Jews for Judaism’s Mission is to strengthen and preserve Jewish identity through education and counseling that counteracts deceptive proselytizing targeting Jews for conversion
About Us: Who Are We
Jews for Judaism International was founded in 1985 to counteract the deceptive efforts of cults and missionaries that target Jews for conversion. Like David fighting Goliath, it quickly became the premier organization working to counter an aggressive inroad into the Jewish community and providing specialized crisis and support counseling for individuals and families affected by conversion, missionaries and cults.In partnership with Jewish educational and community organizations spanning the spectrum of Jewish observance, Jews for Judaism also provides educational programs and resources to reinforce and enrich Jewish identity.
Click Here to support Jews for Judaism
Scope of the problem
Since its founding twenty-five years ago, the environment surrounding Jews for Judaism has dramatically changed. The time was ripe to embark upon a comprehensive planning process both to assess and reflect upon the organization’s accomplishments to-date, and to position Jews for Judaism to maximize its future impact. Following is an overview of the changes and trends Jews for Judaism considered in developing, and will remain mindful of in implementing this Strategic Plan.
Thanks to the Strategic Plan, a few new trends of missionary proselytizing were discovered:
High school and particularly college students are the primary targets of the new proselytizing efforts. A Jews for Judaism survey of more than 2500 Jewish students from all denominations in the Greater Los Angeles area found that 68% of teens and 85% of college students had been approached by someone who tried to share another religion with them. In fact, these numbers are probably on the low side since missionaries have been trained to disguise their early efforts as simple gestures of friendship: In a recent letter to their supporters, Chosen People Ministries (one of the largest Christian missionary organizations in the world that specifically targets the Jewish community), explained how their staff was using an “undercover” approach to “make meaningful contact” with Jewish people and “witness to them indirectly.” Respondents to Jews for Judaism’s on-line survey conveyed that they are most often approached “at a random place,” at home via door-to-door solicitation and at school.
The messianic method of proselytizing is particularly effective with adolescents who are already struggling with questions about values, directions in life and spirituality – and who have not yet found answers to their spiritual needs or a sense of community in Judaism. This method also is very effective with youth who are only tangentially involved with the Jewish community (note that 47% of Jewish college students have one parent who is not Jewish, and 67% think it is unimportant to date someone Jewish). Missionaries use deception and manipulation to create confusion and then suggest that the answer to that confusion can be found by believing in Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. Their young targets typically lack the Jewish background and critical thinking skills to recognize the duplicity of the missionary arguments and resist the peer pressure from people they’ve come to think of as friends.
It is this very peer pressure that is making this new wave of proselytizing as effective as it is. Realizing that young people prefer to listen to young people, the Christian Evangelical movement is investing millions of dollars annually on Peer-to-Peer training. They provide simple step-by-step instructions in the process, likening it to a fishing cycle (“focus/hook/follow-through”) or to another models that is easily understood by their trainees (some of whom are as young as six years old). They offer campus clubs and even summer camp trips to reward the best “trainers,” and they support them with videos, concerts, workshops, one-on-one mentoring programs, books and print materials. These deceptive missionaries send their trainees out to talk to millions of our youth (“Schools are mission fields”) and succeed far too many times.
This shift from the use of professional missionaries to broader peer-driven proselytizing includes:
- The Evangelical movement numbering 75 million, actively promotes peer-to-peer proselytizing especially on high school and college campuses. A sophisticated example is the website CampusRevolution.com
- Evangelicals team up with Messianics to utilize the Jews for Jesus model of presenting Christianity in the guise of authentic Judaism
- Use of new web based technology – such as YouTube, MySpace, Facebook and the iPod – creating a virtual on-line community that reaches into our homes and students dormitory rooms. Jews of all denominations and affiliation levels are part on the virtual community.
25 Year History
The Mission of Jews for Judaism is to strengthen and preserve Jewish identity through education and counseling that counteracts deceptive proselytizing targeting Jews for conversion.
Jews for Judaism today is an international organization that provides a wide variety of counseling services, along with education and outreach programs that enable Jews of all ages to rediscover and strengthen their Jewish heritage.
We are a positive resource, utilized and endorsed by all denominations of Judaism. Our warm and open-minded approach successfully reaches out to individuals who have been lured away from Judaism by other belief systems or through assimilation.
Jews for Judaism was established in 1985. It has become the Jewish community’s leading response to the multi-million dollar efforts of cults and evangelical Christians who target Jews for conversion.
