Who shot the “Messianic Jewish sheriff”? Nobody, fortunately! But, let’s face it – you probably do not know of many Jewish followers of Yeshua who serve as a Dallas area sheriff, Messianic rabbi, pastor and theology professor. And not only that…he went to Yeshiva and was raised a nice Jewish boy.
Jeff Seif is many things, but most of all he is a dedicated follower of the Messiah Yeshua and a key leader in today’s Messianic Jewish movement. His story will inspire you, make you to laugh, and even shed a few tears!
Stuart was raised in a traditional Jewish home in Brooklyn, New York City. At an early age, Stuart proved to have musical talent, which began a long career of performance, songwriting and teaching music. He graduated from the Manhattan School of Music; but while going to school Stuart began a spiritual search and through a number of what can only be viewed as holy coincidences, he became a follower of Yeshua the Messiah. Today, Stuart has a wife, three children and has had dozens of his songs published. He co-authored “Trees of the Field,” one of the groundbreaking Messianic songs, now sung by followers of Jesus worldwide. He has served as a local Messianic Rabbi, professor and mentor to hundreds and earned a Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies from the Fuller School of Intercultural Studies.
Toby opened his eyes and found himself under a blanket of snow in an embankment on the side of the road, following a night of drinking. Feeling relieved that he was alive, his first thought was “Thank you, God.”
Although Toby believed in God, his faith never truly felt like it was his own—it was just forever lurking in the background of his life. He tried to fill his life with what he thought would make him happy—alcohol, smoking, and drugs—but he only found emptiness, loneliness, and sadness. After a divine encounter with a co-worker, Toby was challenged to make a decision, a choice that led him to find a true sense of peace and fulfillment in his Jewish Messiah.
Today Ron is a successful businessman having started Regency Lighting with his best friend Michael Goldstone more than three decades ago. He is married to Roxanne, has three sons and lots of grandchildren. But Ron was not always successful. He was raised in a Jewish home in Queens, New York City, but like so many others at the time, he traveled far from his roots and ended up living in the backwoods of Oregon. After a number of supernatural encounters and reading the Bible, he discovered that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah.
Brooke always identified being Jewish with knowing God, since that was her heritage as one of the Chosen people—but when she was 26 things went south, and she found herself in a downward, emotional spiral. Through the support of her best friend, Brooke discovered an unlikely truth. What did Brooke discover?
“You have to be holy.” These words echoed in Diane’s head when she learned the difference between “good” and “evil” in the third grade. As she grew up, she had many questions which were always met with the same answer: “We do this because this is what we do.” Feeling empty and confused, she sought after her own answers in the Scriptures and one day realized that we didn’t have to work ourselves up to God. She discovered that God came down to us.
Vladimir grew up as a third-generation Jewish atheist in Ukraine. Even so, his family kept a strong Jewish identity. He experienced hardships, and antisemitism from his classmates. When the Soviet Union began to collapse, there were many new opportunities for Jewish people to explore their identity and history. Vladimir’s journey brought him to Israel where a prayer at the Western wall changed the course of his entire life!
“I didn’t know I was going insane…I had suicidal thoughts before, but this was the real deal. ” One evening, as Andrew Klavan was sitting down to rewrite his failed novel, he decided right there to end his life as his wife and baby daughter slept in the next room. “If I just walk off the roof, they would be better off, “thought Andrew. While Andrew considered this, the Mets game was playing in the background. They won that night, and in a post-game interview, Mets’ catcher Gary Carter said something that saved Andrew’s life.
Hylan affectionately refers to his Jewish upbringing as the “Fiddler on the Roof story.” His family faced the pogroms in Europe and left for America with only what they could carry. Hylan’s childhood in upstate New York was about as Jewish as it could get, full of Yiddish, Zionism, attending synagogue, and Jewish summer camps. As a young man, he threw himself into the “love generation” of the 60s—drugs, transcendental meditation, and he even joined an Ashram. In his search for truth and spiritual connection, he met the “guru of the west” which changed everything!
Being Jewish was always extremely important to Ron. He was very protective of his heritage, even though he didn’t know God. Even so, he always wondered, “Is there a God?” To Ron, life’s purpose was to have as much fun as possible, but he began to question this when his best friend made a decision that changed everything.
Sam was brought up in a Jewish home in New York City. He grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust and could not reconcile a good God who would allow the Holocaust to happen. His rabbi’s answer did not comfort him, but made him question even more.
Serving in Vietnam, Sam saw firsthand the horrors of war and human depravity. Life took him to San Francisco where he met people who said Jesus was Jewish – he decided to go to their Bible study to laugh at them but God had something else in mind.
Although Emily Emanuel grew up in a secular home, she always believed in God - yet, she didn’t want anything to do with religion. After being rebellious throughout her teens and early twenties, she was desperately seeking guidance and forgiveness.
Emily’s grandmother was a follower of Jesus and always talked to Emily about Him. Eventually, Emily decided to go to church. There, not only did she find a message of forgiveness and proof of God’s love, but also the bridge between God and people – the Jewish Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. In the Messiah, she also found a foundation for her Jewish identity.
