Participants: Shelley Quinn (Host), Jeff Zaremsky
Series Code: IAA
Program Code: IAA000291
00:30 Hello, I'm Shelley Quinn and welcome again to
00:33 Issues and Answers. We've got a very different
00:36 program today and I think you're really going to enjoy this.
00:39 We are going to be talking about Jewish outreach today.
00:42 Let me read something to you. One of these scriptures is going
00:46 to be very familiar, but to begin with may not be. It's
00:49 chapter 31 of Jeremiah and I'm going to begin with verse 1:
00:53 The Lord says, At that time, says the Lord, will I be the God
00:59 of all the families of Israel and they will be my people. Then
01:04 I'm going to skip to verse 3. The Lord appeared from of old to
01:07 me, saying, yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love,
01:11 therefore, with loving-kindness have I drawn you.
01:14 You know, this is a promise I often claim myself, but it's
01:19 also a promise for God's people of today, Gentile and Jew.
01:24 We are going to be talking with a very special guest,
01:28 Jeff Zaremsky. Jeff thank you so much for joining us today.
01:32 Thank you, Shelley, for having me.
01:33 You are the president of Jewish Heritage and before we go any
01:38 further, I'm going to talk about your head dressing,
01:41 which is a yarmulke.
01:43 Right, that's what it's called, it's in Yiddish.
01:45 And what is the purpose of that?
01:48 Well, there are a number of different variations of where
01:51 the wearing of the, in Hebrew, it's called the kippa, and kippa
01:56 is the same word in the word Yom Kippur, I mean Yom Kippur,
02:02 Day of Atonement. Literally Yom Kippur means day of covering.
02:06 So we think of God's covering over us, God's grace over us on
02:10 that day of judgment, that we passed the judgment because he's
02:14 covering us. So it has that spiritual sign that we're
02:18 covered with him. The prayer shawl kind of elaborates on that
02:23 even more. But you might go back that the Levitical priests all
02:28 wore a head covering. In the Bible, God commanded Aaron and
02:31 all his descendants to wear a miter on their head, and so it
02:35 may just come from that continuing of having the head
02:38 covered. Praise to the Lord. I don't wear it all the time. I'm
02:42 wearing it for the show to accent.
02:45 Now you were saying that you we're taking about the priests
02:50 You are, in addition to being the president of the Jewish
02:55 Heritage, you are also, I don't know what to call you, a Rabbi
02:58 or a pastor, but you have a church, Beth El Shalom, which
03:03 means house of peace. You have two congregations, actually. So
03:07 what do we call you? Are you called pastor or rabbi?
03:11 Some people call me rabbi, some people call me pastor. My
03:14 grandmother calls me Jeffrey Allan, some people don't call
03:17 me at all. But I don't get into the terms, I don't worry really
03:21 about terms. A lot of people just call me Jeff. Rabbi means
03:25 teacher and so in that sense, I'm fulfilling the teacher roll.
03:28 I didn't go to a traditional rabbinical schooling. The terms:
03:33 Like we don't use the word church for our building either.
03:40 We'll call it a synagogue or a temple, again, because it
03:43 connotes more of that flavor of the Jewishness
03:48 of the worship service that we have.
03:52 All right. I want to spend most of our time talking about the
03:55 topic today. But just give me a really thumbnail version of how
04:02 you became a Seventh-day Adventist.
04:05 Okay. Well, I was born at a very young age, but that won't
04:09 be a short version. The short version is that my mother came
04:13 in contact with some Seventh- day Adventists. They ministered
04:15 to her needs she had at the time whether just an open Bible study
04:18 she had needs. They ministered to her. She told us about them.
04:21 She started quoting the Bible to me. I got a Bible to prove her
04:25 wrong and over six months, seven months' time, reading the Bible
04:29 to prove her wrong, I couldn't do it and so thus in the short,
04:33 she proved the Bible right.
04:37 Glory to God! Now you have been and Adventist for 20 years;
04:40 How long have you been in the pastor or rabbinical role?
04:44 Ah, seven years now.
