I was reading from Jeremiah 32 today and it brought back memories from my childhood – mainly my family’s rebellion against God. I thought it might be good to give you a picture of my life as a Jewish girl. Some of this might surprise and even shock you. Some will immediately understand.
The Red Buddha
From as far back as I can remember, we had a red Buddha which mom always placed in a conspicuous area of our home. When visitors would come to our home, the first thing they would see was red Buddha.
Mom even told us to rub his stomach for good luck. Even back then when I was just a child, I had an aversion to red Buddha. I didn’t like to even touch him. Mom was very proud of this grotesque statue. I never understood why.
Bacon and Pork Chops and Ham, Oh My!
My dad grew up in an orthodox Jewish home in Boston. Mom was completely secular. It wasn’t her fault though. Her parents didn’t even believe in God, even though they were both full blooded Jews. My grandparents were obsessive gamblers. The story I heard from my mother for years was that her parents would put her on a bus at 12 years old, with a list of people to whom they owed money. My mom would deliver their gambling debts.
When mom and dad met during WWII at the Jewish Community Center in Washington, D.C., they said it was love at first sight. My mother was a very glamorous woman. They married before my dad went to England as a medic in the army. Although my dad had never eaten any pork product, or shell fish – after he met my mom, she talked him into eating non kosher foods. Maybe this is a stretch, but since becoming a believer in 1983, I’ve often thought of Adam and Eve when I would think of my parents – mom offering dad the foods that were “off limits” and because of his love for her, he ate.
As a child, I remember eating bacon and ham on a regular basis. Being in Maryland, crabs were a big favorite in our home as well.
Synagogue – At least Twice a Year
Jewish people need to “join” a synagogue. That means that the rabbi charges a large amount of money up front to get you “into” the synagogue. On the High Holidays – Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, families had to buy tickets to attend services. I’m serious. I’m picturing some of my readers shaking their heads.
We never went to synagogue on Saturdays, except when my parents decided that they wanted me to have instruction in the synagogue. Then occasionally we would go. I was confirmed (not Bat Mitvah’d) in our synagogue. My parents did however send my brother for lessons for his Bar Mitzvah. I’m so happy to this day that they sent me for instruction. I believe that God’s hand was upon me even then.
But we always went to the high holiday services -especially Yom Kippur. We wouldn’t want to miss our day of atonement! I always wondered why God would forgive the many bad things I did on one day of the year. We did fast. I guess my father felt that the forgiveness would somehow be withheld if we ate during the day.
My “T’was the Night Before Christmas” Book
When I was about 8 years old, mom had bought me this classic Christmas book. It was so beautiful. I remember taking it on the school bus. Kids teased me and said that a Jew should not have such a book. I almost got in a fist fight on the bus, if it were not for the bus driver intervening. What was the big deal? It was about Santa Clause and what did he really have to do with Christmas anyway?
The Light Up Santa
Yes, believe it or not, mom would place a very tacky looking Santa on our door at Christmas! And get this – we would wait for Christmas to light our Chanukah menorah. Oy vey – confusion reigned in our home!
We had a lovely neighbor named Mrs. McDuffy, and every Christmas she would invite me over to help her decorate her tree. It was the highlight of my whole year. We’d have hot chocolate afterward and she would play Christmas carols on her record player.
Maybe God wanted me to be in the midst of confusion
I will tell you that from a very young age, I wanted to know who Jesus really was. I got in trouble in my class in our synagogue by asking my teacher about Jesus. She told me that we didn’t talk about Him. I pushed a bit more and asked why we shouldn’t talk about Him. She told me to stay after class. She was not nice and insisted that I never bring up His name again. She told me that He was a fake, and that His disciples stole His body out of his grave to make the world believe that He had come alive again. This intrigued me. Now I REALLY had to find out about this man who changed the whole world and even the the calendars!
The Lord’s Prayer
I was born in 1951, so during most of my elementary school years we all said the Lord’s Prayer. I loved saying that prayer. I cannot put into words the peace that came over me as I recited those beautiful words. Little did I know that Satan was hard at work to remove prayer from school. It happened in 1962.
1983 – the year of my Salvation
The Lord Jesus is so faithful. He knew that I had been searching for Him for such a long time. He saved me and opened my eyes to His truth. It was truly one of those 3 feet off the ground born again experiences. All the sin and guilt and confusion lifted off of me. This Jesus, who I had been searching for, loved me and forgave me and brought me into His family!
I witnessed the Lord Jesus Christ to my whole family. Most of them shunned me and said that I had lost my mind. Mom didn’t shun me, but she was very upset that I was teaching my children that you must be born again to go to heaven.
My dad began to watch Billy Graham Crusades. My mom was convinced that he had lost his mind. The Lord allowed me to lead my dad to Him on his death bed. I will see him in heaven.
If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior – it is not too late. But you must be sincere in wanting to be born again. God knows your heart.
How Can I Be Saved? < click here
If you have prayed that prayer of Salvation, you must find someone and tell them! This is not something to be kept secret. Also, you should find mature believers in Jesus. You need to be helped and discipled in your walk with Him. And read your Bible! Old and New Testaments.
But start in the New Testament in the Gospel of John.
The Bible is God’s Word to us. What a precious gift!
One thought on “The Red Buddha and Light Up Santa in My Jewish Home”
Indeed, I refer all new believers and seekers to start with John!
John 1:1-5 (NASB)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was in the beginning with God.
3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
Because it points us to the love of the Father which enables us to:
V’ahav’ta et Adonai Elohekha b’khol l’vav’kha uv’khol naf’sh’kha uv’khol m’odekha.
Deuteronomy 6:5 (KJV)
5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
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