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Yoel Ben David
Yoel Ben David
Head of Training - Israel, Missionary
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08/02/2013

Bio & Testimony

Hassidic Jew for Jesus

Yoel Ben David was born in Rehovot, Israel (about twenty miles south of Tel Aviv) to a Moroccan Jewish mother and a Scottish father.  Yoel lived in Rehovot until he was three years old, when his father’s job required the family to move.  His father worked for a hotel chain, and Yoel spent the next sixteen years of his life moving around the world—first to the Caribbean, then around England, and after that to Paris.  Finally, when Yoel was 19, he moved back home to Israel again.  But no matter where he lived, Yoel’s mother always made sure that he and his younger brother knew they were Jewish.  Yoel says:

“My mum is a proud Moroccan Jew. She had served with the Israeli Defense Force during the Yom Kippur War. Every time there was anything about Israel on the television, or anything about anyone Jewish, she made us aware of it!"

"We were a traditional Jewish family rather than religious. We sat down every Friday night, and because my dad was not Jewish and I was the eldest son, I said the Kiddush, the blessing over the wine. We ate our meal and then, like any other family, we went into the living room and watched television. An Orthodox Jew, of course, would not use any electricity and certainly would not watch TV on Shabbat!"

Though Yoel knew he was Jewish, he didn’t feel that he had a connection with God.  This bothered him, and he began a personal search to learn more, exploring other faiths and belief systems.

"In my teenage years, I went to the vicar at my school in England and asked him to give me some books about God, including the Koran and some Hindu writings. The real shock for me was that he didn't try to dissuade me. As I was reading the Koran on my bed, the thought came to me that if God exists, I shouldn't really need to read these books. Rather, he should just show up."

"So I said, 'God, if you're real, show up.' And before me I saw the face of Jesus! I looked at him and I felt a presence in my room, and I felt afraid. I saw a clear vision of God—and ignored it. I decided it was a figment of my imagination.”

A few years later, Yoel and his family moved back to Israel.  Though Yoel spoke fluent English and French, his Hebrew was less-than-perfect.  So, he decided to enroll in Ulpan (Hebrew language school).  It was there that he met Adel, a Russian Jewish girl who had grown up in Germany and recently made Aliyah (emigrated) to Israel.  She, like Yoel, was searching for answers about God.  They formed a quick connection and soon became friends.

"When I came to Israel and met Adel, we were really searching to find the truth. We decided that if we believed in God, we were being hypocritical if we didn't do something about our Judaism. We went through different stages. At first it was observing Shabbat. Then I began to study the Torah and other writings. Next it was practicing the holidays."

"Quickly we became more Haredi (Orthodox). We left the language school. We were living together then, so gradually the idea of doing that and not being married seemed wrong. We were faced with a choice: separate or get married. We knew we were right for each other, so why wait?

"We approached the Breslov movement, but I still prayed in a Chabad (Lubavitch) synagogue, where I began studying Talmud with the local rabbi. Adel and I lived and dressed as other Orthodox Jews. As I studied, I learned more about the difference between laws from the Torah and those added by the rabbis.”

Yoel was nearing the time when he would need to enroll in the army, as do all young Israelis.  He and Adel decided they would move to Jerusalem, so they could live in a more Orthodox environment.

“The atmosphere was more religious there than in Tel Aviv, so we thought we would feel more at home.  After we moved, we began engaging in the mystical side of Hassidic Judaism through the writings of the founder of the Breslov movement, Rabbi Nachman. He was famous for many different sayings, among them (I paraphrase) 'all the commandments mean nothing without love.'”

For a year and a half, Yoel and Adel worked at living a “religious” life.  But despite their best efforts, they were disappointed.  “Something was wrong,” says Adel.  “I thought that if I could find a combination of New Age and Judaism, my search would be over, but I never seemed to find quite what I was looking for.”

It was about this time that they met Judy.  An elderly lady from Richmond, Virginia, she was the aunt of a friend.  Adel remembers:

“We invited Judy over and she started talking about God as though she knew him! She challenged us to read the Bible for ourselves. This was something we weren't used to. Her parting words that first night were, 'If you want to know God, just read the Torah.' Up until that time, I had struggled to read it. I decided to read the Torah. In fact, we raced each other to read it!"

For Adel, to distance herself from the Orthodox community was easy. But for Yoel, then serving in the Rabbinical Corps in the army, it was more difficult. He says:

"When I'd finished reading the five books of Moses, I began to realize I had a problem with the daily service I had to attend in the synagogue with all the other soldiers. They were just going through the motions, saying the prayers as fast as they could. I couldn't say them that fast and mean it. So I told my fellow soldiers I would wait until they'd finished praying, then I would go into the synagogue and pray by myself."

Meanwhile, Yoel and Adel continued to spend time with Judy.  Adel says, “I worked most evenings, whereas Yoel had evenings free. So he would spend many hours discussing the Bible with Judy, which meant I was missing out!"  Yoel recalls:

"About nine months after beginning the Bible, I started reading Isaiah, and when I got to chapter 53 I didn't understand it, so I went to see Judy. We didn't know it then, but she'd been praying for an opportunity to speak with us about Jesus. So when I knocked on her door and asked her to explain Isaiah 53, she sat me down with a cup of tea and started telling me about Jesus.