04:46 Seven years now. Let's just get right to this. When we want to
04:52 share God's love with the Jewish people, it's much like, you've
04:58 heard of our World of Praise Network that we're getting ready
05:01 to launch here. The World of Praise network is for the inner
05:05 city, people of the inner cities, urban, thank you, that's
05:10 the word I was looking for. The reason we are launching World of
05:14 Praise Network is because the traditional methods of outreach
05:18 will not reach the urban people.
05:20 Even though they both speak English. It's going to be an
05:23 English station, this is an English station, it's all
05:24 English, but your focus group...
05:26 So using that as an illustration the same thing with our Jewish
05:33 friends. In the United States they speak English, but the
05:37 traditional church setting and inviting them just to come into
05:41 your church is not, I mean, I'm not saying that God can't do it,
05:44 but it's not the most likely way to reach them. So tell us what
05:48 you're doing to share God's love.
05:50 Okay. For one think, like I said, we've changed the names
05:52 and the declarations of the building. The buildings don't
05:54 look like a typical North American Church.
05:57 They look more like a synagogue. Instead of crosses, it'll have
06:03 menorahs and Jewish stars. On the bema, we call it a bema
06:07 instead of a platform, there's the iron Kadesh, a Torah ark
06:12 with the Torah in it. So just the visual coming is just
06:17 totally different. Then the worship service is different.
06:23 Then the liturgy is different. We'll be singing the prayers,
06:28 but we sing them. For song service, we don't call it a song
06:32 service, but to make that analogy, a lot of them are right
06:36 out of the Psalms and they are the ones that are sung all in
06:40 synagogues all over the world and are also the ones, many of
06:44 them, that Jesus sang. When Jesus went to synagogue, this is
06:48 what he saw, this is what he heard, and Paul and Peter.
06:51 and it's actually making inroads into our church because we call
06:55 it scripture songs. I mean, I go to women's retreats, I speak at
06:58 women's retreats all the time and they'll have scripture songs
07:00 or at camp meeting we'll hear scripture songs, so it is a
07:04 beautiful way of singing the scriptures back to the Lord.
07:08 Yes, and remember the scriptures that was too. A lot of them are
07:11 in Hebrew, but everything that is in Hebrew, we also do in
07:13 English. So we'll have a verse in Hebrew and a verse in English
07:16 matching it up or we'll read it in English and then we sing it
07:19 in Hebrew. So there is that whole flavor to it that is
07:23 totally different than a typical Methodist/Baptist church-type
07:29 of a setting or liturgy.
07:31 Why is it necessary, I mean, I made that as an assumption, that
07:35 it's necessary to take a different route. Why is it
07:39 necessary to take a different route to reach Jewish people?
07:43 Well because as humans, we listen more with our culture
07:47 than we do with our ears.
07:49 Repeat that; I like that.
07:51 Okay, we listen more with our culture than with our ears.
07:54 Body language and what we're used to and what we read from
07:57 our background and our upbringing, we read into what
08:00 people say. Maybe you've said things and people have said,
08:04 you said. I didn't say that, but they heard you say that in their
08:08 mind because they were filtering it through their culture or
08:11 through their background or whatever ideas they had.
08:14 Happens all the time when you're on television that people will
08:17 call and say, you said this, and you have to review the tapes,
08:20 and say, Never said it! Absolutely.
08:22 So to break down that barrier, that visual barrier... and
08:27 there's nothing wrong with churches, there's nothing wrong
08:31 with crosses, there's nothing wrong with a church service,
08:35 a typical American based out of the Puritan church service
08:39 type of a style with 11 o'clock morning service and the
08:43 children's story at the certain time and all that stuff. That's
08:46 fine for those who grew up with that; there's nothing wrong with
08:49 it at all and the hymns and everything. That's fine for that
08:51 culture, but those that are not used to that culture, including
08:54 Jews and Muslims and Buddhists and many other groups and a lot
08:58 of unchurched are not used to that. It's very foreign; it's
09:01 like basically speaking a foreign language and so they're
09:05 not hearing the message because they're looking at all this
09:08 other stuff and wondering what all that means and what it's all
09:12 about and it's just so unusual that it's hard to
09:16 get used to the taste bud, to get used to it. So instead of
09:20 having that as a barrier, we can get right into the Bible by
09:24 removing all the things that are foreign, that are not...
