Early Background. I was born at a time when the
whole world lay in turmoil caused by World War I. People suffered
hunger and starvation. I came into a strict orthodox Jewish rabbinic
and Chasidic home. Although my parents were poor at that time, they
sent us boys to an expensive orthodox religious school. I had 3
brothers and a sister. My father's only desire was to make rabbis of us
five I was already going to cheder for first grade pupils
and when seven I was able to read Hebrew. At nine I was introduced to
the Five Books of Moses and the Bible commentator “Rashi,”
and also to the ancient now obsolete Jewish books of jurisprudence called
"Talmud". When I was 10-11 years old, the Talmud eclipsed all
the other books and became the main textbook for the next 10 years of my
life. At thirteen I started my independent religious life. I was
told that we children are under our father's jurisdiction until 13; at that
age we become free from our father's supervision; we alone are responsible
for our sins. Therefore, after I became thirteen I was taken to a synagogue
where my father thanked God that he had got rid of my sins.
The Gentiles and I. The home of my parents was very strict Orthodox.
My father was a rabbi. He went to the synagogue to pray three times a
day. We observed the Jewish laws according to the Talmud, for our
parents desired that their children, too, should follow in their father's
footsteps and remain strict Orthodox Jews.
My family stayed in a little town in Congress-Poland near Warsaw. 5OO
Jewish and 800 Polish families lived there, but the Polish and the Jewish
people were separated by these four “Chinese Walls":
Jews wore long black coats called "Kaftan" and a black hat called “Yiddishe Hutel.“ The. Polish people wore European clothing.
It was considered a great sin for a Jew to wear European clothing.
Jews spoke Yiddish while the Poles spoke Polish. Yiddish is a Germanic
language mixed with Hebrew and Slavic words.
Jews worshiped in the synagogues which were also used as places of social
gathering and Bible and Talmudic study classes..
Polish people were almost 100% Catholic.
Jews were mainly blacksmiths, tailors, shoemakers and small businessmen,
owners of small hardware stores and grocery stores, while the poles were
mainly farmers and government employees. The Jews were not granted the
privilege of working for the municipal and federal government, nor in factories
There were a thousand other differences between the Jews and the Poles
- differences in customs, way of life, behavior, temperament, and
outlook. Their interests, hopes and wishes were also different.
It is hard to put into words the things that separated us. We were two
peoples living in one territory, under the same wonderful Polish sky.
We ate the same healthy Polish bread and breathed the same clean air.
Yet we were as strange to each other as the east is from the west.
My first acquaintance
When I was six years old I tried to go for a walk outside the Jewish
"Ghetto." Suddenly a Gentile boy threw a stone at me while
shouting: "Jew, Jew!”
I, as a child,
did not know that a Jew is hated by non-Jews. Therefore I was surprised
and scared. I ran back home to mother and told her that a boy threw a
stone at me, calling me "Jew , Jew!”.
“Why is the boy throwing stones at me? Why is he calling me
'Jew'? I never saw this boy before. Why does he hate me whom he
had never seen before?” "He is a Christian and Christians are
Jew-haters. Even if he does not know you, he is your enemy."
"But why is he my enemy?" I kept on asking. "He believes
what he is being taught. His priest, his teacher, his parents tell him
to hate the Jews. Therefore he hates you even without a cause.
But when our Messiah comes, we shall be the head and not the tail. Then
we will go back to Palestine and no one will persecute us anymore.
will the Messiah come?" I kept on asking.
know the exact time, but He will come some day. Then our sufferings
from the hands of the Christians will come to an end."
The hope of the
coming of the Messiah accompanied me all my life. It gave me power to
endure suffering and humiliation from my Gentile neighbors.
My Education. After my "Bar Mitzvah"
I was sent to a higher rabbinical school with the sole purpose of becoming a
rabbi. I spent the years from 13 to 22 in different schools where the
main subject was the Talmud, which consists of 60 books dealing with everyday
life. The main problems with which they deal are: damages, Holidays,
marriage and divorce, prayer and farming problems. The main style of
the books is “the argument”. For example, one rabbi said that if an egg
is laid on a Holiday, it is kosher to eat, and the other rabbi said that the
egg is not kosher, but “trefa.” The Talmud is
a work of arguments and scholastic pilpulistic
sayings. It deals also with mysticism, metaphysics and folklore.
