By Dan Wooding
Daniel Rozen was born in Israel, but in his youth he had no interest in God.
“Both my mother and father’s family were killed in the holocaust,” Rozen says. “My grandfather was a Rabbi whom I never saw, and was taken by the Nazis never to be seen again.
“In my heart I hated both the Russian and German people alike because of what they did. It was difficult for me to work with anyone who was Russian or German because even the language itself would displease me. In my eyes it was just as bad.”
Rozen grew up an atheist. “I became a fashion model in Tel Aviv and was earning lots of money. Rozen met a Dutchman in a coffee shop who invited him to visit his community for Messianic Jews.
“I told him that I didn’t know what a ‘Messianic Jew’ was,” he recalls.
After hearing the Dutchman’s explanation that Messianic Jews believe in the resurrected Messiah whom they call Yeshua, Rozen agreed to go along with his friend to find out more.
“There were about 30 people there and I could see that they were all full of love,” he continued. “Soon, I began to feel something inside of me. I was very touched by the worship and the warm relationship I soon formed with these people. In fact, I began to feel like the mayor of Jerusalem because I had so many friends.
After Rozen attended the group for a year, something unusual happened one Saturday morning. “I suddenly, in a vision, saw a hand and heard a strong voice in Hebrew say, ‘I created everything by sand and water; life or death.’ When I heard this, I was very afraid. I was looking around and not seeing anything but I felt in this moment an unusual presence come upon me.
“After this experience, I decided to go back to the congregation in Jerusalem and, for those who have traveled on this road, they will know that when you enter Jerusalem through the Judean hills, it is a beautiful view . That morning, as I entered the congregation, I knew my time had come to decide to follow the Messiah.”
“I went to see the leader of a small Messianic community that I knew there and I told him that this was the time that I needed to repent. I had always looked upon myself as being a good person who didn’t do bad things to others, but I now also recognized that I was a sinner, and that’s what pushed me to the decision in my life to follow the Son of the Living God and that day I did just that. He’s now my Savior, my Redeemer, my Son of God; my Yeshua.”
Shortly after that, Rozen faced a big decision about whether to sign a modeling contract that would have taken him to Europe and paid him large amounts of money.
“I decided against signing the contract because I knew I needed to follow Jesus Christ and change my lifestyle,” he explains. “I knew that I needed to walk in the light and not in the darkness.”
It wasn’t long before Daniel was on fire for Christ and began evangelizing in the streets of Elot and Haifa.
“Many people were saved, but still many rejected the literature I gave them and would throw it away in front of me,” he recalls. “Despite that, I would continue sharing the Good News as I knew I had to be a living testimony to the people of Israel and despite the setbacks; there were still many who gave their lives to Christ.”
Soon, with his outreach efforts and those of other Messianic believers, the tide began to change. “We were only very few believers here in Israel at that time. There were maybe about 1,500 in the whole country, but now we are about 20,000 and that’s an amazing breakthrough,” he says.
Still, this sharing of their faith wasn’t without cost to Daniel and other Messianic believers in Israel.
“I can’t remember how many times my tires were slashed and, sometimes we had people who oppose us, standing outside a fellowship with cameras to take pictures of those going inside, or throwing stones at us.”
Feeling the need for a more in-depth knowledge of the Bible, Daniel took time out at to travel to the United States to study at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.
Then he returned to Israel and began leading a Messianic fellowship.
Today, he has founded the Jerusalem Foundation Living Stone ministry and is helping plant various congregations not only in Israel, but also in Nicosia, Cyprus.
Daniel also started an organization called Crystal Forum Association.
“We have some congregations here in Israel that are struggling because of the demonstrations against them,” he says. “That’s why we really need to help them. We want to help every pastor, every leader, and every family, especially the mixed families — the Jewish and non-Jewish. We fight for them. We want to be a blessing to this Messianic community, even if they suffer very much.
“Some time ago, I received a phone call from a pastor is Nazareth who said that stones were being thrown at the windows of his gathering place and cars parked outside were being damaged.”
Rozen then cited the case of a barbarous attack on 15-year-old Ami Ortiz back in March 2008 when the son of an Ariel-based pastor who was wounded when a pipe bomb disguised as a Purim candy package blew up in his face. The boy, who opened the brightly-labeled parcel in his family living room moments after it had been found on the doorstep, underwent almost around-the-clock surgery as doctors fought first to save his life and then to save his lacerated limbs and punctured eyes.
According to friends of the Ortiz family, Ami lost one limb and the sight in one eye, possibly in both. Shrapnel punctured both his lungs and tore through his neck, and the explosion itself inflicted third-degree burns on various parts of his body, but miraculously survived.
“It’s a very difficult situation, but we will not give up and we need unity to move forward,” he says. “We need to have more prayer and fasting and we never ever speak out against our government. We need to pray for our government here in Israel.
“I go to the Knesset [Israeli parliament] sometimes once a month to proclaim the Word and to pray for unity and love and for being of one accord in the government. I believe that if our government unites together, we will see amazing results.”