Very Moving Testimony By an Israeli Christian

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Very Moving Testimony By an Israeli Christian

Postby NavnDansk » Tue Mar 18, 2008 2:09 pm

Very, very long testimony at the original link. Well worth reading.

http://jesusoverisrael.blogspot.com/200 ... riend.html

OPEN LETTER TO A JEWISH FRIEND
ABOUT COMBATING DEPRESSION
WITH FAITH, A HEALTHY DIET ,
AND AN ACTIVE LIFESTYLE

-snip-

From 1998 to the end of 1999 I endured many ups and downs. I was slowly losing my interest in Breslov and Na Nach. Life as a divorcee in the world of Israeli ultra-Orthodoxy was very awkward and unpleasant, and therefore I found myself drifting away from the interests and commitments of my former friends. In this period of my life I grew to resent many of the restrictions of Orthodox life. I especially resented the Sabbath, with its extreme overindulgence of food. I craved just going to the beach or to a park. But I feared breaking Jewish ritual law, so I did not do these things, much as I wanted to. I stayed within the camp, but just barely.

I also fell into serious sin. I write this part of my testimonial with trepidation, knowing that it will shock many people, as well as hurt those who have been close to me. But I do so to glorify God, who can turn the worst sinner and into a Saint by the power of His Spirit. Saint Paul was a murderer, rounding up and condemning Christians for some time before his famous conversion on the Damascus Road. I ask that my readers bear this in mind as they read the following.


I also wish to expose the ugly underside of Israeli life, so that Christians might intercede with more vigor and intelligence about the many terrible problems that afflict that tragic society. Finally, St. Augustine is regarded as famous due to his book, Confessions, in which he writes openly of his wantonly immoral behavior before converting to Christianity. This has given a huge halo of holiness to the Roman Catholic Church, which has adopted Augustine as perhaps its most important Saint after the Virgin Mary. I offer this confession for myself and for the State of Israel, in the hope of evoking Divine Mercy on the Remnant of Israel, that they too might be fully engrafted into the Vine of Life who is Jesus Christ.

Due to my extreme loneliness, I developed an unfortunate predilection for prostitutes. I discovered, first to my shock, and then to my downfall, that they were ubiquitous in Israel. They were all over Jerusalem, Haifa, and Tel Aviv. Many were Russians who were unable to find work commensurate with their skills and training in Russia. One, for instance, was a 30 year old woman who had been a high school biology teacher in Russia. Whenever I went to these women, guilt would prompt me to ask them why they did this degrading work and why they didn’t find someone to marry. One of them, a Yemenite woman who resembled Ofra Chaza told me that she prays every week at the Western Wall that God would save her from this despicable lifestyle!

http://www.conspiracyarchive.com/Commentary/Ofra.htm

I heard from more than a few of them that 40% of their clients were Orthodox Jewish men, many of whom would come to them when their wives were in a Niddah state, or ritually unclean. This is a good illustration of the Christian principle of how the Word leads to death, while the Spirit gives life, for these religious men, scrupulous to avoid the sin of Niddah, did not hesitate to commit the equally severe sin of Zona! This is exactly the sort of hypocritical behavior that Jesus deplored so vehemently.

http://www.israelnewsagency.com/sexisrael69690531.html
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/newsfull.php?newid=16883

No doubt the culture of violence, warfare, and economic opulence all contribute to this plague of immorality. Prayer intercessors who are reading this should intercede to put an end to this shameful problem. There is a great need for a ministry to prostitutes, which is done in other countries, but for some reason no one is willing to do in Israel. I suspect that both Jews and Christians are in denial of this problem. All parties like to pretend that Israel’s problems are all external enemies rather than internal rot and corruption. The Christian Zionist churches clamor for military and economic support to the Jewish State. They insist that Islam is the source of all evil, rather than the wickedness of the unsaved heart, as Jesus taught. And they do not want to put a blemish on the slick veneer of the Holy Land as a tourist destination for Christian pilgrims. No, despite the fact that Jesus ministered to prostitutes, the churches and synagogues today refuse even to acknowledge that the problem exists in modern day Israel!

