Jews for Jesus founder Moishe Rosen dies

By Jessica Elgot, May 21, 2010
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Moishe Rosen was the founder of Jews For Jesus, a group of messianic Jews.

Moishe Rosen was the founder of Jews For Jesus, a group of messianic Jews.

The controversial founder of Jews for Jesus, Moishe Rosen, has died from prostate cancer, aged 78.

Mr Rosen was the most famous Jewish evangelist; having “found Jesus” aged 21. He and his wife made it a life-long mission to convert Jews to the teachings of Jesus. He died at his home in San Francisco, California.

Born in Denver, Colorado, Mr Rosen was rejected by his Jewish family after his decision to leave Judaism.

He became an ordained minister and founded Jews for Jesus in 1973 to train missionaries to preach to Jews. He was known for his larger-than-life attitude and a zealous personality, calling himself a “Messianic Jew”.

Mr Rosen wrote numerous books on converting Jews, including “Christ in Passover” and “Share the New Life with a Jew”.

The movement has followings in 11 countries, including the UK and Israel.

In 2008 the group launched a new push to convert Jews in the UK, in a £15,000 two-week leafleting campaign by 30 volunteers who targeted Golders Green, Finchley, Edgware, Hatton Garden, Bond Street and High Street Kensington.

During the drive, the veteran anti-missionary campaigner, Rabbi Shmuel Arkush of Birmingham Lubavitch, expressed deep concern about the Jews for Jesus campaign.

He said: “I am worried that a vulnerable person will get drawn in. If you shoot 100,000 bullets, one will hit. We are very concerned for every single Jew.

“It is theologically unsound. I am not comfortable with theological ideas being peddled in such an open way. It’s a front for converting Jews to Christianity, and as far as Jews are concerned, it is highly unwelcome and unnecessary.”

Mr Rosen continued his mission to convert Jews after his death, with a message he requested to be posted on his website when he died.

He wrote: "I hope I can count on you to show love and respect for the Jewish people, but Jewishness never saved anybody. Judaism never saved anybody, no matter how sincere.

“Within Judaism today, there is no salvation because Christ has no place within Judaism."

Last updated: 4:45pm, May 21 2010