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A Jewish Navy Vet Encounters Yeshua
Episode 9 • 26th April 2021 • Our Hope Podcast • Chosen People Ministries
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You may have heard Israel Cohen's story before, but not like this! In this week's episode of Our Hope Podcast 🎙, we interviewed this Navy veteran who is also one of our longest-serving staff members! Listen to his touching and humorous story of faith now!

Transcripts

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Welcome to Our Hope

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or production of Chosen

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People Ministries.

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What did John the Baptist,

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Peter, and Paul have in common?

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Besides being

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historical figures

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in the New Testament,

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they were all Jewish

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followers of Jesus.

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Israel Cohen discovered

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these men are Jewish

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when he secretly read

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the New Testament—

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a book his Rabbi told him

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never to read. On

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today's episode,

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we're interviewing Israel,

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who is one of our longest

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serving staff members.

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He began his work with Chosen

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People Ministries in 1978,

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serving in New York, New

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Jersey and Florida,

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and he now serves in the

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Metropolitan Philadelphia area

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with his wife, Judy. Israel,

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also known as Uncle Izzy

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to us here at Chosen People,

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grew up

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aware of the distinction

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between Jews and Christians.

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Like most Jewish people,

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he felt that being a Jew meant

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that he couldn't

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believe in Jesus.

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It was only when

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he joined the Navy

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that he discovered

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the truth for himself.

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And now, I introduce the host

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of Our Hope Podcast,

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Abe Vazquez!

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Uncle Izzy, welcome to Our Hope!

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I'm glad to be here!

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It's a blessing.

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This is wonderful.

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Great, so glad you were

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able to join us.

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You know every time

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we have a new guest

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I love to ask this question.

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So since you travel

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a lot, I want to know

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what is your favorite food,

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but your favorite food

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from New York?

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In New York or in Philly,

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or in this area,

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a nice pastrami sandwich.

AbeOh yeah. Israel::

Oh

AbeOh yeah. Israel::

yeah, got to have it

AbeOh yeah. Israel::

on Rye with Gulden's

AbeOh yeah. Israel::

has to be Gulden's

AbeOh yeah. Israel::

mustard, you know, deli mustard

AbeOh yeah. Israel::

can't have none of that

AbeOh yeah. Israel::

French's, forget that.

AbeOh yeah. Israel::

And a nice piece of New York

AbeOh yeah. Israel::

Cheesecake, the best!

AbeOh yeah. Israel::

There you go, there you go.

AbeOh yeah. Israel::

It won't help my diet

AbeOh yeah. Israel::

but it'll be delicious

AbeOh yeah. Israel::

and nutritious.

Abe:

That is awesome.

Abe:

So tell me about

Abe:

you grew up in Philadelphia

Abe:

is that correct?

Abe:

I grew up in Philadelphia

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until high school age,

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but I went to synagogue

Abe:

in Philadelphia

Abe:

with my parents most- sometimes,

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but I had my Bar Mitzvah

Abe:

in Philadelphia.

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And we were,

Abe:

you know,

Abe:

not liberal liberal.

Abe:

We kept Kosher and all that.

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My grandmother was alive

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and she wanted us

Abe:

to go to synagogue.

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But I had my Bar Mitzvah

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in Philadelphia and

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at about the age of high school

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I went to elementary-

Abe:

I went to what we

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used to call Junior

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High School in Philadelphia.

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I went to what is now

Abe:

called Cherry Hill, NJ

Abe:

which is just across the river

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from

Abe:

Philadelphia, across

Abe:

the Delaware River

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and we were basically

Abe:

the first Jewish family

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in in the Cherry Hill area.

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It's now very Jewish,

Abe:

didn't even have

Abe:

a synagogue there,

Abe:

and they have a big synagogue.

Abe:

A lot of Philadelphia

Abe:

people moved over to Jersey.

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So I grew up,

Abe:

really, if you want to know

Abe:

the truth, lets face it

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I was in a dysfunctional

Abe:

Jewish family.

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It's amazing that that

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Jesus found me.

Abe:

It's absolutely amazing,

Abe:

but that was, you know, I did

Abe:

I didn't hang out

Abe:

with the Gentiles too much,

Abe:

you know.

Abe:

My father was

Abe:

concerned about that.

Abe:

So set the stage

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for me a little bit what

Abe:

what was growing up there

Abe:

like, what was your

Abe:

environment like?

Abe:

You know, what was it like

Abe:

being the only Jewish family

Abe:

in that area?

Abe:

In Cherry Hill, I hung out

Abe:

with a lot of Gentiles

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in school.

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Actually, as I lived there

Abe:

for a little while,

Abe:

some more Jewish

Abe:

people moved here, okay.

Abe:

And when I was in

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school, being Cohen,

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you know,

Abe:

they gravitated towards me.

Abe:

This was back

Abe:

we're talking about the '57

Abe:

couple years ago, you know,

Abe:

and they gravitated.

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We all went to,

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went to bandstand together,

Abe:

you know, with Dick Clark

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and and we did things together.

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We didn't hang out

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with the Gentile kids.

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There was a few more, but

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shortly after I joined,

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went to high school.

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I really got involved

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with ham radio with

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I had a school teacher,

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a shop teacher that

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was a ham radio guy

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and he was teaching

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a class in high school

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at lunchtime of morse code.

