Jhan Moskowitz passed away today after a brain aneurysm he suffered yesterday when he fell in the subway. He was someone I didn’t see often, but he played a pivotal role in my life. I knew Jhan since 1974. He was the first Jewish Believer I had ever met. He was traveling with The New Jerusalem Players theatrical group and had come to Arizona State University where I was a student. He was warm, friendly and personable. Jhan had the kind of personality that everyone wished they had. He was instantly like-able with a magnetic personality.
I met him several years later, when I was working on my master’s degree in Deerfield, Illinois. I got together with him several times during my student years there. Sometimes he popped in to the Messianic services I attended. When I graduated, he tried to recruit me to work for his organization, Jews for Jesus, of which he was one of the founders. I didn’t have the temperament for it, and just gave him a look. He smiled and said, “I know, I just had to ask.”
I lost touch with Jhan when I moved back to Arizona, and later to Ohio. In 1990, he challenged me to consider coming to Manhattan to lead Kehilat Yeshua. I took his challenge seriously, and wound up moving to New York, and leading KY for eight years. We rented his house for a time when we first moved there.
I saw him on and off at various conferences, and we would debate various theological issues over cigars, but in the long run, I enjoyed his warmth and friendship. He used to ask me when would I come back to New York.
The last time I saw Jhan was at a conference in Chicago, shortly after I remarried. He told me he respected me marrying a woman with a child that I would have to raise. I told him I was blessed. He was a blessing and encouragement, and I, as well as everyone who knew him, will feel a great sense of loss. The measure of Jhan’s life is seen is how many people’s lives were touched by him, in his unassuming, friendly manner. All I can do is thank God that Jhan was around, he was my friend, and he enriched my life.