Monday, December 12, 2005


The practice of "shunning" of former employees of Jews for Jesus is described at

Another description of shunning is at which says that JFJ shunning included "various levels of cutting off communication with these former members, which have ranged from a complete prohibition against communicating with the person to less extreme forms of cut-off. Often rumors were spread about former members to damage their reputation."

Remember that these are former employees of an organization, not members of a church, that are being shunned, and that current employees are doing the "shunning." This shunning is talked about in some of the ex-Jews for Jesus stories. See, for example, and also

Apparently this unfortunate practice continues. If JFJ is disturbed by accusations that it is a cult, it should discontinue shunning, which is (sociologically speaking) one of the hallmark traits of a cult.


Anonymous said...

JFJ knows the power of friendships and knows I value the friendships I made with certain JFJ people very much. That is because JFJ made us live within a closed circle that was supposed to be our family (sounds a bit cult-like to me) and we needed one another's support very much.

I have been told more than once in recent years that I'm welcome to call or visit or write anyone associated with JFJ; however....the association is on JFJ's terms not mine.

What I mean by this is that I'm only communicated with by JFJ when it is necessary or when someone is directed to communicate with me.

It is not total shunning, but it is some kind of controlled shunning.

I was under the impression that real friendships occurred among the JFJ staff. It is disappointing to discover that those friendships were not real at all and just part of JFJ's control.

Anonymous said...

As a former staff person with Jews for Jesus, I understand Shunning. When I left that organization people kept in touch with me for about one year. Then I joined up with another organization that does Jewish Missions. Jews for Jesus leadership considers this other organization an enemy. Someone from Jews for Jesus sent me a copy of their internal staff newsletter which had this to say about me, "...[name withheld] has broken the worker's covenant that we have all signed...everyone is encouraged to be careful of communication with [name withheld]."

This was written by David Brickner, Executive Director.

Anonymous said...

(Continued from pervious comment RE: David Brickner, Executive Director)...

After that letter from David Brickner, Executive Director, in the staff newsletter, NO ONE employed with Jews for Jesus continued to remain in contact with me.

Anonymous said...

One person that I know (an ex-JFJ staffer) wrote a letter to JFJ saying that abuse took place and it was not right. So JFJ's response was to shun him AND his entire congregation. JFJ at the time had a volunteer who was going to do some kind of special music at this congregation. That person was told by JFJ executives to cancel her performance because of this "dispute."

This is how JFJ handles "disputes." They shun the people involved and cut off any contact with them.

What would Jesus do?

Anonymous said...

Moishe Rosen said the following in response to the accusation of shunning:

"Several people have told me directly that they are being shunned by Jews for Jesus. There is no policy that requires any staff to be rude or to avoid former staff. There are some people who have done some things so offensive that their presence makes me feel uncomfortable. At times people have done what was outrageous, like one person boasting that they received money from Jews for Jesus (as salary) and from Jews for Judaism and organization which is inimical. Or another, who after they left tried to extort money by threatening to speak evil. When you find someone who says they are "shunned" you need to ask yourself why they should tell such a lie or what did they do to absolutely disgust all their colleagues?"

Moishe Rosen seems to be saying that people deserve it. And that "shunning" when it takes place in JFJ is always a "grassroots" movement, and JFJ staff choose to break off communication and cut off people of their own free will. But I wonder if this is true. I don't think it is. Hopefully someone will ask Moishe is he or other leaders in JFJ ever gave "directives" to break off communication with leavers. I think this was the usual state of affairs. It was almost never a grassroots movement where individuals decided to cut off the leavers. It was a clear directive (or certainly implied or insinuated) to cut off and shun certain former staff.

Anonymous said...

David Brickner said the following in response to the accusation of shunning:

"I think it is true that in the past we have sometimes made it more difficult for people to leave in a positive way. One of the problems is that sometimes people do leave the ministry in a dishonorable way. They violate a trust, break a commitment, etc. There is no policy of shunning but what happens is that relationships get broken when trust is violated. If
someone who was a good friend stole from you, you might not want to allow them to have the same access to your home or life they once did. It is not an organizational thing, it is a human relational thing. People who once enjoyed deep fellowship feel hurt, abandoned, whatever."

My response to Brickner's defense? There are lots of people who have left JFJ who were NOT dishonest who have been shunned. JFJ may not have been happy with the way they left or the fact that they left, but there was certainly no deceit or dishonesty on their part (the leaver's part).

There may not have been an "official policy" (in terms of being written down) at JFJ on shunning, but it in fact did happen many times, probably as a result of Moishe getting angry at the person who left and saying that no one was to have communciation with them.

I know a few people who were very, very emotionally needy when they left, and JFJ simply abandoned them by shunning them. I know one person who left on what she thought was good terms, but then when she tried to communicate with her "friends" at JFJ, no one would answer phone calls and no one would talk to her. That devastated her.

Brickner is obfuscating when he says that it is due to "hurt feelings" based on "dishonesty." That may have happened once or twice, but most people that were shunned didn't deserve it. And JFJ should acknowledge that. Otherwise they are still living a lie.

Anonymous said...