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So I wanted to

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join the morse code.

Abe:

So most of Jewish people kids

Abe:

didn't join the radio club.

Abe:

Maybe that's

Abe:

because it was the

Abe:

'ham' radio club.

Abe:

I don't know

Abe:

it wasn't kosher? I don't know.

Abe:

I thought it was good.

Abe:

But anyway, so I

Abe:

I was in that so

Abe:

I didn't hang out

Abe:

with a lot of Jewish kids,

Abe:

but my entire time

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I was in high school

Abe:

I was on the ham

Abe:

radio all the time.

Abe:

At least a short way,

Abe:

and doing this morse code.

Abe:

And so that was basically my

Abe:

my entire high school career,

Abe:

I didn't study too well,

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I just didn't-

Abe:

I thought I was going

Abe:

to be a ham radio

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guy, copying

Abe:

morse code the rest of my

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life. I was in for a surprise.

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So that radio, that

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that was like your

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your Instagram

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or your Tick Tock

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you were just

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kind of addicted to it.

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Israel:Exactly, we don't have it

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we didn't have

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any of this stuff

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like Instagram and Tick Tock

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and and Facebook

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and all, you know

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we had none of that stuff.

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I thought that the ham

Abe:

radio be able to talk to people

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all the way

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around the other side

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of the world, like Australia.

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Mostly during an English class

Abe:

and my teacher said,

Abe:

"What's the matter?"

Abe:

Well, I was up all night,

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I was I was talking

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to someone in Australia with

Abe:

my ham radio.

Abe:

That is awesome.

Abe:

That is so cool to hear.

Abe:

So tell me what happened

Abe:

after high school?

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At what point did you encounter

Abe:

possibly joining Navy?

Abe:

What led you there?

Israel:

That's good, good point.

Israel:

First of all,

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in high school,

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my father wanted me

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to make sure I took the

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the college prep courses and

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I didn't like it at all.

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I wasn't as a matter of fact

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I was in the marching band

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and I had to quit

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the marching band.

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Of course, the

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calculus classes

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were taught

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at the same time that the band

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would rehearse and I

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I was very disappointed

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about that. Very disappointed.

Abe:

What

Abe:

what did you play in band?

Israel:

I played the

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baritone horn.

Abe:

Hey!

Israel:

Oh, it was great.

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Boom boom boom boom

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boom boom anyway it was

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great, I loved it.

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And we played at these marches

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and stuff.

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But I had to quit.

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I was very disappointed.

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My father wanted me

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to go to college.

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So he made me take,

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he got to get some friends

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that had connections

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with the West Point.

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These- I forgot their-

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The Air Force Academy,

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I think it might have been.

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And then he made

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me take the test

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for entrance into the

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into the Air Force Academy.

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I felt like I was number number-

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lowest number

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you can get.

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I was the last one.

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So I never got into college.

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I didn't- Now, a nice

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Jewish boy like me

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didn't get into college

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that this is like

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as we say in Yiddish

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It's it's called a 'shanda'.

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It's a terrible thing,

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So yeah, so my father said,

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"So what are you going

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to do with your life?

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What are you going to do?"

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And I thought

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maybe I'd be a ham

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radio guy

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the rest of my life but

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I would have been drafted.

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In 1960 I graduated

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from high school

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in the lowest

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form of my class.

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But in 9th- when I graduated,

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if I didn't go to college,

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you're in the army.

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I I was nice and healthy

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and I was a good guy

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so I would have been right in.

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So in my senior year of

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high school I applied

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to join the Navy and

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I got accepted on a Friday

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in June of 1960.

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Friday

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I was in high school

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graduating, but on Monday

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I was flying to Great

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Lakes Illinois to boot camp

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for the United States

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Navy.

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And the marching and screaming,

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and I will never forget this.

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This was so- there were two thin

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that were incredible

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in the Navy. One,

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was

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I get off the bus

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at the Great Lakes Illinois

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and I'm walking along and he say

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"Run, run, run, Cohen!

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Run!" I said,

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"Sir, I don't run."

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"We don't teach the

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teach the Jewish boys

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any different

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than the Gentiles.

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We treat you the same! Get your-

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And he used some language

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that we might not want

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to have on a podcast, you know

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what I'm saying. And

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then the second

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thing that happened

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is lining up in boot camp.

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They were going to

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shave our heads

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and all that stuff.

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And lining up

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and he looks at me,

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and he says, "Cohen,

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you didn't shave." I said,

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"Oh, I didn't shave."

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"So get in here and shave!"

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And I

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I never really shaved

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up until that point

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I was a late bloomer.

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And I came out with blood

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all over my clothes and stuff.

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He said, "Cohen, I didn't ask yo

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to commit hari kari.

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Stop that!" The blood all, it wa

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terrible.

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So that was my experience

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in the Navy.

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Of course, I didn't

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know how to swim.

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I forgot, if you join the Navy

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you better know

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how to swim.

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And so they pushed

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me off in this big

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15 foot high tower into

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the pool and

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I learned how to swim,

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no doubt about that.

Abe:

And I know when you

Abe:

were in the Navy

Abe:

you had an experience

Abe:

where they they handed out

Abe:

different types of Bibles

Abe:

or things like that.