I, as a student
of the Talmud, had to know by heart the name of every rabbi who expressed his
opinion in the matters of damage, Holidays, etc. The Talmud was written
in the time of the Tanriaim and Amoraim,
l800 years ago. Since then thousands of books of comments on the Talmud
have been written. The most famous books, which are as important and
binding to the Talmudists as the Talmud itself, are: The Rambam,
the "Rosh," The Tosafot.and Rashi, who is the greatest Talmudic commentator.
I had to know all
these different opinions and sayings. Since there were so many to
study, we did not have time for even the most elementary secular subjects, I
was ignorant in matters of arithmetic, geography, etc., but at the age of
twenty-two I was considered a "lamdan"
which means a man who is learned in the Talmud.
World War II
broke out. On September 1, 1939, World War II broke out. I had
just received my rabbinical diploma called "Smicha',
that past summer. I planned to marry and to become a
!religious leader of Israel, and to use my acquired knowledge to
lead my fellow-Jews in the ways of the Talmudic, rabbinic traditions.
An alternate plan was to leave Poland, perhaps to immigrate to a country in
Latin America, because there was a great need for rabbis. The war
destroyed all my plans. My very life was in danger, as was that of all
my fellow-Jews In Europe.
The Nazis And
The Polish People. On September 4, 1939, the German soldiers came into
our town. Life became unbelievable for the Polish Jews. Every Jew
was condemned to die. If all the skies were parchment, all men writers,
and all trees pens, even then it would not be possible to describe what the
Nazis in co-operation with the Polish people did to the Jews in Poland.
During 6 years
of such anti-Jewish activities, 6 million Jews, among them 1 million
children, lost their lives. One third of the world's Jewish population
was annihilated. The fields of Europe are still wet with the innocent
blood that was shed. Yes, here and there a conscientious Polish family
rescued a Jew, hiding him and feeding him, but the number of these good
people was very small.
In May, 1945,
World War II was over. The result: Nazi "murderers were destroyed,
Israel rose to become a nation- and I had lost my entire family.
for a friend and for an answer to the question: Why?
After the war I came out of the
concentration camp with the hope of seeing and being united with my
relatives. I put advertisements in newspapers. I went to different
institutions to find out about my relatives. To my great sorrow I
learned that all my loved ones had perished with the six million Jews who
were victims of the greatest demon In the history of mankind - Nazi
Ideology. I came to realize the bitter fact that I was alone in the
world - without a friend, not belonging to anybody, nobody belonging to
me. I could ~hardly believe that I would never see my parents, my
sister, .my brothers or my uncles again. I was now in a strange world,
in a world without a friend and without a relative. I started to look
for a human friend, but no one could satisfy my longing for a true
mother-heart or father-love. Nobody could substitute the love of a
sister, the faithfulness of a brother, I was disappointed and desperate.
I lifted my eyes up to heaven and asked the old Jewish question: Why?
Why was one third of the nation of God put to death by the Nazis? Where
was God when a little innocent Jewish child cried for help when the Nazi
murderers raised their/brutal hands to kill it? Why was God silent in
these terrible times for His chosen people?
From D.P. camp
to the United States Of America. Since I had no one in Poland, I
decided to go to America. I thought that perhaps in a new land I would
forget the dreadful past and start a new life. In order to go to
America I had to go first to Germany where the American Army occupied the
Western German territory. I became a member of a Zionist group whose
sole work was to take the Jews out of Poland and bring them to Germany and
Italy in order to enable them to emigrate to Israel or America.
In April 1946 I
came to a Jewish D.P. Camp near the Austrian border of Germany. I
registered there as a rabbi and started to work as such in the D.P.
Camp. I also edited the D.P. Newspaper. In 1952 I came to Rhode
Island, U.S.A., where I worked as an assistant rabbi in a synagogue.
Although I worked in the capacity of a Talmudic teacher in the synagogue, there
was a great conflict in my heart. The question: "Why did God allow
6 million Jews to die?" bothered me. I taught things that I was
not sure were true. I told my congregation and students: "If we
Jews want to exist and to overcome our enemies we have to keep the Sabbath
day holy." In my heart I knew that 99% of the Hitler-victims had
kept the Sabbath-day holy, yet it did not protect them from being
killed. I did not have any proof or assurance that what I taught was
true. I also lost my belief in the Talmudic legends, laws, and
arguments pro and con. I was looking for the truth, but could not find
alone is not enough.
Each Holiday we Jews go to the synagogue and pray to God, confessing
our sins, and asking for forgiveness. We say: "Because of our
sins. we were driven from our land."
