by Ruth H.
You met her in August (More Than Survivors”), and we praised the Lord for answered prayer in September—now Ruth tells a bit of her own story as a thanksgiving to God.
Let me start by telling you that I am one of the Holocaust survivors. There were 150,000 Jewish children in the Czech Republic, and only a hundred survived—I was one of the hundred. All my life, yes, even after the trauma of Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen, I had total confidence and belief in God.
But Jesus? As far as I was concerned, Jesus was just a “nice guy.” Never in a million years would I have thought that He is our Messiah or that I could become such a strong believer in Yeshua (Jesus)—it is almost miraculous. And yet, since believing in Yeshua, I have gained a much deeper understanding of being Jewish—I am more of a Jew today than I ever was before. And I have the feeling that I have come home.
But how did I get to it? Well, in my building is a man, one of our doormen, a very intelligent person who is a Christian. I always enjoyed talking to him. One day as we were talking I said, “You are so nice to me. I always thought that behind every Christian there is an anti-Semite.” This man challenged some very basic ideas I’d had and made me so curious that I actually went one Sunday to a church service all the way out on Long Island.
It was a small church. The minister was very nice and toward the end of the service he said, “A young Jewish man from South Africa, who was once involved with the Lubavitcher community is now a Jew for Jesus. He is going to come here and tell us about the Passover seder.”
I thought to myself, no matter how difficult it is for me to come out here (because I have to take the subway, then somebody has to pick me up), I simply have to meet that young man. Well then there was a tremendous snowstorm and the meeting had to be canceled. I called that minister and asked him where I could get in touch with this young man. He said at the Jews for Jesus office, and he gave me the telephone number.
So I called. Lev Leigh (the young man who had been scheduled to speak) came to my house the following day. He was wonderful as he spoke to me about Jesus, but I am not easily persuaded about anything, and somehow seeing a Jew who believed in Jesus hit a raw nerve. Still, when Lev invited me to come to the Friday evening services, I accepted. There I saw David Brickner and recognized him from my first encounter with Jews for Jesus [as you may have read in the August newsletter]. It had been a year or so before, during a Summer Campaign. From my office I’d seen David giving out pamphlets at 34th Street. I approached him, and I said, “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?!” Neither of us would have guessed at the time that I would one day come to hear for myself what he believed.
I enjoyed the Friday evening services and I kept on coming. In fact, I enjoyed the services more than the synagogue services. Always in the synagogue I felt something was missing, and somehow that something seemed to be present with these Jews who believed in Yeshua. Still, I had my doubts and was swaying back and forth [about belief in Jesus]. Yet slowly but surely I came to believe, and finally to be certain. I wanted to have my baptism before Lev left New York for South Africa because he had such a part in my becoming a believer and before David left for San Francisco because he also has been so wonderful. So I was baptized, and I see no contradiction between being Jewish and my belief in Jesus. As I said, it feels like “coming home.” I hope someday my daughter will also find what I have found in Yeshua.