Abe:

What was that situation?

Israel:

That was incredible.

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When you come into

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come in there was this big hall

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400 people,

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they were all naked.

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You had your head shaved

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and now it's time

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to get your uniform,

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so they give you a sea bag

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and you walk down the line

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and as you walk down the line

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they give you

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your own uniforms.

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At the end of the line,

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back then, this was 1960 now,

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they said, "Catholic,

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Protestant, or Jewish?"

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I said, "Okay, I'm Jewish."

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And they

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put a Bible in your seabag.

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I don't know what you do

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with the Bible.

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You know,

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I thought it was

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a good luck charm.

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Or maybe

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it was a rabbit's foot,

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or be like my grandmother's

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chicken soup!

Israel:

Everytime I was sick, if I was t

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I was coughing and sneezing.

Israel:

My grandmother said, "Take some,

Israel:

have some chicken

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soup, it will help you."

Israel:

And so, well I have a Bible.

Israel:

I said, "Will it help me?"

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They said, "Couldn't hurt!"

Israel:

You know, it couldn't hurt!

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So I said, "Okay."

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And I put in my bag.

Israel:

I'll put it in my pocket

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and maybe the bullet

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will hit my Bible.

Israel:

So I had my Bible.

Israel:

But growing up Jewish,

Israel:

we never really read the Bible.

Israel:

I knew the stories.

Israel:

You know about

Israel:

Abraham and about the Purim,

Israel:

and then Mordecai and

Israel:

Esther,

Israel:

but I never read the Bible.

Abe:

Wow, so I mean you've

Abe:

never read the Bible

Abe:

so at this point in your life,

Abe:

what would you say

Abe:

your relationship with God

Abe:

was like?

Israel:

Oh, I didn't even

Israel:

know there was a God.

Israel:

I wasn't-

Israel:

I had no relationship

Israel:

with God. When I was,

Israel:

I was in synagogue until

Israel:

my Bar Mitzvah.

Israel:

When I had my Bar Mitzvah

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I thought maybe I'll be a

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Rabbi. I was up there

Israel:

on the beamer and I was

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I was saying the prayers,

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I memorized them

Israel:

of course.

Israel:

I was saying the

Israel:

prayer, the reading

Israel:

from the Torah and stuff.

Israel:

And my father said-

Israel:

I said, "Okay,

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I want to keep going

Israel:

to Hebrew school

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and become a rabbi."

Israel:

"Nah, you don't want to do that

Israel:

get a regular job."

Israel:

So he didn't want to pay

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for Hebrew school anymore.

Israel:

Basically,

Israel:

when it comes to

Israel:

religious background,

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when it comes to belief

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in God, I had nothing.

Israel:

I was, it was just

Israel:

I'm a nice guy. I'm a ham

Israel:

radio guy had all

Israel:

my ham radio buddies.

Israel:

I talked to people

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all over the world.

Israel:

You know it was a

Israel:

Listen now,

Israel:

I was listening to shortwave,

Israel:

I heard

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people talking about Jesus

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while I was growing up.

Israel:

I was always (thinking),

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oh these poor Gentiles.

Israel:

But I listened

Israel:

anyway, for a little while, you

Israel:

know, but it wasn't for me.

Israel:

You know, my Rabbi told me,

Israel:

"Never believe in Jesus."

Israel:

And that was when I was Bar Mitz

Israel:

after the Bar Mitzvah

Israel:

he said, "And never read

Israel:

the New Testament.

Israel:

Jesus is a Gentile God

Israel:

and the New

Israel:

Testament Gentile book."

Israel:

You can't read that stuff.

Abe:

So fast forward then,

Abe:

what is your next encounter

Abe:

hearing about Jesus that then

Abe:

led to the rest of your story?

Israel:

Yeah, that's the story.

Israel:

Well, what happened

Israel:

was after boot camp

Israel:

I wound up

Israel:

in Morocco,

Israel:

Morocco, North Africa.

Israel:

I was in North Africa

Israel:

in Morocco, in the Navy

Israel:

and little did I know

Israel:

that they had a Bible study

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group on the base.

Israel:

And these guys were praying

Israel:

for the salvation

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of the only Jewish guy

Israel:

that was on the base.

Israel:

They were claiming

Israel:

my salvation.

Israel:

Now I was getting drunk

Israel:

every night and I was

Israel:

smoking cigarettes.

Israel:

I figured, you know,

Israel:

I got to be a real

Israel:

sailor. Real sailors drink

Israel:

whiskey and beer,

Israel:

and they smoke cigarettes,

Israel:

and I'm coughing

Israel:

like crazy and getting-

Israel:

And then one night

Israel:

one of those fellows

Israel:

from that Bible

Israel:

study came to me

Israel:

when I was kind of

Israel:

sober on one night.

Israel:

He said, "You're Jewish, yes?"

Israel:

I said, "Oh yes, I'm Jewish."

Israel:

He says, "You have a Bible?"

Israel:

I said, "Yeah, they gave me a Bi

Israel:

when I joined the Navy."

Israel:

"Oh okay, can you get your Bible

Israel:

I got my Bible.

Israel:

I said, "Here it is."

Israel:

(He said) "Let me see your Bible

Israel:

Turns to the Bible,

Israel:

Isaiah, Chapter 53.

