The Bible says a person who wins souls is wise. If you want to lead your Jewish friends to faith in Yeshua, it's important to know and understand who they are and their contributions to the world. Whether a Jew is Orthodox, Conservative, Reform or Reconstructionist, he or she is part of Klal Yisrael, the community of Israel.
There's an organic connection between your friend and Jews everywhere. We Jews are all part of one people, and we have been chosen by God to be a light to the Gentiles (see Isaiah 49:6).
There is a wide range of theological views among my people. Some Jews believe the land of Israel is essential, whereas others don't think too much about it. Some believe in the afterlife, and some don't. Some Jews think the Messiah will come one day, while others think He is not real. Some Jewish people keep kosher, and others couldn't care less. Even though my people have different opinions about various topics, there are certain views most Jews hold true.
One is that "we Jews just do not believe in Jesus!" I was raised with this "truth." When I first encountered the Messiah, I was afraid I would be violating 4,000 years of Jewish history if I chose to follow Him. It was like spitting on the graves of my ancestors dating back to the time of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Yet, nothing about following the Jewish Messiah caused me to stop being a Jew. In fact, I became more dedicated to my people as a result of Yeshua.
Another view is that we Jews are supposed to lead the way in helping people. This goes back to the teaching of the Torah (the Five Books of Moses) that is part of the soul of Jews, whether we know it or not. For centuries, our forefathers actually memorized the Bible, causing its words to be deeply embedded in us. Even a Jewish atheist (and there are many), hold the view that we are to help people. That's one of the reasons Jewish people are so involved in social causes, such as the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Many Jewish people enter helping professions and become doctors, counselors, lawyers, accountants and more.
A third fact for you to know is that, as Mark Twain knew, Jews are disproportionately influential in society. For a people that make up about three percent of the world's 6 billion people, we have contributed significantly in all fields of life.
People might still get polio if it weren't for the work of two Jews, Jonah Salk and Albert Sabin. There are currently many Jewish people leading the research to combat cancer and other diseases. Jews have brought light to many through scientific advancement.
Jews are the biggest philanthropists in the world. Moses was right: "It is he [God] who is giving you power to get wealth" (Dt. 8:18). Yes, there are the Bernie Madoffs of the world, but Jews overall give more per capita than any other people. It seems that God gifted my people to make money, based on His promise to the patriarchs, knowing they would generously give back to others.
In the entertainment world, you would be surprised at all the movie and TV stars who are Jewish—Dustin Hoffman, Tony Curtis, Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, Billy Crystal, Danny Kaye, Michael Landon, Jane Seymour, Jerry Seinfeld, and Kenny G.—just to name a few.
And on a more mundane level, just think how pleasant it is to slip into your Levis Jeans (named after Jewish designer, Levi Strauss) or relax in clothing made by Calvin Klein. Jews have been extremely beneficial to the world in many areas, another important fact you need to know about your Jewish friend.
Finally, your Jewish neighbor is part of a rich lineage, including Abraham, Moses, Ezekiel and David. And don't forget that Yeshua the Messiah and all the early followers were Jewish. This includes Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul, and hundreds of thousands of believers in the first century who often died to proclaim the Good News to the nations.
It's impossible to explain why people who have existed for some 4,000 years in probably every country in the world continue to live by the adage, "When two Jews get together to discuss a matter, there are usually at least three opinions." But when you understand the four facts I've offered you, you will be more effective in "provoking the Jews to jealousy," a calling every Christian must fulfill.
For more information on this subject, order Barry Rubin's book, You Bring the Bagels; I'll Bring the Gospel: Sharing the Messiah with Your Jewish Neighbor at www.messianicjewish.net or call (800) 410-7367.