FAQs

Support Redemption 2000

  1. What is "Redemption 2000" and how did it get its name?
  2. What makes you think Jewish people in these countries may be in danger?
  3. Do you really think something like the pogroms could happen again?
  4. Why are you focusing your efforts on Jewish believers in Russia, rather than Jewish people in general? Wouldn’t it be better to help all Jewish people, irrespective of their beliefs?
  5. Aren’t there other groups who are doing this? Why did CJF Ministries have to become involved?
  6. How do I know the money will reach the people who really need it?
  7. What percentage do you deduct for administrative expenses?
  8. How do we know CJF Ministries is a reputable organization?
  9. Have you ever heard of "Wings of Eagles"?
  10. Are you sure "On Wings of Eagles" is not a Christian organization? We have seen endorsements of this ministry by many evangelical leaders.

 

1. What is "Redemption 2000" and how did it get its name?

Redemption 2000 is CJF Ministries’ program to provide immediate, material relief (in the form of food, medicine, healthcare services, clothing, and other necessities), and to maintain a state of readiness to provide emergency evacuation services if and when believing Jewish families in the former Soviet Union are endangered by pogrom-like anti-Semitism in the areas where they live.

Dr. Gary Hedrick chose the name “Redemption 2000” in 1999 because of the numerous parallels between the current plight of Jewish believers in the former Soviet Union and that of their Israelite ancestors in Egypt nearly 3,500 years ago. Just as the Lord provided redemption for His people when they were in Egypt, and ultimately led them out of bondage and into Canaan, we are making ourselves available as vessels the Lord can use to redeem His people both spiritually (out of the bondage of sin and into a new life in Messiah Jesus) and also physically (out of their precarious circumstances in the former Soviet Union). Russia, especially, has a long history of anti-Semitic violence and persecution—and therein lies our concern. History does tend to repeat itself.
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2. What makes you think Jewish people in these countries may be in danger?

The countries of the former Soviet Union, and Russia in particular, have a long history of anti-Semitism. In the 1800s, anti-Semitism was a powerful force in European politics. People discriminated against Jews on racial rather than merely religious grounds. Certain political writers insisted that the Jews were an inferior race while others sought to "expose" a supposed secret Jewish conspiracy to rule the world. A popular monograph during that period was a forgery entitled "The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion," which purports to be an instruction manual for a Jewish-led plan for world domination.

In those days, countries that were experiencing political and economic upheaval found that their small, largely defenseless Jewish populations made a convenient scapegoat for their problems. In Russia, especially, many people were convinced that the Jews were responsible for their troubles. In 1881, for example, when revolutionaries assassinated Czar Alexander II of Russia, the Jewish people were blamed. Multitudes of Russian Jews were then killed in organized massacres called pogroms.
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3. Do you really think something like the pogroms could happen again?

Yes, of course. There are numerous parallels between the current situation in Russia (and other parts of the former Soviet Union) and the one that fomented the pogroms over a hundred years ago.

For instance, Russia’s political and economic future continues to be uncertain. The current regime’s hold on power is tenuous at best and another downturn in the country’s economy like the one we saw from 1992 to 1996 could alter the political dynamics in a way favorable to old-line communist and/or ultra-nationalist forces who are lurking behind the scenes. During this period of rampant inflation and unemployment (1992-1996), communist and ultra-nationalist parties took control of nearly half the seats in the State Duma (Russia’s lawmaking body, the lower house of its parliament) and were steadily becoming more powerful and influential until things began improving in the late 1990s. Nonetheless, ultra-nationalists like Vladimir Zhirinovsky continue to be openly anti-Semitic, blaming the Jewish people for the problems of “Mother Russia,” and are very active on the political scene.

Another warning sign is the resurfacing of the publication known as "The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion" in Russia. The Grolier Encyclopedia explains the significance of The Protocols:

The Protocols of the [Learned] Elders of Zion was the title of a forged treatise purporting to outline the plans of a late-19th-century council of Jews to subvert Christianity and seize control of the world. The treatise first appeared in its entirety in Russia in 1905 but was apparently written in France in the 1890s by members of the Russian secret police. They based their contents on Maurice Joly's satire on Napoleon III—Dialogue aux Enfers entre Machiavel et Montesquieu (A Dialogue in Hell between Machiavelli and Montesquieu, 1864). Although the Times (London) revealed the forgery in 1921, The Protocols were translated into many languages and circulated widely in Europe and the United States during the 1920s and ’30s. They were cited as the classical defense for anti-Semitism, especially by the National Socialists [Nazis] in Germany.

