My name is Lisa. This was our first year celebrating the Jewish Holidays and we are now preparing for Chanukah. This time last year, we were decorating a Christmas tree and practicing for the Church Christmas pageant. My sons were attending a Youth Group where they learned how to talk to their Jewish friends about Jesus in hopes of converting them to Christianity. My children and I were devout born-again Christians.
Let me share our story with you. I was born Jewish, but I became a Christian nine years ago during a difficult time in my life when I was searching for G-d. My sons and I joined an Assembly of God church and I put them in a Christian Day school. I was completely immersed in Christianity, "filled with the Spirit" and speaking in tongues. We attended Sunday School and Church every week, I sang in the church choir and my sons performed in church plays every Christmas and Easter.
G-d works in wondrous ways. Things started happening that started me on the road back to Judaism.
Last September, my family began attending a "Messianic Synagogue." This is a church that uses Jewish symbols and prayers as part of their worship.
Growing up, I had no positive Jewish memories. I was one of the only Jews in town. Being Jewish meant everyone got a Christmas tree but me. I never knew many Jewish people, and I was Jewishly illiterate. I didn't realize what a rich heritage I came from and what treasures were mine. I thought I was finding this with the Messianics.
That same month, I bought my first home in South Redondo. My sons started 4th Grade in the excellent public schools there. For the first time, they had Jewish children in their classrooms. My sons were curious about what being Jewish meant.
I was starving to learn more about Judaism. Via the internet, I started learning and discussing religious issues with other Messianic Jews.
In February, I went to a Jewish gathering and festival and checked out all the Jewish booths. I started talking to this older Jewish man with a yarmulke. He asked me where I go to shul. When I told him the Messianic Fellowship down the street, he freaked out and started yelling. People started staring! For many hours we argued about Messiah and the bible.
Unknown to me, this man contacted Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz of Jews for Judaism and told him how he had shouted at a Jewish woman. He was turning to the rabbi for advice. Rabbi Kravitz suggested he contact me and apologize for his behavior and invite us for Shabbos. Rabbi Kravitz also suggested that at some point down the road we could be introduced to him. A few days later the man from the Jewish festival called and invited my sons and me to his home. This Jewish family became our friends and showed us the beauty and holiness of Judaism.
We loved everything we were learning about our people, traditions, and Jewish culture, However, we were still committed Christians. I was convinced after 9 years of Christian bible study that Jesus was the Messiah and G-d!
I wanted the truth and my friend told me "You're a Jew! Learn the bible from Jews!" The time had come for me to contact Rabbi Kravitz. I was impressed that he spent three hours talking to me on the phone. He was the only Jewish person I spoke with who gave me thoughtful answers. He gave me so much to think about.
We spoke several times on the phone and eventually arranged for a meeting at my home. I was a bit disappointed to see he that came empty handed. After talking awhile, we went to retrieve several books from his car. Then we rolled up our sleeves and got busy! He spent the entire day at my home talking to me and my sons. He brought several versions of the bible and we went through them line-by-line. He had answers to ALL my questions!
Rabbi Kravitz also gave me the 12 tape Jews for Judaism Seminar and workbook. I listened and studied and was pleased that this strengthened Rabbi Kravitz's arguments.
I stopped attending church. I gave away my Christian books, music, crosses, videos, and decorations. Now, I have Jewish art, books, mezuzas, and Judaica in my home, and my sons have Hebrew names.
The Jews for Judaism organization helped me make a solid, well-educated decision regarding my Jewish beliefs about G-d. Once I was open to hearing the Jewish perspective I very quickly got answers, to the truth I was seeking. No one else I ever spoke with was qualified to answer my questions and undo my Christian beliefs.
I now realize the importance of claiming our Jewish identities. My sons and I plan on only marrying Jews and raising Jewish families educated in Jewish beliefs and values.
I want to thank everyone at Jews for Judaism. You made Jews for Judaism a reality through your support and commitment. You saved my family and brought us back to Judaism.