Infamous U.S. Christian leader "rabbi "Jamie Cowen, who managed to make aliyah in 2011, has changed his name to Cohen and established the messianic law firm Cohen, Pex and Brosh, with its main branch in Petach Tikvah.
Before immigrating to Israel, Jamie Cowen was the charismatic leader of the large Christian messianic congregation, Tikvat Israel, in Richmond Virginia. Dedicated to evangelizing the Jewish people, Cowen served for several years as president of The Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations (UMJC) and is currently listed as a member of the Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council
As mentioned, as of this writing, none of Cowen's "messianic" background information appears on attorney Jamie Cohen's profile as seen on his firm's website (although there is mention of his studies at a Catholic University and school of theology).
What is featured prominently in the law firm's section under Areas of Practice is "Immigration to Israel":
"All issues of immigration to Israel: Aliyah according to the Law of Return – 1950. Permanent residency. Temporary Residency. Work Visas. Student visas. Tourist visas. Volunteer visas. Clergy visas. International Refugee Law according to the UN convention (Asylum seekers)."
This is of major concern to Jews worldwide but especially in Israel. A number of evangelical/messianic lawyers in Israel have put interpreting the Law of Return to favor messianic Christian aliyah at the top of their agenda, and they are making inroads. In fact, another Israeli messianic law office, the Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ), has recently issued pro-bono advice, which is being widely disseminated online and in email, geared for the throngs of believing Christians who want to make Aliyah. This will be the subject of JewishIsrael’s next report.
It was Calev Myers, Chief Counsel for JIJ, who represented Cowen's daughter Amy in a ground breaking case in 2008. Myers clever maneuver turned the intent of the Law of Return on its head, enabling several messianic Christians to make aliyah because they were not Jews as defined by the Law, but rather because they were the offspring of Jewish fathers. At the time Amy Cowen declared:
"This legal precedent not only guarantees rights to those represented in the case, but also paves the way and opens immense doors to unhindered Messianic Jewish aliyah (with Jewish ancestry on the father's side)".
Like her father, "messianic Jewish" Amy Cowen is a Christian missionary. The Jewish Agency was informed of Amy Cowen's background prior to her aliyah. According to Counter-missionary professional Penina Taylor, Director and Founder of Shomrei Emet Institute:
"Amy Cowen received her missionary training at Michael Rudoph’s Gateways missionary training school in Cyprus and she went on a mission to convert Jews in Ethiopia."
Jewishisrael had noted before that messianic missionaries continue to focus on the Ethiopian community once they've arrived in Israel.
Sordid History: Pressuring the Jewish State
Jamie Cowen has worked closely with messianic attorney Calev Myers in the past and, while serving as president of the UMJC, was apparently able to "pressure" a certain Member of Knesset serving on the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus (KCAC). The following is a telling excerpt from a report in the April/May 2006 edition of the Messianic Times:
"The opportunity arose when the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, formed in 2004, began recruiting evangelicals to help with humanitarian needs in Israel, where more than 25 percent of the people now live below the poverty line. The first encounter that Cowen had with another Knesset member involved in the Caucus didn’t go well when Cowen asked if the caucus was open to working with Messianic Jews, Cowen said.
The MK replied that the caucus would not work with any group that “proselytized Jews,” according to UMJC leaders, speaking on a UMJC Web site podcast. 'I said, ‘OK, we’ll go tell all our friends in the Church world that you won’t work with us, so they shouldn’t work with you,' Cowen said. 'He (the Israel MK) stormed out of the meeting...upset.'
But several months later, a representative of the caucus called the UMJC and expressed a desire to work with the organization on humanitarian projects.
That’s when the unnamed MK emerged and invited Resnik and Cowen on a tour of some of the aid projects that he is helping to coordinate. 'They have received support from the Christian community outside of Israel and now are interested in engaging in fundraising with the Messianic Jewish community outside of Israel as well,' Resnik said. Israeli Messianic attorney Calev Meyers, who has represented several believers in civil rights lawsuits against the State of Israel, accompanied Resnik and Cowen."