09:28 We don't have anything that would be against the Bible.
09:31 We are not continuing any traditions that would be against
09:34 the Bible. In Judaism, fortunately, there aren't very
09:38 many. I don't just like think of any just off the top of my head
09:41 that would be against the Bible. Now ministering to
09:44 another culture you might not be able to just take everything and
09:47 adapt it in but with Judaism it's very easy.
09:49 Praise the Lord. What kind of a success rate are you having?
09:54 Very good, I mean, especially if we compare with how
09:57 Christianity has done over the last 1900 years; a tremendous
10:02 amount of growth. A number of different reasons, but I think
10:06 that's one of the main reasons because, well like you mentioned
10:11 I've been a believer in Jesus Christ as the Messiah for 20
10:12 years now and have had a burden for reaching my people and have
10:15 tried different things. We've had different literature and all
10:18 these different types of things, but trying to bring them into
10:20 the church setting was always this barrier, always this break.
10:23 And some of the terms: You see in 1900 years Christianity
10:28 literally killed Jewish people. Now it wasn't maybe true
10:33 Christianity, but it was under the label of Christianity and
10:38 done in the name of Christ and done, you know, with crosses,
10:42 with a sword in one hand and a cross in another. You know, bow
10:46 down to this cross or we cut off your neck; kiss this statue or
10:51 we cut off your head. That was done continuously for 1900
10:57 years. So all of that is in our cultural memory. It's there and
11:03 we're told of this as a kid. So that makes a very big barrier.
11:07 So continuing with terms such as cross or even like crusade...
11:11 some Christians will use to term crusade. They're talking about
11:14 an evangelistic series of Bible teaching, but crusade to a
11:19 Jewish person or even a Muslim means massacres. So these terms
11:23 can be a stumbling block. Once you remove those terms and just
11:27 get into the word of God, well then it just
11:31 transitions over very easily.
11:34 So what I hear you saying, Jeff, is that if you want to reach out
11:38 to the Jewish people, if you've got Jewish neighbors, Jewish
11:42 friends or just people in your city, what you have to do is be
11:46 sensitive to their culture, sensitive to their traditions,
11:51 and just be thinking about what their experience or their
11:55 exposure to Christianity might be so that you don't use words
11:59 like crusade or something like this.
12:01 It should basically be loving, because even if you use the
12:04 wrong word but you are loving, it'll come across with the love
12:08 and that is what we need to be, not focused on, I'm going to
12:11 win this soul, you know, or something like that, but just
12:14 to love this person and to demonstrate God's love to them.
12:18 Over time, and asking like you say, if we're not familiar with
12:21 the culture, the best way to learn about the culture is to
12:24 ask the person about the culture and then you are showing an
12:27 interest in them and in their background and what they do
12:30 and then they may not. Most of the American Jews are not
12:35 practicing Judaism. Judaism for most Jewish Americans is a
12:39 culture, not a religion. And that is another thing that
12:42 Christians have a hard time getting around their head. It's
12:47 like telling an Italian that he's no longer Italian because
12:52 he now believes a certain way. It's a heritage, it's in some
12:57 ways a nationality but also, again, a cultural heritage more
13:01 that a religion for most. So it's not just teaching Bible
13:04 doctrines. I still consider myself Jewish, I'm still
13:08 Jewish, by heritage and by culture.
13:11 But I consider myself Jewish as well. We will get to that
13:14 in another program.
13:15 Right, right. So that helps, just loving the person, that's
13:19 a great way to start. You may not have a service or synagogue
13:24 like ours that you can bring them to. If they do that would
13:27 be great, but if they don't, then just loving them, getting
13:30 to know them, ministering to them, building up the friendship
13:33 and over time questions will come, needs will be there and
13:37 needs can be met. Then you can take it to the next step.
13:41 So when you have people come in to your church who are Jewish
13:44 and who have not yet accepted Jesus as the Messiah...
13:50 This month we've had 10, we've had 10 this month, just this
13:53 month. I could have said this week, but there were some
13:56 missing this week, so I'll stretch it out over the month
13:59 and then many of them are regulars and then of those that
14:02 are Jewish, background Jewish heritage, but have also accepted
14:06 Jesus as the Messiah, another 21. So within this month 31
14:09 people with Jewish backgrounds with 10 of them not yet
14:13 accepting the Messiah.
