NEW YORK – Jewish talk show host Rabbi Tovia Singer released a new website Tuesday as part of an outreach program that specifically negates the Christian mission group Jews for Jesus.
Singer’s New York-based Jewish organization, Outreach Judaism, focuses on counter-missionary efforts, and its new site particularly singles out Jews for Jesus because of the multi-million dollar evangelistic campaign that the group ran last year.
Last year’s “Behold Your God” campaign was run in commitment to the Jews for Jesus’ nine core values, the first being to have “direct Jewish evangelism as a priority.” Such statements have angered many Jewish people who do not like being targeted for conversion.
On the new website put out by Outreach Judaism, Singer, radio host for Israel National Radio, offers a free, exhaustive library of information regarding Jews for Jesus' multimillion dollar worldwide missionary campaigns, including a point-by-point audio response to their plans to convert Jews to Christianity.
However, Jews for Jesus disagrees with this negative label that Singer and other Jewish leaders have placed on them.
“The anti-missionary Jewish community uses the word ‘target’ to describe what we do,” explains Susan Pearlman, spokeswoman for Jews for Jesus. “It’s a pejorative word. It has a negative connotation, and we don’t see the Jewish community as a target in any way.”
Normally, Jews for Jesus have focused its evangelism on Jewish centers such as Manhattan. Yet last year, the ministry engaged in a 65-city tour where they spent $18 million. This included any city that had more than 25,000 Jews living in it.
In New York, the organization handed out more than 80,000 copies of a Jesus film that was translated into Yiddish. The movie was put into Hassidic homes in Brooklyn, Queens, and Monsey, N.Y.
The group also distributed 1 million tracts and collected information from over 5,000 people.
In addition, Jews for Jesus began to expand their ministry to Holocaust survivors, using the testimonies from Christ believers who had been in the camps and lived.
Singer and others have looked at these efforts negatively. "Jews for Jesus has launched a deceptive campaign to convert the most susceptible segments of our community to their ranks," said Singer in a statement.
According to their marketing materials, Jews for Jesus exists, "To make the messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to our Jewish people worldwide." This makes the message of the evangelist group seem forced upon Jews.
"This spiritual war against the most vulnerable members of our community is deeply troubling, and cannot go unanswered," explained Singer in his statement.
“Lots of people have ignored the message of the gospel, because it hasn’t been explained to them in a way that they can understand, and they feel very comfortable going about their way not having to address the issue,” explained the Jews for Jesus spokeswoman. “It’s an important enough issue that people need to know, and then have a decision to accept or reject. That’s what we mean by unavoidable.”
After assessing Singer’s new website, Pearlman said it was "more of the same from them" – another way to feed his business.
“I think that the fact that Jews for Jesus is effective in bringing the message of gospel to the Jewish people is something he wants to use as a motivator to donate to his organization and stop us from whatever we do,” she expressed.
“It’s a financial thing. We’re his meal ticket.”