I was born to a Jewish mother and father. My mother’s maiden name was Goldberg, and her parents, my grandparents, Yetta and Louis, emigrated to the United States from Poland and Lithuania. The grandparents on my father’s side, Freda and Isadore Klayman, hail from the Ukraine. All of my grandparents fled their native countries to escape anti-Semitic persecution and build a new life in the land of liberty and freedom, the United States. It’s an American story.
When I was a young boy, I worked during school vacations in my father’s and grandfather’s meat packing plant in Philadelphia, which is where we all lived. At lunch, Isadore would take me out to lunch to the nearby Horn and Hardart’s restaurant, where over my usual meal of a chopped hamburger steak and baked beans, “Izzy” would educate me about my religious roots and his deep personal relationship with God.
Izzy told me how when my father was away in the Far East as a soldier during World War II, that as he was lying near death in the hospital after a series of nervous breakdowns, God spoke to him and saved his life so he could build a successful business and care for his family. My grandfather, although Jewish to the core, had a personal relationship with God more akin to an evangelical preacher than the more formal relationship most fellow Jews enjoy. So it came to pass that I asked him one day if he believed in Jesus Christ. And, his answer caught me by surprise. “Grandson, God can do anything he wants. If he wanted to make Jesus his son, then he could have done so.” Indeed, in his heart, Izzy believed in Jesus. When he had passed through Ellis Island from the Ukraine as a young boy, the immigration officer asked him for his birthday. Since it was not unusual that Jews from this part of the world did not know their birthday – Izzy being one of them – he told the man that he would choose Dec. 25, Jesus’ birthday, adding, “If it’s good enough for Christ, its good enough for me!”
Izzy was a great man, my hero. But more importantly, he planted in me the seed that would eventually grow into my becoming a full-fledged Jewish Christian. As I grew older, I too was fortunate, as I have written about before, to have God “speak” to me directly through his son Jesus.
The first time occurred during the height of the Clinton scandals, just after my grandmother, Yetta, had died. I was going through a difficult personal and professional period in my life. On my grandfather’s and not coincidentally Jesus’ birthday, Christmas Day, the King of Kings came to me as I was standing tall and about ready to pray in a church, “My Mother of Victory,” in Georgetown, with my two young children, Isabelle and Lance. Jesus comforted me and told me that he exists and I could fully accept him into my life.
The second time occurred about a year-and-a-half ago, again during a down period when I had almost died in a car wreck and was feeling thoroughly disgusted by our corrupt legal system. Again, Jesus came to me, saying that I should look forward and not back, be the revolutionary that He wants me to be. Even if I would pay a price for it (indeed, Jesus was the ultimate revolutionary and He paid the ultimate price), I should do so in His name. These conversations with the Lord were not in words, but thoughts, and I knew each time that the “thoughts” were coming from Him. They so uplifted me and infected my entire body with warm, loving emotion, coming out of the blue, that I knew who was communicating with me.
My faith in Jesus and God was no longer based on reason or learning. I had, like my grandfather before me, experienced God’s hand “first hand.” With all of the trials and tribulations I had gone through over the years, fighting for justice and freedom in my own way and having scored a number of successes, Jesus’ coming to me when I needed him most was the greatest success; in fact, it was the greatest gift.
Today, I have much more than just a deep pride that I am both a Jew and a Christian. Indeed, we are really one people – in my mind there is no distinction. Marty Goetz, a friend who was also born Jewish and became a gifted messianic gospel singer, puts it best in one of his songs: Jesus, in Hebrew, Yeshua, “was the greatest Jew there ever was!”
Israel is the home of the greatest Jew there ever was, and perhaps that is just one reason I have come to so love this land. With the world and our nation coming apart at the seams, the Holy Land remains the place where it all began and, if we are not vigilant, where it will end.
Over the last days, I have been watching the famous movie, “Exodus,” with actor Paul Newman. It depicts the beautiful story of how modern-day Israel came to exist, how our people, following the horrors of the Holocaust, fought their way back and returned to their promised land, with great sacrifice in “blood, sweat and tears.” It shows how Jews will never again be put in a vulnerable situation where they could cease to exist as a nation. With the guidance, intervention and divinity of the “greatest Jew there ever was,” this will not happen. The lyrics to the theme song in “Exodus,” written by my friend, actor and singer Pat Boone, say it all with great emotion: “This land, this land I love is mine.”
But we as humans, being the revolutionaries Jesus wants us to be, must do all that we can to save our promised land. We cannot allow our President, Barack Hussein Obama – with his now not too latent anti-Semitic and pro-Muslim policies and actions implemented by the equally ethically compromised Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State – to join with radical Islamists to destroy our land of Israel.
That “We the People” must ourselves do whatever we can to preserve the Jewish state is beyond question. Not just our “mullah in chief,” but nearly all of our political “leaders” have been nearly indifferent to the looming threat from Iran, which, now, due to Democrat and Republican inaction and stupidity – Iran, not Iraq, should have been our military focus – likely possesses the nuclear capability to do what not even Hitler could not have accomplished.
For if the land of Israel ever ceased to exist – this land we love and which brought us Jesus – then we, too, will perish! With the help of our Lord and Savior, I for one will do all I can to not let this happen! You, too, should join with the greatest Jew there ever was to save our land – the promised land to both Jews and Christians. We are one people under God, and, in addition to the United States, the land of Israel is ours!