewish readers. Our monthly newsletter, The Chosen People, will keep you up-to-date regarding the various developments and prayer concerns vital to the Mission. We also offer a wide variety of books, online resources, DVDs, and CDs at our online store.
Digital and Online Ministry
Technological advances have given us a new, exciting way to reach Jewish people with the Gospel. Before 2014, Chosen People Ministries relied on advertising through billboards, subways, buses, and newspapers. Now we are reaching tens of thousands of Jewish people through our online Isaiah 53 campaigns and I Found Shalom videos. The anonymity of the web is the key to these successful outreaches because learning about Jesus is considered taboo in Jewish homes and communities. Our Isaiah 53 campaign breaks through that wall and allows Jewish people to hear the Gospel message in a safe place and in a safe way.
Volunteer and Short-term Missions Opportunities
Chosen People Ministries has a number of volunteer and short-term outreach opportunities for people of all ages in the United States and abroad. For example, our Shalom Brooklyn outreach in New York City prepares volunteers through specialized classes to share the Gospel with Jewish people. Together with Chosen People Ministries’ staff members, team members go out and put what they have learned into practice. We also have outreach trips to Israel, New Zealand, and India.
Chosen People Ministries desires to be not only on the cutting and innovative edge of Jewish evangelism, but we also want to build up young people who have a strong desire to reach the Jewish people with the Gospel.
We have a number of internships that provide students opportunities to complete their studies and focus in areas such as missions, digital media, IT, and finance.
Long-Term Missions Opportunities
God calls some people into full-time ministry with Chosen People Ministries. We assist applicants in determining if they are being called to the work of representing the Messiah to Jewish people. A sincere heart for reaching Jewish people with the Gospel is the first requirement to serve as a full-time worker, particularly in light of the biblical mandate to bring the Gospel “to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).
It is our sincere desire to share the Gospel with the Jewish people in ways that are challenging and compelling. We always seek to enrich the life of the church and to minister to other members of the Body of Messiah. Chosen People Ministries is ready, with God’s help and your prayers and support, to reach out to the Jewish people of the 21st century and equip you to do likewise.