As a young boy of nine years’ old he faithfully said his daily prayers, which he always closed off with the words: ‘I wait for Thy salvation, O Lord!’
By the so-called ‘middle class equalization’ in 1796 the Jews in the Holland received equal rights.
The social status of many Jews improved considerably. Many assimilated now they had the same civil rights as any other. In such an emancipated family Abraham Capadose was born on August 22nd, 1795. Both parents belonged to prominent Portuguese-Jewish families. Father Isaac was a wine merchant in Amsterdam, for whom social status was more important than his religious duties.
The young Abraham was raised in a ‘worldly’ way. He studied the great writers of his time and had ‘Christian’-friends, for whom Christianity was a mere outward profession.
Eighteen years old, he knew that only Jesus Christ could justify him.
Strictly following the law
On May 25, 1870 Karl was born as the son of the Prussian furrier Kunert. In his birthplace Krotoszyn (in present Poland) he was raised in a thoroughly orthodox way. He strictly followed the Jewish laws and was found regularly in the synagogue from the age of four. Very early he was expected to follow his great grandfather, a well-known rabbi who lived in Breslau (Wroclaw). The small Kunert was quite intelligent. As a little boy of five he was able to read and write!
He was only nine years old when he went to college. He regularly attended not only the Catholic, but also the Jewish school. Unfortunately it was at this ‘Christian’ school that he got a strong antipathy towards Christ and his adherents. The thoughtless worship of Popish idols irritated him very much. His Catholic fellow-pupils took things lightly. They were more involved in worldly things than in God. This was unthinkable for the pious young Jew.
That Michael Alexander would be the first Protestant Bishop of Jerusalem was hardly to be expected at his birth. His parents raised him according to the strict principles of Orthodox Judaism. Michael was a quick pupil. Already at the age of sixteen he became a teacher of the Talmud and of the German language. In 1820, in his twenty-first year, he came to England to do the same, and also to perform the duties of a shochet (Jewish ritual slaughter).
Trained in Judaism
As from his youth in Prussia he had only studied Judaism. He had not the slightest acquaintance with Christianity, and did not even know of the existence of the New Testament. His knowledge of Christ was limited to some strong language. After some disappointments in London, he decided to move to Colchester. In one of the streets of Colchester a handbill aroused his curiosity. It was the announcement of the Annual Meeting of the London Jews’ Society, an organization that spread the New Testament among Jews. He wanted to know more about that. Michael obtained a New Testament and started reading it.