Today, this fictional work is circulating widely in Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union. Various English versions are also available on the Internet. Click here for the Wikipedia article on The Protocols.

We have heard reports of Nazi-like "training camps" in southern Russia, where young people are indoctrinated in ultra-nationalistic and anti-Semitic doctrine. Recruits are also trained in the use of assault weapons, explosives, and other terrorist techniques.

These are just a few of the reasons many observers are warning that it is only a matter of time before a full-blown persecution of the Jewish people breaks out again in Russia and perhaps other areas of what was formerly known as the Soviet Union.
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4. Why are you focusing your efforts on Jewish believers in Russia, rather than Jewish people in general? Wouldn’t it be better to help all Jewish people, irrespective of their beliefs?

If we had the resources at our disposal to help everyone, then yes, certainly, we would help all Jewish people in the former Soviet Union. After all, they all share many of the same needs—and in some ways, the need of unbelievers for eternal life is the most important and critical need of all! However, our resources are limited and so we have no choice but to prioritize the way those resources are utilized. The New Testament teaches that our first and foremost duty as Christians is to help our fellow believers: "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially to them who are of the household of faith" (Gal. 6:10). Paul’s words are very clear: our number one priority must be to assist our fellow believers in Jesus the Messiah.

However, this does not mean that we do not also provide help for some who are not believers. On the contrary, we do everything in our power to minister to them in the name of Yeshua the Messiah. Furthermore, when they receive help, they also get the Gospel!
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5. Aren’t there other groups who are doing this? Why did CJF Ministries have to become involved?

We got involved because no one else was doing what we felt needed to be done. Yes, other organizations are doing relief work in the former Soviet Union, and some of them are helping relocate Jewish people to Israel, the US, or other countries. However, we are aware of no other group dedicated specifically to helping Jewish believers in the former Soviet Union. This is why we became involved—because no one else was focusing on our messianic Jewish brothers and sisters, who have nowhere else to turn.

The Jewish believers are most vulnerable because they are isolated. They cannot turn to the Russian Orthodox Church and much of the religious establishment because they have strongly entrenched anti-Semitic elements within them. (The Evangelical Baptists, however, have been strongly supportive of our work in the former Soviet Union and they have been a blessing to our workers there!)

Jewish Christians are not accepted by the traditional Jewish community, either. Jewish relief organizations will not help them because according to the rabbis, once they become believers in Jesus they are no longer Jewish.

Isolated from much of the "Christian" establishment in Russia, rejected by the rabbis because they believe in Jesus, and targeted by anti-Semites because they are Jewish, our messianic Jewish brethren have no one to help them but us. If we don’t come to their aid, who will?

Our hope and prayer is that the Lord will raise up other organizations to follow our example and do the same thing we are doing—namely, coming alongside the believing Jewish community in the former Soviet Union (and in other parts of the world, including Israel) and ministering to them. The need is far too great for any single organization to accomplish alone. It is unfortunate that many Christian organizations are more interested in supporting and being friends with the unbelieving Jewish community, rather than encouraging and ministering to Jewish believers in Jesus. In 1998, one well-known TV preacher gave the United Jewish Appeal a check for more than one-million dollars. He no doubt had the best of intentions, but with so many Jewish believers in Israel and the former Soviet Union unemployed, hungry, and unable to obtain adequate health care, many of us believe that money could have been used more productively (and more biblically), especially since most of it was provided by Christian donors in the first place.
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6. How do I know the money will reach the people who really need it?

This is a legitimate concern, and one we take very seriously. There is a great deal of corruption in the former Soviet Union at all levels of government. Our sources tell us that millions of dollars of financial aid from the International Monetary Fund and other sources has been diverted to the Russian crime syndicates and other crooked profiteers. Those who need help the most—the elderly and unemployed, those who are ill, and the handicapped—see very little of the money, if any at all. Even certain banks in Russia have been known to "lose" large sums of money wired into the country for relief work.

For security reasons, we cannot provide details about money transfers and other techniques we use in dispensing the aid. However, we can tell you that the key to getting the assistance to the people who really need it is using our own staff members in the former Soviet Union. We don’t trust anyone else—especially the government—to do it for us. We work through our own network of volunteer workers and CJFM missionaries, most of whom we have trained personally, to ensure the assistance actually reaches those for whom it is intended.
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7. What percentage do you deduct for administrative expenses?