Michael was born in South Africa to a Jewish mother and a Dutch father. After his parent’s divorce, he spent more time with the Jewish side of the family. Despite his love and appreciation for Jewish tradition, Michael felt that something was missing from Judaism.
As a young man, Michael continued to struggle to find meaning in life and true acceptance. His attempts to find answers to the questions, “What is the meaning of life,” and “Why is there suffering in the world?” were all futile.
One day he decided to read the Bible. As he read the words of Jesus, Michael found the answers to all his existential questions. He found that self-worth and meaning were tightly wound up in knowing God, and that only Jesus the Messiah could provide the way to peace.
Ron grew up in a Jewish home, and despite living through his parent’s divorce at nine years old, he had a positive outlook on life. Another difficulty that Ron faced was rampant antisemitism. This experience forced Ron to study the New Testament to find out what made some Christians hate Jewish people.
What he found was a Jewish book, about a Jewish Jesus, written by Jews. Ron internalized what this meant, but pushed God away. He thought that he would reach out to God when he needed him.
As he was saying goodbye to his dying son, Ron called on God to help, with the hope that some good would come out of the situation and that God would provide strength for the rest of the family.
Through this tragedy, God showed Ron the gravity of sin and his need for a Savior.
Jeff grew up in a Jewish family and, as many Jewish people do, he thought to be Jewish and to believe in Jesus was impossible. His grandfather’s stories of persecution at the hands of so-called Christians reinforced this idea in Jeff.
One day Jeff heard the story of Corrie Tenboom – a Christian that loved the Jewish people and suffered because her family protected Jews from the Nazis during WWII. Jeff was forced to reconsider some of his perceptions about Jesus and His followers.
When one of Jeff’s Jewish friends became a follower of Jesus, Jeff decided to study the Hebrew Scriptures. It was Jeremiah 31 that convinced Jeff. Jeff’s decision to follow Jesus separated him from his father for 26 years, but eventually his brother and father also came to know Jesus as their Jewish Messiah.
From an early age, Steven knew that he wanted to be an actor. He gained success and fame very quickly. However, he soon realized that he was living a selfish and unfulfilled life. Although, he was a rising star in his dream job, Steven did not want to achieve success at the cost of peace or loose himself in the process.
He believed in God, and decided to find out how he could know Him better. In his two-year search, Steven had two supernatural experiences in which God revealed Himself. Steven found out that fulfilled life is one that is modeled after the Messiah, Jesus.
Matt grew up in a typical Jewish family. Like many Jewish people, he believed that following Jesus meant to turn your back on your people and heritage. While in college, God began drawing Matt to Himself. God put passionate and sincere Christians in Matt’s life who provoked him to jealousy. Matt saw sincere faith and he desired to have the connection to God he saw in the Christians he met. His religious experiences and material success brought him no joy. He still felt empty, and wanted to experience closeness to God.
Matt asked God to show him if Jesus was the Messiah. As God continued to open his heart, Matt saw that Jesus fulfilled the Torah and the Prophets, and the natural thing for a Jewish person was to follow Jesus, the Jewish Messiah.
Omri was born into a Jewish family on an Israeli kibbutz. Like many young Israelis, he traveled after his IDF service. A chance encounter at a hostel forced him to reevaluate what he knew about Jesus. He was aware that Jesus was an influential Jewish man, but he knew nothing about Him or what He actually taught. This made Omri wonder why a Jewish man who was born in Israel, and who influenced so many people was virtually unknown to him. So he decided to read the New Testament and there he found the Messiah of Israel – the One that the prophets spoke of long ago.
Johnny grew up in an Orthodox Jewish family. Early on he viewed the existence of God as a given, and although he had difficult time “talking to God,” he believed all men and women had a way to access God. As he grew up and got into advertising, Johnny began to drift away from any real notion of worship or religion. His life turned into one big party. A near fatal accident was his wake up call. Soon after, a friend gave him a Bible for his birthday. Johnny decided to read the New Testament. What he found there were the words of One who spoke and taught like no mere man could. He began studying both the Old and New Testaments and saw the links between Old Testament prophecies and Jesus of Nazareth. He learned that what he was taught about Jesus as a child was false. After a nearly three decades of cynicism and relativism, Johnny found the author of truth and his Messiah, Jesus.
Madelyn grew up in a religious Jewish family, but sexual abuse beset her childhood. As an adult, she acted out in destructive ways. Her search for God in the synagogue left her unsatisfied.
Madelyn struggled with guilt and shame. Feelings of hate towards her father only exacerbated these feelings.
One day she met a Christian man at work and eventually also met his friends. There was something different about these Christians. Madelyn wanted to have the peace that they had. This led to her going to church. There she heard a sermon about the prodigal son. The love of the father towards the rebellious son helped Madelyn understand God’s love for her. She attained the peace she desired through her relationship with Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel.
