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May 21, 2010

Moishe Rosen Dies at 78; Founder of Jews for Jesus

By MARGALIT FOX

Moishe Rosen, who was born Jewish, ordained a Baptist minister and went on to found Jews for Jesus, the largest messianic Jewish organization in the world, died Wednesday at his home in San Francisco. He was 78.

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The cause was prostate cancer, said Susan Perlman, the associate executive director of Jews for Jesus.

Controversial from its inception, Jews for Jesus was officially founded by Mr. Rosen in San Francisco in 1973. In the decades since, its missionaries have been a familiar presence on street corners in cities around the United States and elsewhere. Mr. Rosen was the group’s first executive director, a post he held until 1996.

The organization’s central tenet is that it is possible simultaneously to be Jewish and to accept Jesus as the Messiah. “We certainly identify ourselves ethnically as Jewish, and with certain aspects of the religion that don’t conflict with our belief in Christ,” Ms. Perlman explained on Friday.

Though Jews for Jesus enrolls no members per se, Ms. Perlman estimated that it has “a constituency” of about 200,000 interested Jews and Christians, a figure she said was based partly on subscriptions to the group’s print and online newsletters.

Jews for Jesus has branches throughout the United States and in 10 foreign countries, among them Germany, France, South Africa, Russia and Israel. It maintains an extensive Web site, which includes instructions on how a Jew can accept Jesus and be saved.

Mr. Rosen’s organization has long engendered turbulent, often vitriolic, debate; it has often had to go to court to secure permission to hand out its literature. The group has been repeatedly condemned by leaders of mainstream Jewish organizations.

“They have every right to follow whatever religious observances or rituals that they choose — that’s America,” Rabbi James Rudin, the senior interreligious affairs adviser of the American Jewish Committee, an international Jewish advocacy group, said in a telephone interview on Friday. However, he said of Mr. Rosen’s organization:

“We have truth in advertising and truth in labeling in the United States. And the people should know that they really are Christian missionaries. I would have had much more respect for him, and for his organization, if they had just come out and said, ‘We are Christian missionaries, trying to convert Jews.’ ”

To his critics, Mr. Rosen responded with the kind of aphoristic wit for which he was known. As he said in an interview with The Fresno Bee in 1994, “If the Jews didn’t need Jesus, why didn’t he come by way of Norway or Ireland?”

Martin Meyer Rosen was born on April 12, 1932, in Kansas City, Mo., to an Orthodox Jewish family. He formally adopted Moishe, the Yiddish name by which he had been known since boyhood, in the early 1970s.

Reared in Denver, Mr. Rosen studied at Colorado University there. In 1950, he married Ceil Starr, his high school sweetheart.

Early in their marriage, Mrs. Rosen, who had also been raised in a Jewish home, began to explore Christianity. In an attempt to refute her newfound beliefs, Mr. Rosen began reading the religious pamphlets she left around the house. Before long, he was enthralled.

The couple converted to Christianity in 1953. Afterward, as Mr. Rosen often said in interviews, his family no longer spoke to him.

Mr. Rosen received his theological training at the Northeastern Bible Institute in Essex Fells, N.J., and was ordained in 1957. In the late 1950s and 1960s, he worked in New York and Los Angeles for the American Board of Missions to the Jews, an evangelistic organization now known as Chosen People Ministries.

Mr. Rosen, who moved to San Francisco in 1970, started what became Jews for Jesus amid the heady countercultural ferment there. To rally the faithful, he took his cue from the city’s political protesters.

“When I came out here, the people doing the best communicating were the antiwar activists,” he told The San Francisco Chronicle in 1996. “All you needed was a guy with a mimeograph machine at 8 a.m., and you could get 5,000 people to People’s Park by the afternoon.”

Besides his wife, Ceil, Mr. Rosen is survived by two daughters, Lyn Rosen Bond, a missionary with the Chicago branch of Jews for Jesus, and Ruth Rosen, a staff writer and editor at the group’s headquarters in San Francisco; a brother, Don Rosen; and two grandchildren.

His books include “Jews for Jesus” (Revell, 1974; with William Proctor); “The Sayings of Chairman Moishe” (Creation Press, 1974); and “Share the New Life With a Jew” (Moody Press, 1976), written with his wife.

Throughout his life, Mr. Rosen continued to observe many Jewish customs. He held seders at Passover, fasted on Yom Kippur and married couples under a huppah, the Jewish wedding canopy, Ms. Perlman said.

She also said Mr. Rosen had left instructions that he wished to be buried in his tallis, the traditional Jewish prayer shawl.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/22/us/22rosen.html?hpw

http://jewsforjesus.com/


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"Those people who will not be governed by God


will be ruled by tyrants."



William Penn

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Don't just open your mouth and prove yourself a fool....put it in writing.

It gets harder the more you know. Because the more you find out, the uglier everything seems.

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RIP (F)

I've received the J4J newsletters for years...


“Acquire the spirit of peace and a thousand souls around you will be saved.” Saint Seraphim of Sarov

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“The love of one’s country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?” Pablo Cassals

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