Zvi Nov/Dec 2007
In my lifetime I have had many surprises. But the greatest surprise came a few months ago. As most of you know, all of my family died during the Holocaust of World War II. I was 10 when the war came to Poland. But because I had blond hair and blue eyes and understood German, I survived by fleeing from place to place, telling no one I was Jewish, and finding odd jobs so I could eat and stay alive.
For six years I survived this way, not knowing what had become of my family but living with the hope that they were alive. When the war ended, I tried to find them but could not. They had all been murdered in the Warsaw Ghetto. I was completely alone. Wanting to begin a new life, I moved to Israel and have lived here ever since.
A few months ago, a man came to my door. “My name is Kalisher,” he said. After 60 years, I met the son of my father’s brother. I was so happy to know there is someone else who has the name Kalisher. He lives in America. My wife and I welcomed him warmly into our home. All four of my children received him in their homes, too, and he met all 15 of my grandchildren.
But he did not know that we believe in the Lord Jesus. So I began asking the Lord what to do. I wanted to invite him to worship with us at the Jerusalem Assembly. But I did not want to frighten him because we have more than 300 people attending. We all sing and pray together. And who is the pastor? Our son Meno! So I wondered, What do I do?
As it is written in Proverbs 19:21, “There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lᴏʀᴅ’s counsel—that will stand.” So I put it all in His hand. I was so sure that this cousin, the only one I have met after more than 60 years, would leave me because I believe in the Lord.
As I read the Bible, I came to a familiar verse. All those years during the war, when I had no one, the Lord was the One who took care of me. For the first time in my life, I saw something different in Psalm 27:10. There it is written, “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lᴏʀᴅ will take care of me.” So I said to myself, The Lord is much more important to me, even more important than family.
So when the time came, our children brought him to church. He was so surprised to see so many people. He could not believe his eyes. I was sure he would pack his bags, say shalom (goodbye), and leave us forever. So I prayed from the depths of my heart that this man, the only one left from my family, would come to know the Lord and rejoice in his salvation. I prayed through the entire service. And I said to myself, I lost all of my family in the Holocaust, but I found the best comfort in the Lord.
As it is written in Isaiah 40:1, “‘Comfort, yes, comfort My people!’ says your God.” So have I been comforted. By people? Certainly not! But by the Lord Himself.
After the meeting I was certain my cousin would leave. But he did not. God answered my prayers. I saw such great joy in my cousin’s eyes, and he was full of joy when he left. He wrote a beautiful letter, full of thanks, to my sons and told them he would never forget his wonderful visit to the assembly.
The Lord had told me not to be afraid. With all the terrible things I have seen in my lifetime, what a joy it is to see that we are still here and able to bring God’s truth and His salvation to the world. I often read Psalm 126:5: “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.” I have sown many tears in my life, but I reaped such great joy in meeting my cousin and seeing him learn the Word.
He asked me, “Are you afraid of people who know that you believe in Christ?”
I told him, “I have believed in the Lord according to the Bible. And because I believe in the Bible, I know the Lord personally.” So he began asking me many questions, and I opened the Bible and showed him what is written.
I gave him two things to take back to America: a copy of the book Elwood McQuaid wrote about my life, Zvi: The Miraculous Story of Triumph Over the Holocaust, and the video Elwood did, Zvi: The Return.
When it was time for him to leave, he told me, “To meet you was one of the greatest joys in my life. Now we are more than cousins.” The Lord answered my prayer. I showed him that it is written, “For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lᴏʀᴅ from Jerusalem” (Isa. 2:3).
“As you are doing here in Jerusalem,” he said, “so will I do where I am living in the United States.”
So you see, I am no longer alone. There is another Kalisher, and he will be a good testimony for the Lord.