NEW YORK (JTA) — Moishe Rosen, the founder of the Jews for Jesus movement, died Wednesday at 78 from prostate cancer.
Rosen, born to Reform Jewish parents from Austria, converted with his wife to Christianity in 1953 and later became a Baptist minister devoted to converting Jews. He founded the Jews for Jesus organization in 1973, although the movement began earlier. He served as executive director until 1996, but worked as a staff missionary and served on the 15-member board until his death.
Jews for Jesus has offices in 11 countries, including Israel, with more than 100 missionaries employed worldwide.
"We exist to make the messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to our Jewish people worldwide," their mission statement reads. Over the years, their core belief system and their targeting the Jewish community has made the group, which is comprised primarily of Christians, anathema to the general Jewish community.