Israel:

I had no idea what

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that was. He said, read this.

Israel:

I read Isaiah 53.

Israel:

That is-

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I couldn't believe it

Israel:

bcause I was

Israel:

pre-evangelized

Israel:

with shortwave and

Israel:

the people across the street

Israel:

when I was living in

Israel:

Philadelphia were saying,

Israel:

Jesus died for your sins,

Israel:

I read this and said,

Israel:

"They made a mistake,

Israel:

they said Catholic,

Israel:

Protestant or Jewish.

Israel:

I think they gave me

Israel:

the New Testament

Israel:

and I'm not

Israel:

supposed to read the New Testame

Israel:

It sounds like Jesus."

Israel:

And says, "That it is true,

Israel:

that's your Messiah."

Israel:

Wait a minute.

Israel:

That's crazy, what's my Messiah

Israel:

doing in my Bible?

Israel:

I said, "It has got to be

Israel:

the New Testament."

Israel:

He looks over and says,

Israel:

"No look,

Israel:

Hebrew publishing company."

Israel:

Oh, Hebrew

Israel:

publishing company. Wait a minut

Israel:

what's Jesus doing in my Bible?

Israel:

And he said, "He's your Messiah.

Israel:

I said, "Oh really?" He said, "Y

Israel:

And he then shared with me

Israel:

about Jesus, but

Israel:

he wanted me to read

Israel:

the New Testament.

Israel:

I was really a little scared

Israel:

about that. He said,

Israel:

"Let's read something in the

Israel:

New Testament."

Israel:

And I said, "No,

Israel:

I can't my Rabbi told

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me never to read the

Israel:

New Testament."

Israel:

What he did was,

Israel:

he said, "Look."

Israel:

He looked over here

Israel:

and he looked around

Israel:

and he said, where's your Rabbi?

Israel:

At least 3000 miles

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away in Philadelphia.

Israel:

"I won't tell your Rabbi

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that you read

Israel:

the New Testament if

Israel:

you don't tell him."

Israel:

I was scared.

Israel:

I really was scared.

Israel:

I thought lightning

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was going to hit me.

Israel:

I thought for sure

Israel:

it was going to take place

Israel:

in Rome with a bunch of popes

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and be the most Gentile

Israel:

book I ever could read it

Israel:

And then I started reading

Israel:

(he said) "let's turn over here

Israel:

try this." And the first thing

Israel:

I read in the New Testament

Israel:

ever,

Israel:

May 16, 1961,

Israel:

I read, "There was a

Israel:

man of the Pharisees name

Israel:

Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews."

Israel:

I said, "What's the

Israel:

ruler of the Jews

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doing in the New Testament?"

Israel:

He said, "He's Jewish.

Israel:

It's a Jewish book!

Israel:

Read the rest of it."

Israel:

And I read the whole third

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chapter of John.

Israel:

I read, first time in my life,

Israel:

nice Jewish boy,

Israel:

never heard it before, John 3:16

Israel:

"For God so loved the world

Israel:

that He gave

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His only begotten Son,

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that whosoever believes in Him

Israel:

should not perish

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but have eternal life."

Israel:

That's your Messiah.

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We'll be right back.

Israel:

Shalom, my name is Nicole Vacca

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and I'm one of the co-producers

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of Our Hope podcast.

Israel:

We created Our Hope

Israel:

to be a window into

Israel:

the Messianic community,

Israel:

a place where we can discuss

Israel:

Israel and the Bible

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and a resource for people

Israel:

who want to share their faith

Israel:

more effectively

Israel:

and compassionately

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with the Jewish community.

Israel:

If you are interested

Israel:

in supporting what we do,

Israel:

you can donate to Chosen

Israel:

People Ministries

Israel:

at chosenpeople.com/donate.

Israel:

at chosenpeople.com/donate.

Israel:

You can also support us

Israel:

by sharing this podcast

Israel:

on social media with

Israel:

your friends and family

Israel:

or by writing a review

Israel:

on Apple Podcasts.

Israel:

We are so grateful

Israel:

for your support

Israel:

and we hope you enjoy

Israel:

the rest of this episode.

Israel:

Well, he shared with me,

Israel:

he did kind of the Romans road,

Israel:

you know

Israel:

he went through some verses

Israel:

from the book of Romans,

Israel:

but actually today

Israel:

we can do

Israel:

the Isaiah Trail entire gospel

Israel:

from the Jewish scriptures

Israel:

from the Old Testament.

Israel:

I don't like to call it

Israel:

the Old Testament

Israel:

I like to call it the

Israel:

former Covenant.

Israel:

We use the word Tanakh

Israel:

that's an acrostic

Israel:

for the Old Testament.

Israel:

So yeah,

Israel:

that was- and that night

Israel:

he did say this to me,

Israel:

he said, "Are you enjoying

Israel:

your life?"

Israel:

I said, "No,

Israel:

actually I'm making

Israel:

pretend."

Israel:

I thought

Israel:

this was a Gentle thing,

Israel:

getting drunk, going

Israel:

with the women and smoking,

Israel:

smoking cigarettes,

Israel:

getting drunk.

Israel:

I said it's a Gentile thing

Israel:

I'll just make pretend

Israel:

like I enjoy it.