In December 2008 Jamie Cowen and his wife Stacy spent 8 hours in detention after being stopped at Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport by Interior Ministry officials amid allegations of illegal Christian missionary activity. Israel's Immigration and Population Authority claimed to have reliable information of Cowen having engaged in such activity. After agreeing to sign a document that they would not engage in missionary activities during their stay in Israel, Cowen and his wife were released. JIJ's Calev Myers pointed the finger at Orthodox Jews in the Interior Ministry and at the time told reporters "… Israel is the only Western country where basic freedom of religion is denied."
In fact before the arrest in September of that same year, while serving as president of the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations (UMJC), Cowen issued a press release supporting the 2008 U.S. State Department's International Religious Freedom Report which was critical of Israel and cited the Jewish state's increased "societal abuses and discrimination" against evangelical Christians and "messianic Jews".
The US State Department’s religious freedoms reports have been consistently critical of Jewish tradition, the Torah observant community, Israel's resistance to proselytizing and Israel's negative view of missionaries. Yet in that same press release, Cowen reiterated the UMJC's "strong support for Israel, its borders, and its people, adding, 'nevertheless, it is time for the Israeli government to fairly treat the Messianic Jewish community in its midst, as well as those desiring to immigrate."
As part of this report, JewishIsrael contacted professionals working in the counter-missionary field who are familiar with Jamie Cowen and his activities. We received a concerned and immediate response from both Ruth Guggenheim of Jews for Judaism Baltimore and East Coast Branch, and from Penina Taylor, Director and Founder of the Shomrei Emet Institute.
From Ruth Guggenheim:
“Jamie Cowen is a well known missionary from Richmond Virginia who was the ‘spiritual leader’ [rabbi] of Tikvat Israel Messianic Congregation for over 20 years. It was under his administration that this church/congregation grew to be one of the largest Hebrew Christian ministries on the east coast. Cowen was also the president of Hope for Israel Relief Fund Ministries and the UMJC (Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations), one of the most insidious Christian movements targeting Jews for conversion globally. With his extensive background in immigration law, his affiliation with Russian immigrant services in America and Israel, along with his declaration that he was moving to Israel to ‘assist its growing messianic movement and to advocate for the civil rights of minority groups, particularly Messianic Jews,’ Jamie Cowen is a threat to the overall stability and continuity of the Jewish community and our beliefs.”
From Penina Taylor:
“As a former Messianic who recalls listening to Mr. Cowen explain to audiences of Christians how to infiltrate the Jewish community in order to effectively share the gospel, this new development is deeply disconcerting as it puts him in a position to have access to the most vulnerable of Israel’s population and increases the likelihood that more Israelis will be drawn further away from the faith of their forefathers to embrace a form of Christianity.”
Cohen, Pex and Brosh is the latest of a growing number of legal organizations meeting the demands of evangelizing Christians who are looking to establish a foothold in the Jewish state by immigrating, acquiring visas, purchasing property, and establishing missionary institutions. Attorneys from all of these legal groups boast of good connections with U.S. and Israeli government authorities.
While Cowen hides his "messianic" past in his attorney profile, he boasts about his vast experience on Capitol Hill. In Israel, his official title is that of "foreign lawyer".
On the eve of Tisha b'Av 5773, Cowen's messianic deception, lawyer's title and ability to breach Israel's gates as a "friend and lover" should jar the Jewish soul. His determination to open the gates to those on a mission to influence the Jewish people with forbidden beliefs in the Land of Israel is more than a little haunting.
In the second part of this report, JewishIsrael will take an in-depth look at the Law of Return, the evangelical lawyers taking advantage of the law’s soft underbelly and the Jewish activists who are encouraging growing messianic Christian claims to the land of Israel.
Jewishisrael's members and readership are encouraged to raise the awareness of this threat by bringing the information in this report to the knowledge of Members of Knesset and Jewish Leadership with whom they are affiliated.