I was brought up in a Jewish household. As a family we used to read the Seder every morning, we went to the synagogue regularly and I had my Bar Mitzvah at the age of 15.
I experienced anti-Semitism at school and throughout my whole childhood. My brother and I were sent to a convent and I remember on one occasion the nuns stood us up on chairs and said, ‘Look at these two children, they put Jesus on the cross’. At secondary school I was bullied and on one occasion strangled in the playground for being Jewish.
My home life was also traumatic. I suffered a lot of abuse, and unfortunately I had a bad relationship with my Father whom I greatly feared.
As a child I would always ask my rabbi questions such as: ‘Who is God?’, but as I got older I got involved with a variety of New Age activities such as tarot cards, Buddhism. You name it, I tried it, but none of it fulfilled me.
Whilst at private school in London, I was sexually abused. This trauma at school and the family issues I had at home resulted in me becoming ill with anorexia. By the time I was 20 I was put under the watch of psychiatric doctors as I was drinking heavily and had attempted to commit suicide several times. I eventually ended up in a rehab centre in Kent. I would walk around shuffling my feet not aware of what was around. It was there that I met my wife, Chiara. She had a health food store in Central London and because at that point I was steeped in the occult we opened an occult shop in the basement of her food store. Many witches and warlocks would come and buy tarot cards and other magic arts.
Around this time, I had a dream in which a man appeared to me dressed in white. He called me by my name and said to me ‘Benjamin there is enough food for everyone’ and talked about ‘the bread of life’, however I did not realise who this was or what this dream meant.
As well as working in our shop, I was teaching piano lessons in my spare time. One of the kids’ mums I was teaching suggested to me and my wife that we should meet her Christian pastor. He was very passionate for the gospel and my wife ended up giving her life to the Lord. After her conversion the minister spent time with me, taking me through the psalms and the prophecies in the Bible. I was overwhelmed by the message of Jesus Christ and eventually I ended up giving my life to the Lord as well!
It took me many years to get set free and delivered. The enemy did not want to let me go but by the power of God I can say now that I am completely set free.
Initially when I gave my life to the Lord I found it very difficult to go to church. I would see the cross and feel I had betrayed my Jewish roots, my parents and my ancestors. It took me many years as a believer before I felt I had come into the fullness of knowing Jesus Christ.
My wife and I began running Bible studies, reaching out to the homeless, and many years later we felt called to ministry and were sponsored to go to Bible College.
God then provided us with a shop renting from an Orthodox Jewish man on the high street in Temple Fortune. We started to sell wholefood with a heart to reach the lost through evangelism and welcoming Jewish and non-Jewish people alike. Now my wife and I also pastor a congregation.
From brokenness and oppression God has turned my life around. He came to set this captive free. I am a Jewish man who has found peace, joy and salvation in Jesus Christ.
Benjamin and his wife Chiara run an outreach centre in Temple Fortune, Golders Green, North London.