Thursday 20 May 2010
Moishe Rosen: 1932 – 2010
Moishe Rosen, the founder of Jews for Jesus, died on Wednesday 19th May in San Francisco after a long battle with prostate cancer.
The son of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, Moishe Rosen trusted Jesus as Messiah in 1953 along with his wife, Ceil. A short time later he sensed a call to ministry and after attending seminary at North-eastern Bible College in New Jersey, he spent the five years working with the American Board of Missions to the Jews before founding Jews for Jesus in 1973 with young Messianic Jews who had embraced Jesus as Messiah during the Jesus movement.
From 1957-1972, Moishe served in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco with the American Board of Missions to the Jews (now Chosen People Ministries). In the late sixties and early seventies the Jesus Movement, a revival among Hippies happened. Many in the Jesus Movement were Jewish and Moishe gathered young Jewish followers of Jesus together to use unconventional methods and strategies to communicate the gospel to their own people. In September 1973, Jews for Jesus was born.
Moishe was quoted as saying, “God has a great sense of humour letting an over-aged, overweight and overbearing person like me lead a youth movement.” He would also say “I have been called the founder/leader of Jews for Jesus but it found me because I was the one who owned the printer that we needed to crank out our broadsides.”
I admired Moishe for the fact that he was not an “ivory tower” mission director. He distributed broadsides on the streets with his staff and for his self-deprecating attitude. Just before I met him for the first time I read an article which began something like this: “As I was distributing broadsides, a guy told me I was a big, fat, ugly slob. After complimenting him on his powers of observation, I asked him what he thought of Yeshua.” That taught me the necessity of leaders of missions not taking themselves too seriously and also being involved in evangelism.
Moishe was for a number of years a member of Christian Witness to Israel’s council. At times, he would get up from the Council table and lie with his eyes closed on the chaise lounge. But Moishe was not asleep; his razor-sharp mind was taking in every word spoken at the table and sifting them all. He would suddenly come back to the discussion with a gem of wisdom.
Moishe Rosen was one of the greatest mission leaders of the twentieth century. He has gone to receive the Lord’s commendation as a “good and faithful servant”. In your prayers, remember his widow Ceil and the staff of Jews for Jesus.