I survived this shameful period of my life purely by the grace of God, who had a higher purpose in mind for me.

In December 1999 I met a group of people in Tzfat, who were operating a Christian Messianic fellowship. This discovery started in a most amazing way. An Orthodox friend, with whom I often would visit in Tzfat, told me about a Christian group that was led by a South African missionary couple. He told me that they had caused the marriage of one of his close friends to break up after his wife got involved with the group. I decided to take matters into my own hands and to pay them a visit. I wanted to find out what they were doing and to encourage them to leave the area. The night I went to them I immersed in the ARIZAL mikvah and prayed at his grave for the strength and courage to confront these evil Christian Amalekites and get them evicted from Tzfat. While at the mikvah a huge lizard appeared on the hillside. I thought it might be poisonous, so I tried to kill it with a large beam of wood. But I accidentally dropped the wood on my foot, almost breaking it. The pain was excruciating!

I hobbled up the hill to confront the missionaries, with my foot throbbing in pain. I knocked on their door, and they opened it, to find me standing there with my long black coat, hat, side curls and other Chassidic appurtenances. The man himself was a huge bear of a South African. He later told me that, before his conversion, he had been a member of a violent motorcycle gang that used to attack blacks vigilante style. But he greeted me with kindness and asked if I wanted to come inside, which I did. I felt that I had walked into a cloud. They lived in a very dark apartment, almost like a basement, but the place was filled with light and I almost felt dizzy. They told me they had just had a prayer meeting, so I guess I was feeling the after effects. They made me some coffee and we just chatted. I found them to be very friendly and kind, and since I was starving for kindness in my life I took to them immediately.

When I left they told me I was welcome back at any time. I started frequenting them. I would ask them questions about the New Testament. Sometimes they would have good answers, but what I respected is that they would admit to me when they didn't and they asked for time to research an answer. They allowed me to use their computer, and I discovered websites that presented Christianity in a very different light than what I had assumed about it:

http://www.saltshakers.com/lm/
http://www.christian-thinktank.com/
http://www.heartofisrael.net/chazak/index.html

Eventually I was so won over by their love and compassion for me that I decided I wanted to be part of the religion they professed. After about six months, on 20 June 20000, I was baptized in a natural spring outside of Tzfat. My studies had persuaded me that the classical rabbinical arguments against Christianity and the New Testament were not nearly as simple and clear cut as I had thought. I decided that even if there was only a 50% chance of Christianity being true, I was willing to try it out, so desperate was I for salvation, release from a heavy burden of guilt I was carrying around from the adoption of my son and my addiction to prostitutes, my confusion from the splits and schisms within Breslov, and plain loneliness and personal sadness.

During the process of my studies with the missionaries, I had a number of interesting experiences with the Tzfat Jewish community. I used to eat in a soup kitchen run by Chabad for the poor of Tzfat. Some of the messianic Jews also ate there. Once I decided to humiliate them in public. It was just before Purim, and I called them Amalekites intent on destroying the Jewish religion and the Jewish people. I mocked Jesus' words on the cross: My God My God why have you abandoned me. I said that the Talmudic account of Rabbi Akivah's death was much more inspiring, saying that he recited the Shema as his skin was being raked off his body by Roman torturers. I said that, unlike Jesus, Rabbi Akivah had died with his faith intact. I smirked and sneered at the Messianic Jews eating with us. One of them, a fellow named Aryeh, looked up at me and said very quietly: Jesus said those words because He was put into darkness for your sins. I was stunned by his answer. I didn't accept it, but I respected the quiet calm certainty he seemed to have. I respected him for speaking up for his beliefs in such a hostile surrounding. Later I found out that Aryeh convicted me with his still small voice. I also found out that Jesus died with the words of Psalm 22 on his lips, so if I had problems with it I should perhaps have asked the author of this Psalm (King David?) and not Jesus.

