I have been a Messianic Jewish believer since 1987 and it's been life-changing....literally.
My roots were Orthodox.....my grandfather, Frank, came from Kiev, Ukraine and, when he immigrated from his homeland to the United States, through Ellis Island, he started an Orthodox synagogue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He called it Beit Emmanuel. It was a thriving home for the many Orthodox jews who lived in that area.
When I was nine, Grampa Frank, died. he was 88. He was lonely for all of his friends who passed before him. He wanted to see them again.....I really believe he has.
He used to visit our house and stay for a few months before he went to stay with his other children. That was the way is was back then with close families. I remember how he would pray in front of the living room window every morning. The light was shining on him and made him look holy and supernatural. He opened his torn siddur (prayer book) and started to pray the morning (Mincha) service. He would turn the pages quickly but it didn't really matter.
He was totally blind. He used the book as he always did when he could see the hebrew but now he really didn't need it. He had memorized the entire siddur....as a matter of fact, he remembered all the prayers and chants from every jewish holiday that he held in his synagogue. Amazing...he could have memorized the entire Torah for all I know.
After Grampa Frank was buried and properly memorialized, my parents decided not to follow the Orthodox Kasruth laws. It was hard. We were in a basic one-bedroom apartment (with an alcove in the kitchen for my bed and study desk) and we had one dinky refrigerator. That's tough for an orthodox family. You couldn't mix meat and milk.
Enters the genius of the Jewish family....we took a piece of cardboard and sectioned the fridge in half...one side for meat and one side for milk products......we thought the Lord would be pleased.
When I was four, I was sent to live, temporarily, with my cousin Harriet and my Aunt Betty (pronounced Beaty). I thought it was a little vacation. My parents sent me there because, unbeknownced to me, my mom was pregnant. I never knew because she was quite chubby and it didn't seem that she was carrying a child.
She gave birth to a baby girl who only lived a short time. I have missed her for all but four years. The loss created a void that I could not explain. It shaped my personal life for decades without my conscious knowledge. I yearned for my sister in such a deep way that was incapacitating.
Through many years and many tears I finally realized my inner pain and I was able to finally name my dear sister. Her name is Hanna Faith Klein....may her soul be forever blessed.
I want to personally thank Gary and Paula and Anja for jumping on the bandwagon and posting some kind remarks on my webpage. It's nice to hear that you're "out there."
I appreciate what the Lord has done in connecting me with all of you and I want to encourage you to keep in touch, send prayers, make suggestions for the site.
You can even send me some lyrics to put a song together for you. I promise I will partner with you and do my best to create the best song that I can. There are some good lyricists out there without a sense of melody. I'm here to help. We will copyright it together.
Don't forget that you can also receive a free mp3 download version of one of my CDs. Check it out and God bless all of you.
Last night, as I was in bed, I watched a film.........it wasn't an ordinary film..........It was a film of my life.......shown on the ceiling........revealing every right and wrong move I made in the time I have spent on Planet Earth. There were many regrets but also many feelings of joy. Many tears but also spurts of laughter. I felt like I was reviewing what would happen in Heaven when my life would be reviewed before me. It was an eerie feeling...........almost like I was dying and my life flashed before me, but in real time. Safe to say, I didn't have much sleep last night.
Lying in bed, looking at that ceiling, I saw a narrow path with many off-shoots....many rabbit trails, distractions, I would call them. They pulled me here and there. You see, I didn't have an anchor. I was drifting in a sea of ambition but I didn't see any land in sight. I took some good turns....school. college. music lessons......but some wrongs turns also..........regretful affiliations, drugs, some bad marriages and on and on.
I remembered my childhood vividly. I had a dog named Lucky, a wire-haired terrier, who was very protective of me. I remembered my Bar Mitzvah at Congregation Pre Etz Chaim on Ocean Avenue in Brooklyn. I wished my grandfather Frank were there. I wished he never died,,,,,just lived on and on. I loved and respected him very much. He was a rock and when he died that rock dissolved. I knew some good people in my youth...........my high school (James Madison) released some fine talent to the world.
