I walked around the quiet office floor and admired the skyline of Tel Aviv through the big windows. It was a weekday, but the Israeli headquarters of Jews for Jesus was fairly empty that morning.
“Our staff doesn’t exactly have typical desk jobs,” Eli Birnbaum, the Israel director for Jews for Jesus explained. “This week some of them are running summer camps, others are in the city meeting people or preparing events. That’s really what our work is all about.”
Jews for Jesus works day and night to get the good news of the Messiah to the Israeli people. They are able to accomplish that through weekly outreaches, one-on-one visits, and simple acts of love that point to Jesus. Setting up art galleries, cultural events, and weekly meetings for Israeli soldiers are just some examples of how creative their work has become over the years.
Founded originally in the USA, the organization came to exist around the peak years of the Jesus Movement – in 1973. The West Coast of the United States was being transformed by a wave of young believers, some of them hippies, who came to know Jesus and wanted to share the Gospel in their surroundings.
Many came from Jewish backgrounds and had a great desire to bring the hope of Messiah back to their people. Literally, they were Jews who were for Jesus.
It took a few decades for the ministry to open a branch in Israel. And yet despite its fairly short operating time in the land, it has already been bearing fruit. Some of today’s Jews for Jesus interns and younger staff have found Messiah through the local outreaches of the organization.
The Israeli office has put special emphasis on four areas of their work:
- General outreach and discipleship
- Work in the streets – and we mean literally, reaching out to the drug addicts and victims of human trafficking in Tel Aviv
- Reaching out to the Russian-speaking community, especially the elderly who are in need of support
- Investing in the next generation, which includes caring for young adults before and after their military service
It’s true, and fitting, that making disciples and fulfilling the Great Commission by Jews for Jesus is not an average desk job. Akin to the Jesus Movement almost half a century ago, they are all about living out their faith and actively reaching their neighbor with the good news of the Jewish Messiah.
For more information about Jews for Jesus, visit their FIRM Member Profile Here >