-snip-

My wife and I both pray that this has been helpful to you and can serve to bring you restoration and rejuvenation in body, soul, and spirit. AMEN!

Sincerely in Christ, the Hope of Israel (Tikvat Yisrael)
Michael and Elisheva Korn
A.C.E. - American Christian Evangelists

PS A final note: concerning the general matter of suffering, Rabbi Nachman has an amazing teaching that might prove edifying to you. He said that since God is King of the Universe,

He must reign with majesty and nobility. A king does not reveal his innermost feelings to just anyone. When a person feels pain, suffering, or grief, this is because God is choosing to share with him or her those very feelings that He has. The Bible makes clear that God does suffer over the sufferings of His creation. When we feel such feelings we are privileged to be given a glimpse of the very heart of God Himself. AMEN!
NavnDansk
 
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My son, the Christian?!

Postby NavnDansk » Mon May 19, 2008 11:45 pm

http://www.saltshakers.com/myson/ch2.htm

My son, the Christian?!

CHAPTER 2: I want what he's got !


Just to recap, we left our perplexed Jewish mother challenged by her son to test the God of her ancestors. How does she react? Let us see.

PHYLLIS

My first problem was, "Did God exist?". Steve told me to pray to him, but surely I needed to know that he was there to start with? I hadn't given him much thought in my life. I had accepted that there had to be 'something out there'. He hadn't figured in my life, certainly never in the synagogue or in any festivals we had celebrated. We would rush through the religious bit to get to the food. Hymie, too, never discussed God in any prayers that he speedily read in Hebrew. Sometimes I would ask him, as he raced through the pages, hurrying to get to the lochshen soup, 'what does that mean?' or 'what did you just say?' He would reply that it was not important to understand, as he never questioned what the Rabbis had told him, and that was good enough for him. He just did what he was taught. I questioned many things throughout my marriage, always asking Hymie, 'why do we do this or that?' He always gave me vague answers, he never mentioned God. When he dropped a prayer book by accident, he always kissed it. 'Why kiss a book?', I would ask. He said something about respect. How does one respect a book?

I had stopped going to schul (synagogue) many years ago other than a simcha (a joyous occasion), because again I would question, 'why am I here?' I didn't understand the prayers or the Rabbi. God was not a presence that I felt.

Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) was a time to make sure your synagogue seats were booked, as this would be the only time this place of worship would be filled. But what did it mean to me, other than a new set of clothes? You couldn't be seen in any old thing as it was an opportunity to look around at all the latest fashions. What a lot of hypocrisy! I stopped going.

So when Steve asked me to pray to God, I wasn't sure he was there, or whether he would hear me. But I did have something to pray about. I did have a problem, a pressing problem. You see, Hymie was going into hospital the following week, which would mean that I would have to spend the whole week on my own. This was a nightmare thought that I was dreading. No-one knew of my fear of night-time, and the fears that the dark brought to me. I had always hidden this fear. So that night, eager to try anything, I prayed a simple prayer to Steve's God and asked for an answer .... within a week, as promised. Now my situation seemed hopeless. I couldn't go and stay with the kids, as I was needed constantly at home to run the business. But also, I was ashamed of this weakness and my family did not realise my fear. I always had to appear confident, when inside, sometimes, I was a quivering jelly. And this was such a time.

Amazingly, within a couple of days my prayer was answered! A phone call from a Sister in London Hospital asked me, as I was one of the few relatives of an elderly aunt, whether she could convalesce in my home. On February 21st my Auntie Bessie came out of hospital. On February 22nd, Hymie went in. That was both a shock (my prayer's actually been answered) and a comfort (no nights on my own). I told Steve this. He shrugged his shoulders as if to say, 'I told you so', but I could see he was impressed. He gave me a Bible.

STEVE

Yes I was impressed. I'd only been a believer for 18 months or so and out of the 'honeymoon period', when life was rose-tinted and God seemed to show His powers and provisions daily. This is the first time when I'd witnessed first-hand someone else's answered prayer. And the amazing thing was that she wasn't even a believer, she'd just started out on the road of discovery. God must have wanted her badly! It's not that I doubted the prayer, it's just that I was surprised that He answered it!

