Jews for Jesus

Profile David Brickner
David Brickner
David Brickner
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Executive Director, Missionary
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09/06/2012

Bio & Testimony

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David Brickner leads the best known Jewish evangelism agency in the world, Jews for Jesus. With branches in fourteen countries including Israel, Jews for Jesus is known for its forthright evangelistic approach in major Jewish population centers around the world. A Jewish believer in Jesus himself, David has been in ministry for over thirty years and has appeared many times on secular television and radio programs to make the case for Jews believing in Jesus including the internationally-syndicated program Larry King Live. Biblically conservative, as well as contemporary and engaging, he is a sought after speaker for major pulpits and conferences. He is the author of numerous published articles as well as four books including his latest, Christ in the Feast of Pentecost.

About David
FAVORITES

  • Favorite Book: The Bible
  • Favorite Author: King David
  • Favorite Bible Character: King David- even though he messed up a lot, he was a man after God’s own heart. He was a musician, which I am.
  • Bible Character You Think You Might Most Resemble: King David, my namesake
  • People Who Have Most Influenced Your Life: My father; Moishe Rosen; Tuvya Zaretsky; and Jhan Moskowitz
  • Favorite Singing Group of all time: The Liberated Wailing Wall
  • Favorite Vegetable: Brussel Sprouts. I like most vegetables if they’re cooked right, also rack of lamb and mustard-crusted ahi tuna.
  • Favorite Joke: A police officer is waiting in a speed trap and he sees a cadillac driving by. It’s not speeding but it’s full of penguins. So he pulls behind the cadillac, pulls the driver over and says, “Hey buddy, you’re not allowed to drive around with those penguins. You need to take them to the zoo.” And the driver said, “Thank you officer, we’ll do that right now.” Then, the next day, the cop is at the same speed trap and he notices the same cadillac driving by. All the penguins are in it, but this time they’re wearing sunglasses. So he pulls the cadillac over and says to the driver, “Hey buddy, I thought I told you to take those penguins to the zoo.” The driver replied, “I did, officer, and we had such a great time, today we’re going to the beach.”
  • Favorite Jewish joke: The whole neighborhood is up in arms because it’s a Catholic neighborhood but Sam Schwartz, the only Jewish guy, barbecues a steak in his backyard every Friday. While these poor Catholics are having to eat fish, all they can think of is the steak that they smell coming from Sam’s backyard. Finally, they organize and go to the parish priest and complain. The priest says, “I’ll try to do something about it.” He goes to Sam and convinces him to convert to Catholicism. When Sam agrees, the priest sprinkles holy water on him and says, “Once you were Jewish, now you’re a Catholic. Once you were Jewish, now you’re a Catholic.” Problem solved! Except the very next Friday, that same smell of barbecued steak is coming from Sam’s backyard and the neighbors are up in arms. They say to the priest, “I thought you solved this problem.” The priest in alarm runs over to Sam’s house and questions him. “What are you doing eating a steak on a Friday?” he asked. Sam replied, “This is no steak, this is a fish. I took holy water and sprinkled on it. Once you were a steak, now you’re a fish. Once you were a steak, now you’re a fish… Even the Jewish community recognizes that once a Jew, always a Jew…”
  • Most encouraging story: I’ve been privileged to be involved in Jews for Jesus summer witnessing campaign in New York City. I was handing out gospel tracts outside of Macy’s Department store. I was standing out on a street corner wearing a T-shirt that said “Jews for Jesus” in nice, big, bold orange letters. (We like people to know who we are right away.) And a woman came up to me, a well-dressed woman in her mid-to-late 60s shaking with rage. And she said to me, “How can you do this? How can you do this? You should be ashamed of yourself! Does your mother know what you’re doing?” And then she said words that cut. She said, “You’re trying to complete the work that Hitler began.” And she rolled up the sleeve of her dress to show me the numbers on her arm. Ruth is a survivor of the Holocaust from the camp at Auschwitz. And I understood her anger. And there was very little that I could say. So then, imagine my surprise when this past January, at our Friday evening service in New York City, mid-town Manhattan, who should walk through the door during the message time but Ruth. I recognized her as she came in but I couldn’t remember from where. After the service I went up to her and she reminded me. And so I said to her, “So what are you doing here?” She said, “I have an open mind.” Indeed, she kept coming back Friday nights- and then Tuesdays, to our Tuesday evening Bible studies. Imagine my joy when this past March, on a Friday evening, at an invitation, Ruth responded and received the Lord Jesus. How does that happen? How does something like that occur? How does the heart of one who was so hardened and twisted by such an experience as the Holocaust open up to receive life from Jesus, except that God brings life from the dead.

