David Abramsky ~ Cellist, pianist, composer, Arranger
... AND Messianic JEW!
Shalom! My name is David Abramsky and I'm originally from Toronto, Canada. Here’s my story...
I was born into a loving Jewish home in Toronto where we lit Shabbat candles every Friday night, and we celebrated Chanukah and Passover. We belonged to a Reform synagogue in Toronto and that's where I became Bar Mitzvah. As a boy I desired a relationship with God but no one mentioned God neither in our house, nor in the homes of my cousins who were even MORE religious than we were. Gradually my family stopped going to synagogue or lighting Shabbat candles. I was proud of my Jewish heritage but I was confused.
At the age of 8, I learned piano and it quickly became my best friend. In high school I excelled at maths and sciences. Yet I realized that the so called scientific "Laws" I was learning about were just approximations and were always being rewritten by the next generation of scientists. I wondered, "Is there any absolute truth" in the universe? I entered university to study engineering. This was at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) I started to have a real hard time emotionally. My excellent grades and my self-esteem began to slip. I didn't believe in anything and did not know where to turn. Ever the people pleaser I buried my pain, smiled on the outside but was just barely hanging on inside.
I played for several years with the M.I.T.-Wellesley Symphony which I enjoyed SO much. But the music wasn't answering the bigger questions in my life such as, "Why do I feel so confused about life?" and "Life is a miracle so how can my mother be right when she says we just stop existing when we die?"
Several years later, I was living way up in Thunder Bay, Ontario where I tried different ways to find some answers and to heal my emotional pain. I tried being an atheist. I tried Buddhism. Neither gave me the answers and peace I sought. For the first time since my childhood I started to pray and I began to realize that God exists--that I was not the centre of the universe. He really started to knock on my door at this point. I started to realize that music was a GIFT and it didn't just come from little old me. It was somehow given to me from God (whoever God was) and it helped me cope.
But during one emotional deep low point I was surprised that, in my agony, I called out to Jesus. I wondered why, of all the gods I had tried, His name came to my lips at that moment! It went against my upbringing to consider this event as anything but my own desperation and imagination talking. It went against everything my father and mother had taught me.
YET...Somewhere in the back of my mind I had heard that we Jews were supposed to be waiting for the Messiah. No Messiah was EVER mentioned in my family or in religious school! On day in my grandmother's house I actually found a New Testament in a pile of books left behind by her live-in housekeeper. I took it by hiding it in a pile of books she said I could take. M.I.T. had trained me in the scientific method yet I had judged the New Testament without having even read it! What kind of scientific method was that?
I took the book home and began reading it eagerly and with an open mind. It was not anti-Semitic and it was VERY Jewish. How could that be? My family upbringing, and my synagogue education never taught me that all the first followers of Jesus (or Y'shua as is his Hebrew name) were JEWISH. I was utterly amazed. I couldn't help being impressed with Jesus and the way he talked and lived out the true meaning of our Torah and Prophets.
My search deepened. I knew there were Jews who believed in Jesus. (In fact I used to drive by the Jews for Jesus office in Toronto and curse it or even spit at it because I thought they were out to convert Jews). There was NO denying Y'shua/Jesus was a Jew and a devout one at that. I continued to be amazed that Jesus spoke to his peers as Jews and did NOT renounce his Jewishness. In fact He was calling them BACK to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
I didn't have trouble with the Trinity (or what the Biblical scholars really call: tri-unity). I could see that it did not mean THREE GODS. After all, physics students learn early on to think of light as both particle and wave yet it's still just one thing: light. And we were taught about water, vapor and ice but these are all just one thing in different forms: water molecules! Here was one God in three persons. I found from my search of the Torah that the SPIRIT of God is mentioned many times. The SON of God--not so much--but yes it's there. (See Psalm 110 verse 1 and also see Psalm 2 verse 7). And I realized by now that, just as the Proverbs tell us, I couldn't lean on my own understanding--this was much bigger and deeper mystery than we as humans could grasp.
I joined a music band and we moved down to Toronto where I was once again close to my family. I now had it all: friends, family, music, a CD selling in the stores. I should have been happy, contented. Yet I awoke one Sunday morning feeling so low, so lost. But the most unexpected feeling was an inner PULL or COMMAND--almost a voice but not quite--to get up, get dressed, get in the car and find a spiritual "home".
