Jews from Tikvat Yisrael, Northeast Ohio's lone Messianic synagogue, share experiences
News-Herald.com, Betsy Scott , Dec 22, 2018
“I think the hard thing is some people have been taught that now they’re a Christian and so it’s like they’ve converted to a different religion. No, you were born a Jew, you will die a Jew. I think a lot of Jewish Christians should think about that: Don’t hide your Jewishness, celebrate it.” Eric David Lakatos, rabbi of Tikvat Yisrael
They are Jews who have chosen to embrace Jesus as Messiah, despite the rejection and ridicule that often accompanies it.
Some members of Tikvat Yisrael, a Messianic Jewish temple that moved to Chester Township this month, shared their unlikely faith journeys with The News-Herald.
‘One new man’
Eric David Lakatos, rabbi of Tikvat Yisrael, grew up in a non-practicing Jewish home in Toledo.
At age 18, one of his best friends died in a car-train accident. He was supposed to be in the car that night.
“That kind of woke me up that there might be a God, because I felt like someone was looking out for me,” he said.
Shortly after that experience, he was invited to attend a Pentacostal church and introduced to the Bible. He heard the Gospel for the first time.
“I became a believer (in Jesus), but there was an issue: I was Jewish,” he said. “I said, ‘Wait a minute, if Jesus is Jewish and all the apostles are Jewish, why in the world would I not want to continue being Jewish?’ So I felt drawn to go deeper in my Jewish roots and learn Hebrew and go into seminary.”
He took the yeshiva via the International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues and also went to a Christian Bible college, at Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Texas.
“I was probably the only Jew on campus,” he said.
He became a rabbi at age 26.
His grandmother was not only concerned about his believing in Jesus, but also the fact that he had become a practicing Jew.