Isaac Lichtenstein was a respected rabbi in Hungary. The anti-Semitism in his country stimulated him to search the New Testament. He was captured by what he read and found the true Judaism. He decided to remain amongst his own people and to preach to them that Jesus is the Messiah.
How dare you?
Isaac Lichtenstein was not quite twenty years old when he became a rabbi. After officiating for several years in different communities in northern Hungary, he finally settled in Tápiószele. There he served the local Jewish community for nearly forty years.
Early in his career, a Jewish teacher in the communal school of his district casually showed him a German Bible. Turning the leaves, his eye fell on the name ‘Jesu Christi’. He became furiously angry and sharply reproved the teacher for having such a thing in his possession. Taking the book, he flung it across the room in a rage; it fell behind others on a shelf where, dusty and forgotten, it lay some thirty-odd years.
C.W.H. Wedekind tells about his friendship with the Jewish Meijer Korper in the time just before the Second World War.
We lived in the centre of Amsterdam close to the harbour. At that time many houses were empty and for rent, including in our street, the Lijndenstraat. I was eleven years old when opposite of us the Jewish family Korper moved in: father Wolf, mother Rebecca and the two sons Meijer and Loekie. Meijer Korper was one year older than I. Although the Korpers were not the only Jewish people in the neighbourhood, it was not an explicit Jewish area.
One day Meijer spoke to me and told me that he was a Jewish boy. I told him that I had seen and heard that already a long time ago. Did I hate him for that? “Of course not,” I told him, “after all I play soccer with the Jewish boys.” The fact is, I played at the club “The Centre”, that was set up by Jewish boys. They even had shirts and shorts in the colours of the Israeli flag.
I was born in a traditional Jewish family. Although my parents were atheists, we celebrated in our family the Jewish feasts as Rosh Hashanah, Purim, Chanukah and Pesach; all accompanied by the corresponding traditional dishes. I looked forward the most to Chanukah, because then I would get Chanukah-money. The spiritual meaning of the feasts passed me completely. I remember my grandfather with his tallit (prayer shawl) and his siddur (prayer book) in his hand. He prayed regularly and also from time to time a minyan, a group of ten Jewish men, came together in the house of my uncle. This all happened secretly, because such a meeting was forbidden in that time. In spite of all this religious diligence, little real knowledge of God could be found.
Does God exist?
Only in military service I started to think about the existence of God. A Jewish man from Krasnodar in Russia was my buddy. Often we would speak about subjects as creation or evolution, but to the most important question, if God exists or not, we could not find a satisfying answer. When I left the army, I took a subscription to the magazine “Science and religion”. I hoped to find here the answer to my questions. In that time it was impossible to purchase a Bible. For my desire to get to know God I had to use other sources.