Confession of sins is a very important part of our prayers. The Jewish
prayer book cites different kinds of sins which a Jew must confess in his
daily prayers. The most solemn day of prayer is Yom Kippur, and on Yom
Kippur Eve, every Jew over 13 years of age must recite 45 confessions called
"Al Chets”. After the confession,
the "Slach Lanu"
(Forgive Us) is chanted by the congregation. When I prayed these
prayers I felt. unhappy and dissatisfied because I
knew that according to the Bible, confession alone does not forgive
sin. I knew that in order for sin to be forgiven, a sacrifice called
"korban"' must be offered. Leviticus deals with the
"korban" many times, especially Lev. 5:17-19. I was not sure
that the Yom. Kippur prayers have any significance in the sight of God,
because I knew that right after the confessions and prayers we went back to
the same old pattern of a life of sin. It seemed to me that as we were
confessing our sins in the synagogue, we were mocking God. We spoke
with our lips about repentance but did not really mean it. I knew that
we are sinners and need a real, more valid approach to God.
for the Truth. I
felt very unhappy with my spiritual state of mind. I lost faith in
mankind and in the rabbinical legends and teachings. I felt miserable
knowing that I, as a rabbi, was teaching the
people things that I did not believe. I knew that the Talmudic
teachings, sayings, pilpulistic arguments,
scholastic debates, hair-splitting comments about obsolete damages, laws,
rules and regulations regarding Sabbath, Holidays, clothing and washings, are
of very little significance to us. I realized that we need some real
solid spiritual truth by which to live, walk and exist as Jews. What Is
the truth? What is the true way for us and for me individually? I
did not know. I looked on my people as on sheep without a
shepherd. I saw that 2000 years of Talmudic, Chasidic, cabbalistic and
worldly teachings could not save one Jewish child from destruction. I
knew that we Jews suffer for our sin, as we read in our prayers on the
Holidays, but I did nor know what our sin is.
contact with Light. One
spring evening I walked somewhere in Rhode Island. I looked here and there without
a goal, just breathing in some fresh spring air. While I strolled, I noticed
some young people standing near a store handing out little printed papers.
They caught my attention and handed me a pamphlet too. As I could not read
English I decided to go into the store to find out what kind of sale they
were having. When I came inside I was surprised to see that there was no
merchandise. To my astonishment, I noticed everyone sitting with eyes closed
and head bowed.
“What is going
on here?" I thought. I did not know that this is the manner
in which Christians pray. It was in contrast to the way Jews pray -
with eyes open and shaking on all sides. I waited a while till
everybody had finished praying and opened their eyes. A boy came and
talked to me, but I did not understand him. I had been in the United
States only a few weeks and did not know the English language. Finally
I said that I speak only German and Yiddish. Through the use of sign
language I made a date to come back the next Wednesday, when a
German-speaking person would come and explain to me what the
Love. The next Wednesday the German
gentleman was waiting for me when I came. He shook my hand in a
friendly manner and said to me in German: "This is a mission to the
"What is a
mission?" I asked. "The Lord sent us to the Jews to let them
know that God loves them and wants them to be saved."
you mean “saved'? How can you speak about love after the cataclysm that
came over the European Jews?" I asked.
He smiled and
said, "I know how you feel; but Christians, followers of Christ, love
the Jews, and all those who harm them are not Christians. The Alpha and
Omega of Christianity is love to mankind, Israel included. The Lord told
us to go to the Jew first.
all those who carried crosses and had pictures of saints in their homes - yet
organized pogroms against the Jews of Europe, weren't they Christians?
Weren't the churches in Poland and Ukraine the main source of anti-Semitism. Didn't the priests incite their people
against the Jews?" He looked at me and said, "The Lord
teaches us to love our enemies, to show love to those who hate us. All
those who do not obey the teachings of the Lord are not His followers."
Then he gave me a Yiddish New Testament and said, "Read it and you will
find the true teaching of Christ".
I took the New
Testament, put it into my pocket and said, "Yes, sir, 1 will read it, I
want to see what the New Testament is really like. I don't know anything
at all about it. " In the next few nights
I had much to read. Every line, each page, was a great revelation to me
as I read with great interest. Opening the Book of Matthew, I was
surprised to read that Jesus is of the lineage of Abraham and David, I also
noticed that on every page it says "As it is written," which means
that it was written in our Jewish Bible. For example, in the first
chapter I read that He will be born of a virgin because it is written: Behold
a virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a son and they shall call
his name Emmanuel... (Isaiah 7:14).