Jews for Judaism’s preventative education is a catalyst that inspires the revitalization of the spiritual life of Jews and Judaism and at the same time inoculates the Jewish community from external influences.
Milestones over the years
- Jews for Judaism is established and begins providing its highly specialized counseling services – offering a much-needed resource for the Jewish community – using seed money received from the Jewish Community Foundation
- Jews for Judaism launches its educational program to inoculate the Jewish community against missionaries
- The first Jews for Judaism newsletter goes out
- Rabbi Kravitz writes an article about the Mormon Challenge which gets published in the Heritage Newspaper
- A Jews for Judaism hotline with TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) is established
- A student-run Jews for Judaism chapter is established at CSUN (CA State University at Northridge)
- A student-run Jews for Judaism chapter is established at UCLA
- Jews for Judaism launches its “spend Shabbos with a family” initiative
- Jews for Judaism presents “Why Jews Can’t believe in Jesus” at UCLA
- An educational campaign is launched in the Los Angeles Times and 6 major Jewish publications
- Jews for Judaism enters official affiliation with Jews for Judaism in Baltimore, MD, to share expertise and educational resources, and to work together to develop programs and services
- Jews for Judaism creates a video about the threat of Cults and Missionaries, with captions for the deaf community
- Jews for Judaism receives mention in New York Magazine
- Rabbi Isaiah Zeldon sends note about missionary activities and Jews for Judaism’s resources to Stephen S. Wise Temple congregants
- Jews for Judaism raises awareness about missionary activities in Israel
- Jews for Judaism holds first annual Chanukah Party
- Jews for Judaism holds its first Las Vegas and Palm Springs classes
- Jews for Judaism Center moves into its first offices, located in the “Pico/Robertson” area of Los Angeles
- More than 300 people attend an open house to kick off the Center
- Jews for Judaism launches its first Pushka campaign
- Jews for Judaism Annual Chanukah Party becomes full-fledged banquet honoring Joel and Jory Goldman
- Jews for Judaism launches counter missionary seminar
- Jews for Judaism runs awareness ad in Newsweek.
- Jews for Judaism begins partnering with Jewish community in New York City to bring its expertise to the area
- Rabbi Kravitz travels to Israel to raise awareness about missionary activity there and to train local lay people to respond
- Jew for Judaism receives letter of support from Congressman Henry Waxman
- Sam and Sooky Goldman open their Beverly Hills home for a cocktail party hosted by Jews for Judaism in July
- Jews for Judaism hosts a private screening of “Ticket to Heaven”
- Jews for Judaism begins partnering with Jewish Community in Detroit to bring its expertise to the area
- Jews for Judaism provides resources to Jewish organizations at UCLA to help them counter growing missionary activities on campus
- Jews for Judaism establishes a support group for parents and siblings coping with family members’ affiliations with missionary groups
- Union of American Hebrew Congregations’ film, “The Target is You,” features Jew for Judaism
- Jews for Judaism starts providing resources to Russian Jews in the Soviet Union as well in in the US and Israel
- Jews for Judaism opens Mikot House – a warm and family environment that facilitates bringing clients out of missionary and cult groups
- Jews for Judaism participates with a strong presence at the Los Angeles Jewish Festival
- Jews for Judaism enters affiliate agreement with new Jewish for Judaism center it helped form in Toronto
- Former Hebrew-Christian, singer Michael Elias, addresses a session of Jews for Judaism’s new eight part educational program, “What Every Jew Should Know about Missionaries”
- Jews for Judaism runs ad in Time Magazine
- Jews for Judaism plans trip to the Soviet Union
- Jews for Judaism ad in Moment magazine leads to new counseling cases
- Jews for Judaism places insert in more than 40 Jewish publications
- A 90-minute audio lecture of “What Every Jew Should Know about Missionaries” is produced
- Jews for Judaism launches weekly Torah study class
- Jews for Judaism honors Mitch Shames
- Jews for Judaism presents new “Missionary Impossible” program at Steven S. Wise Temple
- Jews for Judaism revitalizes Pushka Campaign
- Jews for Judaism launches new tribute card project for “When You Care Enough.. To Send the Very Best”
- Jews for Judaism establishes partnership with San Diego Jewish Community
- Rabbis across the Jewish spectrum endorse the work of Jews for Judaism
- Jews for Judaism honors Sheriff Sherman Block
- Jews for Judaism holds drawing for ’67 Cadillac
- Rabbi Kravitz travels to Israel again to raise awareness and educate Israelis about the growing missionary problem
- While in Israel Rabbi Kravitz meets with Jewish students who have returned to Judaism
- Jews for Judaism starts offering courses at the University of Judaism
- “How Judaism Differs from Christianity” is introduced as a new Jews for Judaism seminar
- David and Rae Finegood, the Milken Foundation, and Jack and Harriet Stein are honored at Jews for Judaism banquet
- Jews for Judaism holds conference at The Museum of Tolerance
- Following the events in Waco, Texas, Jews or Judaism presents a special seminar on cults at the University of Judaism
- Jews for Judaism coordinates response to Jews for Jesus’s new center at UCLA
- Rabbi Kravitz participates in a meeting with Fourth Reich Skin heads who threatened to blow up the First AME Church and attempted to bomb Southern California Synagogues
- A new ad campaign is launched to keep the community aware of the growing missionary problem and the resources Jews for Judaism offers
- Jews for Judaism creates presence online
- Jews for Judaism launches JewsforJudaism.org
- Jews for Judaism develops “Cult or Consequence” presentation, specifically dealing with the Heavens Gate suicides
- Provides resources to Hillel in Flagstaff, AZ
- Jews for Judaism raises awareness about the Mendel & Moses play which was missionary theme.