As I dressed I worried to myself, "A spiritual home? It's SUNDAY; only churches are open today! I persevered, following this inner command which seemed to be saying, “Go to the first church you find”. After driving only a short distance I said to myself, "Oh no, there's a church! I was so scared but I went in and sat at the back. Here were people singing, worshipping, and asking each other for prayers. The people here had something that I wanted. Even the worship songs that day were talking about Old Testament prophets like Ezekiel and Elijah...it was too much and I let go of long-held emotion and I cried! Could God love me so much he would bring me to this place? I knew it was so. So in that moment I gave my heart and my life to Jesus.
You know I probably was also crying because I knew the backlash that was ahead for me when my family finds out!
The Pastor at that service signed me up for the next "Alpha" course which I loved! Then I was given the business card of Jews for Jesus in Toronto. I marveled at God's work in me (not to mention His sense of humor!) I now WANTED to call Jews for Jesus! I wanted to find other Jews who had experienced what I had experienced. With Andrew from the Toronto office I publicly professed I believed Y'shua/Jesus was the Messiah--that I had drifted from God all these years (I was a "sinner") and that Jesus died for me to clean me of sin, according to the sacrificial system God Himself created and mandated in the Torah.
I was now in something that seems almost unbelievable: a personal relationship with the God of the universe.
I was amazed to learn from studying the Torah with Andrew that resurrection is a very Jewish belief. I didn't know that! How encouraging it was to me to see Jesus described as suffering Messiah in the book of Isaiah, chapter 53. Such a Messiah would know about all the feelings and pain and questions I carried since my childhood.
And the book of Jeremiah, chapter 31, verse 31 blew me away! No one ever told me God spoke of a NEW covenant. I wish someone had. Why hadn't my family known about this? Why had the Rabbi never told us about this new covenant of the heart rather than the head?
Our own Torah clearly stated that this new covenant would be DIFFERENT--that it would NOT be like the first covenant. (See the book of Jeremiah, verses 31 through 34).
One night Andrew and his wife Laura invited me over for dinner. I had a flood of emotions on that first visit because their house LOOKED Jewish and SMELLED Jewish and they believed in Jesus as their prophesied Jewish Messiah.
You know, I'm grateful for the Christians in my church back in Canada. Through them I've come to have a DEEPER appreciation and knowledge of the Old Testament, the Jewish Scriptures.
That was all back in 1997, yet my faith in Y'shua is still very hard on my family. When I first told them, it was embarrassing and confusing to them. Actually my father cried. He was embarrassed and knew what this would look like in the Jewish community.
One angry relative went so far as to say that I had "left the race!" As one Christian friend remarked, "Did you turn in your Jewish DNA for another set?" Another one said, "You know I hate to say it, but if Hitler came back today, he would still call you a Jew!" If there are atheistic Jews and Buddhist Jews then of course it's preposterous to say that Messianic Jews are not Jewish!
I pray for my family. Clearly I know that I AM still Jewish. I don't use the word "converted" because it implies that I've LEFT something behind. I do not feel I have left anything. I am proud to be a Jew, descended from the line of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and I am so grateful to finally see that Y'shua, the Jewish Messiah has come, and WILL come again for me!
The Scriptures were right about His first coming (see Isaiah 7:14, Micah 5 and Zechariah 9). Thus they are right about Him coming again for us believers! (See Isaiah 2:1-4).
I am called to write and perform my cello and piano music for the Lord. In 2009 I joined Artists In Christian Testimony Intl with my music ministry called, Yeshua Rafah (Jesus Healer) Music (http://www.YeshuaRafahMusic.org). I would also like to mention, and give honor to, my wonderful wife, Joanie. She is a Messianic Jew as well, and a wonderful soprano and pianist. She is the greatest encouragement to me and often joins me in song, lifting up music to our Lord, Y'shua/Jesus. We minister together at two congregations in the San Francisco Bay area.
Blessings to you and thank you for taking the time to read my story. If you have any questions, please contact me. I would love to talk! ~ David
You, O Lord, have clothed me in gladness” [Psalm 30:11]
1326 Santa Clara St., Richmond CA 94804
Tel: 415-515-3129 Email: CelloLovers@hotmail.com