From Escaping Falsehood to Embracing Truth
For over a year, I intensely studied books, audio files & web pages that clearly elucidated the so-called messianic prophecies of the Tenach that the Christian Testament claimed to prove that Jesus was the messiah. One of those books was written by a convert to Judaism. It's called "The Lord Will Gather Me In" by David Klinghoffer (former editor of both National Review and Toward Tradition). The title caught my attention as it has a very Christian-sounding name, but it was in the Judaism section of Borders. Mr. Klinghoffer had undergone somewhat similar struggles. It was enlightening to see how he dealt with them. Reading his book pushed me to buy tefillin, which I had never even put on before. After teaching myself how to put the tefillin on (there are video tapes on this, believe it or not) major doubts started nagging me even more, and I felt like I was betraying God, my soul, my heritage, my people & my family. I then read a book called "We Are Not Going To Burn In Hell" by S.J. Greenstein, which even more solidified my doubts about Yeshua, the messianic movement and what is called the "body of Messiah". While this book is a great basic book on why us Jews should reject Christianity, it is so clearly & honestly written, that it broke through all my messianic defenses I had built up, immediately. I then finally began to TRULY study Judaism by absorbing book after book, all from real Torah sources.
Then, I emailed Len Mansky, a local acquaintance from my early seeking days (in '94 & '95). After explaining my newfound confusion about Jesus, he lent me Rabbi Tovia Singer's audio series called "Let's Get Biblical". I had known about Rabbi Singer and his tapes for years, but never wanted to listen to them. Even if I did, they would have had no effect as I was deeply & emotionally involved. However, now that the ice had been broken a bit, after listening to the tapes numerous times, I saw with extreme clarity that Jesus was not Messiah. Yeshua was not G-d. Christianity (& so-called "Messianic Judaism") as the fruit of the faith system started by Jesus, Paul, the apostles and the church fathers is definitely not kosher and is sadly very mistaken. If you need further clarification, the hundreds of reasons I needed to find & hear for myself are now available at The Jewish Home.
For an immediate refutation of the # 1 proof the missionaries use to prove Jesus is the messiah, Isaiah 52:12 - 53:12, please study the information on the following web pages:
Meanwhile, we were still attending Shuvah Yisrael, but I couldn't sing any of the "Yeshua" songs anymore, nor could I participate in the prayers that all ended "in the name of Yeshua" (which are pretty much all of them). Within a couple of weeks, we stopped going to Shuvah Yisrael. David Rosenberg approached me after services one Saturday, as he heard some rumors that I was "struggling with my faith" (a cliche in the Messianic/Christian world, used quite often when one has doubts about Christianity). We spoke briefly. I explained that I no longer believed as I used to. I returned one more time and that was IT!
At this point, I still believed in Hashem, but had no idea in what direction to go. My belief system was all discombobulated, plus I was very spiritually confused. So, what's a seeking Jew to do in that position? What else? Go to a Judaica store and find some good books. In Yussel's Judaica store in Merrick, there was a flyer inviting the reader to attend a class on Torah and Kabbalah, so I decided to call and actually attend. That is where I met a young Torah-observant Rabbi, Yossi Korngold, formerly of the Jewish Heritage Center of Queens & LI. He asked me my story, and patiently and without any judgement, listened. I liked what I was learning and continued studying with him for many months. We learned many subjects such as Torah, Kabbalah, Talmud, Mishnah and Chassidus.
I also started going into NYC every every week for amazing classes at to the Manhattan Jewish Experience on West 86th Street, Isralight & the Jewish Enrichment Center where there were (and still are) scores of young Jews coming to seek out the truth of a vibrant Torah-Judaism, from a real down-to-earth yet totally spiritual perspective. I started doing more mitzvahs as the months went on. I put on tefillin and privately davened every day from June, 2001 on.
A Message to Those Still In the Messianic Movement
If you consider yourself a "Messianic Jew", a "Jewish Christian", etc. then you truly need to find out the TRUTH about Yeshua as Messiah/G-d. You most likely have found your current belief system as a result of seeking the Truth. However, where you are right now is just a temporary detour. No matter what you may have experienced, what those in your congregation tell you, Jesus is a fraud, and you owe it to yourself to confirm or deny this yourself.
You must investigate this further because, as you clearly know, it is a matter of extreme importance. Your neshama (soul) desires to connect to Hashem, and you cannot do it via Jesus. Believing in Jesus is IDOLATRY for a Jew. Hashem is calling out to you, my friend. Below are some fantastic web pages that will enable you to see the beauty & truth of true Judaism. You can discover true Torah Judaism via your intellect via www.torah.org, www.ou.org or www.aish.org.
