NEW YORK (May. 25)
A special alert has been issued to the Jewish community regarding the anticipated large-scale drive by the Hebrew Christian groups in the metropolitan area during the summer months. According to Dr. Seymour Lachman, chairman of the New York Jewish Community Relations Council’s Task Force on Missionary Activity, there are verified reports that missionaries will be coming to New York from other parts of the country beginning in mid-June.
Lachman indicated that among the groups known to be organizing summer campaigns are Jews for Jesus, B’nai Yeshua and Beth Sar Shalom. He said these intensified efforts follow months of build up and training. These groups, he added, hope to reach out and ensnare people of all ages but especially those in their teens and twenties who may have been unable to secure employment or are otherwise unoccupied at this time.
There will be extensive distribution of literature, street solicitation, appearances at public events and gathering places and at musical and dramatic programs Lachman noted.
According to Malcolm Hoenlein, executive director of the Council, the “I Found it” campaign, which included a $1 million-plus media blitz has given added impetus to the increasing efforts of the Hebrew-Christian groups. He reported that respondents to the ads, commercials and posters that have inundated the metropolitan area are being referred to the New York office of Jews for Jesus.
Moreover, he said, many churches have been enlisted for door-to-door campaigns in their communities. Among those involved in organizing and executing this extensive follow-up are leaders of the Hebrew-Christian missionary groups, Hoenlein said. Other major programs, he pointed out, include.
MAJOR MISSIONARY PROGRAMS
“Shechinah ‘ 77″; An annual conclave of Hebrew-Christian missionaries which will take place June 17-18 at the Stony Brook headquarters of B’nai Yeshua. Up to 1000 representatives of major missionary groups from around the country are expected to participate. They will share experiences program ideas and proselytizing techniques. The fact that the conference site was shifted from the West Coast underscores the emphasis given to their efforts in the New York City area.
“Messiah ’77″: The eight-week summer campaign of Jews for Jesus will begin July 1. Approximately 30 Jews for Jesus professionals from around the country will augment the New York branch staff for an intensive campaign of miss ionizing at key locations throughout the city and suburbs.
The major goal of their efforts is to increase the ranks (and therefore staff) of the New York branch of Hineni Ministeries, Inc. (Jews for Jesus) for year round follow-up and increased proselytizing in the metropolitan area. Among the most successful outreach programs are public concerts featuring the Liberated Wailing Wall Singing Group and the New Jerusalem Players.
“Operation Gideon”: This is an intensive recruitment and training program to be sponsored by B’nai Yeshua from May 27-August 12. Participants will be given orientation sessions, Bible classes, and instruction in miss ionizing techniques at the Stony Brook location. “On the Job” training experiences will be provided as program members miss ionize on the streets throughout metropolitan New York. Those who successfully complete this program will be used for proselytizing within the Jewish community in the future.
*”Beth Sar Shalom Summer Witnessing”: The American Board of Missions to the Jews (Beth Sar Shalom) is preparing to deploy 100-150 missionaries, primarily on Long Island, to witness and make personal contact during the summer months.
*”A Yom Kippur Celebration”: A 10-day trip to Israel sponsored by B’nai Yeshua, Sept 16-26. The program is described as a ” learning experience ” and as an opportunity to miss ionize in Israel. They highlight a planned prayer meeting at the Western Wall on Yom Kippur.
*”Christian Brothers Carpet Cleaning/Maid Service” A fund-raising front for the Church of Bible Understanding. This missionary group by Stewart Traill, has established a carpet cleaning and maid service which has been well publicized throughout the metropolitan area. Members of the group. numbering approximately 400 in New York City, operate the business from 607 West 51st Street, which is also the location of the Church’s headquarters. In November, 1976. Church of Bible Understanding, formerly known as “Forever Family,” was ordered by the New York City Health, Fire and Buildings Departments to vacate lofts in downtown New York where 150 members were living under ” unsafe, unsanitary and illegal conditions.”
*”Here’s Life, New York”: Part of a nation-wide drive sponsored by Bill Bright’s Campus Crusade for Christ, has inundated the metropolitan New York area. A massive media campaign features ads, commercials, billboards, bumper stickers, posters, television and radio programs with the theme “I Found it,” and a phone number.
While ” Here’s Life” is not geared exclusively to the Jewish community, it is reported that Jewish respondents are being referred to local Hebrew-Christian groups of follow-up. Protestant and Catholic spokesmen have expressed opposition to the campaign on a variety of grounds, including the potential impact on Christian-Jewish relations.