Ryan grew up in an interfaith home and celebrated both Jewish and Christian holidays. Early on, Ryan struggled with insecurity and anxiety. Although he believed in God, Ryan was not grounded in either faith. His anxiety soon got the better of him. An altercation that led to the police being called was a wake-up call for Ryan.
He admitted that he needed help, so his mother sent him to a Christian counseling center. There he realized he measured his self-worth by all the wrong things.
The counselor was able to show Ryan how he could have victory; that it was possible through the Messiah, Yeshua. Ryan realized that if his identity is grounded in Yeshua, then he did not need to struggle to prove himself to anybody.
Kamran grew up in a Persian Jewish family. As a young man, he moved to the United States. However, Kamran quickly became homesick and was depressed because he could not be close to his family and friends who were back in Iran.
Kamran befriended a couple of young men who lived in the same apartment complex as he did. One day they asked him if he wanted to learn about the Jewish Messiah. Kamran was secure in his Jewish identity and his traditions. He was very surprised by the Jewishness of the New Testament and it’s authors. As he read the teachings of Jesus, Kamran was even more astonished by the Jewishness of the texts.
He asked God to reveal the
truth about Yeshua to him. After months of study and reading the Bible, Kamran
was convinced that Yeshua, Jesus, was the promised Messiah of Israel.
The peace and joy that was absent in Kamran’s life were now a constant presence. His brother and uncle were opposed to his new faith, and he was alienated from his family. From there his life spiraled out of control, but God kept calling him back, and he eventually rededicated his life to the Messiah – never to falter again.
Shohreh grew up in a Jewish family in Iran. One of her favorite memories was family Passover celebrations. The Iranian revolution turned Shohreh’s life upside down and she began to ask questions about the meaning of life. She wanted to be a person who would make a positive difference in the world. She began taking self-empowerment courses.
Her parents’ health issues showed her that, despite all she had learned, there was nothing she could offer her parents. So, she began reading the Hebrew Scriptures hoping to find answers. She felt that God was speaking to her through the Bible. She saw a theme of sacrifice and redemption.
It soon made sense to Shohreh that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah. She understood that it was Messiah’s sacrifice that made everything right – it was what gave us peace.
Pirooz grew up in a Jewish family from Iran. The family’s life dream to come to America was realized, and they came to this country where they flourished. When Pirooz grew up and began his career, he met many Christians. Although their belief that Jesus is God was offensive to him, he was amazed that these Gentiles knew more about his God than he did.
Throughout his life, Pirooz understood the power of God. From his own healing experience as a child and later his son’s miraculous recovery. It was this belief that led him on a journey that ended with him accepting Jesus as the Jewish Messiah and gathering the courage to tell his family about his faith.
Michelle grew up in an agnostic family, but one that valued Jewish identity and synagogue life. As a young woman about to embark on her career, Michelle was anxious about the future and her place in this world. She began to explore other religions, including Eastern thought. However, her searches left her empty, as the religions and philosophies she studied did not address her concerns or answer her questions about life. One day a friend gave her a Christian book to read.
Although this book was a fictitious novel, it put Michelle on a path of discovery that ended with her accepting that Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah, is the One who will give her life purpose and meaning.
Ronit grew up in a religious Jewish home. She loved her traditions and going to synagogue.
However, she felt that she did not have a deep relationship with God. Ronit’s cousin, who was a Jewish follower of Jesus, took her to church. After the experience, Ronit was still unsure. She went to the Hebrew Scriptures to find out who the Messiah is. In the Scriptures, she read that the Messiah will be a prophet like Moses – she began to wonder who this person might be. Nobody but Yeshua seemed to fit the bill.
Ronit’s sister became a follower of Jesus, and this was monumental for Ronit. The changes in her sister’s life, and the peace she experienced confirmed the truth about Yeshua for Ronit. Despite facing rejection from friends and family, Ronit knows that life with the Messiah is worth it.
Dan grew up in a religious Jewish home. As a young man he spent a few seasons in Aspen, Colorado learning to ski. It was there that he met a Christian woman with whom he became friends. She began to ask him questions about God that challenged his understanding of God and religion.
As he studied the Bible, he discovered that he knew less than he thought he did about God and the Messiah; he even began praying. Dan’s new friend gave him a book that helped him understand the message of the Bible and why believing in Jesus is the most important thing a Jewish person can do.
Perry grew up without any religious background, but with a strong Jewish identity. While living in Texas he met Christians who challenged his notions about religion. The more he heard about God, he began to understand that a relationship with God was something that he needed.
On a trip to Israel, Perry saw the connections between the Land, the Bible, and Jesus come alive. As he prayed at the Western Wall he experienced a peace and rest he never had up until that point. That week, on the first night of Purim in Israel, Perry came to faith in the Jewish Messiah, Jesus.
Bill grew up in a religious Jewish family and was heavily involved in Jewish life. He knew a lot about the religion of his Jewish people, but felt he did not really know the God of the Jewish People. He believed that there had to be more to God than just traditions.