Ever since the day I'd finally given in to the pressure of the evidence and the promptings of a patient God and became a believer in the Jewish Messiah, Monica (who had been a Christian for quite some time) and I felt our lives moving into a new dimension. Within the space of a few weeks my work situation changed dramatically. The morning after praying for a drastic solution to our money problems, I was made redundant and sent home from work with a P45 and a wounded ego. One step back and two steps forwards, because I became a freelancer, immediately doubling my potential income, and haven't looked back since. There were, and still are, many other stories, but I won't bore you here. One last thing. It was at a meeting with some friends that I was told by an Angolan Christian about that time that all my family were going to become Christians. Now there's a thought, but quite ridiculous. Or was it?

PHYLLIS

Two or three weeks passed. Hymie was home from hospital and all was well. Steve and I had not shared his faith with Hymie yet, I decided to find out more myself first. I needed more information before breaking the news, as I knew he would take this badly. So I read the Bible that Steve gave me, which I had covered with brown paper, so as not to be found out. I had never read the Bible before, not even the Jewish part. It was just words, beautiful words, good stories, lots of information. But meaningless words to me. What did it do for me? Nothing. It was just facts, and more facts. I was entering a different world, a Christian world and I was a child, just beginning infant school. I found it hard. I wanted to believe, I wanted to understand and know Jesus. But it was difficult.

I had a big struggle, as I am not, by nature, a bookish person. I am a people person, a mixer, I like talking, hearing people's opinions. I knew that my search was not going to be in a library (as it was for Steve), but through getting out and about. But, for now, Steve was on call at all times to answer as best he could my endless questions.

STEVE

And, boy, did she go on! Phoning me up at all hours, with the most ridiculous questions. But I was patient, though it's not something that comes natural to me. Then someone else came onto the scene, quite unexpectedly, and the situation became even more interesting. But first, let us go back 16 months ...

Three months after I'd made my life-changing decision, I decided that I had to tell someone in my family. The obvious person was Michele, my little sister. Nicknamed 'Korky the Cat' for some strange reason (she called me 'Scruff the Dog' - not hard to see the reasoning there for those that know me), she was the feisty one of the family. Another product of a liberal upbringing, she too grew up a rebel, forsaking the legions of eligible Jewish accountants and estate agents, for the lure of Italy and, particularly, Italian boys. She was off to Italy at every opportunity, much to the dismay of my parents, who could see their dreams of nice respectable Jewish in-laws disappearing into the mist. She ended up working in Italy, first as the clumsiest waitress in Tuscany, then as the silliest tour guide in Western Europe (you can see I think very highly of my sister, but, believe me, the feeling's quite mutual - we share a healthy disrespect for each other, though of course it's all in fun!). In the end she married an Italian, Tonino, who she brought back to England and installed in Epping as her slave. So my parents reaped what they sowed. By not pushing my sister and I into Jewish circles in our formative years and not giving us the customary Jewish training of encouraging/forcing me to become an accountant/doctor/solicitor and encouraging/forcing Michele into the arms of an accountant/doctor/solicitor, they've ended up with Catholic in-laws, Italian on one side and German on the other! Oy vay, may Great Aunt Sadie roll over in her grave!

It was in November when I finally plucked up the courage and arrived at her nice house in nice Epping for an impromptu visit. She was a mite suspicious as I don't do impromptu visits, I rarely visited at all. I was there for an hour. During that time her daughter Francesca did not stir once in her cot and the minute I had finished explaining myself, Tonino arrived back from work. It was a performance that could have been planned. In fact it was, every facet of it, but not by me! She was startled at my story, yet seemed a bit over-familiar with some things I said, something that I didn't dwell upon until much later.