Israel:

He said, "If you believe in

Israel:

Jeesus, you don't have to

Israel:

make pretend anymore

Israel:

and you have a relationship

Israel:

with God and He

Israel:

forgives all your sins."

Israel:

The relationship was right

Israel:

and it's through

Israel:

the finished work of Jesus.

Israel:

And I thought the cross was

Israel:

such a Gentile thing.

Israel:

It was really an execution,

Israel:

form of execution

Israel:

at the time,

Israel:

I found out.

Israel:

So he said would you like to

Israel:

pray and receive the Messiah,

Israel:

believe the Bible.

Israel:

He showed me

Israel:

a verse that said, "Believe

Israel:

in the Lord Jesus Christ."

Israel:

I thought Jesus Christ

Israel:

was a Gentile word,

Israel:

it's really Yeshua the Messiah,

Israel:

it's really Jewish.

Israel:

The most Jewish guy around,

Israel:

He's born of a Virgin, He's

Israel:

He's born Jewish,

Israel:

seed of David, etc.

Israel:

He said, "Why don't you pray

Israel:

with me and believe in Jesus?"

Israel:

And I said, "Well,

Israel:

let me think." He gave me

Israel:

his New Testament

Israel:

and he marked up some verses

Israel:

and put markers in there

Israel:

and he said, "Well

Israel:

you pray about it

Israel:

and read this."

Israel:

So I went to bed,

Israel:

well, I was in a drill

Israel:

hole in a barracks row

Israel:

and it was like three

Israel:

o'clock in the morning

Israel:

and you can't turn the lights

Israel:

on at three

Israel:

o'clock in the morning.

Israel:

I'd be in major trouble.

Israel:

So I took a blanket

Israel:

and I put it over my head

Israel:

and there was a light-

Israel:

I was on the top bunk

Israel:

and there was a light up there

Israel:

and I put the light on it

Israel:

under the covers.

Israel:

And I went,

Israel:

I'm supposed to believe in Jesus

Israel:

Let's see I was supposed to pray

Israel:

to Jesus, so I prayed.

Israel:

Baruch ata Adonai eloheinu

Israel:

melech ha'olam

Israel:

I mean I don't know

Israel:

if that's the right way.

Israel:

I was praying like

Israel:

in synagogue with

Israel:

the Hebrew.

Israel:

I said, "Listen, Jesus

Israel:

I want to believe in You

Israel:

I want to believe that

Israel:

You died for my sins."

Israel:

I went to bed.

Israel:

I woke up in the morning,

Israel:

I was a crazy man.

Israel:

I knew he told me one thing

Israel:

very important

Israel:

he said, "If you believe in

Israel:

Jesus will be saved."

Israel:

Not sure what that meant

Israel:

but I knew that

Israel:

I wouldn't have to live

Israel:

that way any longer

Israel:

and I don't have to make pretend

Israel:

any longer.

Israel:

And

Israel:

I ran from one end

Israel:

of the barracks to

Israel:

the other, "I'm saved,

Israel:

I'm saved! I'm saved!"

Israel:

And the guy came out-

Israel:

the guys that

Israel:

were doing the Bible study,

Israel:

they came out

Israel:

they pulled me in

Israel:

they said, "What did you say?" "

Israel:

I told Jesus I believe in Him."

Israel:

"Hey guys, come here

Israel:

Israel believes in

Israel:

Jesus! Come on

Israel:

put your hands

Israel:

let's pray with him!"

Israel:

And they put their hands on me

Israel:

they prayed for me

Israel:

that I would

Israel:

grow and I would

Israel:

learn more about the Lord.

Israel:

And and it was embarrassing,

Israel:

I said maybe I made a mistake

Israel:

these guys are really

Israel:

praying up a storm.

Israel:

So then they said, "We're going

Israel:

to go to Bible study."

Israel:

Bible study.

Israel:

What's that, what do you mean

Israel:

Bible study?

Israel:

"Oh no,

Israel:

"we got to read the word

Israel:

you got to grow."

Israel:

And I said,

Israel:

"Well, I'm going to a movie

Israel:

in the

Israel:

in the base they

Israel:

have a good

Israel:

a good movie at the theater.

Israel:

Look I don't need Bible study."

Israel:

And so the guy said, "Hey guys,

Israel:

let's go to the movie

Israel:

with Israel, and have

Israel:

Bible study afterwards."

Israel:

They did a good thing

Israel:

that was incredible!

Israel:

And we had Bible

Israel:

study afterwards.

Israel:

And let's face it,

Israel:

the rest is basically history.

Abe:

Yeah, yeah,

Abe:

so it's such a beautiful story

Abe:

because I would say that

Abe:

the moment that it all clicked

Abe:

for you, connected with

Abe:

you was underneath

Abe:

the covers by yourself.

Abe:

Having that moment of

Abe:

just kind of going to

Abe:

your traditional

Abe:

Jewish prayers,

Abe:

but then realizing

Abe:

you know what

Abe:

I can talk to this person.

Abe:

Let me just say

Abe:

this to this person, you know,

Abe:

and that I think it shows

Abe:

the change that happened

Abe:

almost instantly

Abe:

and that kind of

Abe:

just set the pace

Abe:

for the rest of that story.

