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After an hour of prayer and discussion around a long table, eight members of Jews for Jesus (JFJ) leave their midtown Manhattan office for their monthly outreach. On this fall Thursday morning, they are focusing on the homosexual community of New York's West Village. Armed with fliers, purple signs, and wearing blue sweatshirts sporting the organization's logo, part of the group takes a cab while the rest head downtown by subway for the "sortie."

Karol Joseph, the mission's New York branch director, leads the outreach. Arriving at the northern end of Greenwich Village, she and Larry Stamm, a fellow team member, station themselves on street corners diagonally opposite each other. In 45 minutes, Stamm speaks with one Jewish person and three Catholics. One middle-aged man spits on an evangelistic broadside and hands it back to Stamm. It falls to the ground, to be trampled on by passersby.

After an hour, Joseph and Stamm stride several blocks westward, passing out tracts along the way. There they rejoin the rest of the group, which has set up a small literature table at Sheridan Square.

A man on vacation from Australia wearing a Jewish skullcap sweeps past the table and then stops briefly on the street corner. "It's the Holocaust all over again," he snaps with disgust, before moving on.

Joseph remains philosophical about reactions to their work. While most people respond with hostility, JFJ's in-your-face approach at least causes them to think about Jesus, she says.

"They don't have to agree with it," Joseph says. "But they can't avoid it when they're confronted with it."

JFJ workers also traveled to Hartford, Connecticut, on a two-week literature distribution blitz that was part of a global "Behold Your God" campaign, which focuses ...

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In the Magazine

February 2005

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