Saturday, August 13, 2005

What was good about JFJ?

What was good about JFJ?
Someone commented somewhere on the Ex-Jews for Jesus Blog that we are not posting anything positive about JFJ.

I have tried hard to remember positive things, and the one thing that I remember that was really good about JFJ was the MONEY we made.

Yes, we were paid well. We also got certain tax breaks; I don't quite remember how they worked: what comes to mind is a housing allowance and a furniture allowance.

Our health and dental insurance was the best.

Usually at Christmas time, we received a bonus. Sometimes the bonus was quite large.

We could reimburse for expensive meals if the meal was ministry related.

Senior staff were given Ministry Vehicles and those that didn't qualify for a Ministry Vehicle, had a chance to get an interest-free loan to buy a car. Come to think of it, I think JFJ also provided those who bought homes with a loan to buy a house!

We could buy computers through JFJ, interest free.

When staff got married, JFJ helped with beautiful JFJ weddings.

Certain staff qualified for JFJ to pay for higher education, such as programs at Fuller Seminary and even educational programs in Israel.

If you stayed with JFJ a long time, you were able to travel to wonderful places at JFJ's expense.

Yes, those things were good......I guess. Or were they?


Anonymous said...

What comes to my mind is a song with words in it that go something like this:

"....I sold my soul to the company store!"

Anonymous said...

1. When I was on staff with Jews for Jesus we had a company van, a VERY nice mini-van that we had to give up when we left. It was purchased with over $20,000 from my "missionary account" which meant people gave to me so I could buy the car for ministry purposes. I stayed in ministry after I left Jews for Jesus, but they wouldn't let me keep the van, or keep the names and addresses of the people who gave me the money so I could buy the van.

2. When I was with Jews for Jesus I bought a house. I couldn't get a loan through a bank because I was considered self-employed and a few other reasons I can't remember. I do remember that I wasn't alone and a lot of other Jews for Jesus missionaries who bought homes couldn't secure a bank loan either...
Well, Jews for Jesus gave me the loan. Which meant that they held the loan on my house.

When I left Jews for Jesus I lost my house.

When I left Jews for Jesus I lost all my friends (because I was slandered in the organization and no one would talk to me any longer).

When I left Jews for Jesus I lost my wife. She was treated with absolute kindness the entire time we were with the organization, while I was treated like crap. Her perspective on the organization was positive, mine was entirely negative.

After Jews for Jesus I couldn't get a "normal job" because I had "JEWS FOR JESUS" on my work history for a decade or more. No one consided me qualified for ANY JOB except an entry level cook at McDonald's or something equivalent in an administrative position.

We lost our house, we lost our job income ($90,000 a year working with Jews for Jesus), we lost our only way to get to work (a van), and I lost my wife because she couldn't take the hell we went through after Jews for Jesus' psychological, emotional and financial games during the last year prior to my leaving and for a couple years after we left.

Anonymous said...

What was good? The people with whom I worked. We had fun together and often after hours. We shared a common goal in Christian service and a common Jewish sense of identity/humor/etc.

JFJ prided itself on being like a family. So here we were, the dysfunctional kids all hanging out together.

Anonymous said...

This site greatly compromises its usefulness when it stoops to nastiness, one-sidedness and caricatures. So let it be said that there were indeed some good things about JFJ and about Moishe Rosen.

For example, Moishe exemplified a focused life. Despite his foibles, pathologies, and moral compromises, he was 24/7 devoted to something. This quality is sorely lacking in many Western people. Second, he was a masterful letter writer in consistency and power. Also true, he could be devastating and malevolent in that genre. But he taught by his example, good or bad, the power of correspondence. Third, don't forget that in the early days he left a cushy job in NYC with the ABMJ to don jeans and T-shirts to develop a cadre of ex-hippies and re-invent missionary strategy. It was a gutsy move: an act of dedication and principle.

