My name is Shamira Rosenthal. I was born into and raised within the bosom of an orthodox Jewish family. When I was young I was proud of my religion. I thought that we observed all the commandments. But when I grew older doubts began to creep in. I read for instance in my prayer book that a Jewish man is proud not to be born a woman. This baffled me. I also discovered that we certainly did not keep all the commandments, for there are hundreds of them. Moreover the greatest commandment was to love G*d and the second to love your fellow man as yourself. According to Moses this was the only way to be saved. But nobody on earth could live this way. And as to the tenth commandment, it was also impossible to be kept. Then there was the question of the offerings. In ancient times we had the temple with the daily sacrifices. This was all destroyed. If we were G*d's very own people how could He allow this? How could we be forgiven without the temple sacrifices? What had we, Jewry, done to deserve so many years of persecution? I lived several years with these uncertainties, which only grew worse. My parents said that if you keep the commandments and ask G*d for forgiveness then there is nothing more you can do. So that meant that our way was the way. But I was not satisfied. I did not want to consider any alternatives, however, certainly not Christianity. For throughout the ages Christians had persecuted us and perpetrated any atrocity to us they could imagine and that supposedly in the name of G*d.
When I was eighteen I began a search of my own, in secret so as not to get into trouble with my family. Browsing through a bookstore my eyes fell on two books, Buddhism and yoga. I sneaked them into the house and started meditating and doing yoga at the beach, as our home was close to the Mediterranean. It was a leap into the dark but I was desperate and just had to break out of my spiritual prison. But on my own I did not get very far, so I started looking around for some guru who could help me out. I dreamed of reaching Raya Yoga, the highest stage.
Through a mutual friend I found a so-called jaguar woman, who would help me to develop paranormal abilities by way of the chakras. She explained to me that there are seven main chakras. The chakras are the contact points between the material and the astral body.
At this time I managed to obtain a well paying job and moved out of the family home in order to meditate in all solitude. I started with difficult breathing and physical exercises. I managed to awake the kundalini (the abode of the goddess Shakti; about where one's coccyx is situated in the body) and slowly worked my way up. My guide assisted me to deal with the demons I encountered on my way in the spiritual world. I sensed how dangerous my journey was through the immaterial spheres. And that made it so exciting for me! Little did I know what was to happen. One evening I was meditating at home and all of a sudden I experienced an ecstasy that went beyond all my dreams. It was as if I were floating through the universe from star to star! Suddenly I thought I could fly. I jumped out of the window and crashed down. My wounds were not too bad, because I fell on the grass. Yet still I broke my leg. The neighbors saw it happen and thought I was trying to commit suicide, for I had fallen from two stories high. They brought me to the hospital while I was still high. I hardly realized what was happening. The first thing the physician said when he saw me, was: 'She is on drugs!' That's what I heard later.
The next day after the operation when the nurse brought me food, she heard me ramble on about horrific monsters, bright lights, and beautiful music. Not long after I landed in the psychiatric ward. They told my family that I had a psychosis. They put me on heavy drugs. For a long time I walked around in a daze, confined to the ward. Regularly the psychotic attacks came back and the nurses observed that I often had gooseflesh all over me. At the end of about half a year I had reasonably recovered. However, I would be scarred for life, as I expected. At that time I used to have long discussions with my psychiatrist, who was a Jungian. These conversations boiled down to the following. There are no immaterial monsters. The demons, angels, and beautiful music I experienced during my meditations were exteriorizations of archetypes deeply embedded in my own psyche. There is no G*d or gods. But I objected that other people do not have such experiences and that I only had them after years of training. He simply answered that he was no parapsychologist and that we still know hardly anything about the complex things that go on in the human brain, where hundreds of chemicals whirl around. Since the medication really had worked and I had regained my senses, I more or less believed him. I moved back in with my parents as of course I could not hold a job right away.
It was strange to be home again. I did not believe in Judaism anymore despite my father's attempts to persuade me. But when we celebrated the passover, I felt a deep longing to the times when I was a happy child, secure in the bosom of the family. I sighed several times, knowing that the hard reality that had brought me down would persecute me like a doe for the rest of my life. To kill time I started reading various books. Reading about the holocaust I became an atheist to the dismay of my parents. My father argued that the Jewish people had suffered throughout millennia, but when the Messiah would come there would be a glorious kingdom for ever. I could not believe it. How could G*d allow the holocaust if we were His beloved servants? No, we had to rely on ourselves and make the best of it. I read Sartre and Camus and became an existentialist and a hedonist. I still had psychotic experiences. The medication just could not repair the damage. I became morally careless and had affairs with various men. When my parents found out there was quite a ruckus, but what could they do? I was too pitiful for them to kick me out. As the number of men I encountered increased, so did my feeling of meaninglessness. None of them stuck to me. They simply wanted to take advantage of me.