"My initial reaction was to think I'd been deceived. Why hadn't she told me about Jesus before? But as she continued talking, I started to sense God. I had begun to notice it when I was praying in the synagogue on my own. As Judy kept speaking, gradually the presence of God increased.

"Then I said in my mind, ‘You know what, God? If this is true, then I'm going to go with my heart—I will believe.’  And at that moment, I saw the same vision that I had seen three years before, sitting on my bed in England. I saw the face of Jesus. And then I knew, and I told Judy I was ready to believe. I then went home where I found Adel sitting on our bed, still reading the five books of Moses!

            "'Something terrible has happened!' I announced. 'Jesus is the Messiah!'"

Adel was not quite prepared to accept this proclamation.  But after reading the New Testament for herself, she soon came to agree with Yoel.  It was July, 2001, and she and Yoel committed their lives to following Jesus from that moment on.

They soon connected with the Jews for Jesus branch in Tel Aviv, and Yoel became an approved student with the ministry, and worked at completing his BA at Israel College of the Bible.

Yoel offers encouragement for all of us who know Jesus to share Him with others.  He says:

“Many people of different religions have some understanding of God’s providence and various other aspects of His character. They experience legitimate feelings of joy and thanksgiving as they contemplate Him. However they miss God altogether when they do not know His love for them.

"By living lives that honor Him, and making Him evident in our lives we start living the Gospel. By proclaiming His love for us in quiet conversations, and even street corners, we let the Gospel pour out into others.

Yoel Ben David has believed in Jesus since July, 2001. Yoel was born in Israel although he was raised in Europe. His mother is Jewish and is from Morocco; his father, who is not Jewish, hails from Scotland. Yoel speaks, reads and writes English, French and Hebrew fluently.

Before becoming a believer in Jesus, Yoel and his wife Adel spent time as part of the Hassidic Breslov movement.  Yoel and Adel now have 4 children. They have served with Jews for Jesus for over 9 years in Israel, England, and the US. Yoel is nearing the end of his MA course at Western Seminary.

Yoel served as the UK Director for 3yrs and has now returned to Israel to take the role of Trainer to our Israeli missionaries.

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Press Kit

Yoel Ben David has believed in Jesus since July, 2001. Yoel was born in Israel although he was raised in Europe. His mother is Jewish and is from Morocco; his father, who is not Jewish, hails from Scotland. Yoel speaks, reads and writes English, French and Hebrew fluently.

Before becoming a believer in Jesus, Yoel and his wife Adel spent time as part of the Hassidic Breslov movement.  Yoel and Adel now have 4 children. They have served with Jews for Jesus for over 9 years in Israel, England, and the US. Yoel is nearing the end of his MA course at Western Seminary.

Yoel served as the UK Director for 3yrs and has now returned to Israel to take the role of Trainer to our Israeli missionaries.

 for Yoel Ben David

JEWS FOR JESUS TO SPEAK

Yoel Ben David of Jews for Jesus will speak at (NAME OF CHURCH) on (DATE) at (TIME). (PASTOR’S NAME) invites all to attend. Jews for Jesus uses creative methods and contemporary issues to present the message that Jesus is the Messiah to Jewish people around the world.

Ben David was born in Israel to a Jewish mother and a Scottish father. At twenty he moved to Israel where he married Adel, who is Jewish, and they became involved in the Hassidic Breslov movement. But when a friend encouraged them to read the Scriptures for themselves, they came to realize that Jesus was their Messiah and committed their lives to Him in 2001. Ben David has a B.A. in Bible and ancient near east studies from Israel College of the Bible. He joined the Jews for Jesus Tel Aviv branch in 2004 and is now the director of the London branch. Yoel and Adel have four children: daughters Noa and Naomi, and sons Boaz and Natanel.

Jews for Jesus was founded in 1973 by Moishe Rosen, who revolutionized Jewish evangelism with his creative approach. Rosen died in May 2010. David Brickner, a fifth-generation Jewish believer in Jesus, succeeded Rosen as Executive Director in 1996. Brickner has kept Jews for Jesus on the cutting edge as the ministry has expanded and established branches in fourteen countries, including the United States, Brazil, Israel, Russia, France, and South Africa. “We exist to make the Messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to our Jewish people worldwide,” Brickner states. “There are still a few that haven’t heard of us!”

To Yoel Ben David and other Jews for Jesus staff, the objective evidence of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, and the transformation in their our own lives provide ample evidence that Jesus was who he claimed to be—the Jewish Messiah. Ben David will be happy to answer questions after the presentation. Call (CHURCH PHONE NUMBER) for more information. There is no admission charge.

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DateTitle
08/09/2013 17:51:50Filling tool boxes
09/20/2006 00:00:00Ushpizin

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