14:15 What is it like for them, I mean what is their number one
14:18 resistance when they do come in? Because you are showing visually
14:25 the things that they are accustomed to, does that break
14:28 down a lot of barriers?
14:29 It breaks down a lot of barriers. Like one man came in
14:31 about two months ago, came in for the first time,
14:35 Marty Lieberman, and after the service he said, If this is how
14:38 it was, services were like this when I was a kid, I never would
14:42 have left synagogue and so he just really enjoyed it, he was
14:46 blessed by it and so there were no barriers.
14:49 When you start ministering the gospel of Jesus Christ, what
14:55 is the most difficult thing for the average Jewish person to
15:01 accept? I think what I'm asking is, we see quite a number of
15:06 Jewish people are beginning to accept Christ as the Messiah;
15:11 Yahshua Hamashiach and they embrace him themselves now and
15:16 then they put themselves forth as messianic Jews, but why
15:21 haven't more Jews accepted Christ?
15:24 Well, I think one reason is we don't have more congregations.
15:27 We need more congregations I think and putting in more
15:30 places, we'll see the numbers go up. Those numbers that I gave
15:34 you were just for the congregations I work with.
15:35 There are about 10 other congregations in North America
15:39 that are associated, you know, with our denomination and then
15:42 there are others throughout the world, Argentina, Brazil, in
15:46 Israel and Russia and other places, too, so as we have more
15:50 of those that will be a big help. Becoming more culture
15:54 sensitive. We are producing literature so that people can
15:57 have things to share with their Jewish friends, training manuals
16:01 on how to share with your Jewish friends.
16:04 Now you've written a book even.
16:07 Yes. Well both those two books, the manual and a sharing book.
16:12 One is for the Christian to know how to minister to their Jewish
16:16 friends and the other is something to share with them.
16:20 These materials are available at Jewish Heritage?
16:23 The sharing book is available at jewishheritage. net
16:28 and the other is available through adventsource. org.
16:32 adventsource. org
16:35 So what is it when you first start talking to a Jewish person
16:42 about Jesus, what's the most difficult thing to overcome?
16:47 We are not finding much difficulty at all. Again, it's
16:53 not the first thing. We'll start off with starting on common
16:59 ground and common topics and then step by step on topics such
17:04 as faith and forgiveness and love, basically the gifts of the
17:08 spirit, just biblical things that they can relate to, stories
17:13 out of the Bible, Abraham, Moses, David, Bible stories and
17:19 then pointing each one to the Messiah over time and
17:22 developing-like in the Jewish Heritage scripture studies, it's
17:26 the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters. So it's a gradual
17:30 process. Then by using his Hebrew name there's not that
17:35 stigma of Christ. Because when a Jewish person hears the word
17:39 Christ, many think a curse because that's how they've
17:43 heard it. They've heard Christ not used as a loving term to
17:46 describe the Savior of the world; they've heard used in a
17:50 curse, you know, in the streets or wherever, or they have been
17:54 called-my grandfather was called Christ killer or with
17:59 other negative connotations to it that Christ was against us.
18:04 Their picture of Jesus Christ is based on if Christians have
18:10 been doing all these things, these persecutions, these
18:13 killings and, I mean, just millions over the years. The
18:16 holocaust was just a culmination but it was continual for 1900
18:19 years. If Christians are doing this, Christ must taught that.
18:23 Christ must have taught them to do that and so Christ must have
18:27 taught them to not follow the Bible, to not follow the Torah;
18:31 that it's okay to eat pork, that the Sabbath day doesn't matter
18:35 and, you know, everything else and that it's okay to kill
18:38 people who don't believe like you do. So, if that's what
18:40 Christ taught we don't want to have anything to do with him.
18:42 So we have to repaint the picture.