- Jews for Judaism continues providing its vital educational programs and counseling services
- Staff from all of Jews for Judaism’s centers gather for an international conference
- Jews for Judaism reaches more than 10,000 Jewish students – raising their awareness about missionaries
- Barbra Walters runs 20/20 special about Baptists targeting a 12 year old Jewish boy
- Jews for Judaism spreads the word about an ad for a missionary film, “The Rabbi,” that was deceptively placed in over 80 Jewish newspapers
- Rabbi Kravitz travels to South Africa and Australia to educate Jewish students and adults about the Jewish response to the missionary problem
- Jews for Judaism hires former evangelical missionary
- “Let my People Know” campaign is launched
- Jews for Judaism published new and expanded edition of The Jewish Response to Missionaries handbook
- TwoRoadsOnePath.com is As a resources for interfaith Couples targeted by missionaries.
- Jews for Judaism responds to the Jews for Jesus Behold You God campaign that targets Los Angeles
- Jews for Judaism continues to provide the community with preventative educational programs.
- Jews for Judaism holds “They Get Then – Why Can’t We,” a Summit for Educators with more than 100 Southern California educators participating
- Rabbi Zalman Kravitz joins the Jews for Judaism staff
- Jews for Judaism raises awareness on the paradigm shift from Hard Sell to Soft Sell Evangelism
- Rabbi Kravitz is interviewed by VH1’s Spin Cycle
- Jew for Judaism responds to “Behold Your God” in several cities and countries
- The controversy of Chaplains proselytizing in the military is addressed by Jews for Judaism
- The first annual Jews for Judaism Jewish Students’ Creative Writing contest receives greater participation than expected
- Celebrates “20 Years of Keeping Jews Jewish” at First Annual Gala Awards Banquet and presents Community Leadership Award to David and Helen Rifkind and Ahavas Chesed (Loving Kindness) Award to Ruth Ziegler
- The 2nd Annual Jewish Students’ Contest a huge success!
- Jews for Judaism begins surveying Jewish students in grades 1-12 and finds that 67% have been approached by someone who tried to convert them
- Jews for Judaism directors attend the GA in Toronto
- The Jewish Community Foundation gives Jews for Judaism a grant to develop a strategic plan
- “My Greatest Jewish Hero” selected as theme for Jews for Judaism’s Third Annual Jewish Students’ Contest
- Rabbi Kravitz travels to Las Vegas to lead response to BYG
- Jews for Judaism presents the Strategic plan to the community.
- Jews for Judaism receives a grant from the Jewish Community Foundation and Jewish Venture Philanthropy Fund to starts its student leadership program
- Conducts successful student contest.
- Jews for Judaism receives a grant from the Jewish Venture Philanthropy Fund to fund its Be-True student leadership program
- Jews for Judaism Launches Be-True.org
- Jews for Judaism conducts first annual Student Leadership conference.
- Missionary activities escalate in Israel
- Jews for Judaism produces a student prep kit
- Conducts successful student contest.
- Jews for Judaism conducts its second Be-True Student leadership conference
- Jews for Judaism Launches the Goldrich Media center
- Jews for Judaism launches the Aleph Club to help build sustainable funding for its important work.
- Jews for Judaism launches its young professional division.
- Conducts successful student online photo contest.
- Mozart violin played to support Jews for Judaism.