Carol Klein (now King) and some powerful movie makers came out of our graduating class.
I remember Coney Island and Brighton Beach, with Mrs. Stahl's Knishes on the corner under the elevated BMT subway tracks. I saw beach parties with my friends and the rides at Steeplechase Park. My cousin Miltie ran the Cyclone roller coaster and we all got free rides. We would have fun at Nathan's and scoff down watermelon slices and hot dogs until we couldn't eat anymore and then run into the ocean where we would ultimately get cramps because we didn't wait long enough to let our food settle.
We did stupid things on the BMT going home, like hanging from the straps and swinging and singing pop songs loudly to the complete annoyance of the crowds around us.. See, no one had cars like almost every kid has today. We took the subway everywhere. We were experiencing freedom and for a quarter you could go anywhere in any of the five boroughs of New York.
I was happy then, with my friends, both in high school and college.
I went to CCNY uptown and switched to the CCNY School of Business. I worked at Lerner Shops Main office on Park Avenue and 28th street after school. I was a store stock coordinator in the bra and girdle department and I shipped the necessary pieces to the various stores that Lerner Shops ran. It was a bit of an embarrassment to mention exactly what I did and I tried to change departments but my boss wouldn't let me go.
I joined the Army and wound up in a tank group in Leesville, LA.......................................hell. Tanks are great to race in an open field but are much too loud, especially on the firing range.I kept hearing ringing in the ears for quite a while after my stint in the Third Army. I also assisted a Warrant Officer in the Armory and learned how to strip and re-assemble everything from a colt 45 to a 50 Cal. machine gun (fun, but boring after a while).
After two years of protecting my country, I started working for Korvette's discount department stores as an assistant buyer (I knew the President.......my cousin Marshall). I graduated to Gimbel's on 34th street and got into merchandising home furnishings. Yes, my life was totally boring for about six years............(sorry, but it's part of my history).
I decided to break the boredom with the music training I received when I was young so I joined the Musician's Union Local #802 in New York City and played weddings, bar mitzvahs, wakes.........anything I could get my hands on..........and made some decent money while meeting alot of important music people. Eventually, I took a road job with a band and was bored no more! We toured every state, played every joint, did everything musicians did and I don't regret a thing............
I was playing in a bar on Second Avenue in New York (Johnny's) when some fellows came up to me and asked me to join them on a tour to the West Coast. Well, I had never been there so..............off I went (YAY).
We hit Las Vegas with a bang...........most of these hotels have been torn down.........the Stardust, Frontier, etc........and we had a ball..........
(to be continued)
He is my best friend, my Messiah, and my Savior. Without Him, I hesitate to think where I'd be today. He has watched over me in times of joy and times of darkness. He has pulled me out of "the pit" and given me a new song in my heart. I used to have nightmares about dying in various sordid ways when I was younger. Now, He has lifted me above my circumstances and blessed me abundantly. I can only repay Him with my complete adoration and heart-felt worship.
To me, He is the Alpha and the Omega of my days and the keeper of my heart. He is the Messiah and Son of the Living God. He died for me in that excruciating way that I may have eternal life.
Because of Him, I no longer fear death for I know it is not the end, but the beginning...
I hope you're enjoying the new website. There's plenty of sights and sounds available to you and I hope you take advantage of all of them. Please leave a comment about the site and go to the contact page and sign up for my newsletter and other notices.
I'm excited to present my new CD, "NewHeart," to you. It's taken almost one year to write and produce it. I spent so much time on the details of the CD that I forgot to make concert arrangements for 2011. So, if there are congregations out there that would like to have me share my music with them in person, please go to the Contact or Booking page and enter your congregation's information and contact phone numbers.
I am open for individual concert appearances as well as rallies, conventions and festivals. My presentation is self-contained and I travel light. The ministry requirements are minimal: Love offering, transportation, room and board and and an area to sell my CDs.