Q&A

What is one of the most interesting experiences you’ve had in Israel?

We were singing in front of Hamashbir, which is like the Macy’s of Jerusalem. There was a large crowd gathered while we were singing in our Jews for Jesus t-shirts. A lot of spectators were singing along with us, familiar Hebrew songs like Havenu Shalom Aleichem. Others were doing Israeli folk dancing. When I noticed out of the corner of my eye, five yeshiva bochers (religious male students) walking towards us with grim determination. They walked right up to us and began screaming in our faces while we were singing. One of them reached out and grabbed Patti’s hand, the one that she had her violin bow in as she was playing. He began to try and wrench the bow out of her hand and I thought, “This is it. We’re going to be martyred right here in Jerusalem.” Right at that point, a large Israeli man, he was about 6’4, over 200 pounds and he was completely bald with a pistol on his hip. He looked kind of like Jesse Ventura. He stuck his finger in their faces and said to them in Hebrew,”You touch them and I’ll touch you.” The guys backed off and we were able to continue singing. I thought to myself, the Bible says, “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him to deliver them from harm.” I just never knew that the angel of the Lord looked like Jesse Ventura.

What’s the hardest thing about being Executive Director?

The hardest thing about being the Executive Director is not knowing what you don’t know. You have to be careful to ask all of the right questions and even then, your decisions may end up being based on not all the right information. That can be a bit unnerving. Also, sometimes you feel a bit isolated because even the people that you have trusted can’t always be counted on to give you the best advice. If you didn’t know that God was with you, you would feel like the buck stopped with you only and that’s a pretty scary thought.

BIOGRAPHY

BORN: September 29, 1958; Beverly, Massachusetts
PARENTS: Avi Brickner and Leah Kendal Brickner
CHILDREN:
Isaac & Shaina, Ilana

EDUCATION

  • 1981 Graduated Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, IL Diploma in Jewish and Modern Israel Studies
  • 1986 Northeastern Illinois University in conjunction with Spertus College of Judaica B.A. in Judaica, Minor in Music
  • 1994 Fuller School of World Mission, Pasadena, CA M.A. in Missiology, Concentration in Jewish Evangelism/Judaic Studies

JEWS FOR JESUS

  • 1977-81 Missionary, Chicago Branch
  • 1981-82 Member, The Liberated Wailing Wall (mobile, Jewish evangelistic music/drama team)
  • 1982-84 Leader, The Liberated Wailing Wall
  • 1987 Leader, Chicago Branch
  • 1990-1995 Minister-at-Large, Director of Recruiting, Director of Music at International Headquarters
  • Jan – July 1996 Leader, New York Branch; Director of Missionary Training
  • July 1996 Leader, Summer Witnessing Campaign, New York City
  • May 1996 – present Executive Director
  • 1989-present - Jews for Jesus, United States Board, member

ALBUM PRODUCER

Times and Seasons (1986) Music for Messiah Live (1989) Messianic Music Festival (1991) Yeladim for Y’shua (1991) He Will Return (1991) Psalms of a Modern David (1991) David’s Hope (1997)

AUTHOR

  • Mishpochah* Matters: Speaking frankly to God’s family, (Mishpochah is a Jewish way to say ‘Family’) Purple Pomegranate Productions, 1996
  • Future Hope: A Jewish Christian Look at the End of the World, Purple Pomegranate Productions, 1999
  • Christ in the Feast of Tabernacles, Moody Publishers, 2006
  • Christ in the Feast of Pentecost, Moody Publishers, 2008

ORDAINED

Baptist General Conference, 1993

CHURCH MEMBERSHIP

Cornerstone Church, San Francisco, CA

Meeting Schedule

Press Kit

David Brickner leads the best known Jewish evangelism agency in the world, Jews for Jesus. With branches in fourteen countries including Israel, Jews for Jesus is known for its forthright evangelistic approach in major Jewish population centers around the world. A Jewish believer in Jesus himself, David has been in ministry for over thirty years and has appeared many times on secular television and radio programs to make the case for Jews believing in Jesus including the internationally-syndicated program Larry King Live. Biblically conservative, as well as contemporary and engaging, he is a sought after speaker for major pulpits and conferences. He is the author of numerous published articles as well as four books including his latest, Christ in the Feast of Pentecost.

