“Jesus-Believing Israelis: Exploring Messianic Fellowships is a valuable resource for anyone interested in understanding and getting to know the Messianic community in Israel. I highly commend the authors on their thorough and meticulous work.”
Yonatan Allon, managing editor Kehila News Israel
“Jesus-Believing Israelis: Exploring Messianic Fellowships is a comprehensive study of all communities in Israel of Jewish believers in Jesus, often known as Messianic Jews. The authors have conducted a thorough investigation of all fellowships in the country, examining all pertinent components ranging from demographics to theology. Their findings are instructive, pointing to exponential growth, a plurality of languages and origins, and a new openness to women in leadership positions. I am truly impressed by the study. Everyone interested in learning about Jewish believers in Jesus, as well as Israeli society in our time, should read this book.”
Dr. Yaakov Ariel, Professor of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
This book is a real treasure for those who feel getting lost in the multicolored and multifaceted variety of Messianic congregations in Israel. It also generously helps to pinpoint any concise information concerning currently active Messianic fellowships in Eretz Israel. Highly recommended!
Mark Ashkenazi, Haifa, Israel
“Alexander Goldberg and David Serner have collaborated together to produce a 20-year updated research survey of the Messianic congregations in Israel, with an objective to qualitatively quantify the number of evangelical believers within the ‘recognized’ Body of Messiah in Israel, especially those who have an identifiable Jewish background. Questions remain, of course; and even since the final collection of facts, there have been additions and losses amongst those included in this meticulous effort. “Not all care for such ‘censuses;’ but neither do all believers care to read the first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles. There is value in both. I myself became better informed about the overall flavor of the believers and congregations, even within my own city of Beer Sheva. There are many ‘numbers’ used as to the number of believers in Israel, and the real interest is how many Jewish believers there are. This work, initiated by the Caspari Center for Biblical and Jewish Studies, helps in having a more realistic view at this time. Israel is small and few in number; the Body of Christ here is, too. The much larger harvest will yet come!”
Howard Bass, Pastor, Yeshua’s Inheritance Congregation, Beer Sheva
“ Like cold water to a person faint from thirst, is good news from the distant land , says the Bible, – and it’s exactly how you will feel when you will open this book. Years ago, when we were just beginning our ministry we received the first book published by the Caspari center about the Messianic movement in the Land, – and were overwhelmed by the completely new feeling: all of a sudden, we, the Messianic Israel believers, who had been always feeling ourselves marginal and lonely, – began to feel ourselves united and belonging. Twenty years have passed, the Messianic movement in Israel has grown and matured, – and it’s even more important for us today to know that we are not alone, to know about one another, to understand what God is doing through our brothers and sisters. To feel united. The Lord says that His fire is in Zion; and His furnace is in Jerusalem ; – and often times we, the Messianic believers here feel like fainting from the thirst in this furnace. This book for us, indeed, is like cold water to a person faint from the thirst. We are sure it will be the same for you, dear friend,- this good news, or, more precisely, a lot of good news from the distant Land – His Land – thoroughly collected and put together by His wonderful servants and scholars Alec Goldberg and David Serner”
Victor Blum, the founder and the first pastor of Jerusalem Messianic congregation “Even Yisrael”
Julia Blum, Messianic writer
“This is now the definitive go-to source detailing the current state of the Messianic Jewish movement in Israel. It asks the right questions, provides detailed, reliable answers, and systematically summarizes the salient information. An invaluable, enlightening, super-helpful guide!”
Dr. Michael L. Brown, author of Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Vols. 1-5
“Jesus-Believing Israelis: Exploring Messianic Fellowships is of great interest for those outside of Israel who seek a deeper insight into the phenomena of the messianic Jewish movement in the modern state of Israel. It also provides the local Israeli believers with a larger picture of their own movement, which serves as an encouragement and inspiration for their service in the Land.”
Eli Dorfman, Pastor Living Israel, Haifa.
I serve as the president of Chosen People Ministries a global Mission to the Jewish people founded in 1894. Our Mission has supported workers in Israel even prior to 1948 and the birth of the modern state of Israel. I am deeply concerned about the Lord’s work in the Land and consider the Caspari Center a partner in this historic ministry of reaching Jewish people for Yeshua the Messiah.
For the above and many other reasons, I am vitally interested in the recently completed research and report authored by two men I consider colleagues in the ministry whom I greatly respect and serve with in a variety of ways as we share the common goal of reaching the lost sheep of the house of Israel –in Israel.
I believe that if we are going to reach Jewish people for Jesus that we must begin with a passion for the Lord and for His kinsman according to the flesh and to make sure we have the best information possible to plan our work and strategies in order to be proficient in this holy endeavor. Traditionally, missionaries to the Jewish people have also been excellent observers and even demographers of the Jewish people. Joseph Wolf, the great Anglican missionary explorer wrote about the Jewish communities he visited immediately after the turn of the 19th century as part of his work with the Church’s Ministry Among the Jews. In the middle of the 19th century the United Church of Scotland sent out luminaries like Robert Murray McCheyne and Andrew Bonar to again survey the state of the Jewish world across the globe. All of these historic efforts led to a more elegant and effective witness among God’s chosen people.
The great effort to reach Jewish people in the modern state of Israel began slowly but like a locomotive has been gathering steam and power and increased with intensity during the last 74 years. The Messianic movement in Israel is steadily moving forward towards the ultimate destiny outlined by the Apostle Paul in Romans 11:25-29 when the remnant of today will become the nation of tomorrow. Though seemingly small today, this remnant will grow larger as we come closer to the glorious day of His return.
