Monday, January 15, 2007

Jews for Jesus and the Elephant in the Room

David Bricker in his 2000 article, "I Repent, But for What" tangentally addresses the abuses of Christian staff workers in this quote:

It becomes more difficult, however, if an accusation comes from a fellow believer. Recently, I received a letter from a former staff member who talked about his unhappy service with Jews for Jesus. He was calling on the Jews for Jesus organization to repent because of what he perceived to be bad actions or bad attitudes during his time of service over 20 years ago. Well, if the things that he alleged to have happened really happened, I can express my regrets and sorrow for his pain, but I can't place blame on all of my co-workers in Jews for Jesus because of a past incident.

Can an organization, an ethnic group or a city repent? The answer is yes and no. We can only repent for the wrong that we've done or the wrong that we've allowed. We can regret history but we can't repent for it. It is true that God calls nations to repent. But a nation consists of people, and individuals must decide whether or not they will repent. Leaders can sometimes help and encourage those who follow them to repent, as in the case of Nineveh, when Jonah called the city to repent and the king heeded that call. Leaders might have a greater responsibility to repent when necessary because others may follow their example, but all of us need to live in constant repentance.

(Emphasis mine)

Regarless of whether organizations or individuals can repent, it is an irrefutable fact that there are many, many people who have left the ministry of Jews for Jesus badly hurt and treated in a very un-Christian fashion.

What motiviates my participation in the Ex-Jews for Jesus blog has always been to warn believers to weigh carefully their involvement in the Jews for Jesus organization because of the way they treat their own people. Others participants on this blog have returned to Judaism, others no longer believe in anything, and some still hold to faith in Christ. I consider myself in the latter group.

David Brickner's (and the rest of the leadership by extention) response to accusations of abuse has been to say, "come to me and tell me what's wrong and I'll apologize."

This is both scriptural and correct.

However, this also provides a neat shell game that has allowed the ministry to injure and abuse its Christian staff for four decades.

Many have approached David Brickner and Moishe Rosen directly to address greivances. Yet even when apologies have been forthcoming, the day to day abuses of Jews for Jesus has never ceased.


This is the Elephant. Many people have been witness to a rotten culture where personal insults, degrading disciplinary actions and inordinate amounts of control are asserted over people. (You can read many first-hand accounts here)

The key word is "culture". Culture is an atmosphere that belongs to an organization. Culture is perpetuated by individuals, but within a culture, behaviors become permissible and provide a cover for inappropriate actions.

Attempts to address cultural issues brings one into Jews for Jesus' shell game.

Hurt by the ministry's culture? Nope, organizations don't sin, people do. Take it up with them.

So then the abused is directed to go to his branch leader and work it out.

What does that produce? Usually a "that's the way the Ministry works" response follows, which puts the responsibility back on the organization.

The leadership then can preserve the status quo and still feel justified. There is no way to change Jews for Jesus' culture until the leadship recognizes how malformed it is both as a social entity and in the model of Christian life.

Sadly, there seems to have never been any recognition of any fault with this culture. It has been my experience that there is an insularity within the leadership of Jews for Jesus which rejects any possibility of wrongdoing.

If you wish to have more information please drop your email in the comments and I'll discuss it with you.

Sorry, Jews for Jesus has at times infiltrated our email group and intentionally tried to destroy the careers of some of our participants. If you wish to dialog, please understand that we need to take precautions.

[Administrator note]
We have a Jews for Jesus staff member who regularly visits this site and harangues the commenters. Since his comments add nothing of value to the discussion, the usual course of action would be to delete the comments and ban this person. However, we believe that there is value to leaving these comments for the world to see.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Exploitation of Others

In my last post I talked about boundary violations as one of the ways that (according to psychologist Nina Brown) destructive narcissists demonstrate their indifference to others. In this post I will talk about another characteristic that Dr. Brown describes, which she calls "exploitation of others."

She writes: "Interpersonal exploitation occurs when others are used to satisfy personal needs and desires without consideration for their rights or personal integrity. Others are perceived as valuable only in terms of what they can give or do. They are not inherently valued as worthwhile, unique individuals." (Brown, 2006, p. 49)

"One obvious example is children who are ordered to do what a parent says or wants, without question or hesitation, and may be punished for not being prompt or for making an error."

One example of interpersonal exploitation is what Brown calls "power exploitation." This occurs "when an individual has achieved a position or status where their needs have priority and others must fulfill these needs regardless of the effort, discomfort, or disruption necessary to do so."

It's clear to many ex-JFJ staff that power exploitation occurred with great frequency in the "old days" of Jews for Jesus. (See the stories at The only question now is whether or not it still occurs. There are some signs that it still does happen, although perhaps not with the frequency that it did under the Rosen regime.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Indifference to Others

One of the primary characteristics of the Destructive Narcissistic Pattern (DNP) that Nina Brown describes is indifference to others. She points out three examples of indifference to others that many of you may recognize: boundary violations, exploitation of others, and lack of empathy.

Boundary violations occur when someone's personal space (physical or psychological space) is invaded by another person.

A boss putting his or her arm around you would almost always be a boundary problem.

A coworker or boss coming into your office or cubicle without knocking (especially if your door is closed or if you are clearly working in a focused way on a project) and immediately demands your attention and time would be a boundary intrusion.

A boss comes to your home late at night or very early in the morning, without calling first, and gives you work to do or demands your time.

These may seem innocuous to some readers, but they are evidence of a lack of respect for your personal space and an intrusion of your privacy. (Of course, sexual harassment and physical violence are also boundary violations, but all of us know that these kinds of things NEVER happened in JFJ).

Some other boundary problems that Brown describes:

Not asking permission before borrowing or picking up others' possessions.

Making comments about others' personal characteristics.

Making jokes at others' expense.

Touching someone without their permission.

Speaking for others.

I'll write more about the DNP in the coming days.