Abe:

I mean, that's just so awesome.

Abe:

So, tell me really quick,

Abe:

I mean you read Isaiah 53,

Abe:

you were shocked

Abe:

because you thought

Abe:

you were already

Abe:

reading the New Testament

Abe:

and then eventually you get

Abe:

to the New Testament.

Abe:

So what was what surprised you

Abe:

the most when you started

Abe:

reading the New Testament?

Israel:

What surprised me

Israel:

the most was that

Israel:

all these-

Israel:

all these writers,

Israel:

and all these-

Israel:

was so Jewish, and they always

Israel:

refer back to the

Israel:

the Old Testament

Israel:

the Jewish scriptures.

Israel:

Everything about

Israel:

the New Testament

Israel:

was so Jewish.

Israel:

I realized at that point

Israel:

that many Gentiles

Israel:

didn't know what

Israel:

that didn't understand,

Israel:

that they

Israel:

they thought that the

Israel:

it's all not Jewish,

Israel:

but it's so the one thing

Israel:

that surprised me so much

Israel:

is that how Jewish it is.

Israel:

And then I read

Israel:

a very interesting book

Israel:

in the New Testament, Hebrews.

Israel:

Come on, give me a break.

Israel:

And you read that

Israel:

and it refers back

Israel:

everything that I

Israel:

I learned

Israel:

about in Hebrew school

Israel:

or growing up and that

Israel:

it was right there

Israel:

and it's all fulfilled

Israel:

in the Messiah in

Israel:

Jesus the Messiah.

Israel:

Yeshua the Messiah.

Israel:

I'm so excited about it

Israel:

and that was 60 years ago.

Abe:

Wow, 60 years. So

Abe:

tell me about those 60 years.

Abe:

How how did your life change

Abe:

in these 60 years?

Abe:

I'm sure you're as you know

Abe:

the young man that you are

Abe:

that you're still learning.

Israel:

I'm still growing still

Israel:

learning.

Israel:

Well, what happened was this.

Israel:

The truth of the matter is

Israel:

I was supposed to go

Israel:

to Bible College in '64,

Israel:

Moody Bible Institute.

Israel:

And while

Israel:

I was away from the Navy

Israel:

and I was at home

Israel:

with my parents in

Israel:

Cherry Hill, NJ,

Israel:

and I wasn't exactly

Israel:

walking with the Lord

Israel:

and God was chasing me.

Israel:

By the way, if you ever plan on

Israel:

walking away from the

Israel:

Lord or backsliding

Israel:

and and you memorize

Israel:

a lot of scripture in advance,

Israel:

don't do that because you

Israel:

memorize scripture

Israel:

the Lord's

Israel:

not going to let you

Israel:

He's not going to let go of you.

Israel:

I had all the scriptures

Israel:

memorized.

Israel:

I was under such conviction

Israel:

and I was having major trouble.

Israel:

My

Israel:

my father sent me

Israel:

to a Jewish doctor.

Israel:

He said we got to

Israel:

something's

Israel:

wrong with Israel

Israel:

he's got problems and the doctor

Israel:

wanted me to see psychiatrist.

Israel:

I told the Jewish

Israel:

doctor I believe

Israel:

Jesus. My boss,

Israel:

my father got me a job

Israel:

and with a friend of his

Israel:

and my boss said, "Look,

Israel:

you got to stop

Israel:

talking about

Israel:

Jesus in our office,

Israel:

we're Jewish."

Israel:

You know here I was back

Israel:

slidden down the drain

Israel:

and I'm talking about

Israel:

Jesus to everybody.

Israel:

You know, my father

Israel:

and my boss, both Jewish guys

Israel:

they figured out

Israel:

what my problem was.

Israel:

If I meet a nice Jewish girl

Israel:

I'll forget about Jesus.

Israel:

Well, he said to call up

Israel:

this blind date.

Israel:

This is girl.

Israel:

So I called her up.

Israel:

We went out once, twice.

Israel:

The third time

Israel:

I told her I believe in Jesus

Israel:

(She said) "Take me home.

Israel:

I don't want to talk

Israel:

to you anymore."

Israel:

But then she called me, "You're

Israel:

a nice guy,

Israel:

but can you forget about Jesus?

Israel:

Well, I told her

Israel:

I would forget about Him-

Israel:

I couldn't do it.

Israel:

I couldn't forget about Jesus.

Israel:

Yeah and we got married in '64.

Israel:

And I wasn't walking

Israel:

with the Lord, but in 1972

Israel:

I was driving down the road,

Israel:

I was a salesman, outside

Israel:

salesman for electronics.

Israel:

I was under such conviction.

Israel:

I just knew I had to get it

Israel:

back together with Jesus.

Israel:

I had to walk with the Lord.

Israel:

So I pulled the car over to

Israel:

the side of the road

Israel:

and and

Israel:

I wiped the tears off my eyes.

Israel:

I was crying.

Israel:

And I said, "Jesus,

Israel:

if you're really the Messiah,

Israel:

and I'm really saved,

Israel:

I want to Bible right now."

Israel:

I had thrown all

Israel:

my Bibles in the garbage

Israel:

'cause my wife wouldn't,

Israel:

my my fiance

Israel:

at that time I wouldn't marry me

Israel:

unless I threw my

Israel:

Bibles in the garbage.

