Yovel, the Hebrew word for the “Jubilee Year”, means “blowing the ram’s horn of liberty.” It is a fitting word for the 50th anniversary celebration this year of Jews for Jesus, the ministry that brought a tsunami change to Jewish evangelism worldwide led by its founder, Moishe Rosen. Incorporated in the Fall of 1973, Jews for Jesus (JFJ) broke historic molds used in Jewish mission, perhaps since the Book of Acts and the Jewish followers of Yeshua stormed the known world. Maybe this is why the plaque at the entrance to JFJ headquarters at 60 Haight Street in San Francisco reads “Founded in 32 AD.”
Moishe Rosen left New York as a staff member of the American Board of Mission to the Jews (ABMJ) asking what the most effective ways were to communicate the truth of Yeshua (spelled Y’shua in JFJ material) the Messiah to his own Jewish people, given state of the world in the 1960s in America. His search took him to the streets of Haight-Asbury in San Francisco—ground zero of the hippy, Beat Generation hung out. Reaching the countercultural 20-somethings of the day— many of whom were Jewish— was his focus. Moishe’s mission was a combination of invention, entrepreneurism, zany creativity, and experimentation. Like a magnet, Moishe attracted a group of inexperienced, searching, long-haired, new Jewish believers who were anxious to share their faith with other Jews like themselves.