CJF Ministries has been in existence for many years and the salaries of its employees are already paid. This enables us to channel a larger portion of the funds earmarked for Redemption 2000 directly into relief work. Our main administrative expense for this project is the cost of publicizing the need. Our radio network, for instance, must be reimbursed when we use air time to publicize the Russian relief ministry. The reason for this, obviously, is that these stations across the US will not air these programs at no charge. They will still bill us for the air time and those bills must be paid. Nonetheless, every effort is made to keep these expenses to a minimum. We are also looking for radio and television stations that are willing to publicize the need in Russia at no charge. This could reduce our expenses even more. If you or someone you know can help us obtain free radio or TV time, please contact Della Miller, at (800) 926-5397, Ext. 112.
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8. How do we know CJF Ministries is a reputable organization?

CJFM has been around for more than half a century and our reputation for stability and financial integrity is well known. For many years now, Dun and Bradstreet has given us the highest rating available to religious, non-profit organizations (our DUNS number is 05-758-0151). Our board of directors represents a diverse cross-section of the Messianic/Christian community, and includes three pastors, three missionaries, an attorney, a retired school principal, a banker, a truck driver, and the president of a black Bible institute, among others. They are all godly individuals who are committed to maintaining the highest standards of financial integrity and ethics. Our books and financial records are audited every year. CJFM adheres to the accounting procedures established by such groups as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), as well as the standardized Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). CJFM is a member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the Lausanne Consultation for Jewish Evangelism (LCJE), and the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). We are an IRS-approved 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
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9. Have you ever heard of "Wings of Eagles"?

"On Wings of Eagles" (OWE) is a project of The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), headquartered in Chicago. OWE’s stated mission is to provide assistance to Jewish people who wish to leave the former Soviet Union and make Aliya (that is, immigrate under the Law of Return) to Israel. The governing board of the IFCJ consists of both Christians and traditional Jews; however, messianic Jews (that is, Jewish people who believe in Jesus) are not represented, as far as we have been able to determine. In the past, we have requested information from the IFCJ regarding its policy toward Jewish believers in Jesus, but have received no response.

The president and founder of IFCJ (which was known originally as the Holy Land Fellowship of Christians and Jews) is an Orthodox Jewish rabbi named Yechiel Eckstein. Rabbi Eckstein is an eloquent and charismatic individual, and we have no reason to doubt his sincerity or financial integrity, or that of anyone else associated with his organization.

The fact is that Mr. Eckstein is an ordained Orthodox rabbi and a fundamental antagonism exists between traditional, Orthodox Judaism and Christianity (or, Messianism). The rabbis are unswerving in their conviction that Jesus of Nazareth is not the Messiah. The predominant rabbinic view, in fact, is that Messianic Jewish believers in Yeshua (Jesus) are "apostates" and "idolators." They even teach that Jewish people who become believers in Jesus are no longer Jewish! The Supreme Court of the State of Israel, under pressure from Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox factions, ruled that messianic Jews do not qualify to enter the country under the terms of the Law of Return. Consequently, messianic Jews who immigrate to Israel do not receive the same benefits and treatment as others.

It’s sad but true—Jewish people who have become Buddhists, agnostics, or even atheists are welcome to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return. They receive a comprehensive package of economic assistance and other services. However, Jewish believers in Jesus are excluded. The rabbis say that believers in Jesus are no longer Jews and therefore do not qualify. All of this is a reflection of the vast, theological divide that exists between Orthodox Judaism and the messianic movement.

That is why we would like to know if Rabbi Eckstein shares the prevailing Orthodox opinion of Jewish believers in Jesus. If and when we receive an answer to our inquiries, we will make that information available in this fact sheet.
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10. Are you sure "On Wings of Eagles" is not a Christian organization? We have seen endorsements of this ministry by many evangelical leaders.

Yes, we are very sure. Although Rabbi Eckstein is not a believer in Jesus, he has nonetheless managed to secure the endorsements of a number of well-known leaders in the evangelical community (like Pat Boone, Jack Hayford, Chuck Colson, Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Draper, Pat Robertson, Bill Bright, and Bailey Smith, for example). These are men who love the Jewish people and support the State of Israel, and they understand the urgency of getting Jewish people out of the former Soviet Union. Most of them probably are not aware that Jewish believers in Jesus are left out.
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