One of his Jewish friends had a New Testament, and one day Bill decided to read it. As he read the words of Jesus, he saw how a person can know not just stories from the Bible, but know the author of the Bible. As he studied further, he saw his people’s expectations fulfilled in Yeshua the Messiah.
Michael grew up in a Jewish home, but as a teen rock music and drugs became the driving forces in his life. Although, he thought he was a “good person,” he lived for himself. Some of his friends took him to church. Michael’s expectations were shattered by what he saw in this church, and his friends’ descriptions of the sermons kept drawing him back.
On one of his visits to the church, Michael answered the call to accept Jesus as the Messiah. This began a long of learning and growing which led him to be one of the foremost Jewish apologists for Yeshua the Messiah.
Randy grew up with a very strong Jewish identity and from a young age had a strong desire to know God. His searches left him empty. It was the death of a classmate that forced him to ask hard questions. He began to read the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. It was in the pages of the Bible he saw that it was not that God was far away from humanity, but rather that humanity was separated from God by sin. It was in reading the New Testament that Randy found the Messiah of Israel, Jesus, through whom men and women are reconciled to God.
Tuvia grew up in successful family with a strong Jewish identity. Even though Tuvia also became very successful, he soon realized that money could not buy happiness or love. As a young man, Tuvia struggled with depression and his search for love and understanding stayed with him into early adulthood.
Tuvia wanted to experience real love. God sent him a friend in college who showed him that “real love” is only available through a “real” relationship with the God of Israel. Although Tuvia was not friendly towards Jesus or Christianity, one day while studying the parable of the prodigal son, he was supernaturally changed.
Tuvia began to study the New Testament. Through his studies, he finally understood that Jesus the Messiah not only taught, but also portrayed real love. Tuvia realized that he could experience this kind of love only through knowing Jesus personally.
Israel grew up in a Jewish family. He was told from an early age that Jesus was for the Gentiles. As a young man, he joined the Navy. While there a fellow seaman showed Israel Isaiah 53 in his Hebrew Publication Bible. Israel was surprised. “What is Jesus doing in my bible,” he thought.
He decided to read the New Testament and found it to be a Jewish book, written by Jews about the Jewish Messiah.
Greg grew up in an observant Jewish home, but his parent’s divorce eventually caused him much distress and eventually led him to begin using drugs. In the hopes of getting him on the right track, his family encouraged him to join the Airforce.
While in the Airforce, a pilot befriended him. One day the pilot invited Greg to church and Greg’s life was completely turned around because of the witness of the people he met at the church.
As he read the New Testament he found it to be a profoundly Jewish book and also discovered tha;Jesus is the Jewish Messiah that set him free!
Mitch grew up in a religious Jewish family, but felt there was a distance between him and God. He left home and joined some friends in California where they began to sell drugs. A deal “gone bad” at which they were almost killed changed Mitch’s perspective on life. It was around this time that one of his friends became a follower of Jesus.
Mitch ended up going to a Christian service, and it was during a prayer that Mitch felt the presence of God like he had never felt before. Mitch asked God to reveal himself and the truth about Jesus to him. God answered in a miraculous way.
Scott grew up in a Jewish home where he celebrated the Jewish holidays, went to synagogue, and prepared for his bar mitzvah. But Scott’s parents divorced and the strain of growing up in a broken home had an effect on him. He was diagnosed with a hyper-activity disorder. This escalated into drug use, which eventually led to homelessness.
Scott searched everywhere for wholeness and peace, but only found it the teachings of Jesus, the Jewish Messiah.
Len grew up in an Orthodox Jewish family, but sadly, his childhood was void of love and affection. As an adult, he carried the anger he witnessed and experienced as a child into his own family.
It was not until he read the Bible that he saw his anger was against God’s Word. As he read the words of Jesus in the New Testament, he discovered that without help he could not follow the Word of God. He also learned that the New Testament was written by Jewish people about the Jewish Messiah – Jesus!
Bernard’s sense ofJewishness came from his family’s experiences in the Holocaust and an appreciation of Jewish history and heritage. His family attended synagogue infrequently and Bernard did not take the Hebrew Scriptures seriously. Despite this, he often contemplated the afterlife, to the point of getting depressed, as he did not have answers to “life’s big questions.”
One day he went to a lecture where he heard about Jesus. Learning about Jesus’ teachings transformed Bernard’s life. All his questions about the afterlife and the meaning of life were answered in the person of Yeshua.
Luda was born into a Bukharian Jewish family, but experiences with antisemitism made her shy away from her Jewish identity. It was the witness of a group pf Christians that forced her to research the claims of Jesus and read the Old Testament prophesies regarding the Messiah of Israel.
She soon found out that he, Jesus, was indeed the promised Messiah of the Jewish people, and that the most Jewish thing you can do is believe in the Jewish Messiah.
Lance was driven by a search for truth. Neither traditional Judaism nor any knowledge attained at law school brought Lance the answers he was looking for. His world began to fall apart. His marriage failed, and his work was being challenged.
