As a native of South Africa, I find much of what I see in America curiously new and interesting. New York City’s Easter Parade is one of the strangest events that I have ever observed. Some people come perfectly attired in cutting edge formality, while others form a bizarre counterpoint in outrageous outfits and outlandish hats. It all happens outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue on the day we celebrate the fact that Jesus rose from the dead. People seem oblivious to that fact as they display themselves and their apparel outside of the church. Mass after mass of finely dressed people go to and from the cathedral as the people outside sport themselves about, appraising one another.
We Jews for Jesus were handing out broadsides to the huge crowds (people kept asking me, Where is the parade?” and I would answer, “You’re it!”). One Israeli women saw my Jews for Jesus sweater and exclaimed, “Ze bechlol davar!” (Now this is something!). Without batting an eyelid, I responded in what I hope was perfect Hebrew, “Ze bechlol emet; Yeshua hu haMoshiach” (This is completely true; Jesus is the Messiah). She was surprised by this unexpected response in Hebrew.
Later on, a man named Ray listened intently as I explained to him that God can take a real role in a person’s life. He prayed right there to repent of his sins and asked Jesus to be Lord of his life. Something about this day and the joy of celebrating Christ’s resurrection made me more bold than ever as I proclaimed the gospel to those around me. Exhilarated by the experience, I linked back with the other members of the branch, and we told hat stories to each other until everything got back to normal. Normal, that is, for New York.
Editor’s note: As Lev nears the end of his training, he looks forward to joining the Jews for Jesus South Africa team.