I was raised in a traditional Jewish home in Melbourne, Australia. My grandparents were killed in the Holocaust. Our family were founding members of the Moorabbin and Districts Hebrew Congregation, where I attended weekly until I was 19.
I married a Jewish woman in 1974, but we were divorced in 1989. I married again in 1992 to Priscillia, who is a Christian. In the early years of our marriage, I was quite comfortable with the differences between us. But once our children were born, we knew we had to provide them with a faith that would sustain them throughout their lives. I did not want to force Priscillia to convert to Judaism, and since I had always been open-minded I agreed to attend her church. So initially, I began attending services each week for the children’s sake. I usually napped through the sermons.
We also attended a weekly Bible study and I enjoyed these meetings. I had a good grounding in the Old Testament and entered the discussions vigorously.
I accompanied my wife to an Alpha Course run by the church. Alpha is an evangelistic program for seekers. Halfway through the course, I began to question my own beliefs. I researched the Old Testament more thoroughly to try to find the answers. Soon after that time, my sister’s husband died and a messianic Jewish rabbi presided over the funeral. He gave me the name of Bob Mendelsohn who leads the Jews for Jesus work in Australia.
I looked on the Internet to research Jewish groups that believed Jesus was the Messiah and read all I could. My Jewish birthright was important to me. In considering Jesus, I thought I was facing the prospect of tearing away 48 years of my Jewish upbringing and thousands of years of Jewish teachings. I have always believed in one God; now I had to come to terms with the “Trinity”—and I did. I came to see that a triune God was still one God. I came to see that Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah who came for my people, was also the Messiah for the world.
I prayed to God for guidance and the next decision I made was for our family to attend the Yom Kippur service in Sydney that was led by Bob Mendelsohn. By the end of the service, God lifted the burden from my heart and not only cleansed my soul, but He showed me that Yeshua really is my Messiah. It was the most emotional moment of my life; it is difficult to describe. Until that time, my brain told me that Yeshua had to be the Messiah, but my heart refused to believe.
It seems to me that Yom Kippur is the most appropriate time to begin a fresh life and to have one’s name sealed in the Book of Life forever.