Passing of Jews for Jesus Founder
From David Brickner, Executive Director of Jews for Jesus
Moishe went to be with his Messiah and Lord on May 19th. We are rejoicing for him but appreciate your prayers for the Rosen family and for our whole ministry as we mourn our loss. In lieu of flowers, the family wishes that gifts be made in his honor to Jews for Jesus, 60 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 for the Moishe Rosen Center in Israel. You can do this online at: jewsforjesus.org/moishetribute
I (Jacob Prasch) writing from Holland mourn the passing of my friend and our brother Moishe Rosen, founder of Jews for Jesus. Few have had the impact on my own life and ministry as Moishe Rosen and I am hardly alone in saying this.
I was saved through a twisted cult called Children of God and subsequently in another called Forever Family (later named Church of Bible Understanding). These cults damaged others and me both spiritually and psychologically, yet God had a purpose for me being in both for a season. They had a radical zeal in the age of a lukewarm church that was tragically misplaced and misdirected where backslidden leaders misled and abused members of these terrible groups. But the zeal itself was real. I spent the first years of my new life in Jesus being confused in these crazy groups or simply backslidden (the groups themselves were backslidden like their leaders Mo Berg and Stuart Traille), men who began right but ended badly ‚ “” very badly.
Enter Moishe Rosen. Jews For Jesus had the same zeal and radical approach to evangelism even in the face of opposition and as close to persecution as believers could get in the USA. Having attended the Jewish Community Center in my youth there was a cultural element that appealed to me. The emphasis on Old Testament Messianic typology and the Messianic theology I learned from Jews For Jesus academics like Rachmiel Fryland (who was on the verge of becoming a rabbi when the holocaust interrupted his plans before he was saved) and my father in the Lord Dr. Louis Goldberg of the Jews For Jesus board who performed the nuptials for my Israeli wife Pavia and myself.
Jews for Jesus was a very different organization in those early days, a tribe of Jewish hippies. Indeed, Moishe got in trouble with established Jewish missions societies for reaching out to the hippies not dissimilar from the ordeal faced by Chuck Smith in the early days of Calvary Chapel. It was quite a time indeed. Jews For Jesus had the radicalism of the other “Jesus Freaks” (as we were then known), but due to Moishe Rosen instilled the stability the other groups lacked due to the kind of people he involved in Jews For Jesus along with some tremendous Bible teaching.
As with any dynamic leader, Christian or secular, and as he knew himself, Moishe had both his strengths and weaknesses. He made wise decisions and as he refers to in his departing letter, some he wished he had not made. But he never regretted having accepted His Messiah Yeshua and bringing the Good News of the true Messiah back home again to Israel and putting the Jews on the map once again. Although I knew Moishe was like myself ‚ “” Pre-Millennial in his doctrine ‚ “” I regret now that I never asked Moishe if he personally had the sense that what he was at the forefront of doing was of prophetic eschatological significance vis a vis the predictions of Romans 11 for the Natural Branches to be grafted back in again.
One thing I know for sure is that I would not be in the ministry today if it were not for the way that God used Moishe Rosen and Jews For Jesus in my earlier years as a believer. In fact I may not have been walking with Yeshua at all. It was through Jews For Jesus that I began to stabilize and grow in my faith in the aftermath of my experience in cults and being saved out of the erratic drug culture of the 1960’s early 70’s in a very turbulent era sociologically, politically, and spiritually complicated by my later cocaine addiction and strong involvement in the occult and in the Marxism I came to adhere to as a science student.
Due to the influence of Moishe, Jews For Jesus also provided financial assistance to me on two occasions to help get through seminary. It was also one of Moishe’s proteges, Sam Nadler ‚ “” at that time Jews For Jesus leader in New York, who encouraged me to immigrate to Israel. Without Jews For Jesus I would have never met my wife and led her to her Messiah.
Not only would I not be in ministry without the way that God used Moishe Rosen, but Moriel Ministries would not exist either. Moishe said I had an analytical mind and a very good memory and encouraged me at a missions conference when I first began in ministry. I could never have believed that Moriel would be a global ministry with branches in Africa, Asia, America, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, etc.