Jews for Jesus claims they don't shun people. What a crock.

Even Brickner himself came to my hometown and slandered my to the local Baptist General Conference Church (he happens to be ordained through that organization).

The pastor hasn't spoken to me since.

Anonymous said...

I remember Moishe telling us why we shun people. Now they deny it?

Anonymous said...

Okay, what did Moishe say about "why we at Jews for Jesus shun people"?

Anonymous said...

Jews for Jesus operates a culture that is a closed society. When one leaves that society, the risk is the "Wizard of Oz" syndrome The person who leaves realizes that what was going on inside was ungodly, in fact, anti everything Jesus ever had to say about personal relationships. Moishe Rosen could not risk those left inside his controlled society being exposed to the light. So all attention was focused to disparage the recently departed and have implicit and explicit warnings to ensure no contact takes place.
All comments disparaging the person who left would always be spiritualized or told in private, where the practice of deniability could be upheld.

Anonymous said...

I once heard of a guy named Eddie Hidalgo, whom Rosen said was one of the three people in the whole world he would never have contact with. He insinuated that the man had committed some moral sin and refused to repent of it. Then said something to the effect of, "I would be very careful if you ever met him, not to give too much attention to what he says."

That was a perfect example of how shunning works in Jews for Jesus. It is done in private, you are not usually told to specifically "shun" the person. You are given "advice" to "be careful of" the person, which everyone receiving the "advice" understands to mean: Stay away from the person and don't talk to them.

They understand this is the case, because they know that when they talk to the person they are called on the carpet for communicating with someone who "left badly."

Anonymous said...

JFJ's use of shunning is another example of how incapable and retrogressive their senior managers are when it comes to managing others or managing situations (such as employees leaving). Just like in W. VA, it is amazing what inbreeding can do!

Anonymous said...

Shunning, as described here, is a cult practice akin to encouraging members not to have friends outside the group. Be wary of any group that segregates members from the world at large and look at their reasons for doing so. Especially in a ministry, this encourages narrow worldviews and by cutting off members who might perceive a problem in the ministry the leadership can perpetuate illusions without dissent. It comes down to the handling of dissent. If a member is shunned because they "sinned" as in commited an immoral act, the idea is that redemption or atonement is enough to bring them back into the fold. However, in an isolationist environment it serves more as an avenue to exert psychological pressure and to denude any dissenters of credibility by claiming they have entered a class of untouchables.

"Shunning" is really the only recourse nonviolent sects have for punishment; but they wouldn't go so far as to not feed, clothe, or house one of their own. It is different from silencing dissent; when used to that purpose, and by filing lawsuits a sect could denude itself of the "nonviolent" or "nonconfrontational" moniker, it is a form of control. Cultist behavior comes in generally one flavor: vanilla. Plain-faced bid for psychological control. First is group-contribution: the dedication of self and all one owns to the group. Second is cutting off communication with dissent often by depicting the entire outside world as evil or influenced by enemies (for Scientologists it was psychologists, the very ones who essentially might have had L.Ron Hubbard committed to a mental institution). Many of the polygamous fundamentalist sects also took this worldview partly to perpetuate their illusions of self-importance that allowed their various abuses, often of young girls and the exporting of other younger competing marriagible bachelors, to continue.

For "Jews for Jesus" it is anyone who dissents with their closely-held self-image, regardless of how accurate that self-image is. Control of information is the second phase after indoctrination, as the initial isolation is understandable for "training," but phase two encourages an "us" and "them" worldview in order to enforce a strict filter on incoming information. For how malleable people are after indoctrination, look at how many credit card companies prey upon new military recruits by very careful psychological manipulation of persons newly impressed with the idea of trusting others and teamwork.

Anonymous said...

Of course they shun!!! Anyone who left (including myself) has been the recipient of this behavior. It is often a verbal warning not to talk to someone that may result in some recrimination

michael said...


If your Christian brother writes and asks you for some help
Ignore him! Ignore him!

Especially if he's not someone exactly like yourself
Ignore him! Ignore him!

We all have tribulations and troubles of our own
Who needs anymore
from some contentious little gnome

So if your Christian brother is a bother or a bore...Ignore! Ignore! Ignore!

If your Christian brother writes and asks you for advice
Ignore him! Ignore him!

Especially if he's someone you don't think is very nice
Ignore him! Ignore him!

Jesus teaches love your neighbor
always as yourself
But your brother with a problem
you can put him on the shelf

Yes if your Christian brother
is a bother or a bore
Ignore! Ignore! Ignore!

And this is usually what works out
when we act this way
This is how the spirit moves
when together we all pray
The brother who's a bother goes away He goes away Yeaaa!

If your Christian brother isn't someone you admire
Ignore him! Ignore him!

Especially if he's someone
your organization wouldn't hire
Ignore him! Ignore him!

Jesus teaches love your neighbor
Yes that's always true
But if your brother has a problem
and his problems bother you...


If your Christian brother is a bother or a bore Ignore! Ignore! Ignore!

note: a song inspired by JFJ's ungodly and unloving practice of shunning and/or ignoring people and situations they don't want to look at or deal with in an honest, biblical, or Christian loving way.