My name is Gennadi Pomerants, but most people call me Gene. When I was in my mid-to-late twenties, someone gave me a Jehovah’s Witness Bible. I didn’t know one Bible from another and so I started reading Genesis. It didn’t make sense to me that I was reading the same thing I grew up reading in the Tanakh! One day, driving through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, I saw a billboard that said, “Be more Jewish, believe in Jesus!” I contacted them, started studying the Bible with them and accepted Jesus as my Messiah in the late 1990s.
However, I stepped away from my faith for a very long time. My wife, who is Jewish too, thought I was going to become an anti-Semite because she experienced antisemitism by Christians in the former Soviet Union. In the summer of 2015 I decided to start following Jesus again and I told my wife, “I’m going to start going to church again.”
And to my surprise she said, “I’m going to go with you,” and that was a miracle! We started going to a Pentecostal congregation, and I loved it but my wife felt a little uncomfortable to be there because it was so weird to her to be in a Christian setting, even though she accepted Messiah there. Then I found out about Beth Sar Shalom and decided to give it a try. The second my wife and I walked through the door we felt at home!
Since then, we have had a couple of celebrations here. My wife and I renewed our vows this past August, and our daughter also had her Bat Mitzvah here. For both occasions our family came and they were confused. They were like, “Okay, wait a second, everything seems Jewish here…where is the Christian part? We thought you were Christians now. But it seems very Jewish.” It was kind of fun seeing the reaction of our friends and family to that. Coming to Beth Sar Shalom Brooklyn has brought our family closer together.
Gene is a Jewish believer in Jesus from a Russian background.