January 16, 2011



Reprinted by permission from the Messianic Times, March 2000.  Al Rothstein of Rochester, NY, Iived most of his life with barely a thought about his eternal destiny and no idea he had to repent of his sins to receive eternal life. "I figured we were all going to heaven unless we did something terrible--then we would go to hell," said Al, who attended Hebrew and Shabbat school as a child.

Al, 48, began to learn about man's sinful nature in a journey that began in a Baptist Church and his Bible and ended in a Messianic Jewish congregation and in his accepting Yeshua as the Jewish Messiah more than four years ago. He began attending Westside Baptist Church with a friend. Unlike the Jewish schools he had attended as a child, the church had equipment for the hearing impaired, and for the first time in his life, Al, who is considered legally deaf, could clearly hear Biblical teaching. The pastor's messages intrigued him and prompted him to read the New Covenant Scriptures where he could see Yeshua and his followers' Jewishness. Al said he began to ask why Judaism denounced Yeshua.

A Messianic Jewish Passover Seder presented by Jews for Jesus further opened his eyes, showing him the connection between the lamb slaughtered to save the Hebrews from slavery and Yeshua as the Passover Lamp sacrificed to deliver the world from sin and death, he said. After the Seder, another friend from Westside told Al about Shema Israel, a Messianic Jewish congregation in Rochester. A few weeks later, Al visited Shema and found a place with sign language interpretation and captivating teaching. It was a place where he could "come home among people of my faith--Jews and Gentiles." He said. Al met Rabbi Jim Appel after the service and learned that the Jews for Jesus speaker had just that day given his name to the Rabbi to follow up on. Al continued to attend Shema, and he and Appel met to discuss spiritual issues. During Appel's second visit, Al said he decided to receive Yeshua.

His perceptions that he was a "good" person at first made him hesitate until Appel explained, "we all had a sinful nature going back to the day of Adam and Eve," said Al. After he prayed to receive Yeshua, Al said he felt like a "complete Jew and a follower of Yeshua back in His days." He said he was so excited about his new faith he rushed to tell his sister who immediately stopped talking to him, and his brother, who was "not so bad." Though Al and his sister have reconciled, she still does not accept his faith. Undaunted, the new believer studied the Bible, grew in his faith, and began serving at Shema as usher, then leader of a home group for deaf people - a 'big honor" for him, he said.

He now oversees the congregational building and grounds and serves as president of Deaf Messianic Jews, a national membership organization for hearing-impaired Messianic Jews. "I look forward to my life now. The Lord has really made many provisions for me -- a house, a congregational family, and a lovely wife. I couldn't ask for anything more," he said. (Reprinted by permission from the Messianic Times, March 2000.  © Copyright 2007.)

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