Jewish History in the U.S.
Jewish history in what would become the United States begins in New York City in 1654 when 23 Sephardic Jews from Brazil, seeking refuge from the Spanish Inquisition, arrived at what was then New Amsterdam. By 1815, there were 3,000 Jews in United States. That number jumped to 15,000 by 1840. In 1880, there were about 230,000 Jewish people living in the United States.
In the next hundred years, that number multiplied by more than 20 with the vast majority of these Jewish people emigrating from Russia and parts of Eastern Europe. From 1880 to the mid-1920s, about two million Jewish people traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to make a new start in what was dubbed, "The Golden Land." Many of them landed in New York City and settled there. In 1880, there were about 80,000 Jewish residents in New York City. By 1920, there were 1,650,000-almost one-third of the city's population.
There are now more than five million Jewish people living in the United States. The history of the Jewish people in the United States, not only in New York City, but in other American cities, large and small, is a storied one, where Jewish people have made a disproportionately large contribution to the American way of life.
Chosen People Ministries in the U.S.
The history of Chosen People Ministries in the United States is largely a reflection of the larger history of the Jewish people in America. In 1894, Rabbi Leopold Cohn founded this ministry in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, New York, shortly after he received Jesus as his Messiah. In its early days, Jews knew the ministry as the Brownsville Mission to the Jews, and its early efforts consisted of evangelism and a variety of services and classes for the growing population of Jewish immigrants.
The Mission moved its headquarters to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and then to Manhattan, where the name changed to the American Board of Missions to the Jews. Then, in 1988, the name changed again to Chosen People Ministries.
From humble beginnings and a history of faithful service, Chosen People Ministries stands today as a credible, well-established mission that combines a commitment to Jesus and the evangelization of the Jewish people with cutting-edge creativity. Our presence extends to Jewish communities in the United States, Canada, Central and South America, the former Soviet Union, Europe, Israel and Australia, which together make up 96 percent of the world's Jewish population.
In addition to our international headquarters and two Messianic congregations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, Chosen People Ministries has established a presence throughout the United States-particularly in the regions with significant Jewish populations, such as Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., southern California and South Florida.
Many of our activities in the United States and abroad are coordinated through our international headquarters in New York City and elsewhere in the United States.
Evangelism and Discipleship
"Go therefore and make disciples" (Matthew 28:19) is still a biblical imperative. Throughout the world, Chosen People Ministries proclaims the Gospel and nurtures both new and mature believers so that they will grow in the Lord and use their gifts for His glory.
Our Messianic centers are focal points for ministry of all types. In addition to evangelism and discipleship, they provide a setting for worship, Bible study, spiritual counseling and practical help. Seekers find a welcoming environment at our Messianic centers that can lead to new life through the power of the Gospel.
It isn't always easy for Jewish people to fit into churches. Jewish believers sometimes face rejection by their families, and they especially need the fellowship of those with a similar story. Messianic congregations satisfy this need, and also lift up a witness in the community that Jesus is Lord and one can be Jewish and believe in Him.
Equipping the Local Church for Jewish Evangelism
Chosen People Ministries has a wide variety of special presentations, such as "Messiah in the Passover," designed to help the church gain a greater appreciation of its Jewish roots.
Chosen People Ministries also organizes conferences that offer churches and learning institutions a chance to cosponsor well-publicized major outreach programs designed to reach a broad range of Jewish and Gentile community members.
Chosen People Ministries offers monthly and quarterly publications on topics of interest to church members and Jewish readers. Our monthly newsletter, The Chosen People, will keep you up-to-date regarding the various developments and prayer concerns vital to the Mission. We also offer a wide variety of books, tracts, videos, tapes, DVDs and CDs at our online store.
Ministry through the World Wide Web
Web technology has enabled Chosen People Ministries to reach a multitude of online seekers. Our website receives thousands of "hits" from those searching for spiritual answers and from believers wanting information. This site offers educational and evangelistic articles, challenging Bible studies, a catalog of Messianic resources and even recipes! We also follow up with seekers who make contact with us through email and are sometimes able to lead them to a decision to come to faith.
Volunteer and Short-term Missions Opportunities
Chosen People Ministries has a number of volunteer opportunities for people of all ages. For example, our Summer Training and Evangelism Program (STEP), which is held in New York City, prepares volunteers through specialized classes to share the Gospel with Jewish people. Together with Chosen People Ministries' staff members, team members go out and put what they have learned into practice.
Chosen People Ministries is committed to the ongoing development of future ministers who are presently in undergraduate and graduate schools. Chosen People Ministries has a number of internship programs that provide opportunities for students to complete their studies and include focuses in areas like intern missionary work, youth ministry, children's ministry, film, publishing, accounting, web development, office management and much more.
Chosen People Ministries has a deep interest in involving young people in evangelistic work. For this reason, we have created eXperience Israel, a two-week mission trip geared specifically for young people ages 18 to 30.
Outreach Israel attendees will feel the heartbeat of Israel and the pulse of the people as they meet and share their testimonies with Israelis-both believers and not-yet believers. Those on Outreach Israel will live at the Messianic center and interact daily with our Israeli staff, as the program weaves together outreach, worshipping at local congregations, service projects, children's and youth camps, and travel.
"See Israel through Jewish Eyes" Holy Land Tours
Chosen People Ministries conducts tours to the Holy Land each year. For many, these deeply enriching, faith-building and informative trips are the realization of a life's dream to walk in the footsteps of the Messiah.
Full-time Missionary Opportunities
God calls some people into full-time ministry with Chosen People Ministries. We assist applicants in determining if they are being called to the work of representing the Messiah to Jewish people. A sincere heart for reaching Jewish people with the Gospel is the first requirement to serve as a full-time worker, particularly in light of the biblical mandate to bring the Gospel "to the Jew first and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:16).
It is our sincere desire to share the Gospel with the Jewish people in ways that are challenging and compelling. We always seek to enrich the life of the church and to minister to other members of the Body of Messiah. Chosen People Ministries is ready, with God's help and your prayers and support, to reach out to the Jewish people of the 21st century and equip you to do likewise.