Then one day he was invited to a Passover Seder led by a Jewish follower of Jesus. The Gospel message, presented in its original context, as well as the connection of the redemption of Israel with the redemption of the world, opened Lance’s eyes to what real truth is and that it is revealed in the Jewish Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.
Family history, including his grandfather’s experiences in Russia, caused Thom to believe that Christians were the enemies of the Jewish people. His father’s death and a traumatic experience at a synagogue pushed Thom away from God. His life began to revolve around pursuing his own interests.
Thom’s life changed when his friend became a follower of Jesus. Soon after Thom’s wife accepted Jesus as her Messiah, he decided to read the Bible for himself to learn more about his wife’s new faith. To his surprise, Thom found the New Testament to be a very Jewish book, written by Jewish people about the Jewish Messiah.
The more he read the more he fell in love with Jesus of Nazareth.
Jeff was born and raised in a Jewish home. An early experience with antisemitism left him with the impression that Christians hated the Jewish people. His professional experiences led him to believe that real evil exists, but he was convinced that the opposite existed also.
One day he heard a lecture by a Jewish follower of Jesus which led him to read the New Testament. He quickly realized that it was a Jewish book written by Jewish people about the Jewish Messiah.
Steve’s life was changed by the death of his father. He started mixing with “the wrong crowd” and slowly his life began to unravel. He began to use drugs to escape the darkness and depression. It was the writings of C.S. Lewis that opened Steve’s heart to Jesus. His friends became believers in Jesus and through their witness he saw the answer to his search for happiness and meaning – it was belief in Yeshua (Jesus), the Jewish Messiah.
Victoria grew up in a non-religious home. Her father was an unyielding Soviet-Jewish atheist. Any talk of religion in her home was met with reproach. As she grew up, found a career and settled into life, Victoria found it empty. She turned to alcohol to mask her pain. An act of kindness from her sister forced her to stop drinking, but then more trouble started.
Eventually, Victoria visited a Messianic Bible study and it opened her eyes to Jesus, the Messiah of Israel. As a follower of Jesus of Nazareth she has found hope, peace, and contentment with life.
Ari grew up in a Reform Jewish home. An early experience formed his view of what it meant to be Jewish, and it stunted any thoughts of God. His understanding of Christianity and the New Testament was limited. When his friend accepted Jesus as the Messiah, the drastic changes in his friend’s life ignited a desire to find out more about Jesus.
As he began to read the New Testament, he realized it was a Jewish book, written by Jews. The more he compared the claims of Jesus with the Hebrew Scriptures, the more he was convinced that Jesus is the answer to all Jewish Messianic expectations.
David grew up in a religious Jewish family and attending synagogue was a central part of his life.
His job allowed him to travel all over the world and encounter many different faiths and beliefs. Whether he was in the Far East or Eastern Europe, he would always find a synagogue or a local house of worship to attend. Over time, it became apparent to him that he did not have a relationship with the God of Israel that was anything close to the relationship that his forefathers had as described in the Hebrew Scriptures.
He began to pray that God would reveal Himself to him like he did to the forefathers. God answered his prayer. As he studied and read the Hebrew Scriptures, a picture of Messiah began to come alive to him. That picture was of the Jewish Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.
Mitch grew up in a religious Jewish family. He was a successful chef until his wild lifestyle cost him his job. Losing his dream job – what he thought was his life’s calling – caused him to spiral out of control. At the same time, he felt he was wasting his life. A Christian girl he met sparked some jealousy in Mitch, as she seemed to know more about the Hebrew Scriptures than he did.
As he began to study the Bible, he saw that, not only was the New Testament written by Jews and for Jews, but that the Messiah of the Jewish people, and the whole world, the very one prophesied in the Hebrew Bible, was none other than Jesus of Nazareth.
Mike grew up in a conservative Jewish home. Throughout his life he always searched for God. He searched at Christian Bible studies and in personal studies with a Hasidic rabbi. As his understanding of his need for God grew, he reached out and asked God to reveal himself and the Messiah to him.
As he learned more about God, Jesus, and the New Testament, he realized there was nothing more Jewish than believing in the God of Israel who sent us the Messiah of Israel, Yeshua!
Richard was born to a family with a strong Jewish identity, but no real belief in God. Despite God never being discussed in their home, Richard always believed there must be a God.
One day he met a Jewish follower of Jesus; something that was strange to him because he never heard of a Jewish person who believed in Jesus as Messiah. This caused him ask a lot of questions and reconsider who he believed Jesus to be.
Vanessa grew up in a Messianic Jewish home, but she struggled with her identity. She was trying to make this faith her own. After spending time in Israel, her understanding of what it means to be Jewish and a follower of Yeshua began to deepen and she called out to God to confirm her place in His will. He answered her in a miraculous way!
Dave grew up in a Jewish family that valued education, so he grew up reading and learning a lot about religion, specifically Greek mythology. He saw the claims of Jesus as no different than anything he read in his mythology books.
Learning about family members who perished in the Holocaust caused Dave to pursue a strong Jewish identity. He was committed to Jewish life and the Hebrew Scriptures.
