by Suri Mayer | November 13 2020
I grew up knowing that I was blessed not to be one of the six million Jews who perished during the war. My family were survivors of the Holocaust and carriers of a sadness emanating from deep within their souls of which we did not speak. My parents viewed their children as miracles who came to the goldeneh medinah from hardship in Europe. They worked and sacrificed so we would have education and opportunity–we would never know the atrocities they had experienced.
My father’s family emigrated to New York from a small town in Poland, and he came from a religious family. Having grown up Orthodox, my father adhered to many of his childhood traditions. He kept kosher, observed the yomim tovim, and didn’t drive on Shabbos. My mother’s family was from Russia, and they were not frum, so I didn’t grow up in a frum home. I grew up knowing there was a Bashefer, but I can’t say He was part of my daily life.
The Christian kids I knew celebrated Christmas, and we celebrated Chanukah; they had Easter, we had Pesach. They believed in someone called Jesus who was Jewish, and we didn’t. We were waiting for Mashiach, and they weren’t. One of my earliest encounters with Jesus happened one day on the playground of my public school. Some kids came over to me and started bullying me, telling me that they hated the Jewish people because we killed Jesus. I was so upset that I couldn’t stop crying. I would never kill a person and neither would anyone I knew. My teacher tried unsuccessfully to comfort me. They had to call my mother to pick me up from school. I learned about antisemitism that day. Later in life, I was to learn that there were followers of Jesus who didn’t hate Yidden.
My warmest memories were of my father’s parents. They had a wonderful shalom bayis. I loved how they kept Shabbos–the house was sparkling clean, the flickering lecht seemed to bring the very presence of the Ribono Shel Olam into our midst. When my bubbe lit the candles, I knew that I always wanted Shabbos in my life. This relationship began the journey that led me into a deeper exploration of Yiddishkeit. Slowly, I became more and more Haredi because I desired to know HaShem in a deeper way.
Then, it was time to get married. The rebbe told me he had someone he wanted me to meet and I agreed. I was a ba’alas teshuva, so I didn’t have the yiches or connections to make a shidduch on my own. I knew that I was still young, but I wanted to be part of the community. I had reservations when I met this man, but I said yes; I was naïve, and I did not understand my options. In my new community, I believed that the rebbe knew best, and I didn’t want to say no.
Within a year I had my first child, and then the trouble started. My husband was bi-polar, and he became abusive. I had nowhere to turn, no one to help me, and a get in our community was not acceptable. Year after year I had more babies, and he became more and more abusive. In an act of desperation, I sought help from a doctor. I trusted this doctor because I always sensed peace in his presence. Confessing my situation to someone else gave me the courage that I needed to leave. Even in the brokenness and disgrace of divorce, my family welcomed me back into their loving arms. I began to heal and was able to hold down small jobs. Most importantly, I held onto my faith in the Aibishter. I kept kashrus, dressed tzniusdig, and was Shomer Shabbos even though I was outside the community now.
One of the jobs I had was in a bakery. I loved that job, but the best part was the people who came to the bakery. Every Thursday, a woman came into the bakery and ordered a coffee and an éclair. She would always pull her Bible from her bag and read it. I started to ask her questions, and we began to talk more and more about Jesus. Finally, I decided I wanted to know more and began reading the Bible myself and learning with other Jewish believers in Yeshua (Jesus).
Today, my desire is to know G-d in a deeper way. My hope and prayer are that my children will also come to know Him. Baruch HaShem, I am in contact with my Chassidish children and grandchildren. Every day I pray for them and my community to know the Mashiach of Israel and how much he loves them.
If you want to learn what the Tanach really says about Mashiach, you can contact me here ›
If you would like to read the stories of Yeshua on your own, you can find them at yiddishnewtestament.org.
*Name has been changed to protect privacy.