18:44 So what you're saying then is to use the terminology as a Jewish
18:49 term for Jesus the Messiah is Yahshua Hamashiach, so if you're
18:54 referring to him in that way there's not that resistance to
18:59 the name Christ. So then if I'm trying to, let's say, my sister
19:05 has, I mean, she's just got such a heart for Jewish people and
19:10 she's got a special burden on her heart. How would you tell
19:15 her is the best way to minister to a Jewish person?
19:19 Okay. Again it's already a friendship, if it's a
19:24 sister-in-law or son-in-law or some close family relation, then
19:29 you time it out; you let the relationship grow over time.
19:33 Actually at prayer meeting, we've been going through the
19:36 reaching and winning book on how to share with your Jewish
19:39 friends and one of the ladies was there and she said well she
19:43 well she doesn't know any Jewish people yet. But she said she'll
19:46 pray for someone, pray that God will lead. So she came back the
19:49 next week and said, I was at the store, and I was at this isle
19:52 and this guy asked me this question about something that
19:55 was on the shelf and we got to talking and somehow he said he
19:58 Jewish and so she got his phone number and his e-mail, his card.
20:02 She gave it to me. I contacted him; we've been in contact.
20:05 You pray for a Divine appointment, God's
20:07 going to give you one.
20:08 That's right. That's right. And if you don't know all the terms
20:10 again, just say Messiah. Messiah is easy enough for most
20:13 Christians to remember. Just say Messiah. You know, that's an
20:16 easy enough term to use in substitute. Don't pressure
20:21 anybody but just let them grow in their walk with the Lord,
20:25 guiding and directing in the scriptures.
20:28 Guide them into the scriptures.
20:30 You know, I heard a testimony of someone who shared the book
20:36 Patriarchs and Prophets with a Jewish rabbi and he read the
20:41 the book and came back and was convinced that E. G. White was a
20:46 rabbi. That's right. Rabbi Kagen. Yes. so you know
20:49 the story the. Tell us the story.
20:51 The story's in the book. Tell the whole thing.
20:55 This rabbi, actually he worked for Ronald Reagan when he was
20:59 governor. He was his research man for Governor Reagan in
21:04 California. But growing up his aunt was raped by a parishioner
21:10 of a church and the priest stood over her with a cross and said
21:16 this is what you get for crucifying the Lord. Yeah.
21:19 Oh no. Oh that's horrible
21:22 So this is the kind of stuff that he grew up with. Many, many
21:25 of us, again, have that cultural memory in our minds. So he
21:28 wouldn't read the New Testament, he refused to read the New
21:31 Testament, but he read that book because, again, it was coming
21:34 out of the first part of the Bible, coming out of the Torah,
21:37 coming out the stories of Genesis and Abraham and Isaac
21:42 and Jacob and then leading to the Messiah from that
21:47 standpoint and it melted his heart.
21:49 Is it not true that, if it's the same story that I'm thinking of,
21:54 he actually that it had to have been written by a Rabbi.
21:57 That's right, because of the meter, the flow of the writing
22:01 was, as he termed it, Mishnaic which is a form of Jewish
22:06 writing, there's groupings of the Jewish writings,
22:09 the poetic form of it.
22:11 So this is something that kind of shows that he realized it
22:14 had to be divinely inspired when he realized who she was.
22:17 Because at that time when that book Patriarchs and Prophets
22:20 was written the Mishnah was not translated into English yet.
22:24 So how did she know all this, how did she have this insight?
22:27 Now he was able to read the Mishnah and those other
22:30 writings. What are some other resources that are good to show.
22:33 Well, there is a magazine, Shabbat Shalom, is a good
22:37 sharing magazine. It give the same principles, it works along
22:40 the same principles of sharing God's love out of the word of
22:44 God, and it's culturally sensitive and meshing it all
22:48 together. And don't we have, I know I've seen them, I just
22:51 don't know where, but we've got some kind of a series of Bible
22:54 studies that are done particularly as the Seventh-day
22:57 Adventist Church has done for the Jewish people.
22:59 Right, right. It was originally in the Bible studies form and
23:02 now it's together as a book called Jewish Heritage.