Life became totally meaningless to me. I felt like Sisyphus in Tartarus, whose punishment was to roll a big stone uphill and as soon as he reached the top it would roll down again. This was his eternal task. Life had become unbearable to me. I was seriously considering suicide. Then I came into contact with Jews for Jesus. I went to a meeting where somebody was lecturing on Isaiah chapter 53. At the end one of them gave me a booklet entitled 'The Forbidden Chapter' by a certain Ostrovsky. I decided to read it. Because these Jews for Jesus really seemed to have some kind of peace about them. I also decided that if this book did not give me the answer to the big why of my life I would certainly commit suicide. The title certainly made sense, because the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah had virtually been banned from the synagogues and from schools. I asked my father about it and he answered that the prophet spoke of Israel there. However, I could not buy that. The writer explained very well that Israel had not suffered for the nations, but at the hand of the nations. The gospels of the New Testament were in perfect order with this chapter. There was something strange about that book though, or rather with me. Every time I wanted to read it, it was as if there were a thousand forces trying to restrain me from reading it. However when I was reading it, which was very difficult to do, a great sense of peace embraced my soul. I read how the Messiah 'bore the iniquity of us all.' Certainly Israel had never done that. But Christ made real and everlasting atonement once and for all for the universal evil that lives in all of us. I was reminded of the twenty-second psalm, 'My G*d, my G*d, why hast thou forsaken me!' The Son of Man had died for me! But whenever I tried to confess my sins personally to Christ, a thousand demons attacked me. After a short while I understood that this was the result of my meditations. If only I could be delivered!
I contacted the woman that gave me the booklet, for she had written her phone number in it. I explained my problem. She said that I should come to her as soon as possible and that there would be other people to pray with me. We arranged a day that same week. The morning I was on my way to that house I will never forget. I started out with my bike, but strange forces tried to persuade me to throw myself in front of a truck or fast oncoming car. I prayed to G*d to help me. I said 'If you are real, help me then!' That made me calmer. I stepped off my bike though and went further on foot. While walking I kept praying to find the house. Finally I got there, but I simply could not move anymore. Something told me to turn around and run. I could not pray any more either. Then I saw the woman who had given me the booklet come out of the door. She saw my expressionless face. She came to me, took me by the arm and wanted to accompany me the way in. But she could not pull me, A thousand nails had riveted me to the ground! Then she started praying softly. At that moment I moved along with her, but started crying hysterically. It was as if all the pain of a life time came out. Once in the room I noticed half a dozen people. The woman who guided me led me to an armchair in which I sank away. They all began praying aloud when they saw my contorted face and heard me tell that I saw all kinds of monsters. I tried to talk to confess Christ, but an invisible hand choked my throat. The little group continued praying. This lasted about an hour. It was an excruciating session. The room turned around me as if I were in a merry-go-round. But at the end of an hour I became really calm and all of a sudden shouted 'Christ is Victor!' I fell on my knees and confessed Christ right then and there. I knew I had been delivered! All the people in the room hugged me and thanked G*d.
In the afternoon I went home. My mother, seeing my face radiating, asked me with a surprised look what had happened to me. I answered, 'I am free!' I am free!' And indeed after slowly reducing the medication to nil, the psychiatrist declared me cured. For the attacks never came back. Of course in the meantime I kept seeing my friends, the Jews for Jesus. They taught me well, and I began to see the difference between Christianity and Christendom, between Christ and His message and what so-called Christians had made of it. This all happened secretly for I knew that if my family found out there would not just be a long litany of arguments, but in the end I would be ostracized. But when the moment came that I had to come to the front with my new found faith, G*d gave me the wisdom to answer all my family's objections. At the end of several weeks my father warned me not to have myself baptized, or else-- But that was exactly what I had in mind. I simply told him to reread Isaiah 53, and began to sing, 'Gal anai veabeeta neeflaot metoratecha (Open my eyes and I will see wonders from thy Law)' [Ps.119.18]. When I had had myself baptized I was thrown out. Even my relatives did not want anything to do with me. My family held a funeral (this is what orthodox Jews do when one of them becomes a Christian!). I did not exist anymore for them. But my Christian friends took me in. Not long after I found a job again and could support myself. 'HALLELUJAH!'