MembersMessianic Jews and Their History

The desk that I have been working at for 33 years is a piece of history from the Messianic movement in Israel.

By Ludwig Schneider |

It belonged to Ze’ev Kofsman, the first congregational leader in Israel’s modern Messianic movement. His wife Yvonne bequeathed me this desk (see photo), which was constructed by an Arab Christian from Bethlehem.

When Israel became a state in 1948, there were about 150 Jewish believers in Yeshua (Jesus) living here. One of them was Abram Poljak from Ukraine, who settled in the Holy Land in 1947 but later on went to live in Germany. When David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the State of Israel, Messianic Jews in the Land feared that they would be persecuted by their fellow Jews, so most of them left the country.

Only 12 known Jewish believers remained, among them Ze’ev Kofsman. In 1952, he wisely registered the first Messianic congregation in modern times with the Israeli government as an official Kehila Meshichit Yisraelit (Israeli Messianic Congregation). He wanted to avoid Israel’s Messianic congregations, or kehilot, becoming underground “churches.”

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