23:05 So it's all together and in addition to being 22 Bible
23:09 studies, like a series of studies, in addition to that
23:13 there are 29 stories including Rabbi Kagen's, Doug Bachelor's
23:18 and many others. So there's that emotional appeal, too, from real
23:22 life stories of people that have taken that step. There
23:25 are also 25 traditions covering things like the yarmulke, the
23:29 the kippa and other traditions. So they're reading it, they are
23:33 familiar with these things and it's giving a deeper
23:34 understanding of each one and then linking each one to the
23:37 Bible and to the Messiah and to salvation.
23:40 Glory to God! You know, what I'd like you to do Jeff is say a
23:45 special prayer for our viewers that God will enable them and
23:50 empower them to reach their Jewish friends.
23:52 One of the things we do at the end of the service is we say
23:56 what's called the Aaronic benediction and it is the
24:00 blessing that is written in the Torah, written in the Bible, for
24:04 Aaron to bless the people with. And it goes: The Lord bless you,
24:08 and the Lord keep you. the Lord make his face to shine upon you,
24:13 and be gracious unto you, the Lord lift up his countenance
24:17 upon you and give you his peace.
24:21 And this is something that if we will take it to heart and
24:27 understand that God still loves the Jewish people. You are
24:32 going to come back and we are going to be talking about who is
24:37 Israel today and we'll find that it's gentiles and Jews who are
24:44 Israel today. But those people of the physical nation of Israel
24:50 by physical birth, God still loves them, and he has a plan
24:55 for their future and his plan is to incorporate them into the
25:00 body of the Messiah.
25:01 One of the fears for Jewish people accepting the Messiah
25:05 is, What does this mean to me now? What does it mean about
25:08 my future? What does it mean about my grandparents. They
25:11 didn't believe in him so what's going to happen to them?
25:15 If I take this step, does this mean that they're going to be
25:19 lost? Am I denying them, am I denying my heritage, am I
25:22 denying my family, am I denying my roots and am I going to have
25:26 to change? What type of changes? Am I no longer going to be
25:30 Jewish? Am I no long going to be allowed to eat bagels and
25:33 knishes? What's going to happen? That's kind of like
25:37 subconscious, not on the conscious level. But change is
25:40 is difficult for anybody. But a dramatic change like that is
25:43 something that is scary to many of them.
25:46 You know, and particularly since you said that being Jewish is
25:50 more of a cultural thing than a religion. I never had stopped to
25:53 think, because I wouldn't think that an Italian accepting Jesus
25:58 as the Messiah would have those kind of thoughts, but from some
26:04 cultures I guess they would.
26:05 These are things we haven't considered before.
26:07 Especially if that means becoming a Christian
26:11 and the Christians have been the enemy
26:13 am I now becoming the enemy
26:15 of my grandparents?
26:17 How do you answer that? In less that a minute tell me
26:20 how do you answer that?
26:21 Well no he's still Jewish, Jewish believers in the Messiah.
26:24 They're Jews who have found their Jewish Messiah.
26:28 I'll bet you've got some great stories to tell.
26:31 Oh yeah. I'd like to share about Sidney. Sidney was an older man.
26:34 He came to our services. He was attending with us for quite some
26:36 time. We started studying the Bible together and as we were
26:40 going through he was accepting the Bible principles and really
26:43 enjoying it but he just wouldn't come to accepting Yahshua as his
26:46 own personal Messiah until I prayed about it and God
26:50 impressed me to ask him about his parents. I knew that he
26:54 really respected them. They were now deceased but very religious.
26:57 So I asked him, If they were here with us all this time and
27:00 attending services like you've been, knowing what you now know,
27:03 and reading what you've been reading in the Bible, do you
27:07 think that they would accept Yahshua as their Messiah?
27:10 And he said, Yeah, I think they would. When he could mentally
27:14 see his parents doing that, it basically gave him the approval
27:17 to then do the same. So I asked him, Then would you like to do
27:20 the same, would you like to accept him as your Messiah?
27:23 He said yes, he did. Later on we immersed him and it was
27:27 just wonderful.
27:28 He's now deceased but that's an example.
27:31 Jeff, thank you so much for being here today.
27:33 It's been a joy. Thank you.
27:36 I want to leave you with this from Numbers 6:24, it says:
27:41 The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face to shine
27:46 upon you, the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give
27:51 you peace. I pray that for you entire family. Shalom