Efforts have been made to take the measure for the Messianic movement in Israel and certainty, one of the most significant efforts was that of two Danish missionaries to the Jewish people, Dr. Kai Kjær-Hansen and Bodil Skjøtt in 1998 when they wrote the book based upon their study of the movement in the Land entitled Facts and Myths. This was a great step forward in helping the global Messianic and Christian communities understand the work of God among the Jewish people within the Holy Land. This has led to more prayer, support and workers who have joined the cause of bringing the message of Yeshua to His own!
It is now 2022 and we are now graced with an update to this work of more than 20 years ago by two excellent scholars and leaders of the Lord’s work in Israel. I am grateful for the time, effort and research they put into the update of the survey and book written by the two previous Danish scholars. However, this new effort is more than an update as the Messianic movement within Israel has grown tremendously since the previous survey which will be demonstrated by the clear research and writing and of both Serner and Goldberg. I read it with painstaking care and believe it is will be one of the most important contributions to understanding the work of God among the Jewish people in Israel for many years to come.
I highly recommend this volume and please be sure to read it carefully and also prayerfully as we do believe the best of God’s work among His chosen people in the Land is yet to come.
Dr. Mitch Glaser, President of Chosen People Ministries
“In the 1990s, Kjær-Hansen and Skjøtt laid the foundations for the study of the Messianic movement in their ground-breaking survey, Facts and Myths about the Messianic Congregations in Israel. Serner and Goldberg’s 2021 survey has achieved much more than merely updating the previous work. They have dug deeper, surveyed more widely, and judiciously reflected on the situation of Messianic Jews in Israel in light of the previous findings, significant growth over 20 years, and the present challenges and opportunities facing Messianic Jews. The data presented covers all the demographic, theological and identity issues involved in answering the complex question about what it means to be Jewish, Israeli and a follower of Yeshua (Jesus). Their methods, findings and results model good research and offer a rich resource for the Jewish, Christian and Messianic Jewish communities they serve Jesus-Believing Israelis: Exploring Messianic Fellowships is an essential book for anyone interested in the growth and development of Jewish disciples of Jesus in Israel today.”
Dr. Richard Harvey, All Nations Christian College, Author of Mapping Messianic Jewish Theology
“This is an amazing piece of work. It shows how much has to be done, and indeed, how we have to face the reality of where we are.”
Dr. Daniel C. Juster – Founder and Director, Tikkun International – Founding President and General Secretary, Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations (UMJC)
“In Jesus-Believing Israelis: Exploring Messianic Fellowships , David Serner and Alexander Goldberg have succeeded in compiling a tremendous update on the numbers and views of Messianic believers in Jesus (Yeshua) in Israel, building on the wonderful foundation laid in 1999 by Dr. Kai Kjaer-Hansen and Bodil Skjøtt in their original Facts and Myths about the Messianic Congregations in Israel. This new volume, published by the Caspari Center for Biblical and Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, will be a must-have resource for anyone wanting to know the real statistics on Jewish believers in the Land of Israel. Using careful methodology backed by an enormous amount of research and statistical tabulations, this update also contains color charts and graphs that will be very useful to those wanting to assess certain characteristics or trends at a glance. For me, one of the most exciting things to glean from the book was to see the growth – backed up by solid data – that has occurred in the Body of Messiah in Israel over these past 21 years. For example, while I knew about the staying-power of many of the Russian-speaking Messianic fellowships in Israel given my own personal connections there, I was not prepared for the statistics on growth. According to the data, Russian-speaking believers today comprise nearly 50 percent of all Messianic believers in Israel, up from about 35% in 1999. Given the co-authors’ meticulous research – building on a similar framework as their predecessors – many comparative analyses can now be made that take these discussions out of the realm of speculation and wishful thinking and put them on solid ground. So, how many Jewish believers in Jesus are there in Israel today altogether? Buy the book and see! Jesus-Believing Israelis: Exploring Messianic Fellowships also contains a very helpful glossary, an abbreviations/acronyms section, an extensive bibliography, as well as a name/ministry index and Scripture index for easy reference. Highly recommended!”
Jim Melnick, International Coordinator LCJE
In 1999 the study of Kjær-Hansen and Skjøtt, Facts and Myths about the Messianic Congregations in Israel , initiated and sponsored by the Caspari Center, gave the first-ever personally conducted survey of Messianic congregations in Israel. It was now possible to put to rest exaggerated figures that were regularly published (for the purpose of fundraising, the cynic might say) by both missionary and anti-missionary groups. More than twenty years have passed since the publication of Facts and Myths . During those years there has been a massive Russian immigration into Israel and many Israelis have come to faith in Yeshua. Once again, the Caspari Center has conducted an in-depth, house-to-house survey and updated the data that was published in 1999. This new survey shows how much the body of believers has grown numerically and how much it has changed demographically. It has been carried out by David Serner and Alexander Goldberg and then subjected to a painstaking analysis under several headings. Like its predecessor, Jesus-Believing Israelis: Exploring Messianic Fellowships was compiled by face-to-face or telephone conversations. Like its predecessor, it brings a mass of useful and interesting information about the Messianic congregations and their members. It also makes well-founded but humble corrections to certain ideas that inevitably circulate, often without much basis in fact. One could wish that more attention had been given to the Hebrew-Catholic community, about which the average Messianic congregation member knows essentially nothing, but perhaps that will be done by someone in the future. The Caspari Center is to be congratulated on its courage and sensitivity in carrying out this new survey. It should be required reading for leaders and members alike.
Dr. Ray Pritz author of Nazarene Jewish Christianity
“I relied for my own work heavily on Kjær-Hansen and Skjøtt, and I´m therefore very happy that an updated version of such demographic research has been made. Jesus-Believing Israelis: Exploring Messianic Fellowships gives a most comprehensive demographic overview of the Messianic movement in Israel and of its general character today. It provides very helpful insights and is a fundamental work for everyone who wants to study this community.”
Dr. Hanna Rucks