Summary: We need to be sure that we understand the gospel message..salvation is only by faith in Jesus Christ. And as we understand the gospel message we can appreciate the salvation God provided for us that cost us nothing, but cost the life of His Son
I first met Rabbi Klein in September 1973 when he officiated at the wedding of my father and stepmother. He performed the wedding in his study and it was a simple Jewish wedding with family present. My sisters and I had not wanted to go but my mother told us we should go.
I really did not have much contact with Rabbi Klein, and did not know him very well. In September 1976 one of my Christian friends at NTSU, who went to DBC and was praying for my salvation said she would like to go to a Jewish service. So I invited her along with my mother to Friday night Sabbath services at Temple Emanuel. We said hello to Rabbi Klein after the service. Usually following Friday night Sabbath services, there is an Oneg Shabbat, which is simply coffee and refreshments in the Temple social hall. Also, I noted at the service Rabbi Klein did not give the sermon, but the associate rabbi, Rabbi Bemporad did.
It was only a couple of weeks after attending that Sabbath service that I believed in Jesus.
My mother, being the typical Jewish mother asked me to talk to the Rabbi. Just so you know when a Jewish person comes to believe in Jesus, one of the first things the parents will do is ask him or her to see the Rabbi. Jews for Jesus has a primer for new Christians and their recommendation is that if your parents ask you to see the Rabbi, go and see him. The parents reasoning is that some fast talking Christian got hold of you and a Rabbi knows how to deal with the situation. So he will be able to show you you are wrong and talk you out of what you believe. JFJ also recommended that we go and see the Rabbi alone. It is very uncomfortable for both you and the Rabbi..for you because of you now believe the truth about Jesus, and for the Rabbi, because he does not believe in Jesus. As a matter of fact, JFJ said “remember, they wouldn’t let him keep being a rabbi if he believed what you believe. I read somewhere that there was a Rabbi who did come to believe in Jesus. But he didn’t say anything to anybody about it. He kept quiet because if he said anything he couldn’t be a Rabbi anymore. Then after he retired he told everyone. I’m not sure if that’s the best way to go about it.
JFJ also recommended that we do not get into an argument with the Rabbi over theology. We should tell him we are there because of the parents wishes, and it might also be a good time for us to share our testimony. But it should not be a debate over theology.
I also heard another Rabbi once speak to a gathering of Jews and Christians. He brought 17 NT”s with him. He said these were given to him by 17 people who tried to talk to him about Jesus being the Messiah. Rabbi Segal went on to say that he will give anyone 30 minutes of his time. Bill Ennis who directed the local chapter of Beth Sar Shalom, which is a Hebrew Christian organization, said “I praise God for the 17 people that cared enough about you to give you those NT’s and share the Messiah with you.”
This is beyond this message but I did have 2 very interesting meetings with Rabbi Bemporad. The meetings were 3 years apart. The first meeting didn’t really get anywhere, but the second one went very well with the Rabbi believing I have a good head on my shoulders, and to keep on believing what I believe. That is very unusual because most Rabbi’s won’t come to that conclusion. Just so you know, Rabbi Bemporad told me he no longer will try to talk someone out of their beliefs. He said they have to come to their own conclusions about what they did. He also told me Rabbi Klein still does try to talk someone out of believing in Jesus, and he will give them books to read.
I asked my mother if she had ever talked to Rabbi Klein before. She said she went to talk to him after her divorce, because people said he was very compassionate and a good person to talk to. An article in the Dallas Morning News quoted Rabbi Stern, senior Rabbi of Temple Emanuel as saying, “Rabbi Klein’s driving mission was to be present for people in compassion and humanity and humility at all the most important moments of their lives.” Rabbi’s are usually seen as respected in the Jewish community and one whom a Jew will turn to.
However Mom said, Rabbi Klein’s only remark was, “We all have to learn to live with these things.” Mom said he did not help her, and she left his study more depressed than when she came to him.