Sunday, May 01, 2005

A word of Warning! to young women considering service with JFJ

The women who became leaders in JFJ usually were given a choice.

Opportunity for advancement meant that one agreed to not marry and raise a family.

It has always been known that Susan Perlman was given that choice by Moishe in the early JFJ days and today I see other female single missionaries in the organization that do have leadership roles because of that choice.

There is nothing wrong with choosing the single or childless lifestyle, but it does seem sad to see these women move into middle age (or old age) now without any family (except JFJ). Even women who have left JFJ staff, who were given leadership roles while with JFJ, never did marry. Some of these women, I believe, did want a lifelong partner, but JFJ somehow took their chance to find that partner away when they were young enough to date.

(It can be argued that in the Catholic Church, women make that same choice in order to serve God, but JFJ is a Protestant group.)

JFJ wished these women to only marry approved JFJ men. Once married, a newly married JFJ woman usually was asked to not have children for a certain period of time so that JFJ did not waste time or money on that woman.

Within the JFJ system and hierarchy, a single woman could become great. It does seem sad, however, that a husband and wife could not minister together. Yes, opportunities to minister were given to all JFJ staff wives in some way eventually.

If you are a young woman thinking of serving with JFJ, do consider the consequences of the choice you are about to make.


Anonymous said...

I remember being part of a number of conversations with Jews for Jesus senior leadership present, including Rosen and Brickner at different times, when the topic of specific women missionaries come up.

I remember quite clearly conversations about relationships they were in, concerns that if they got married those women would leave, and thus Jews for Jesus would be out a lot of time and energy. I remember Rosen comment that he would rather have no women because he lost a lot of money training women who left the organization.

I remember other unkind words spoken about women, too. Even if they did stay with Jews for Jesus after marrying a Jews for Jesus missionary. They were considered "lost" because in Jews for Jesus the rules make it impossible for married women with children to minister in any way, except in children's programs at certain events, like their Ingathering events.

I remember Brickner telling me slander stories about women who were married to Jews for Jesus missionaries on the Liberated Wailing Wall music group, who (according to Brickner) were unhappy with the marines-style life of the group and got pregnant just so they could get off the 6 day a week, with one week of vacation -- 18 month tour living with 7-9 other people on a cramped bus, sleeping in bunk beds.

He even told me in advance of my being in the Liberated Wailing Wall that he thought my wife would "baby out of the group" like this person did and this other person did and this other person did and that person also did...

Anonymous said...

A number of the Jews for Jesus "single-by-choice" women missionaries I knew were in counseling for "mental instabilities" as required by Jews for Jesus in order for them to stay on staff with Jews for Jesus.

Then there's the woman I know on staff were they tried everything under the sun to get her to leave Jews for Jesus. Every bad thing they could throw at her they did throw at her. Every financial penalty they could come up with for every infraction they could think of they tried. They shipped her to Canada to service with a Jews for Jesus branch leader who hated her, who also did everything he could think of to get her to quit.

I heard Brickner once say, "We made her jump through every hoop we could come up with, but she always stuck to it. She earned her right to be a Jews for Jesus missionary."

Why did she stay? This woman who hated herself so much that when she did something wrong she would eat her own nose goo?

She stayed, she told me once, because she never had anyone who ever loved her. She said that she saw all the "attention" Jews for Jesus leadership showered on her as "LOVE" !!! The only kind of "love" that she deserved.

That's absolutely sick!

Anonymous said...

Generally these criticisms are true, and there are some stories that are even worse. Personal hardships were created for low level missionaries by senior management. JfJ was then able to bail the missionary out, creating dependence upon the organization. There is no excuse for this type of behavior.
But on occasion a real hardship existed that was not concocted by Rosen and his crew. If it benefited the organization, Rosen would find ways to provide solutions that were low cost to the organization, but would work to have the beneficiary be indebted to Rosen personally and JfJ organizationally. To be fair, there were times when Rosen would approve benevolence grants to outsiders when he didn't have to.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Rosen, did a great job of "buying off" some outsiders.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget that every year women were asked by the "jfj pastor" if they intended to have families. If they said "yes", jfj would terminate their employment because the "pastor" was sent by the Executive Director for the purpose of writing a report about everyone in the corporation. This activity and the termination would be illegal if employees didn't voluntarily participate.

Obviously, using the position of the pastor made it more difficult to avoid giving answers to questions that the corporation had no business asking.

Jews for Jesus also ordains women. Something many evangelicals would have problems with but not all. So Jews for Jesus does not readily talk about why all employees who's job it is to pass out flyers and reduce Jesus to an issue need to be ordained.

Anonymous said...

When I think about it, it seems that almost all women who once served with JFJ while single are still single. Not all, almost all. Sad, very sad.