Dear friend of the Jewish people,
Shalom! I have something to share with you that brought a smile of joy to my lips – an article in an Orthodox Jewish newspaper about our Feinberg Center in Brooklyn. I thought you might want to see what the Orthodox community is saying about us!
This shows me that our Center and Ministry are being discussed in the Orthodox Jewish community. I hope that one day we will be viewed more positively, but at least they know we are there!
The rabbi writing the article is actually renovating a building near our new facility. His goal is to reach secular Jews with the message of Jewish Orthodoxy, so he obviously views us as competitors. Of course, our goal is not only to reach secular Jewish people with the Gospel… but also to reach the more Orthodox Jewish people as well – like this rabbi!
The article is actually inaccurate in a few places. For example, the cost of the renovation is three million dollars, including all of the outfitting of the facility, and the square footage is now almost 14,000.
Will It Be a Missionary Center or a Kiruv1 Center?
By: Rabbi Yitzchok Fingerer
The Jewish Press (online version) January 10, 2013
Chosen People Ministries, a Hebrew Christian missionary group, has spent $2.1 million to acquire a building and nearly $1 million more on renovations to construct an 11,000 square-foot missionary center in the heart of Flatbush. It will house a “synagogue,” sefer2 Torah, classrooms, and a dining hall – all with the intention of attracting the general Orthodox community and particularly unaffiliated local Jews and adults at risk from frum3 homes who have abandoned Yiddishkeit4 or are on the fringe.
Vulnerable Jews will be invited for deceptive Shabbos5 and Yom Tov6 meals and services. Will they join? Who would turn down free meals and a warm, friendly, and welcoming atmosphere? The missionary center makes it clear in its promotional material that Jews in Brooklyn are their prime targets, because there is little or no kiruv going on in Brooklyn.
The rabbi concludes the article by saying,
The Chofetz Chaim7 declared that every Jew has a Torah obligation to reach out to his or her non-observant brethren. Today, with the threat from local Jewish missionaries, the fire of assimilation burning out of control, and the rampant off-the-derech8 phenomenon, every Jew must heed his call and respond.
We have many opportunities for outreach
right in our own neighborhood
A Messianic Center in the Heart of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn
The rabbi who wrote the article and I would agree on many things. We both want secular Jewish people and all Jewish people (and Gentiles too) to return to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (which I believe is done by receiving Yeshua – Jesus – as Messiah and Lord!) We also agree that this work is the obligation and joy of all the faithful.
As you may know, Chosen People Ministries was founded in Brooklyn – and Brooklyn is still incredibly important to our worldwide strategy for reaching Jewish people for Messiah. Today Brooklyn has more than three-quarters of a million Jewish people, and is home to the largest concentration of Orthodox Jewish people in the world – even more than Israel. Whenever I think of this great number, I bring it down to a personal level – I think of my grandparents, and my heart breaks for Brooklyn and its Jewish community.
Your Mission to the Jewish People cannot do this work by ourselves!
It would be impossible without your prayers, financial support and your volunteer efforts. We need one another to fulfill the Great Commission given to us by the Savior – to go into all the world (including Brooklyn) to preach the Gospel.
Plan for the sanctuary and the first floor
We currently need about $100,000 to outfit the Brooklyn Center’s chapel! Whether he meant to or not, the rabbi actually paid us a compliment when he described it as a synagogue. When the Jewish people in the neighborhood come and visit, they will feel comfortable and at home, just as they would in a synagogue. But the message, of course, will be all about the One the Father sent to be the atonement for our sins – Jesus, the way, the truth and the life!
We also need your help to finish building the classrooms and dormitory housing for students at the seminary. Our goal right now is to raise an additional $250,000 for these rooms and to make sure they have excellent technology (smart classrooms) and that the dorms have comfortable furniture, beds, desks, etc.
I want to close this letter with one additional request. Please pray for the rabbi and his team, and for the thousands of religious Jewish people who live and go to school within a mile of our new Center!
Pray that we will not be viewed as a threat, because we love our people. More than anything in the world, we want to share with them the message of the Messiah who has transformed our lives… and who can do the same for them!
Thanks for your partnership in the Gospel!
1 – Kiruv refers to the efforts of Orthodox Jews to convert secular or non-religious Jews to more traditional Jewish Orthodoxy. It is the religious Jewish version of missionary work, but directed only towards Jewish people.
2 – The book or scroll of the Torah – the Five Books of Moses
3 – Frum describe those who are traditionally Orthodox in practice: wearing a yarmulke, fringes, keeping the Sabbath, eating only kosher foods, etc.
4 – Jewishness – usually emphasizing the religious aspects of Judaism
5 – The Sabbath
6 – “The good days,” i.e. special festivals and holidays, etc.
7 – A famous rabbi who is often quoted by religious Jewish people
8 – Hebrew word derech may be translated, “path” or “way” – referring to a Jewish person who has lost his way and left the right path of Jewish observance.