So, returning to our story, we find our co-conspirators, Mother and son, plotting secretly over the phone, pledged to upset the cosyness of our little family forever. Then, suddenly, after a 16 month gestation period, out pops Michele out of the woodwork, a Bible in her hand and a strange unearthly gleam in her eyes ...

PHYLLIS

Now Michele and I, at that time, had a close working relationship, discussing many things as we travelled together to the shops. So naturally I brought up the subject of Steve and this religious business with her. I couldn't believe my ears when she said to me, softly, 'Mum, I've been searching for myself for many years, even when I was working on the Kibbutz many years ago, where I had a Christian friend.' And then she added 'and I've come to the same conclusion as Steve'. I was dumbstruck, I could not believe what I was hearing. I thought that I had brought up two children in a conventional way, expecting them to lead straightforward lives, like my friends around me. It was a dramatic blow from Steve and now I was hearing Michele confessing the same. What was my overall fear? - How do we explain this all to Hymie?

STEVE

I was also amazed about Michele, as her search was totally unknown to me. As far as I was concerned I had given her my spiel some 16 months earlier and that was that. Not being a natural evangelist I never considered that my sister would need nurture and follow-up and I left her to her own devices. So here she was, by now going to an Anglican Church in Epping and well advanced in her search. In some ways I'm not surprised that I hadn't known what was going on inside her for all those months, because, as a family, we are all a bit deep. We get it from our dad. He is so deep that it would take a depth charge to bring his innermost thoughts to the surface. We didn't really discuss together the important matters. Let's face it, I'd been a Christian for 18 months by then and, apart from one hour with Michele, had not discussed this, the most important thing in my life, with anyone.

We used to go to my parents every week for Sunday lunch (it's now every fortnight - every week was a bit too much excitement for the 'old pair', now that there are five noisy kids in the family!). Forget your Sunday roast, we dined on salmon cutlets, fish balls, chopped liver, smoked salmon, chopped herring, egg and onion and cucumbers. On second thoughts, it doesn't look so good on paper, bring back Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding! Well, anyway, we used to arrive late every week. Where could we have been going on a Sunday morning? We used to run a rota of excuses - got up late, someone came round, charity work etc. My mum suspected at the time that there was something fishy ( apart from the food) going on, but my dad, the self-confessed intellectual in the family, was clueless.

They never did understand why we left the leafy suburbs of Ilford to go and live in a run down terraced house in Plaistow, in the heart of the East End. They rarely visited and banned us from inviting any relatives around. On the day that we moved, Monica's mum offered her services, but when she saw the area that we moved to and the state of the house, refused to get out of the car and sat there, hands gripped on the steering wheel, in a state of utter shock! We moved to Plaistow to be near the Church, St Andrew's Church, where we felt really comfortable. The Church was truly multi-cultural with over a dozen nationalities represented, including a token Jew, Howard, but more about him later. We knew that God wanted us in Plaistow because of the speed of the house move. Our house in Ilford had been on the market for quite some time with no interest at all from anyone up until the day, at a home group, when Monica and I were encouraged to pray together about it. So we did, there and then, out aloud. It was our first prayer together. When we arrived home an hour later there was a note in the letterbox. A neighbour wanted to buy the house for a relative and made an offer there and then. Six weeks later we were living in Plaistow, opposite the Church!

PHYLLIS

Michele and I had always been close, discussing all things, so now we had something more in common, my search and her discovery of Jesus. I felt, at that time, that we were speaking of two different people. Her Jesus was a Gentile, mine, I believed, was a Jew. For so many of the things that we discussed, I was not satisfied with her answer as it did not fit in with Jesus as a Jew.

Those next few weeks were exciting, as well as building up my business, I was reading the Bible and all the books Steve gave me, although it was a bit of a trial as they were mostly over my head. I knew what my next step had to be. I had to go to a Church, to see what it was all about. Because I had never been in a Church other than as an architectural experience, I thought maybe I'll find God in one. So I prayed, my second main prayer, that God would provide the circumstance. This was a more difficult situation than you might think, as Hymie and I were always together on Sundays, and I couldn't just say to him, 'won't be long, just off to Church'. He would die on the spot, as he still didn't have a clue about Steve, let alone Michele.

