I grew up in a suburb of Chicago. Both of my parents were Jews. However they were reformed Jews and not very religious. I went to Sunday school and Hebrew school until I was thirteen. At my Bat Mitzvah I sang the blessings and read from the Torah in Hebrew. However, my life was very much oriented toward worldly pleasures, not governed by the laws of God and what He desires: a holy, set apart twelve-tribed priesthood... Israel... a place of peace. It must be a place where His perfect law and commandments are kept. I know a place where this land is being restored, where a holy nation is coming to birth.
Our Father desired a people where the hearts of the parents are turned toward their children, and the hearts of the children are turned to their parents.1 The spirit of Bar Mitzvah is where children honor and serve their parents during their youth, and receive the promise of a long life Shemot.2 I know a place where true Bar Mitzvah is being restored, where the hearts of the children are turned to their parents, where children honor their parents and our Father’s commandments.
Unfortunately my heart was far from my parents. I dishonored my parents. The world I grew up in was full of disrespect. I learned it from peers, television, movies, magazines, and songs where violence, theft, immorality, and all sorts of evil are glorified. I was not living in a way that would lead to long life. My life was leading me to death because I was not keeping the commandments of our Father.
As I grew up, I grew more and more distant from my parents. I stayed out late with friends, ignoring my parents' curfew. This led me into more and more trouble. One day I woke up in extreme pain. I was in the hospital after getting into a serious car accident while driving around with my friends. On a highway in Chicago my friend lost control of the car and it went over a fence and flipped three times. I woke up in the hospital after the doctors had done many tests. God had not taken my life, but unfortunately this did not cause me to change the way I was living. I continued on disregarding my conscience.
When I finished high school, I decided to go to college in Los Angeles. I had always liked school and done well in my classes. While in college there were no reigns on my life at all. I was free to come home at any hour of the night. My parents were not there any more to lead me and guide me, but I had long ago stopped listening to them anyway. My life was utterly being destroyed. When that year was over I went back to my parents' house for the summer. I did not submit to their rules and so caused them much sorrow. They were the ones who had always cared for me, who brought me into this world. I was so unwise. I didn't see that they loved me and that the restraints they put on my life would have kept me from so much hurt and trouble.
One day that summer I decided to head for Vermont to see a Grateful Dead show. It was the summer of 1995. I left against my parents' orders not to go. I was all alone. I met a girl on the bus who was also going to the concert. When we got to the huge field where the concert was, she set up her tent. There were many tents all around, and people everywhere. She let me put my backpack inside her tent. I went into the show. The music began and I was alone again. There were people everywhere, but I was so utterly alone. I was very afraid. I began to wonder whether there was a God. I wished He could please help me. The concert ended and it was now dark outside. There were many people, vendors, and music out in the parking lot. In the midst of so many people I was all alone... and very insecure. I didn't understand life.
I went out to find the tent that I had put my backpack in. Somebody handed me a paper that said, “A Place to Belong.” I don't know who it was. I didn't have time to look at it yet because of all of the cars leaving. I kept looking for the tent but couldn't find it. As I was walking around I saw a big maroon bus that said Oseh Shalom — “Peacemaker.” I approached a man and two women who were standing outside the bus and asked them if they could please help me. They were very kind and offered me some tea and cookies. I explained to them how I couldn't find my backpack, and they helped me look for it. I went onto their bus, and just cried and cried. I was so lost, alone, and confused, and I didn't know what to do. The people on the bus said that I could go home with them to their farm in Bellows Falls, Vermont. I agreed. When I arrived at their farm, I decided to stay.
I have been in the Community now for many years. The longer I have been here the more healing I have received. Our God heard my prayer and brought me to His people. Here I can see the heart of God to help those who are lost and heading for death. Here I can be a part of the holy nation He has always desired.
I know a place where people love their Creator with all their heart, all their soul, and all their strength. Wouldn't you like to come?