The loss of his grandmother caused Dave a lot of pain. In fact, her death was sudden and tragic, and it forced Dave to question a lot of things in life at an early age. Struggling with these questions for years left Dave empty and depressed. It was through a series of supernatural events that the Messiah of Israel, Jesus, was revealed to him.
Aaron was born to a Jewish father and a Gentile mother, but grew up going to synagogue. However, after his bar-mitzvah he slowly began to separate from religious life. This was partly due to the lack of community and connection he felt in his synagogue.
In college he became friends with some Christians, and although he was not immediately convinced of anything pertaining to Jesus, he began to see Him in a favorable light.
Weeks after a shooting at his school, Aaron sensed a desire to go with his friends to church and learn more about Jesus. He began to attend a Bible study and was more convinced that what the Scriptures have to say about Jesus was true. He also found the community and fellowship he was searching for.
Ayelet grew up in a secular Israeli family, but she always believed in God and spent a lot of time researching New Age practices and Eastern religions in search of the truth about God.
One day she read the New Testament and found it to be a very Jewish book. She was also surprised to see that it was not antisemitic. In fact it presented the Jewishness of the Gospel and of Jesus. Ayelet found that to follow Jesus was the most natural thing for a Jewish person to do.
Growing up, Rich experienced antisemitism and was often called “Christ killer.” Rich’s experiences, as well as his father’s, reinforced that Jesus was not for the Jewish people.
That changed when he saw people around him living an authentic Biblical faith that centered on the Messiah of Israel. Through a series of stressful events, Rich called out to God in prayer and God answered.
Mitch was distressed when his mother told him that she believed Jesus was the Jewish Messiah. As life went on he put this out of his mind. He was living his life, having a good time and partying, but slowly he began to grow tired of the lifestyle. He wanted more from life than “just waiting for the next party.”
His mother gave him literature to read about Messianic prophecies. The more he read about the topic and compared with the Hebrew Bible, the more it made sense, and he realized that Jesus actually is the Jewish Messiah as his mother believed.
Marion grew up in a family that believed in God, but she felt that there was no reason for her to follow God just because she was born into a family that was part of a religious system. She was always surrounded by Christians, including a good friend, but Marion and her friend were searching for something more. They wanted to know what the truth was about Jesus and if God was real.
She decided to pray and ask God to show her through real experiences that He was real and that Jesus was the Messiah. God answered her prayer, and she accepted Jesus as her Messiah!
David grew up in a religious family and was involved in the community. While at college he met a Christian at his fraternity. David saw that this Christian actually lived out his faith. One day he followed this man to his church to find out more about what he believed. David happened to attend a bible study that night, and found himself repulsed and attracted at the same time by what he was hearing.
From then on, David experienced a supernatural struggle within him that caused him much stress. When he accepted Jesus as his Messiah – as his Messiah he immediately felt peace and God’s presence with him.
Klaudia grew up in an atheist Jewish family in the Former Soviet Union. She witnessed and experienced a lot of antisemitism. Her earliest memories are being called “Christ-killer” by kids at school. She grew up thinking that “Christians” hated Jews, but one day she had a chance to read the Bible and instead of finding an anti-Jewish textbook, she found a story about her Jewish people and their journey with God.
When she had a family of her own, the authorities arrested her son. She cried out to God for help. God answered and the authorities returned her son and told her family to leave Ukraine.
While living as a refugee in Italy, she met true Christians who showed her love and gave her a Bible of her own. Her subsequent searches for truth lead to her to understand that Jesus is the Messiah of the Jewish people.
Brian grew up in a Reform Jewish home. He was living a normal life until one day the “seek” function on the car radio landed on a Christian talk-radio station. The dialogue captivated him even though he thought some of the content was silly. After hearing the Gospel for over a year he realized he was convinced that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah.
He began to study both religions. But the more he studied the more and more he was convinced that Jesus is indeed the Messiah of Israel.
Dennis grew up in a religious family and his life revolved around synagogue. He soon saw that there was something missing in his religious life. But when he went to college he wanted to explore life. He studied a variety of subjects but ultimately could not find the answer to “why are we here?” He left his search behind and focused on getting a well-paying job and raising a family.
A business associate invited him to a church function at which a Jewish follower of Yeshua was presenting on the theme of “Messiah in the Passover.” Dennis agreed to go to try and prove the man wrong. However, through the study of Messianic prophecies, he came to the conclusion that Yeshua was the Messiah of Israel and that He was not only the national Messiah, but also a personal Messiah.
Jennifer did not grow up with any religious identity and it was her Catholic neighbors that introduced her to religious topics. Despite having a fun life that took her on international trips with celebrities and musicians, she felt empty. She began to search for a new way of looking at life.
Several experiences, including reading the Gospel of Matthew and the works C.S. Lewis, helped her come to the understanding that Jesus is exactly who he claimed to be – the Messiah of Israel.
