Moishe Rosen, founder of Jews for Jesus, died May 19 around 8:30 p.m. in San Francisco after a battle with bone cancer. Rosen, who founded the evangelistic organization in 1973, was 78.
“Moishe Rosen’s innovative thinking and commitment to Jewish evangelism built the largest Jewish mission organization in the world,” Jim Sibley, director of the Pasche Institute of Jewish Studies at Criswell College in Dallas, told Baptist Press, “but more importantly, they have been used to reach countless Jews and Gentiles for the Lord.
“His concern began with the Jewish population in the United States, but later embraced the major Jewish populations of the world,” said Sibley, a former Southern Baptist representative in Israel and former director of Jewish evangelism ministries for the North American Mission Board.
“Often provocative and controversial, he was always unashamed of the Good News of salvation,” Sibley said. “He has been a friend, a brother and a fellow soldier; he will be greatly missed.”
Mike Saffle, president of the Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship, recounted a bit of Rosen’s spiritual history: “Moishe was born to an Orthodox family, yet became an atheist. After his wife, Ciel, began an earnest search for God, Moishe finally admitted what he’d known all along: there IS a God, and His Son is Y’shua, Jesus.”
Rosen, a native of Denver, became a believer in Jesus in 1953.
As recounted by Susan Perlman, a longtime assistant, in an article at the Jews for Jesus website, http://www.jewsforjesus.org, “In 1950, when they were both 18, Moishe married his high school sweetheart, Ceil, who is also Jewish. Three years later, Ceil came to know Jesus and was instrumental in leading her husband to the Lord. And so, at the age of 21, Moishe, the son of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, gathered his family together to tell them the news: ‘I’ve been studying the Bible lately and I’ve decided that Jesus is really the Messiah. We’ve all been wrong and I wanted you to know that I’m going to believe in Him and follow Him and give my life to Him.’
“The response that came from his father after hearing that somewhat abrasive announcement was equally jarring: ‘You can just get out of my house and don’t come back until you’ve given up this Jesus business!'”
The rejection by his family “didn’t deter him from following his destiny,” Perlman wrote. “If anything, it brought him closer to his Messiah, who was ‘despised and rejected’ by so many.
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