My parents and I immigrated to the United States from the
former USSR. We were raised as atheists but I did receive
some training in Judaism by attending the local Jewish
community center, and a Jewish summer camp. These really
didn't do too much for me. I knew that I was Jewish, but I
didn't know what that meant.
At age eighteen, while attending college, I started
asking myself questions like, "What makes me a Jew? Is it
that I was born to Jewish parents? Do I need to live a
Jewish life?" I decided to learn more about my heritage.
However, it wasn't easy for me. I went to school in
California where "Born-Again" Christians and
"Messianic-Jews" were always trying to convert me. They
befriended me and I started going to church with them. I
even went to their meetings on campus. The Messianic Jews
told me that I can be Jewish and Christian at the same time.
I also went to their "Messianic Synagogue" and liked it. But
I still had many unanswered questions.
When I first started looking into Christianity, a Reform
rabbi came to speak on campus. I told her about my situation
and she handed me a business card and wrote the name of
another rabbi on the back. She suggested that I speak with
him. I put the card away and didn't make the call. A year
later I found the card. This time I called Rabbi Bentzion
Kravitz of Jews for Judaism.
My "Messianic-Jewish" friends tried to dissuade me from
talking with him. I invited them to meet Rabbi Kravitz with
me. When they declined, it really made me question their
friendship and motives.
I went ahead and had numerous phone conversations with
Rabbi Kravitz. We corresponded via the Internet and he spent
a day with me at my college campus. He also gave me two
tapes that helped me very much. I finally was able to
abandon my contact with these "Born-Again" Christians.
I had always wanted to be Jewish, I just never knew how.
Now, I am exploring my Judaism and next year I will be
attending Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Imagine "Next Year
In Jerusalem", my prayers have been answered.