Mike heard the Gospel many times in his life, but his “kryptonite” was telling people that he was Jewish and that Jews don’t believe in Jesus. He had a good quiet life, but felt empty. Participating in nominal Jewish life did not give him assurance of the world to come. As life went on, despite many successes, Mike continued to feel empty.
It was not until he met a Jewish believer that the Bible came to life. When it was revealed to Mike that Jesus was Jewish and participated in Jewish life, Mike was forced to re-evaluate what he knew about Jesus.
As he continued to seek out more information, he saw that not only was Jesus Jewish, but so were the writers of the New Testament. Mike found his Jewishness come alive after he became a follower of the Jewish Messiah.
Marty grew up in a predominately Jewish neighborhood. As a kid he was told that many Christians were antisemitic. He was always inundated with his friend’s passion for Jesus. Marty struggled how to reconcile what he “knew” about Jesus with what he was seeing and hearing in his Christian friends.
Marty just wanted to make his way in the world, but was constantly confronted with the personality of Jesus. He decided to “decode” the Bible to find out what the hoopla was all about. When he finally read the New Testament, he realized that Jesus was more Jewish than he was.
He soon realized that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah and the answer to Jewish expectations. He was overpowered by the teachings and sacrifice of Jesus. He was the Savior that Marty was looking for.
Alan’s perception of Christians was shaped by what he saw on TV. Visiting the Dachau concentration camp left a lasting impression on him. Alan sought to repay the debt he felt he owed to those who suffered and died for being Jewish.
Contemplating what it meant to be Jewish, Alan reached out to God in prayer. God responded by sending a person, who became Alan’s friend and unfolded the story of Jesus in a way that connected Alan to the Jewishness of the Messiah.
Alan was challenged on his views of Christians, Jesus, and Messianic faith. He found the faith of his friend very compelling. Reading the New Testament also shook Alan’s paradigm. He saw a Jewish Jesus talking to Jewish people about Jewish prophesies in the Land of Promise.
Although Jan grew up in religious family, he wanted a relationship with God that rote religious practices did not offer. Jan came to believe in Jesus through a series of undeniably super-natural experiences. In college, he began to explore the possibility that Jesus could be the Jewish Messiah. Finally, he came to know Jesus as his Messiah.
His challenge for his fellow Jewish people is to explore and study the evidence for Jesus being the Jewish Messiah from the Hebrew Scriptures.
For Olivier’s mother, God died in Auschwitz with her father. Growing up secular, Olivier had a love-hate relationship with Judaism. He liked being Jewish, but found nothing spiritually fulfilling about it. He wanted something more. He thought, if God was real, whoever He was, there had to something more to believing in Him.
One day he read a book about biblical prophecies and the Bible came alive to him. He decided to study the Bible, the whole Bible, including the New Testament. In doing so, he discovered the real Jesus – the Jewish Jesus. The Messiah became a reality for Olivier. His new found faith led Olivier to go to Bible college to learn more about the Bible, Jesus, and Jewish Studies.
Born into an occasionally observant Jewish home, Debra was raised to believe that the stories in the Hebrew Scriptures were more or less fairy tales. An unhappy, tension-filled family life left her angry and rebellious in her college years. Although somehow anchored in a belief in God through a child’s prayer her mother had taught her, Debra became involved in the hippie culture as she restlessly searched for life’s meaning. A growing friendship with a Jewish man, Michael, took an unexpected turn when he announced to her he had become a believer in Yeshua (Jesus). Cautiously open, Debra found great power in Jesus’ words as Michael read the New Testament to her. After much struggle and soul-searching, she became a believer. After they married, Debra and Michael were able to form the loving family life she had missed out on as a child.
Growing up Jewish in a family in Columbus, Ohio where everyone seemed to be talking at once, it was no surprise when Diane became an attorney and an active leader in the synagogue. Although warned by her old-world grandmother to be careful about Christian antisemitism, Diane was drawn to a book entitled, Rabbi Jesus. Reading it on an airplane, she struck up a conversation with a Christian woman, herself an author. Diane then entered a difficult time, when her marriage of 28 years dissolved. Some time later, she received a package in the mail from the woman she had met on the plane which contained one of her books and a card with the scripture, “He will delight in you with song” (Zephaniah 3:17) – the verse of scripture Diane had awoken with in her mind that very day. Deeply moved, Diane attended a service with her believing sister, received prayer and became a believer.
Journeying to America in pursuit of the American Dream, Grant Berry and his brother worked hard and achieved success in the cosmetics industry. But Grant knew that material success meant little without the spiritually meaningful life he had failed to find in the synagogue of his upbringing. Introduced through work connections to Maria, a make-up artist, he was intrigued to find she was a committed Christian with a vibrant walk with God that he wanted and knew deep down he lacked. Her persuasive witness, which stressed the Jewish background of the Gospel, drove him to pray more intensely than ever before. Pouring out his frustration that nothing seemed to be happening, he finally prayed, “God of Abraham, if Yeshua is your Son and the Jewish Messiah, I want to know the truth.” Suddenly feeling a powerful sense of affirmation, Grant became a believer from that moment on.