The prayer was answered. This time, to help the prayer to be answered, Hymie was rushed to hospital with a complication left over from his earlier operation! But this time I felt anger. I was angry with God for allowing this to happen. He would have known that I did not want anyone to suffer for me. I then realised what I had been doing. I had been using God as a sort of a 'genie', just like rubbing the lamp for my wishes to be answered. What I felt, too, that he was telling me was to think hard before you ask for something, as his thoughts are not like our thoughts. It was a lesson I never forgot. Hymie was not seriously ill and was out in a couple of days. But I was able to visit a Church that Sunday!

STEVE

So my mum was brought to earth. I wonder what my dad would have thought (and what he's thinking now, reading this), as he lay on the hospital bed in agony, worrying not just about the pain but the money he was losing through missing work and the hospital food he was having to endure. My dad's two great loves, after his family, were (and still are) food and money, which helps us to understand the problems he was later to have coming to terms with spiritual things. The supernatural pales into insignificance when your mind is unwilling to think about anything deeper than your pocket and your stomach!

Anyway there he was, lying on his bed in Whipp's Cross hospital, thinking of cholent (Jewish hot pot) and what he was missing in Brookside, totally unaware that the Almighty God, Creator of the Universe, had conspired with his loving wife to put him there so that she could mix with a few Gentiles. It's just as well that he didn't believe in God, otherwise he might have got a bit angry.

On the first night he was in hospital we had a small meeting in their house. My mum and Michele were there, as well as her husband, Tonino and my mum's friend, Helen. I brought along Howard, the only other Jew in St Andrew's Church, and still smarting with the shame that he had lost his 'token' status, though happy with the thought that he would no longer be consulted on such issues as the hermeneutics of the Hebrew Scriptures, advanced Yiddish and the theory of keeping kosher. This mantle had passed to me as Howard had somehow dented the myth that all Jews had an innate understanding of religious matters. It wasn't his fault that he was brought up in a totally irreligious household and that he wasn't even barmitzvah'ed. He didn't have a Rabbi Jacobs to impart gems of Jewish knowledge to him. The problem was, as St Andrew's Church soon found out, I was equally incapable at answering their questions, and so the myth of Jewish spiritual superiority was totally destroyed.

So Howard did his stuff at the meeting and he was pretty good. Though not exactly blessed by the Beth Din, Howard was Jewish enough to impress my family, particularly my Mum. He answered her questions and she went away satisfied. The reaction of the others was not so positive. Helen seemed totally untouched by it all, but Tonino, as Michele told us afterwards, became quite angry at the whole thing. As it turned out Tonino had had a hard time in his youth at the hands of the institutional Catholic Church in Italy. He'd seen the corruption and the greed and, to him, all religion was tarred with the same brush. He wanted to know who was making the money, because that was what religion was all about! Well, Tonino, looking back now, from my own experiences, I can tell you than no-one makes money out of their beliefs, unless they're into some dodgy dealings on the side - like the Italian Catholic Church 30-40 years ago, perhaps!

That night my Mum stayed at our house and, on the following day, a Sunday, she went to our Church.

PHYLLIS

So I went to Steve's Church. I was not impressed, it was so Gentile, so 'Christian'. I was disappointed, I had expected something 'spiritual', something that would bring me closer to God. Instead I heard a lot of dreary hymns that I did not know and a sermon that I did not understand. I saw nothing that was worth the sacrifice Hymie had (unwillingly) made for me. What was a Jew doing in a place like this? What was the point? I was confused. And there was one thing that made it worse. As I sat there in the Church, facing me on the wall behind the minister was a huge wooden ..... cross. That made me uncomfortable. Why did this cross upset me so? The answer, I believe, has something to do with our Jewish history and what had been done to us in the name of that cross. I asked Steve to look into it.

Where to go next

E-mail us now for a chat.
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