I grew up Jewish and am actually the first American in my family. My grandfather came from Poland and my Russian grandma was a holocaust survivor. My father is Israeli, and then there’s my Jewish mother who is a Canadian, ay.
I learned about my Jewish faith at one of the largest synagogues in our city beginning in preschool. My mom was the supervisor of the Sunday school department and I was a teacher’s assistant for several years. I learned about Judaism but I wasn’t sure what I believed about God.
From a young age tragedy consistently unfolded in the family. I faced challenges from my parent’s divorce, tragic deaths, financial difficulties, devastating fires, mental illness and more. I longed to be in a peaceful, conflict-free environment. I tried to remain positive, but an underlying fear grew in my heart. During high school and college I gravitated toward the world of modeling and acting. In the midst of my glamorous dreams to make it “big,” I ended up becoming very self conscious, developing unhealthy eating habits, and compromising my moral values.
After graduating from college, my Dad’s fiancé encouraged me to attend a particular church to “meet people.” The only reason I was open was because I liked my next door neighbor who went there. But little did I know that behind the scenes were past babysitters and friends who were praying for me.
I was afraid when people in the church found out I was Jewish, they would question what I was even doing there. Plus none of my friends were interested. I met a gal on a movie set who attended this particular church and she invited me. To my surprise the people not only welcomed but embraced me. I was actually taken back by their love for the Jewish people.
Initially I kept going to church for social reasons and listened for basic life principles. However with time my curiosity grew about who this Jesus was. I heard for the first time that Jesus was Jewish, He was a Messiah to the people of Israel, and there were prophecies written about Him.
All of this information felt foreign and I had lots of questions. I’ll never forget one of the girls’ responses as we were running in the park- she mentioned Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you” It began burning in my heart. I read More than a Carpenter and Old Testament prophecy. But the question kept going through my mind- how could Jesus be the real Messiah if the Jewish people are not following him?
One night I received my answer as if God himself was speaking. I had just been given a bible and I opened it up randomly and read this verse referring to the Israelites in 2 Corinthians 3:14 -15 “But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away”
Slowly I began to see how the old covenant and prophecy lined up with Jesus words and the new covenant. After about three months of seeking for truth, I asked Jesus to come into my heart.
With His Spirit residing within me, came a new attitude and outlook on life which was so freeing. I could even sense the walls around my heart which had built up over years being torn down.
I felt so much more love for people. My parents on the other hand were not so fond of my decision. My mom was very upset with me for attending church. I ended up hiding my Christian books under my bed along with my Bible. Yet, one day after being baptized my mother commented, “Rachel, you have a peace about you that you’ve never had before and I don’t know where it came from.”
I’ve experienced the Lord as the healer of my heart, the prince of peace, the mighty deliverer, a faithful provider, a way maker who opens up doors and the One who lavishes love, mercy and divine favor over me.
*Note: The author’s name is a pseudonym.