I was the president of the synagogue! How could I believe in Jesus?

I grew up in the synagogue. I knew of nothing else. As a matter of fact, I had very few friends who were not Jewish. There was a lot of racial tension in our city. So I was in about the fourth or fifth grade and this friend of mine, Larry, came up to me. Outta the clear blue sky, he pointed his finger at me and he says, “You killed Jesus.” And I said, I don’t even know who you’re talking about. You know, I was really scared. I mean, me, how can I, I mean I was a young child. 

One of the people I connected with who became a very good friend of mine, was from Miami Beach. And he was a guitarist and I was a drummer. So we connected right away. He said, “So, would you like to do some drugs?” And I go, well, I don’t know. And he says, “Let’s try it.” What is this stuff? I mean, it was like the most incredible feeling I’ve ever felt. This is what I wanna do for my life. I wanna be a musician. I was just having the time of my life. Not being home, being away. Kinda left my Jewish roots, back at the house. So we showed up at this club and we set up our equipment. Attached to the club was a cafe and there was this really, really cute girl. And I tell ya, my eyes just went boom. I said, I’m gonna marry this girl. And I said, hey, how would you like to come with me? She goes, okay. And we had our first child within a few years. We were immersed back into the congregation, back into that synagogue that I grew up in as a kid and that my family was instrumental in starting. 

We do business, I’m in the scrap metal business and we do business with this fellow and his name was Sam. His wife’s name was Louise and they were the sweetest little Jewish couple you’d want to meet. Monica and I take a trip to Vermont. On the way back from Vermont, we stopped and see Sam and Louise at their house, because they invited us. And Louise, I’ve never met her before, but she’s this real, cute, little Jewish lady. And she started talking about the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua. She was like, you gotta hear about this, it’s changed my life! She says, you’ve never heard of Yeshua? And I says, no, I’ve never heard of Yeshua. And she’s says, well, I bet you’ve heard of Him as Jesus. Louise, stop right there. I says, I’m Jewish, I don’t believe in Jesus. I was intrigued about this Yeshua guy, but this Jesus, no, no, no, it’s not for me. So, but thank you, Louise, thank you very much. 

Right about that time, I started having a real drug and alcohol problem. Whatever pain I was in, or feeling, it would take that away. My dad passed away at a very young age. He was like 52 years old and died from cancer, He’d just gotten divorced a couple years before that and all this stuff was caving in on me. I had to drive myself to the emergency room because I was thinking I was having a heart attack. And as I was driving home, there was this stretch of road that usually had a lot of truck and car traffic in the middle of the week. I said to myself, you know, I’m done with this, I can’t take anymore. I’m gonna end my life, I’m gonna kill myself. The first truck that I see coming towards me, I’m history. I’m done! I wasn’t even thinking about the truck driver. I wasn’t even thinking about anybody but myself. I was just, wanted to kill that pain, permanently. And in two to three miles, there was not one car or not one truck. I get home and my wife says to me, what are you doing home, it’s the middle of the day? You don’t understand! You have no clue! And I took her engagement ring and her wedding ring and I threw it across the room. I didn’t know what was happening. I was out of my mind. I was just gone. And she was saying, what do you want from me, what do you want from me? And all of a sudden I felt this emotional thing. And I opened my mouth and out of my mouth came these words, I just need to be loved! And I go running. At the end of the hall is our door to our bedroom. And I go through that door and I shut the door and boom, I hear the door crack. And I jump into bed and I just started screaming, God, help me. I’ll do anything God. Just stop this pain, just stop this pain! I couldn’t take it anymore. I was going crazy. And my wife walked in the room and says, your psychologist is on the phone. He wants to talk to you. Yeah, what’s going on? And he goes, no, you tell me what’s going on. And I said, well, I’m just having a bad moment here. He goes, according to your wife, you’re having a very bad moment. He says, I wanna see you first thing tomorrow morning in my office and you’re gonna need to go to rehab. 

So I go to this rehab and I get a sponsor. She said, part of the journey of recovery is a spiritual recovery. So she says, I want you to start going back to your synagogue. But I would be faithful. I’d go every Friday night, I would be going to the service. They asked me to be on the board of directors and I said, okay, I’ll be on the board of directors. And after a while, on the board of directors, they said we’d like you to be vice president and I said, okay, I’ll be vice president. After a couple years, they said, okay, we’d like you to be president of the synagogue. And I said, okay, I’ll be president of the synagogue. So here I am, president of the synagogue. 

I was sober, at that point, 10 years. My wife is having some issues on her own with drinking, at that point. One day I just said, you know Monica, I think I’m done. I think we’re done. I think we should get a divorce. Something happened to Monica. All of a sudden, she was like starting to go on Sundays with a Bible under her arm and heading off to a Church. I says, just don’t tell them your last name, because you know I’m the president of the synagogue. She goes, okay, don’t worry. And I picked up the phone, I said, Sam, I got a problem. He goes, what is it? I’m president of the synagogue, Monica’s going to a church, you know, on Sunday morning, we’re getting divorced. I says, you know all about this Jesus stuff. Tell me, what do I do? Do you have a Bible? And I says, yeah, I have my bar mitzvah Bible. You know, at synagogue, we read out of the Siddur and we never even open the Bible. I mean, the closest thing we get is the Torah. It’s the first five books of Moses. Turn to Isaiah 53. I turn to Isaiah 53. Turn to Psalm 2. And I said, okay, flipped it over, found Psalm 2. Turn to Psalm 22. And I said, okay, turned to Psalm 22 and read that. Who do you think they’re talking about? I mean, if you’re asking me, it sounds like they’re talking about Jesus, but how could they? This is my Jewish Bible I got from my bar mitzvah. Well why do you think they’re not talking about Jesus? And I said, well, He was Catholic, right? No, He was Jewish. And I said, really? Ask God tonight, what the truth is. 

So here I am, lying in bed that night and I’m like, okay God. I heard some really strange stuff tonight, but I do know that you pulled me out of the drug and alcohol addiction, you saved my life, I’ll believe whatever you say. So I heard these words, like He was standing next to me. This is the truth and I love you. And I started crying. So we go to the Rosh Hashanah service at their congregation like an hour and a half away. I felt something there. I felt like love, and acceptance and I felt like I was home. And then the service started, and I couldn’t stop crying. Towards the end of the service, the rabbi gets up and asks if anybody would like to accept Yeshua into their heart. I was like, yeah, I do. But then I thought about it, I said, well, I’m president of the synagogue. And all of a sudden I felt a tap on my shoulder and it was Louise. And she says, God’s waiting for you. He’s always been waiting for you. Just reach out to Him. I never thought I could be Jewish and believe in Jesus. I thought the two were entirely at opposite ends of the spectrum. But once I understood that Jesus was Jewish, it came full circle to me. I said, oh my God! I’m believing in a Jewish Messiah. It was a gift. It was a gift that I didn’t even deserve. But He loved me so much, and He loves us all, so much. And He loves you so much. Just ask Him for the truth, that’s all. Just ask Him for the truth. What is the truth? When I cried out to God the Father, He saved my life. When I said that prayer to accept Yeshua, Jesus, into my heart, He saved my soul.