Laura was searching, but could not find fulfillment. As a child she frequently joined her grandmother in synagogue and warmly remembers the liturgy, but rejected the Jewish religion. She thought she might find fulfillment in love, success, possessions and life experiences. After a failed marriage, she wore divorce as a badge of honor. She climbed the corporate ladder. With each promotion she encountered more emptiness. Nothing satisfied her. Religion was the last place she expected to find meaning and happiness. To Laura, religion was irrelevant and senseless. Her misgivings dramatically changed when she encountered a woman who seemed to be so happy with her life.
Her friend persuaded Laura to join her at church. Laura agreed and was intrigued by the people she met. They evidently had a relationship with the Creator of the universe. She thought, “How can Gentiles have this, but not me.” Laura’s discovered happiness, hope, love and peace when she realized that Jesus was not only for the Gentiles and accepted Him as her Messiah.
Michael grew up in a traditional, but not very religious Jewish home. He started searching for spiritual truth in his later teen years. He experimented with drugs, read books on Eastern religions and looked for fulfillment in a variety of ways. There was a longing deep in his soul. He and his friend Ron moved from upstate New York to southern Oregon, where they purchased 20 acres to grow tomatoes. It was not very successful or satisfying. Michael grew more depressed and discouraged so they hitchhiked to southern Mexico in search of magic mushrooms.
While in Mexico, they encountered a group of hippies who talked about the Bible and Jesus. Michael could not understand this and it was hard at first to think about Jesus because of the way he was raised. He was Jewish and it did not make sense to him.
On his way back to Oregon, Michael met Debra in San Francisco, they fell in love and something changed. He started reading the Bible and his heart and understanding began to change. Then God had met him, opened his heart to the truth, believed that Yeshua was the Messiah and found Shalom!
Growing up, Mottel’s only contact with Christians was with Italian Catholics; therefore, he pictured Jesus as Italian. He was shocked to discover Jesus was Jewish and the New Testament was written by Jewish men. He grew up Jewish and was told to stay away from the Christian Bible. So he did what any person does when forbidden to do something. He began reading the New Testament. He expected to find an antisemitic handbook, but was surprised it began with a statement about three Jewish men (David, Abraham and Jesus) and how one is the anticipated Messiah of Israel. The New Testament is a story about a Jewish man, living in a Jewish village, in a Jewish country, claiming to be the Jewish Messiah. Mottel’s life was changed when he discovered following Jesus was the most Jewish thing a person can do. Mordechai tapped into a powerful truth for his Jewish people.
Rich was always searching for something more to life than a good job and a good education. He was introduced to the person of Jesus at an early age, but after talking to his rabbi decided that Jesus could not be the Messiah because He did not establish peace on earth. Rich’s experiences in college led him to be an activist working for social change, but he quickly realized that without God’s intervention, humans could not bring about any real change.
Rich began to search and question matters of faith, all of which led him to read the 53rd chapter of Isaiah. He soon realized that the answers to peace and the meaning of life were in the Bible and that the Bible pointed to a Messiah that makes peace between man and God and then ultimately brings the peace that humanity so desperately is longing for.
Steve grew up in a Reform Jewish household, but never really thought about what it meant to be Jewish. It was only after one of his children asked him “why don’t we believe in Jesus,” that Steve began to search for what it really meant. Although, Steve did not believe that Jesus even existed, he could see that there was something different about His followers.
As time went on, Steve saw that followers of Jesus had something different. He wanted to find out what that was. His journey led him to realize that the joy and peace Christians had, he could have too – through Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah.
Rose grew up during WW2 and faced a lot of hardships, including antisemitism. Despite overcoming great odds, she felt empty. Rose was determined and passionate; she went on to get a doctorate and became a college professor. But still she felt something was missing. During one of her classes, a student wrote a paper that changed her life. The student wrote about virtues and values. This paper was very different from any other she had seen written on the subject.
Rose ended up befriending the student and he shared with her how his faith in the Messiah changed him and gave him meaning and fulfillment in life. After attending a church and seeing a faith community that was loving and caring, she realized there was something more to Jesus and Christianity. Rose found the peace and fulfillment she was looking for through a relationship with her Messiah.
Roy grew up in a successful Jewish family, and had everything he wanted materially, but still felt unsatisfied. He was distressed by the injustice he saw in the world and decided that he wanted to change the world – to help people. So, he thought one way he could do that was by becoming a lawyer.
Before embarking on his law career, he decided to travel cross-country. While in Wisconsin, he met a girl and her friends who shared with him the Message of Jesus the Messiah, the son David, the son of Abraham. At first he dismissed their views, because he thought Jesus was a stranger to the Jewish people, but soon realized after reading quite a bit of the New Testament that Jesus was very Jewish.
As he continued to read the New Testament, he now viewed Yeshua as a Jewish man, who faced injustice, willingly, to be the Messiah of the world. He was wise, sacrificial and was the epitome of the kinds of values Roy affirmed.
He finally decided to give His life to the Messiah Jesus and found shalom.