The following are excerpts from an article that appeared in the February edition of ISSUES, our bimonthly publication for Jewish seekers.

I never thought I’d get married, for the simple reason that I never thought I would ever meet someone who would love me just for who I am, faults and all. And then I met Renee Shulman…

Renee and I dated for about seven years. On the night of October 15, 1977, I took Renee to Tiffinanny’s Wine and Cheese Gallery in Valley Stream, Long Island. We had a lovely dinner and I asked Renee to be my wife. She said yes…

Four months into our marriage something happened that irrevocably changed things for us and threatened to tear us apart. Jesus entered into Renee’s world. I became angry, bitter and resentful. My nice Jewish wife, in my opinion, had become a religious fanatic, and I was alone…

She had an answer to any argument I had. Any topic or idea I raised, she brought Jesus into it. And though I refused to listen to her, she never got mad, she’d just say, There must be a reason you are so disgruntled.…”

I loved Renee more than life itself. And I cherished our marriage. Renee knew that the last thing I’d ever do was hurt her. As long as I was around, I’d take care of her. And she felt the same way about me. Yet, there was always a tension, because of Jesus.

Renee was forever doing things for other people…She began volunteering with Jews for Jesus so much that one day I remarked sarcastically, “You’re volunteering two or three times a week, Renee; you should just ask for a job.”

And so she became the office manager for Jews for Jesus in New York, of all things. She worked there for seven years…

It’s funny how before you know it, decades of time pass by and suddenly, you’ve shared almost 25 years with a person. [Then suddenly], in 2003 Renee suffered from an adverse drug reaction, which shut down her liver…

I couldn’t really grasp what was happening to the woman I loved. Her condition worsened and she became comatose. And I realized that I was going to lose her. The reality that Renee would soon leave me overcame me#8212;my grief was inconsolable…

I sat in the hospital between Karol and Susan, two of her friends [from Jews for Jesus] and I began to cry uncontrollably. Moments later I found my way to a chapel, and as I sat there alone I cried out to God, “Why?” I guess you could say I had an animated conversation or argument with God in that empty chapel…and yet, even as I yelled at him, I knew somehow that he was really there in a way I’d never known at any other moment of my life…

I was so angry and I knew that my anger would destroy me. Instinctively, because I had no idea where else to turn, I asked Jesus to take it away. Almost immediately, I felt the anger drop from me, and I was calm. But could I really trust this Jesus? Could my wife have been right all along?

The next day, still grieving and seeking some semblance of solace, I returned to the chapel, this time with Renee’s Bible. I found a songbook on the seat, “Songs of the Eucharist.” I found one line that sounded like I was now: “afflicted and in pain.” I looked in her Bible, and I found and read the words of Psalm 69:29-34 out loud from the Scriptures:

But I am afflicted and in pain;
May Your salvation, O God,
set me securely on high.
I will praise the name of God
with song
And magnify Him
with thanksgiving…
You who seek God,
let your heart revive.
For the LORD hears the needy
And does not despise His who
are prisoners…

These words unlocked my heart; I finally heard God’s Word coming from my own lips and I realized I needed his peace. I admitted I had done wrong and sinned in my life, and asked for forgiveness. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

My wife’s friend Karol came into the chapel looking for me, and I told her what I had done, and that I now believed.

On September 5, 2003, the day that Renee died, I held her hand and spoke to her for hours. I told her it was all right, it was all right to go home to heaven to Jesus, and that I now believed as she did. I told her that I would one day join her, and sing and dance with her, and that she could tell me all the things that she had wanted to, and that I would now listen to all she had to say…


as told to Naomi Rothstein

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