Israel:

So I did it.

Israel:

That was terrible.

Israel:

I was parked in front

Israel:

of Christian bookstore.

Israel:

I said wait a minute.

Israel:

Oh, you want me to buy a Bible?

Israel:

OK, that was good.

Israel:

I didn't know I was there!

Israel:

So I walked in

Israel:

and I told the woman

Israel:

back at the counter.

Israel:

I need a Bible.

Israel:

I haven't read the Bible

Israel:

for a few years and she said oka

Israel:

and she wanted to give me

Israel:

one of these big Bibles. I said,

Israel:

"No, no, you don't understand

Israel:

my wife

Israel:

doesn't know I'm

Israel:

reading the Bible.

Israel:

And so she gave me

Israel:

this little Bible.

Israel:

This is the Bible.

Israel:

She comes out from

Israel:

the back of the counter

Israel:

when she heard my story.

Israel:

She puts her hands

Israel:

on my shoulder

Israel:

and she prayed for me.

Israel:

She prayed for my salvation,

Israel:

my wife,

Israel:

she prayed that I'd go back

Israel:

to Bible College

Israel:

that I'd be a witness

Israel:

to my Jewish people

Israel:

and I'd grow in the Lord.

Israel:

Everything she prayed for-

Israel:

I wish I could find her

Israel:

I can't find her. Everything

Israel:

she prayed for came true!

Abe:

Wow.

Israel:

And I went there

Israel:

I wrote

Israel:

in the front of the Bible

Israel:

when I when I wrote that:

Israel:

Back with Jesus this day,

Israel:

September 20th, 1970.

Israel:

Finally, I said to Judy, it's

Israel:

now the summer of '72.

Israel:

I said, "Judy,

Israel:

I got to go to church!"

Israel:

(Judy) "Mother! He lied to us.

Israel:

He's believing in Jesus.

Israel:

He's reading

Israel:

the Bible, He's going to church.

Israel:

I'm getting a divorce!"

Israel:

"No, no, no.

Israel:

No divorces."

Israel:

My unsaved Jewish mother-in-law

Israel:

told her don't get a divorce.

Israel:

She saved our marriage.

Israel:

It was incredible

Israel:

and that was the summer of '72

Israel:

and I go to church now.

Israel:

In October 1st, 1972,

Israel:

I went to church,

Israel:

but she went to go roller

Israel:

skating with these guys, but

Israel:

they weren't going

Israel:

roller skating anymore.

Israel:

They got together with Jesus

Israel:

and they were going to church

Israel:

Sunday night, so she said,

Israel:

"Well, can I come with you?"

Israel:

She went to another church

Israel:

in Philadelphia, and

Israel:

after the service,

Israel:

she prayed to receive Jesus

Israel:

with a friend of mine.

Israel:

He was a ham

Israel:

radio friend by the way.

Israel:

He was walking with

Israel:

the Lord, incredible guy

Israel:

and he prayed with Judy.

Israel:

Judy came home,

Israel:

she was home before me

Israel:

and I got home, I said,

Israel:

"Judy, you're home."

Israel:

(Judy) "You better sit down

Israel:

Israel

Israel:

I got saved tonight."

Israel:

(Israel) "You got saved?"

Israel:

"Yeah, I

Israel:

I told Jesus I love Him.

Israel:

I believe in Jesus."

Israel:

"Hello Pastor?"

Israel:

I called the pastor of

Israel:

the church.

Israel:

The pastor of that church

Israel:

that we were going

Israel:

I was going to at the time

Israel:

was Donald Goodheart.

Israel:

Can you imagine, Pastor Goodhear

Israel:

And I said to him, "You can take

Israel:

"Judy off."

Israel:

We were claiming

Israel:

her salvation every Wednesday

Israel:

night prayer meeting.

Israel:

On the list –

Israel:

Judy Cohen.

Israel:

And then I said you can take

Israel:

her off the list, pray for

Israel:

growth. Two weeks later,

Israel:

Judy was baptized

Israel:

at the Burholme Baptist

Israel:

Church in Philadelphia

Israel:

in front of the mural

Israel:

of the River Jordan.

Israel:

So then December

Israel:

of 72 is now saved –

Israel:

October November, December –

Israel:

she's saved about three months

Israel:

and a missionary came to

Israel:

the church.

Israel:

This missionary was

Israel:

from this mission.

Israel:

Ruth Wardell, I remember

Israel:

she's since gone on to be

Israel:

with the Lord. She brought a

Israel:

young Jewish girl

Israel:

to give a testimony

Israel:

and afterwards

Israel:

Pastor Goodheart said,

Israel:

"I'd like you to meet

Israel:

our Jewish believers

Israel:

Israel and Judy!"

Israel:

And so this young girl

Israel:

that came with them,

Israel:

her name was Kitty,

Israel:

Kitty Simon. Kitty said,

Israel:

"You know who Joe

Israel:

Finkelstein is?

Israel:

You know, Finkelstein?"

Israel:

"Who's he?" "You don't know

Israel:

what's going on in

Israel:

West Philadelphia?"

Israel:

Remember, it's 1972,

Israel:

kind of about the middle

Israel:

of the Jesus movement

Israel:

and and the wood stock

Israel:

and all that stuff.

