It’s Passover time and that means it’s the season for the annual traveling road show produced by the so-called “Jews for Jesus” (JFJ), an evangelical Christian missionary organization that targets Jews for conversion. The group sends out its faithful in touring buses every year to present “Christ in the Passover,” as reported by the Dakota Voice.

JFJ couple practicing for PassoverThese programs are typically staged within evangelical and fundamentalist churches where JFJ puts on the program and then profits from contributions.

Passover is a proven fundraiser for JFJ, which has a multi-million-dollar budget and payroll to meet.

But the organized Jewish community has repeatedly expressed concern about such programs, which superimpose fundamentalist Christian beliefs over the historic understanding of the Jewish Passover observance.

JFJ presents its own rather ethnocentric, idiosyncratic version of Passover to evangelical Christian churches across the United States such as Grace Church of Toledo Ohio, Fremont Berean Bible Church in Nebraska and occasionally at mainline Protestant churches like Trinity United Methodist Church of Seymour, Indiana.

JFJ Seder displayNeedless to say Christian missionaries parading about, as “Jews” for Passover doesn’t exactly inspire enthusiasm amongst Jews, who most often observe its traditional Seder dinner in the privacy of home.

After all Passover and its Seder symbols have a long-established historic meaning that predates both Jesus and Christianity.

For those that have read Book of Exodus or watched the movie “Ten Commandments” Passover is not about Jesus or Christianity, it is a holiday specifically observed to commemorate the deliverance of Jews from bondage in ancient Egypt more than a millenium before the birth of Jesus.

But for JFJ this sacred Jewish holiday has been reduced essentially to a fund raising hook.

JFJ’s founder is Martin Rosen, a retired Baptist minister, who hit the road again not long ago when his brainchild had some budget problems.

Pastor Martin prefers to be called “Moishe,” which he seems to think makes him seem Jewish.

Jewish surnames also suffuse the list of front line JFJ staff, again giving the group a seemingly “Jewish” patina.

David BricknerHowever, Rosen’s successor as the top “Jew” at JFJ, David Brickner, was recently exposed by author David Klinghoffer in the Jewish Journal as a “non-Jew.”

His bio on the JFJ Web site refers to him as “a fifth-generation Jewish believer in Jesus,” which means his family actually has been Christian for some time.  

And Brickner’s mother was not Jewish, which means he isn’t either according to any Orthodox understanding.

By Orthodox definition if a mother isn’t Jewish her baby isn’t either. And Brickner’s maternal grandmother was not Jewish.


This means that by no Jewish definition would the JFJ leader even qualify as an apostate Jew, let alone simply as “Jewish.”

Not surprisingly JFJ’s funding comes essentially from sympathetic fellow believers within the Christian fundamentalist community.

But are these the same Christians who frequently say they “love” both Jews and Israel?

If these evangelicals truly “love” Jews why do they continue to so stubbornly support groups that offend Jews by falsely reinterpreting Jewish holidays?

It would seem that this continued support by many Christian fundamentalists demonstrates a disregard and/or insensitivity to the concerns of Jews, which has been repeatedly and publicly expressed?

In fairness it should be noted that some evangelical leaders have spoken out critically against groups like JFJ, such as Billy Graham.


2 comments untill now

  1. somebody @ 2006-04-08 20:10

    Whatever you think about JFJ, your article is very misleading. You totally ignore the fact that Jesus was the one who identified parts of the Passover with himself. Don’t blame JFJ, blame Jesus. Duh! They’re just following his lead, no?

  2. What bothers me is the so-called superriority of many Jews when their cultural or ethnic traditions are challenged. So what! Let people think what they want to think. I myself am a Hebrew Roots Christian and identify Yah’shua Messiah (Jesus Chrst) as being a fulfillment of the Passover seder. Does this mean that I should stop believing as I do because such a belief upsets the Jews? I could feel threatened when people tell me I’m not Christian for keeping the Torah, but my philosophy is to move on — why does it matter what people think about what I believe? And why should their beliefs dictate my own?

    People forget this wonderful thing called “choice”. While I do believe there is only one truth (how narrow-minded of me!), people have the freedom to regard it or disregard it. And as the previous poster said, it was Messiah who first identified Himself with the Passover meal, not the Christians.

    If the Jews don’t want to convert to Christianity, they are free to disagree with the Christian missionaries. But that doesn’t mean it should thus become “illegal” for us to preach our own faith. We are just doing as our Messiah told us — making disciples of all nations. To cease doing what He says would cease to make us Christians just as to cease following Rabbinical Jewish traditions would cease to make someone a Rabbinical Jew. I say, if you are going to believe something, believe it totally or you don’t really believe in it at all. Thus I will proselytise the Jews because I believe it is right for me to do so and they are free to ignore me. Fair enough?