About David
FAVORITES

  • Favorite Book: The Bible
  • Favorite Author: King David
  • Favorite Bible Character: King David- even though he messed up a lot, he was a man after God’s own heart. He was a musician, which I am.
  • Bible Character You Think You Might Most Resemble: King David, my namesake
  • People Who Have Most Influenced Your Life: My father; Moishe Rosen; Tuvya Zaretsky; and Jhan Moskowitz
  • Favorite Singing Group of all time: The Liberated Wailing Wall
  • Favorite Vegetable: Brussel Sprouts. I like most vegetables if they’re cooked right, also rack of lamb and mustard-crusted ahi tuna.
  • Favorite Joke: A police officer is waiting in a speed trap and he sees a cadillac driving by. It’s not speeding but it’s full of penguins. So he pulls behind the cadillac, pulls the driver over and says, “Hey buddy, you’re not allowed to drive around with those penguins. You need to take them to the zoo.” And the driver said, “Thank you officer, we’ll do that right now.” Then, the next day, the cop is at the same speed trap and he notices the same cadillac driving by. All the penguins are in it, but this time they’re wearing sunglasses. So he pulls the cadillac over and says to the driver, “Hey buddy, I thought I told you to take those penguins to the zoo.” The driver replied, “I did, officer, and we had such a great time, today we’re going to the beach.”
  • Favorite Jewish joke: The whole neighborhood is up in arms because it’s a Catholic neighborhood but Sam Schwartz, the only Jewish guy, barbecues a steak in his backyard every Friday. While these poor Catholics are having to eat fish, all they can think of is the steak that they smell coming from Sam’s backyard. Finally, they organize and go to the parish priest and complain. The priest says, “I’ll try to do something about it.” He goes to Sam and convinces him to convert to Catholicism. When Sam agrees, the priest sprinkles holy water on him and says, “Once you were Jewish, now you’re a Catholic. Once you were Jewish, now you’re a Catholic.” Problem solved! Except the very next Friday, that same smell of barbecued steak is coming from Sam’s backyard and the neighbors are up in arms. They say to the priest, “I thought you solved this problem.” The priest in alarm runs over to Sam’s house and questions him. “What are you doing eating a steak on a Friday?” he asked. Sam replied, “This is no steak, this is a fish. I took holy water and sprinkled on it. Once you were a steak, now you’re a fish. Once you were a steak, now you’re a fish… Even the Jewish community recognizes that once a Jew, always a Jew…”
  • Most encouraging story: I’ve been privileged to be involved in Jews for Jesus summer witnessing campaign in New York City. I was handing out gospel tracts outside of Macy’s Department store. I was standing out on a street corner wearing a T-shirt that said “Jews for Jesus” in nice, big, bold orange letters. (We like people to know who we are right away.) And a woman came up to me, a well-dressed woman in her mid-to-late 60s shaking with rage. And she said to me, “How can you do this? How can you do this? You should be ashamed of yourself! Does your mother know what you’re doing?” And then she said words that cut. She said, “You’re trying to complete the work that Hitler began.” And she rolled up the sleeve of her dress to show me the numbers on her arm. Ruth is a survivor of the Holocaust from the camp at Auschwitz. And I understood her anger. And there was very little that I could say. So then, imagine my surprise when this past January, at our Friday evening service in New York City, mid-town Manhattan, who should walk through the door during the message time but Ruth. I recognized her as she came in but I couldn’t remember from where. After the service I went up to her and she reminded me. And so I said to her, “So what are you doing here?” She said, “I have an open mind.” Indeed, she kept coming back Friday nights- and then Tuesdays, to our Tuesday evening Bible studies. Imagine my joy when this past March, on a Friday evening, at an invitation, Ruth responded and received the Lord Jesus. How does that happen? How does something like that occur? How does the heart of one who was so hardened and twisted by such an experience as the Holocaust open up to receive life from Jesus, except that God brings life from the dead.

Q&A

What is one of the most interesting experiences you’ve had in Israel?

We were singing in front of Hamashbir, which is like the Macy’s of Jerusalem. There was a large crowd gathered while we were singing in our Jews for Jesus t-shirts. A lot of spectators were singing along with us, familiar Hebrew songs like Havenu Shalom Aleichem. Others were doing Israeli folk dancing. When I noticed out of the corner of my eye, five yeshiva bochers (religious male students) walking towards us with grim determination. They walked right up to us and began screaming in our faces while we were singing. One of them reached out and grabbed Patti’s hand, the one that she had her violin bow in as she was playing. He began to try and wrench the bow out of her hand and I thought, “This is it. We’re going to be martyred right here in Jerusalem.” Right at that point, a large Israeli man, he was about 6’4, over 200 pounds and he was completely bald with a pistol on his hip. He looked kind of like Jesse Ventura. He stuck his finger in their faces and said to them in Hebrew,”You touch them and I’ll touch you.” The guys backed off and we were able to continue singing. I thought to myself, the Bible says, “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him to deliver them from harm.” I just never knew that the angel of the Lord looked like Jesse Ventura.