Israel:

And,

Israel:

and Jews were getting saved.

Israel:

It was revival amongst

Israel:

young Jewish kids!

Israel:

So she said, "Oh, you don't know

Israel:

And she invited us

Israel:

to their Bible study

Israel:

that he had. And Judy

Israel:

and I went to the Bible study.

Israel:

So wow they were teaching

Israel:

from the book of Jacob.

Israel:

Book of Jacob. Where is that?

Israel:

You know you,

Israel:

we call it James,

Israel:

but it's really Jacob.

Israel:

OK, I'm learning,

Israel:

I'm learning all

Israel:

kinds of new stuff.

Israel:

So went to the Bible study

Israel:

one time,

Israel:

I said, "Joe, can we come back?"

Israel:

"Oh yeah, you can come back."

Israel:

Three months later,

Israel:

we left the Baptist Church

Israel:

and we moved to Philadelphia

Israel:

Right where Joe Finkelstein live

Israel:

and we started a

Israel:

messianic congregation.

Israel:

It's now it's called Beth

Israel:

Yeshua, the House of Jesus

for many years. Abe:

Wow.

Israel:

In 1978 I came with

Israel:

Chosen People Ministries and I

Israel:

was in Philadelphia

Israel:

and then I moved

Israel:

to North Jersey.

Israel:

And then I was in,

Israel:

short period in California.

Israel:

But I was blessed 22

Israel:

years in Florida.

Israel:

And now we're back

Israel:

in the Metropolitan

Israel:

New York Area serving the Lord

Israel:

with Chosen People Ministries.

Israel:

I've been with the ministry

Israel:

since 1978.

Abe:

Uncle Izzy that is amazing.

Abe:

It's such a beautiful story

Abe:

and just to kind of land

Abe:

the plane. Is there

Abe:

any advice that you would give

Abe:

a young Jewish believer,

Abe:

a new Jewish believer,

Abe:

who is afraid to tell others

Abe:

about their faith?

Abe:

That's a very good point.

Abe:

Yeah, that's, that's very good.

Abe:

Someone once said this,

Abe:

this is really important,

Abe:

Preach

Abe:

the gospel always, always

Abe:

share the gospel

Abe:

and if necessary, use words.

Abe:

In other words,

Abe:

live your life in such a way,

Abe:

I made sure that I

Abe:

whenever I meet anyone

Abe:

that you would get,

Abe:

I realize that I am Jewish.

Abe:

I might not be Hassidic

Abe:

or Orthodox and the legalistic,

Abe:

but I'm Jewish and

Abe:

we need

Abe:

to help them to understand

Abe:

that our faith

Abe:

is a Jewish faith.

Abe:

One time going through

Abe:

the new Covenant,

Abe:

the New Testament understand

Abe:

seeing that you could

Abe:

understand clearly

Abe:

that this is a Jewish faith.

Abe:

Uncle Izzy, thank you so much

Abe:

and we're so glad

Abe:

to hear your story

Abe:

in a different format

Abe:

'cause we didn't

Abe:

get the full story

Abe:

in your testimony video

Abe:

that's on ifoundshalom.com

Abe:

so it's great to hear

Abe:

some of all these

Abe:

other mini stories

Abe:

that have led to

Abe:

where you are today.

Abe:

And we continue to pray for you

Abe:

and we continue to just

Abe:

thank God for you and your wife

Abe:

and what you've done

Abe:

for this ministry

Abe:

and for the lives of

Abe:

so many across the country.

Abe:

So thank you for

Abe:

joining us today.

Abe:

You're welcome, my pleasure.

Abe:

“But He was pierced

Abe:

through for our transgressions,

Abe:

He was crushed

Abe:

for our iniquities;

Abe:

The chastening for our

Abe:

well-being fell upon Him,

Abe:

And by His scourging

Abe:

we are healed."

Abe:

This Messianic prophecy

Abe:

in the Old Testament

Abe:

has paved the way for many

Abe:

Jewish people to

Abe:

find their Messiah.

Abe:

The New Testament

Abe:

is a continuation

Abe:

and completion to the full

Abe:

story of salvation

Abe:

which God had planned

Abe:

from the very beginning.

Abe:

As a Jewish believer

Abe:

in the Messiah, Israel's

Abe:

faith is now complete!

Abe:

For those of us

Abe:

who follow Messiah,

Abe:

we can lovingly show our Jewish

Abe:

friends and family

Abe:

the Messianic prophecies

Abe:

in the Old Testament,

Abe:

and when the time is right,

Abe:

invite them to read the rest

Abe:

of this redemption story.

Abe:

Thank you for listening

Abe:

to this week's

Abe:

episode of Our Hope.

Abe:

This episode was

Abe:

brought to you by:

Abe:

Dr. Mitch Glaser,

Abe:

Israel Cohen,

Abe:

Nicole Vaca, Grace

Abe:

Swee, Kieran Bautista,

Abe:

and Neal Surasky.

Abe:

I'm Abe Vazquez. Until next time

Abe:

Thanks for

Abe:

listening to Our Hope.

Abe:

If you like our show

Abe:

and want to know more,

Abe:

check out ourhopepodcast.com

Abe:

or chosenpeople.com.

Links