In the 2nd
chapter I read that He was born in Bethlehem as it is written: Thou
Bethlehem in the land of Judah are not the least among the princes of Judah,
for out of thee shall come forth a governor that shall rule my people Israel
(Micah 5:2). Also I saw that He shall come out of Egypt, for it is
written: Out of Egypt have I called my son (Hosea 11:1)
Thus reading I
noticed on each page and in every chapter constant references to the Old
Testament. It became clear to me that this book called New Testament is
actually the fulfillment of the Old Testament. I realized that we
rabbis were too much occupied with the Talmud and paid little or no attention
to our Holy Bible. Then and there I became a Bible believing Jew.
I thanked God for leading me to that little mission and decided to dedicate
my life to Messiah.
acquaintance with a Jewish Missionary. It was a few weeks before Passover. The
missionary in Rhode Island gave me the address of a Jewish believer in Jesus
who lived in New York, and l went there because I had never before seen a
Jewish believer in Jesus. As soon as I contacted him, he invited me to
his home. He welcomed me with the greeting, "Shalom Aleichem."
We read together from the New Testament in Yiddish! After a
while he told me he had written a poem called "The Sufferer," and
started to read it. But this was only a pretence, as it was in reality
the 53rd chapter of Isaiah. Then he asked me, "Who is the subject
of this poem? Who suffered for our sins? By Whose stripes are we
"It probably refers to Jesus Christ." Then he said, "I just
copied out and read to you the 53rd chapter of Isaiah. He was the one
who wrote about the Messiah." Imagine my surprise and shock.
I did not know the contents of Isaiah 53!
The next day I
showed the same "'poem" to a friend, a rabbi in New York. He
did not know either that Isaiah had written the chapter. The only
conclusion I could reach was that the main reason so many rabbis and other
Jews don't know the Messiah the Savior of the Old and New Testament, is that
they don't know the Bible. I decided to do everything in my power to
bring the Jewish Bible to them.
The same evening
I came to the New York missionary and told him that I believe in the Bible
and in the Lord Jesus. Then and there we knelt and prayed for
sin-forgiveness and for salvation. I accepted Jesus as my personal
Savior. What a change came over me! I was very happy. I
felt a peace, joy, and happiness that I had never known before. My
whole being turned into a happy life. I was a new creature.
When I came home I took the Bible and read the 53rd chapter of Isaiah over
and over again. As I read I wondered why I had not heard of Isaiah 53
before. Why didn't the rabbis tell me of this chapter? It was
obvious to me that we Jews could not be considered Bible-believers if we deny
Isaiah 53. As I read more, it became clear to me that Isaiah's prophecy
in chapter 53 expresses God's glorious plan of forgiveness, reconciliation
with God and salvation.
education. I went
to Los Angeles and started my American education in the second grade of
elementary school. After finishing 8 grades I graduated from high
school. Later I went to Los Angeles City College, and finally to Biola College, where I received a B.A. degree. I
was baptized, and ordained a minister of the Gospel. Now my deepest
interest is to bring the Gospel to my people, the Jews, that they, too, may
accept their Messiah and inherit eternal life. Messiah said, I am
the way, the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father except by me
The goal. After I was saved I felt that it
is not enough that I know the Light, but had the desire that all the Jewish
people should believe in the Messiah of Israel. I saw that this would
not be easy. The ones who do not believe, bitterly oppose the preaching
of the glorious Gospel to my brethren in the flesh. I knew their prejudice
against the Gospel and their worldly views of life. Yet, knowing that
the struggle would not be easy, I decided to go on with the work of
God. I became more and more interested in spreading the truth among the
innocent Jews who were being misled by their "shepherds".
They were blind leaders of the blind who were interested in their own
welfare, but cared little for the people.
God called me
to His service and I was sure that He would protect me and help me to spread
the light among those who never heard the true story of Christ. A great
force from within pushed me to do the work - and this great force was the
Holy Spirit Himself. This power of the Holy Spirit told me day and
night, "feed my sheep." And I answered, "Here I am. I am
willing to go to the House of Israel whom the Father loves so much, and to
tell them the simple but sure plan of His salvation."
I saw tired and
unhappy Jews who were groping in darkness, looking for the truth, and there
was nobody to help them. Therefore I was the more determined to go and
proclaim the Gospel to the weary and heart-broken ones. Jesus
said: Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I
will give you rest.
Reason. I appeal to all rabbis, leaders
of the Jewish people, and Jewish laymen: Come back to our prophets, to our
God and His Anointed One.
Come now, and let us reason
together, saith the LORD:
though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
though they" be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18
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