Either way will bring you back into the relationship the Creator desires to have with you.
Don't worry. Nobody will stare at you for wearing jeans & sneakers. As a matter of fact, the more comfortable you are, the better.
If you would like to listen to Rabbi Tovia Singer, please click here, where his entire "Let's Get Biblical" audio series is available to listen to and download completely for FREE!
Judaism and Bringing Others Back Home
Shavuos, 2005: Regarding my marriage, Maria took a huge step by deciding to officially study with a conversion Rabbi via the Beth Din Ezer Mishpat of Monsey, NY, which helped facilitate a universally accepted conversion under the auspices of the most strict halachic authorities. By July, 2005, the kids & I became completely shomer Shabbos. Maria still had issues with it, and hey, since she wasn’t Jewish yet, it really wasn’t a problem. We all attended a two-day seminar in the Los Angeles area during June, 2006. Then, for three solid years, she studied one-on-one, learing the halachos of becoming and living like a Torah Jew.
From Pesach, 2005 through September 2010, we spent almost half of all Shabbos' and all the Yom Tovim in the 5 Towns, being hosted for the coolest overnight Shabbos & Yom Tov sleepover parties by some dear friends who I’d like to mention here. Thanks to Menachem and Devorah Rosenzweig, Meir & Henny Preger and Meir & Hadassah Geisinsky. To all those who put up with us for scores of meals, you are too numerous to mention, but thank you!
Shavuos, 2008: Maria enters the final stretch of her conversion. For the month of July, 2008, Maria committed herself to a month of intensive learning by attending a 5-week program in Rockville, Maryland, run by Rabbi Benamou of Jewish Roc, under the direction of the Beit Din in Monsey.
On July 31st, 2008, Maria (now known as Meira) and our children have underwent a full and completely kosher Orthodox conversion in Monsey, NY. Now, they are now 100% Jewish. On August 18th, 2008, Meira and I went under the chupah (wedding canopy) to undergo a correct Torah Jewish wedding ceremony.
By studying and praying, Hashem had increased my knowledge as well as my relationship to Him. The key for Meira and I successfully navigating the path to a Torah-observant lifestyle was to understand that one can't be in a rush as there is much to learn, and that Hashem wants one to take things slowly, to correctly acclimate Yiddishkeit into one's life.
For myself, it wasn't easy desiring to be an observant Jew, while in a mixed marriage. In the beginning of our journey on becoming observant. At first we just lit Shabbat candles on Friday evenings, said an abbreviated kiddush, hamotzi, blessed the kids and tried to observe and respect Shabbat as much as possible.
I was told that the trials & tribulations we went through were to help blaze a path to Hashem & Torah for many others to follow. With the Creator's help, may there be much truth in that statement.
Regarding the Jewish world, joyful beginner services are the key to a spiritually Jewish revival in our Jewish neighborhoods. The status quo of bringing spiritually-ignorant (not their own fault) people to a boring synagogue (with a great fashion show) two or three times a year is no way to perpetuate a strong or real connection to the Creator of our existence. Especially since the devastating terrorist attacks of 9/11, many have discovered this huge vacuum within their souls. Thankfully within the Jewish world, there are amazing groups like Chabad (of the 5 Towns, Dix Hills, Mineola & Port Washington), the Jewish Heritage Center of LI, the Manhattan Jewish Experience, Isralight, Aish Hatorah, the Jewish Enrichment Center, Gateways, the Soho Synagogue and others that are able to show us from Torah that the vacuum calling out to be filled can only be satisfied by knowing Hashem via a more spiritual, joyful and awesome Torah Judaism.
In April, 2010, we purchased a home in the Five Towns so that we can immerse our family in an atmosphere of spiritual Judaism. We have finally been on the giving end of hosting and feeding guests and helping others see the beauty of Torah Judaism.Since we moved to the Five Towns, we've had classes in our home, teaching the inner secrets of the Torah via Kabbalah & Chassidus. I personally love the hidden wisdom that the Creator put into our holy Torah and wish to share this knowledge with the rest of the world who also have this desire.
Unlike what society and the secular world would like us to believe, life's a journey that's not supposed to be painless and full of easy answers.
The struggle we have is all part of the Divine plan to have us grow and become better human beings by learning, understanding and living life according to what Hashem wants of us. The first half of 2009 was very rough on us and our new Five Towns shul. Besides losing my precious healthy 66-year-old mother, ob'm, THREE weeks after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the our dear Rabbi & Chanie Wolowik also lost their beloved 9-year-old tzadik Levi Yitzchak, ob’m. The feelings of sadness and loss were overwhelming. Baruch Hashem we have a most supportive community. I don’t know how anyone would be able to go through such tragedy any other way.
