Moments in Montreal
Jonathan Bernd, Oded Cohen and Richard Muller (all Jews for Jesus missionary staff) took two Hebrew banners into an ultra-Orthodox district of Montreal called Outremont. The banners said in Hebrew, “Isaiah 53, so controversial you have to see for yourself!” and “Isaiah 53, the Talmud agrees…it does speak about a person.” They stood there giving out free literature and having some conversations, until three gentlemen began raising their voices, and eventually grabbed the banners, ripped them off their posts, broke them in two and put them in a minivan. The police eventually showed up (after a second call) but were not helpful. However, we rejoice that the fuss enabled some passers-by to hear our antagonists say they didn’t care about Isaiah.”
Janie-sue Wertheim was giving out broadsides near Concordia University when two students who had passed her came back to say they wanted to contact us for an interview. It seems their religion class was discussing whether Jews could believe in Jesus! Praise God! God is so evidently at work, multiplying the seed.
The debate between Dr. Michael Brown and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach was successful despite numerous attempts to squelch it. Dr. Brown is a Jewish believer who has written three books that counter anti-missionary arguments against the gospel. Michael (who has been in several public debates with Rabbi Boteach) was quite enthusiastic—he thinks more unbelievers than believers attended and that was a first for him. There were many really great conversations on the topic of Jesus. While surfing the web, we found that Hillel (an organization for Jewish university students) had actually advertised the event on their website. Two separate teams of anti-missionaries from different organizations “set up shop” in the hotel. One had rented the room next door to ours and was attempting to prevent people from coming to the debate. One of our staff pointed this out to the hotel management, who quickly took care of the problem. It was good to see that so many Jewish students are willing to examine the issues for themselves.
Dr. Brown spoke at another event, “Messiah in Talmud and Kabbalah.” (Talmud is rabbinic commentary on the Hebrew scriptures and Kabbalah is a form of Jewish mysticism.) This event was held in collaboration with Congregation Beth Ariel, led by some dear friends and long-term evangelists in the city, Jacques and Sharon Gabizon. (Jacques is a Jewish believer originally from Morocco, and Sharon is a Jewish believer born and raised very traditionally in the most Jewish area of Montreal. Together they exemplify a large part of the community here.) About 80 people, perhaps a few more, attended. Roughly a quarter were Jewish believers. Several Moroccan Jewish people called to say they were coming, but we’re not sure whether they showed up. If they did, they left before we could talk to them. At least two of the Jewish people who came and several of Gentiles let us know they are not yet believers in Jesus.
We were also blessed to have Tass with us. Tass is a former Muslim and a former PLO sniper who has come to faith and learned to love Jewish people. He is featured in our “Forbidden Peace” film. His commitment to the Lord and his bravery are a real encouragement. Tass gave a powerful story on the radio and spoke at some of our public events.
Vlad and Maxim gave their testimonies for a Russian Messianic Jewish television station. The station also aired “Survivors Stories” in Russian. It is difficult to know how many people viewed the shows but we are gratefully for the opportunity and trust the Lord will work in the hearts of those who watched.