A JEW SHOULD KNOW GODbyAaron Bortz
I was reared in Cincinnati, Ohio as a Reform Jew. My religiousstudies centered around Jewish history, Hebrew and humanitarianconcepts. The Reform Judaism of my youth accentuated a person’sresponsibilities toward humanity. The teachings, whileadmirable, had little to do with a relationship to God. Consequently, while conceding the existence of “a God,” Ipossessed no definitive concepts.
Growing up in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood caused me tobelieve that Jews were in a majority. Furthermore, I felt thatthe Gentiles’ belief in Jesus was based on ignorance.
High School ushered in new experiences. I learned that Jewishpeople were a minority. I also heard more about Jesus. Theinformation was very confusing. Each denomination had somethingdifferent to say about Jesus, Joseph and Mary. The confusionthat appeared to exist in the Gentile world (regarding God)caused me to retreat to the safety and comfort of the synagogue.
When I was fourteen years of age, I met Martin Chernoff. He wasvery kind and informed me that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah. This made sense, but being popular in school had greater appealthan serving God. I also did not want to be a traitor to myfamily and friends. Besides, how could I believe in someonewhose name got stuck in my throat? Thoughts of God and Jesuswere put on the shelf.
College Spells Future
After high school, I went on to pursue a business degree incollege. Most of my time was spent on extracurricular activitiesand not books. I flunked out of college after only one year.
Having lost my student deferment, I enlisted in the U.S. Army. Toward the end of my tour of duty, I was assigned to an ArmedForces Examining and Entrance Station. It was here that I met aman who was a real Christian. He was from Texas, a member of aSouthern Baptist church, and educated. I never thought anyonewho took the Bible literally could be educated. He earned myrespect. One day our conversation turned to God. He unabashedlytold me that without Jesus, no man can really know God. Jew andGentile alike must first know Jesus to know God.
I was embarrassed and insulted. I thought “this guy has got alot of chutzpah!” In my heart a chord had been sounded. Thetruth that was hidden deep within me had been laid bare. I didnot know God! I had always felt that being Jewish was more thanmatzah ball soup, Yiddish and mishpocha. A Jew should know God!
The Big Challenge
From that day forward, I felt the need to investigate Jesusfurther. Someone must have been praying for me because I wasalways pointed in the right direction. I would be exposed to the”right” radio program, the “right” book or the “right” person.
By now, I was painfully aware that I was in rebellion againstGod. Being a “good person” simply was not enough. I was createdto serve God and follow His will for my life. I repented of myformer life style. I sincerely asked God to reveal to me ifJesus was the Messiah. The conflict that was raging in my soulneeded to be put to rest. I wanted to know the God of Abraham,Isaac and Jacob. If He required me to come to Him through Jesus,I would. I had to have some form of assurance. My God, in Hismercy, revealed His Son to me both intellectually andspiritually. I accepted Jesus and praise God He accepted me.
About one week later, I received an unexpected confirmation ofthis acceptance. While driving a car down an expressway at 70m.p.h. (the legal limit in 1970), the Lord God made His presencefelt in a very physical way. This skeptical Aaron Bortz knew atthat moment that Yeshua Hamashiach had just walked up to him, andshook his hand and was filling him with the Holy Spirit. (I hadnever even read about the Holy Spirit!) Jesus was no longer a”bone in the throat.” The Bible was confirmed as the inspiredWord of God. The river of living water that had been rushed intothe depths of my being brought a new “completeness” to my life. Another interesting side effect was that I now felt more Jewishthan ever before! I had a keen appetite for understanding ofJewish holidays, traditions and Hebrew. Baruch Hashem! The Lordhad brought new meaning to my life. I had now had a personalrelationship with my God.
More than thirteen years have passed since true reality came intomy life. God has blessed me with wonderful teaching from suchpeople as Martin Chernoff (during important growing years),Rachmiel Frydland, Jeff Adler and many others. The Lord God hasblessed me with a wonderful wife and two beautiful daughters whoare being taught the true meaning of being Jewish. I havecompleted my education and continue to be blessed by the Lord. Above all, I know my God. Without this knowledge life would bemeaningless. All who reach for Him will not be disappointed.
MESSIANIC LITERATURE OUTREACH
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Cincinnati, Ohio 45222