Regarding the messianic movement, I strongly and equivocally state that the messianic and evangelical world is an extremely dangerous place for all Jews. DO NOT attempt to dabble in it. Do not attend their functions. They excel at befriending kind and seeking souls, and therefore are extremely threatening to your Jewish soul and your future. Stay far away. Their bottom line is to convert you to believe in Jesus. They will call Jesus "Yeshua" and their "New Testament" the "New Covenant". They will call Paul "Rav Shaul". They will call the cross "a stake". They call evangelical Christianity "Messianic Judaism". It is not Jewish, in any way, shape or form.
But I will also state that the bizarre messianic path I was on taught me much. Coming from a background of nothing, I learned about spirituality and prayer. I learned to study Scripture. I learned that I wanted to know my Creator quite a bit more. I learned that I wanted to know what being a Jew really meant. I am grateful for the many kind & seeking souls I met within the Messianic movement. I am thankful that G-d had me there for so long, as my familiarity with the movement, Christianity and their adherents gives me to right and the knowledge to discuss why Jesus is NOT the Messiah, and why Hebrew-Christianity/"Messianic Judaism" & Christianity are wrong. The messianic experience showed me not to be satisfied with a soul-less or joyless Judaism. Torah Judaism is the most beautifully intense experience a Jew can possibly have. Any movement of Judaism that teaches differently will just develop more bored and confused kids like I once was. And the world sure has plenty of things available for bored kids to bring into their lives besides Torah.
Since I've left the movement, I've been in touch with many of my messianic acquaintances, and many are interested in why I don't believe anymore. Many have broken free themselves. I’m thankful that they've found me and I've been able to point them in the right direction, according to their individual needs. Some have even joined me in local Torah classes, or have found a Torah-true Rabbi to study with wherever they live. Some have rejected me and believe that "the devil has blinded me". I get scores of interesting emails monthly from serious seekers, former messianics and even Gentile former Christians who realize their former belief system is a farce. It is absolutely awesome to help so many Jews break free and to introduce the Noachide movement to many gentiles.
I am available to speak to your group or organization. To help facilitate stopping the missionaries, you will be able to witness exactly what these soul snatchers are doing. It's a mitzvah if I'm able to stop just one Jew from going down the confusing, emotionally manipulating and soul-destroying messianic path.
Also, I can never say "thank you" enough to Rabbi (& Aviva) Korngold for their patience with my crazy questions, for being so non-judgmental when I really had no clue what Torah was, for studying Talmud & Torah with me, for being a source of strength when I may have had some doubts, and for simply being a dear friend who I can even call just to chat even about non-Torah subjects once in a while.
I'd like to especially thank Rabbi & Chanie Wolowik for their sincere heartfelt friendship and amazing hospitality. They are like family. I also consider them our adopted spiritual parents (even though I’m slightly older than both of them) who have guided us on our path to Yiddishkeit. Plus, you gotta taste Chanie’s food!
Since I started studying Torah, I knew that it would only be a matter of time before I stopped doing secular parties, particularly on Shabbat. In March of 2004, I stopped working Friday nights, after doing an extremely eye-opening Sweet 16, where the kids were being given alcohol by the adults in attendance. It was actually a huge relief, as I was undergoing a lot of stress while driving to these gigs as Shabbos was actually starting, and then facilitating people dancing & having a great time until 12 or 1 in the morning. I also stopped booking Saturday day events at the same time, and finally finished my last one (a very expensive, intense Bat Mitzvah, by the way) in February, 2005. So that left me with dealing with the Saturday night events. These weren't a problem from November to April, as Shabbos ends very early. I then committed myself to concentrating on not working on those Saturday night events that I have to start preparing for hours before Shabbos ends. This was the hardest step, as Saturday night is prime event time.
I launched an Orthodox Event company called Azamra DJ in late 2004, catering to the observant market in the NY tri-state area, Chicago, Boston and South Florida. The Creator has blessed me with enough success with Azamra DJ to support my family. Back when it was first launched, it enabled me to be completely Shomer Shabbos, as well as not having to shlep all my own food to catering halls anymore, as these parties are all Glatt KOSHER. I am very grateful to all my clients for entrusting me to provide you with the best in Orthodox Jewish Simcha Entertainment.
What an awesome feeling of peace and tranquility I've been experiencing on Shabbos as a result of following through and committing to keeping it.