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Orthodox Jew Shares Conversion Story, How a Medical Miracle Solidified His Faith in Yeshua Despite Shunning from Family

( [email protected] ) Dec 18, 2015 12:07 PM EST
Raised as an Orthodox Jew in Russia, Neriyah was shunned by rabbis and family members after he came to believe in Jesus Christ -- Yeshua. However, after experiencing an amazing medical miracle, Neriyah is even more devoted to his Christian faith, which he boldly shared in an inspiring video interview created for One for Israel's new project, "I Met Messiah".
An Orthodox Jew (Russian) in Israel, Neriyah came to believe in Jesus-Yeshua. YouTube/ScreenGrab

Raised as an Orthodox Jew in Russia, Neriyah was shunned by rabbis and family members after he came to believe in Jesus Christ -- Yeshua. However, after experiencing an amazing medical miracle, Neriyah is even more devoted to his Christian faith, which he boldly shared in an inspiring video interview created for One for Israel's new project, "I Met Messiah".

"In the USSR, where I grew up, I was the only Jew in school," Neriyah recalled. "Everyone was Masha, Pasha, Sasha, and I was Neriyah, and I hated it. After I finished in the army, I found work at Tel Aviv municipality, and one of my colleagues loved to read the Bible. I was curious how he seemed to know the Bible better than I did."

Neriyah explained that even though he was religious -- he faithfully attend the synagogue,  wore the traditional Jewish kippah, and even prayed the prayers -- he did not actually believe God existed.

However, all that changed when he began reading the Bible and stumbled across Isaiah 53, which tells the story of Jesus -- "Man of Sorrows" or "God's Suffering Servant."

"It was clear to me that the prophets were talking about Yeshua," Neriyah said. "But, I was scared to admit it. My fear was that I would be rejected once again by my friends -- that I would be different in my country, my family, just like I was rejected at school where I grew up."

His faith in Yeshua was solidified at 14, when his 26-year-old brother died from kidney failure.

"And that, I think brought me to faith in God. There was no other hope; in death there is no hope," Neriyah said. "Before that, I was a complete atheist. The dramatic change was one day when I met a rabbi and shared with him everything that I had learned from Isaiah 53 and Daniel 9."

Instead of arguing with Neriyah about his newfound faith, the rabbi simply called his parents and informed them that their son had become a Russian that started believed in Yeshua.

"I suffered because I couldn't explain myself, I didn't have any knowledge," Neriyah recalled. "But, all the time, my uncles and aunts, who are strongly religious, would come and harass me: 'How could you do such a thing? Why do you believe in Yeshua? Is the synagogue not good enough for you? What are you looking for with the Christians? You should learn about your own faith. Why are you going into something that's not Jewish?'"

Neriyah emphasized, "Look, to be a believer is not an easy thing. Everyone who saw me would say, 'There goes the idiot who believes in Yeshua.'"

In 2001, the young man was struggling to finish his studies, and overwhelmed by the pressure that comes along with exams and finals, he began to suffer from serious headaches and became addicted to painkiller tablets.

"I ended up in the hospital, and my doctor told me my kidneys were in trouble. [He told me] 'It will take a year or two, may three or four or five, and you'll be on dialysis. Either that, or you'll need a kidney transplant,'" Neriyah said.

Refusing to accept his diagnosis, he got married in 2002, but found himself on dialysis just two years later. However, Neriyah held onto the belief that God wouldn't leave him in such a state, and sure enough, a miracle happened thanks to the obedience of an American woman named Cynthia.

"This woman started to pray, and when she was praying, Yeshua appeared to her and said to her, 'I chose you to go and give part of your body to someone you don't know at all. Go to Israel and give one of your kidneys to Neriyah,'" he recounted. "So she said, 'How can I do this? I'm 50 years old. I have six children!' So Yeshua said, 'I'm not forcing you, I'm suggesting it to you.' And truly, when she came to Israel, we saw that we were a perfect match, like twins."

After the operation had proved successful, Neriyah and his wife named their third child "Cynthia" out of gratitude for the generosity of his donor.

"The names of my older children are Baruch and Sarah, and now there's Cynthia. Every time I present my children, people say, 'Baruch and Sarah are Biblical names, but where does Cynthia come from? So I always have the opportunity to share about the miracle that God did in my life," Neriyah said.

The transplant lasted for several years, but eventually died in 2011. Despite this, Neriyah explained that he doesn't regret anything because God has given him six wonderful years with his family.

"My wife and I had another two children, so now we have our four biological children: Baruch, Sarah, Cynthia and Yakov, and five years ago, we took two girls -- refugees from Eritrea. We started to care for these girls, and we fell in love with them," he said.

When asked how he knows God is real, Neriyah didn't hesitate: "Because of these things." he said. "God does miracles in all of our lives, and it's thanks to Yeshua that I came through the transplant, and that was clearly a miracle that God did in my life."

Neriyah's amazing story is just one of 35 testimonies of Messianic Jews compiled by One for Israel as part of their "I Met Messiah" initiative seeking to reach Israeli Jews and Arabs with the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

"For the past 2,000 years, it would have been shocking - scandalous even - to claim that Jews can believe in Jesus!" the group wrote on its Facebook page. "We are proud to announce our new project I MET MESSIAH. Dynamic video testimonies of Jewish professionals who met their Messiah!"

To learn more about One for Israel and the "I Met Messiah" initiative, visit their website.