What’s the hardest thing about being Executive Director?

The hardest thing about being the Executive Director is not knowing what you don’t know. You have to be careful to ask all of the right questions and even then, your decisions may end up being based on not all the right information. That can be a bit unnerving. Also, sometimes you feel a bit isolated because even the people that you have trusted can’t always be counted on to give you the best advice. If you didn’t know that God was with you, you would feel like the buck stopped with you only and that’s a pretty scary thought.

BIOGRAPHY

BORN: September 29, 1958; Beverly, Massachusetts
PARENTS: Avi Brickner and Leah Kendal Brickner
CHILDREN:
Isaac & Shaina, Ilana

EDUCATION

  • 1981 Graduated Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, IL Diploma in Jewish and Modern Israel Studies
  • 1986 Northeastern Illinois University in conjunction with Spertus College of Judaica B.A. in Judaica, Minor in Music
  • 1994 Fuller School of World Mission, Pasadena, CA M.A. in Missiology, Concentration in Jewish Evangelism/Judaic Studies

JEWS FOR JESUS

  • 1977-81 Missionary, Chicago Branch
  • 1981-82 Member, The Liberated Wailing Wall (mobile, Jewish evangelistic music/drama team)
  • 1982-84 Leader, The Liberated Wailing Wall
  • 1987 Leader, Chicago Branch
  • 1990-1995 Minister-at-Large, Director of Recruiting, Director of Music at International Headquarters
  • Jan – July 1996 Leader, New York Branch; Director of Missionary Training
  • July 1996 Leader, Summer Witnessing Campaign, New York City
  • May 1996 – present Executive Director
  • 1989-present - Jews for Jesus, United States Board, member

ALBUM PRODUCER

Times and Seasons (1986) Music for Messiah Live (1989) Messianic Music Festival (1991) Yeladim for Y’shua (1991) He Will Return (1991) Psalms of a Modern David (1991) David’s Hope (1997)

AUTHOR

  • Mishpochah* Matters: Speaking frankly to God’s family, (Mishpochah is a Jewish way to say ‘Family’) Purple Pomegranate Productions, 1996
  • Future Hope: A Jewish Christian Look at the End of the World, Purple Pomegranate Productions, 1999
  • Christ in the Feast of Tabernacles, Moody Publishers, 2006
  • Christ in the Feast of Pentecost, Moody Publishers, 2008

ORDAINED

Baptist General Conference, 1993

CHURCH MEMBERSHIP

Cornerstone Church, San Francisco, CA

Brickner oversees the best-known evangelistic outreach to the Jewish people in the world today.  Using contemporary themes and issues, Jews for Jesus presents the message that Jesus is the Messiah in a forthright manner to Jewish populations in large urban areas.  The organization has 22 branches in 11 countries, including the United States, Brazil, Israel, Russia, France, and South Africa.

Moishe Rosen and a handful of Jewish believers in Jesus in San Francisco first used the name Jews for Jesus as a handbill slogan.  The media dubbed it a movement, and Rosen founded Jews for Jesus, the organization, in 1973.  Brickner succeeded Rosen as Executive Director in 1996.

A fifth-generation Jewish believer in Jesus, Brickner has appeared on secular television and radio programs to make the case for Jews believing in Jesus, including the internationally syndicated program Larry King Live.  He is the author of four books, including his latest, Christ in the Feast of Pentecost.  Brickner holds an M.A., in Missiology, with concentration in Jewish Evangelism/Judaic Studies, from the Fuller School of World Mission in Pasadena, CA.  He also earned a diploma in Jewish and Modern and Israel Studies from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL, and a B.A. in Judaica with a minor in music from Northeastern Illinois University in conjunction with Spertus College of Judaica.

Brickner is amazed at how God has magnified the efforts of Jews for Jesus.  The organization has received extensive coverage in the media.  “People ask me who we hire to get such publicity, and I tell them no one,” says Brickner.  “We just happen to be doing something that God is particularly interested in!  God’s love for His chosen people is most deeply fulfilled when they hear about His Son.”

Jews for Jesus’ mission statement is “to make the Messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to our Jewish people worldwide.”  To that end, Brickner says the future focus of the organization is Israel.  Israel’s 5.4 million Jewish population will soon exceed that of the United States, making it the place where more Jewish people live than anywhere else in the world.  The ministry has launched a six-year evangelistic outreach, Behold Your God Israel, to saturate every population center in Israel with the gospel.

To David Brickner and other Jews for Jesus staff, the objective evidence of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, and the transformation in their our own lives provide ample evidence that Jesus was who he claimed to be – the Jewish Messiah. 

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