It is to me a confirmation and a lasting encouragement that in his final words he echoed two of my own very key concerns. Many people know I have been at odds with those who attempt to bless Israel and the Jews at the expense of withholding the Gospel. My struggles with The International Christian Embassy, figures like John Hagee, Jan Luckoff, Jan Willem Van der Hoven, and Malcom Hedding among others and with organizations such as Exobus , Bridges For Peace, and Ebenezer Fund were never directed against people caught up in scripturally unbalanced organizations. On the contrary, in an age of growing anti-Semitism and anti-Zionist bias I appreciate their positive support and Philo-Semitism ‚ “” howbeit a misguided Philo-Semitism. I have rather been motivated by a God-given desire to see Jews and non-Jews saved and the command of Jesus to proclaim the Gospel to Israel carried out. Moishe highlights these same concerns in his farewell tome.
Secondly, his final comments underscore our own convictions at Moriel at the extreme axis of the Messianic Movement which lifts up “Jewishness” (or a version of it) more than it does Yeshua-ness. Even in his departing I have a theological and ideological ally in my old friend Moishe. I did not always agree with him (although I usually did), but I certainly agreed with him on the issues that counted most.
What can I say? Or what can anyone say who knew Moishe? Praise God he is now with Yeshua. As Moishe said in his leaving letter : “I’ll see you in the air”. Indeed I will.
J. Jacob Prasch
Moishe Rosen’s Final Letter
If you are reading this, it means that I have gone on to my reward. As I write this, I can only think of what the Scriptures say and that is, “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, neither have they entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) Well, I have a big curiosity and by now, I know.
I don’t suppose that I will be writing you any new material, but there are a few articles in the works that might still come through.
As I go, I feel that I have left a number of things undone. I think everyone must feel that way. There were words of appreciation that I looked for an occasion to express, but they didn’t come. There were words of regret that I would have expressed to others. And there were words of encouragement that I had for all who were believers.
I’d like to encourage you to stay with Jews for Jesus. I was the Executive Director until 1996. Many things have changed. Some of them definitely for the better and others that I can’t say were for the worst, but things that I would not have thought to do. Nevertheless the core of what Jews for Jesus stands for is still central.
As I go, one of the things that concerns me deeply is how much misunderstanding there is among believers. I never thought I would live to see the day when those who know the Lord and are born again were supporting the efforts of rabbis who, frankly, not only didn’t know Christ, but didn’t want to know Him.
To be an honest ministry, it can only come from the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit can only indwell those who have the new birth and are born again. Therefore, I would urge you to think very seriously before you support any “ministry” that involves Jewish people and doesn’t actually bring the gospel to the Jews.
Likewise, I am concerned over something else that I never thought that I would see or hear and that is, Jews who have become believers in Jesus and have important positions in ministry yet feel that their primary purpose is to promote Jewishness and Judaism to the Jews.
I hope I can count on you to show love and respect for the Jewish people, but Jewishness never saved anybody. Judaism never saved anybody no matter how sincere. Romans 10:9 & 10 make it clear that we must believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths the Lord Jesus in order to be saved. There are no shortcuts. There is no easy way. Within Judaism today, there is no salvation because Christ has no place within Judaism.
Aside from these concerns, I want to say that I feel as I have always felt that we stand on the edge of a breakthrough in Jewish evangelism. Just a little more. Just another push. Just another soul – and we will have reached critical mass where we begin generating that energy that the whole world might know the Lord.
I would also encourage you to be faithful to those Bible-teaching, Bible-preaching churches that give spiritual food. More than ever, the church needs faithful members who can be an example to the young people coming in. Maybe there are some features about your church that keep you from being enthusiastic – look around and see if there might be a better church for you. If there is, join it and enjoy it. If your church is doing a lot right, then stay where you’re planted.
I don’t expect that Jews for Jesus will be undergoing any turmoil because of my demise. For many years, the leadership has been in competent hands, but this is a time when there needs to be some encouragement. The executive director and the staff need to hear that you intend to continue standing with us.
Anything done for Christ will last. Anything you do to help and encourage Jews for Jesus at this time will have lasting effects on all of us. So instead of saying “good bye,” I’ll just say, “until then – I’ll see you in the sky.”