Joel of Jerusalem Aug/Oct 1981
A few weeks ago I was thinking that I would like to go to the religious school, which is not far from my home, and give a witness about the Lord. Of course, I realized that this was impossible; nevertheless, each time I passed the school I was sorry that the door was closed to the Word of God and that the truth could not be spoken there. Unfortunately, the people in the school don’t know that they are living in darkness. They are happy because they have never heard the truth about the Lord. As believers, it is our duty to go to them and say, “You are living on this earth without any hope for the future!” But how? It is impossible to get in there, almost as impossible as getting over the Iron Curtain. I thought, if I go in there with my head, they will send me out without it. But, we always say where there is a will, there is a way – and nothing can stop the will of God.
Here in Israel it is a law that the schools must be “watched” each day by at least one parent of one of the students in that school. This is obligatory, and many times I myself have had to “watch” in the schools which my children attend.
As you know, I have had to change my place of employment many times. This is not because I want to do it, but because of my testimony for the Lord. I recently came to a new job, and I was sure that no one there knew me or knew that I believe on the Lord. However, on the first day at this job the foreman said, “We have a ‘goy’ [Gentile] among us.” Of course, I was not sorry that he knew about me. I know in whom I have believed, and I am sure that there is no power in the world that can take me from Him. I was very surprised by what the foreman said next. He came to me and asked if I would do him a big favor, I replied, “If it is possible for me, I would do it with pleasure.” “Good,” he said, “I’ll tell you what I want. Tomorrow is my day to ‘watch’ in the school, so I want you to take my place. I have a boy studying there, and it is a very religious school, not far from where you live. I have already spoken with the teacher and told him that you would be taking my place. And, what’s more, I told him who you are, so they will do everything within their power to bring you back to the traditions of our fathers!”
I was so happy that the Lord had answered my quiet prayers. For Him, all things are possible. And so, the following morning at seven o’clock sharp I came to the school as I had promised. I even signed my name and the time I arrived so that they would know that I was there on time. A half hour later the director arrived and quickly came over to me, asking if I was the one who was to “watch” that day. When I said that I was, he asked, “Have you passed a psychiatric test?” I was very surprised to hear such a question and responded, “Why have you asked me this?” He replied, “If you have not, then you will not make out too well here. I say this because a normal man would not do what you are doing.” “And what is it that I am doing?” I asked. He said, “You believe in a man and have made Him a God. How can you possibly say that you are normal?” I told him, “You are the director of this school, but I can tell you that you need a special psychiatrist.” “How can you say that?” he demanded. “I am the director here, but who are you? You are certainly not important or special.” “I am very proud of who I am in my Savior and I am happy in Him,” I replied. “And how did you come to have this happiness?” he asked. “Through His Spirit,” I answered, “and this I received when I read the Bible and Jesus came into my heart. Therefore, I can be glad and rejoice in His salvation.” “How do you know all of this?” the director asked, and I told him, “It is all written in the Bible.” “But you are a Christian, so you don’t believe in our Bible,” he said. I then told him, “Now I know that I was right about you. You do need a special psychiatrist, even though you are the director of such a fine school.”
After this he realized that I was not as he had originally thought I was, and he said, “Let us speak earnestly with each other. Tell me something about yourself.” I said. “Fine, but you will be unhappy if I tell you my story. You see, I was in the Warsaw Ghetto.” As soon as he heard that, he said, “You have come here at just the right time. God must have sent you to us today.” “Oh yes, am sure of that,” I replied. He then said, “Today we are going to have a discussion on the Holocaust, and you can give us a good picture of what happened there.” “Yes, I can,” I said, “but who will ‘watch’ while I am participating in the discussion?” “There are others who can do that,” he replied.
And so, even though I never dreamed it was possible, I found myself in a classroom of this very religious school. There were many children present from thirteen years of age and above, and also many teachers. They were so quiet that you could hear a small fly, and I began to speak about this subject in which they were all very interested. But soon came the time when I had to say the truth about how the Lord preserved me from all dangers throughout this experience. I told them, “You can see that even after I came to Israel and took part in the War of Independence and the other wars as well, the Lord has kept me safe.”
After this came many questions. The teachers asked how I could accept Jesus as my Savior when it was Gentiles who were responsible for the Holocaust. “You are right,” I told them, “but they were not true Christians. If they had been truly biblical Christians, not one hair from a Jewish head would have fallen. I believe in the Lord and not in man-made doctrines or idols or pictures, as many Gentiles believe.” “What?” he exclaimed. “You do not believe in idols and pictures?” “Oh no,” I replied, “I believe in the living God.” “If you believe in the living God, then how can you believe in Jesus whom you say died?” he asked. I then explained, “He is not dead, He lives. When a member of the family dies, even a father in the flesh, of course, we mourn, but for how long? After a year or so, the memory grows dim. You can read yourself that Jesus died, because it was written by the prophets that He should, but the prophets also wrote that He would rise from the grave, and this He also did. Therefore, He is not forgotten, even after these many years. And why is that? It is because He lives, and that is why we sing, ‘He lives, He lives, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.’ We especially like to sing this when we remember His resurrection, which you can read about in Psalm 22.” The director then asked, “Why is it that you speak from our Bible and not from the Gentile Bible?” I told him, “We do not have any special books. Our only book is the Holy Bible, the Old and New Testaments.”
I was able to give my testimony and witness to the class and teachers for about an hour, and then for another hour or more we had an open discussion and they asked many questions which I was pleased to answer. This was for me a most happy day – it was like an impossible dream – like going behind an Iron Curtain, there to proclaim the truth about the living, loving, soon-returning Savior. His Word is alive and powerful – even in a religious Jewish school in Israel.