As I write this text, my heart is
filled with joy and gratitude. Our God blesses us with more than we
deserve and more than we expect. My name is Moshe. I'm a
Brazilian Jew who has lived in Israel for two years. When I moved to this
beautiful country I never imagined what the God of Abraham, Isaac and
Jacob would do to me and for me.
My story began about 10 years ago, when I started to return to the Jewish
roots of my family. I was raised as a Christian, but I knew that my family
had a Jewish background. It was common to hear our parents and grandparents
tell stories and legends about "when we were Jews ..." A decade
ago, while studying everything possible to rediscover my Jewish
inheritance, I decided to take some private Hebrew lessons. To my
surprise the teacher's husband was the rabbi of a Messianic
community. I understood this was the path God had prepared for me, and I
began to attend that congregation.
Initially the prayers and Jewish customs were unfamiliar, but gradually I
began to feel at home. Suddenly, a day of sadness arrived. Unexpectedly
our rabbi, a serious and admirable man, broke out into tears and shared his
plight: an eye disease was progressing fast. In a short time he would be
completely blind! Everyone started crying. In addition to the dimension of
personal tragedy, our small community was at risk because no one else could
perform the weekly Torah reading or sing the traditional Jewish prayers.
This might be the end of our Messianic synagogue.
Joy after Torah reading
"Rabbi, if you're going blind, from now on I'll be your
These were the words that jumped spontaneously out of my mouth as the
Spirit sparked something that would change my life forever. Within a year I
was leading the prayers every Sabbath at our synagogue.
The Torah Effect
All my life I had felt like an alien, unable to adjust. Depression consumed
my youth. Shyness stole my friendships and opportunities. The enemy
undermined my communion with God. Years passed. Then the irresponsible and
hopeless young man who was me, underwent a profound change through exposure
to the Holy Scriptures. The Word of God cleanses and restores.
When I tried to read the weekly Torah portion in Hebrew the first time, all
I could say was:
"Lord, help me because I have no idea where to start!" And He did.
Something that usually takes years to learn, suddenly became clear. God
showed me how to read and sing the Hebrew. Interaction with the text began
to change me from the inside. I found myself remembering biblical texts
that before were indecipherable. The prayers put me in touch with Holiness.
As time passed by, the Holy Presence transformed me. Like a Bar Mitzvah
boy, I was becoming a man. In a few years I became part of that
"Get out of your country ... from your father's house, to a land
that I will show you" (Genesis 12:1).
Sometimes our lives take completely unexpected turns. Doors begin to close
and comfortable routines become a burden. Change becomes inevitable. I was
now a married man with a family and a prosperous company. But several
problems began to force a change. While seeking God's answer, I
received an unthinkable challenge. We were called to emigrate to Israel.
Despite loving Israel and being an active Messianic Jew and Zionist, I had
never thought about the possibility of making aliyah. But
that's what eventually happened in August of 2012. At age 40 I
landed with my family in Israel.
The blind rabbi and I
The beginning was hard. War and rumours of war came fast and frightened
us. But what followed was worse. Here I was, a former business owner,
now an unemployed immigrant seeking professional stability in a strange
land. I went through a year and a half of immense suffering and hard
trials, more than I thought I could endure. After some time, the period
of God's testing passed. The period of mercy started, and I was
finally at peace again - serving God in a serious congregation, received
as a loved one, despite all the cultural differences and potential
difficulties. Praise God, who made a way to settle a Brazilian family
in the midst of the Russian Israeli community in Haifa!
The Young Cantor
There are moments when we can see that our lives have come full circle. We
are like a leaf in the wind when in the hands of God. He takes us wherever
He chooses. Although often a mystery, there is always a bigger plan behind
His decisions, and I saw it up close this week.
During my years serving as a cantor, some of my greatest joys came from
preparing boys for their Bar Mitzvah "becoming a man" ceremonies. I've
had the opportunity to teach many, including some here in Israel, but none
impacted me like this last one. The boy stood up before the assembly to
read publicly from the Torah scroll last Saturday in our congregation. The
difficult text was sung without errors, in a pure and fluent way, almost
supernatural. I was overwhelmed. You see, the young man Ariel is the
eldest son of the blind Brazilian rabbi who changed my life.
For the past decade Shavei Tzion (Return to Zion) congregation has
developed several social projects in various sectors of Israeli society:
From Holocaust survivors to underprivileged children. From Messianic
soldiers to homeless people. New immigrants, war refugees, and others have
been touched by our attempt to reach new disciples for Yeshua. And we also
want to serve the Messianic community in the Diaspora.
From this successful experience, hosting a Brazilian family and performing
their son's Bar Mitzvah in our congregation, came the idea for a new
venture. It is our desire to extend this opportunity to the nations. We
want to open the doors of our synagogue to Jewish families that want to
provide their child with a meaningful and enriching Bar Mitzvah experience.
It will be our privilege to provide interested families a period of
preparation for the Bar Mitzvah ceremony including online training, quality
lodging and the use of our facilities and Torah scroll. In addition, there
will also be the opportunity to tour Israel with Messianic guides.
If you're part of a Messianic congregation, have children close to the
age of 12 and want to know more about this project you're invited to
contact us at: email@example.com