Dina's Story

When I was young, my parents did not allow me to accompany my friends to church. I thought, "What's the harm?" I was curious. I wanted to see what they do in church.

When I was sixteen, I went to church with a friend. I felt something powerful inside that I had never felt before. I was curious, why I hadn't felt this way when I went to Temple? I was as confused as a young Jewish girl can be.

"Born-Again" Christians told me all my problems would go away if I accepted Jesus. The most enticing part about all of this was that they told me that Jesus would cure me of my Cerebral Palsy and I would walk. They kept saying, "G-d wants you to walk. G-d wants you to walk." I also wanted this and I was tired of being different. You have to understand, I hardly had any friends. I liked the attention the Christians gave me and they were willing to accept me as I was.

For more than a year, I lead a Christian life behind my family's back. Finally, I couldn't keep it a secret any more. I explained to my parents what I had been doing. Having always been a real close family, it tore me up to know that my new beliefs were pulling us apart.

When I entered college, most of the fellow students in the dorm and my best friend were "Born-Again" Christians. They included me in everything they did, as long as I accepted their religion. They put me in touch with Jews for Jesus. I was assigned a counselor who ordered me to call her every time I felt an urge to contact my parents. She would coach me on what to say to them. She claimed that she wanted to help me bring my parents to Jesus so they wouldn't go to hell.

Looking back at the way they controlled me, it was like being in a cult. With the help of my Conservative Rabbi and my parents, I got the courage to meet Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz of Jews for Judaism. It wasn't easy because my counselor had warned me about this "evil man." When she learned that I had agreed to talk to Rabbi Kravitz, she told me to tape record the conversation. I refused and went ahead with the meeting.

Rabbi Kravitz spent many hours with me. My entire family was invited to his home for Shabbat. Today, I have returned to Judaism and I am a "Born-Again" Jew. I learned that I didn't have to leave my religion to find meaning, spirituality and friends. It was here all the time.