I think of Moishe in some ways like Don Corleone in the masterful Godfather films. The Don was a danger to those he deemed disloyal, but Brando played him also as a man who was genuinely affectionate toward and protective of those close to him, and principiled in filling his assigned role in the hierarchy of his own universe of association. Brando plays the Don as poignant, strong, and a man who made hard decisions growing out of his understanding of honor and responsibility. Moishe did the same thing.

That Moishe was machievellian, that he cunningly manipulated people, that he coldly got people "whacked" from their jobs, that he knowingly lied about people and defamed them is true and deplorable. But like Brando's Don, he could be endearing, he was charismatic in the extreme, he was a shrewd tactician, an organizational wiz, a focused individual, and a skilled written communicator. At least some of us who knew him well and knew him early continue to have a love-hate relationship memory of him.

Let's be honest in these postings. And often, honesty requires acknolwedging the ambiguities of life.

Give credit where credit is due. . .and be careful out there.

Anonymous said...

I just can't agree with the comment above that the good thing about JFJ was Moishe Rosen.

Every time I watch THE GODFATHER, I actually see the main character being very much like I remember Moishe. No, Moishe did not have anyone killed, but he did know he had power and he knew that his power could ruin lives.

How can a person who is able to ruin lives, be considered good?

No, I am not going to say that any credit in the "good" department should be given to Moishe Rosen.

Anonymous said...

I did not say that Moishe Rosen is "good." Nor did I say he is "evil." Yeshua of course said that no person is "good" [in a global sense] except God alone. But I still believe it ill-reflects the ambiguities of life to speak of Moishe as if he were evil personified. He did some horrendous things, he set in motion a damaging and toxic organizational culture, he is responsible for the lies he told about people he sought to defame in order to protect his/JFJ's "reputation" or out of competitive envy. I do not deny any of this. But it is healthier and more in line in the truth to admit that even he is a bearer of the image of God, however much defaced, and was not and is not evil personified. His misbegotten Calvinism would see people as sinners who can do no good. I see people, as does Judaism, as persons as bearers of the image of God responsible and able to reflect that image in all they do.

Here is a disturbing illustration. Sir Alec Guinness did a movie some years ago about Hitler's last week [may his name and memory be blotted out]. Guinness played Hitler as in some manner winsome [I know this from an article on the movie. I never saw the latter]]. Guiness said the reason he did that was because 80 milliion Germans followed the Fuhrer. Guinness reasoned that there had to be something magnetic about the man, beast that he was.

Moishe was no Hitler, and certainly no Mother Theresa either. But if we are to heal, and to be harbingers of health to others, we will have to learn to see things as they are, not as projections of our wounds.


Anonymous said...

A fellow employee of mine, (I don't think "Missionary" is a term that could apply to para-church organizations who say they aren't a church or under any church's authority) was promised by the JFJ board that they would buy his house. They let it go into foreclosurer.

I know one of JFJ's telemarketers who was promised that if he did "church meetings" they would allow his daughter to get a scholarship at a Christian school. The meetings were done. The scholarship was never collected and the money went where the Executive Director placed it.

To suggest that money poured freely from JFJ wouldn't be an accurate description. Neither would the idea that a church would experience growth if JFJ "saved" someone.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Brickner and Rosen both made financial promises to people and then left them high and dry when it came time to pay up. I remember the incident with [name removed] who is still with Jews for Jesus, who had his house go into foreclosure. Brickner did promise the man that his house would be taken care of and there wouldn't be a problem, because "Jews for Jesus takes care of its own."

They didn't take care of him, yet he has continued to remain with them, despite all the broken promises he's lived with.

Anonymous said...

Here's a good thing, without the sarcasm:

I learned how to do impressions while with Jews for Jesus. I do a decent elmer fudd, a good Ronald Regean, my Daffy Duck isn't too bad, I have a great George Bush I & II, and my best impresonation of all: Moishe Rosen.

I even did Rosen today at a Bible study for a guy who met Rosen years ago. I got a pat on the back and couple bucks because I "did Rosen faithfully."