Spiritual hunger and the need for freedom to explore the faith of his cultural and ethnic heritage drove Dr. Vladimir A. Tsesis thousands of miles from the atheistic Soviet oppression surrounding his medical practice in Siberia to a fulfilling life in an American suburban congregation — in River Forest. His book, Why We Remaind Jews, a true tale, takes the reader through many cultures in other countries, quoting encounters with memorable and fascinating people, some of whom provide wisdom and others hilarity. His ebullient personality and ready wit make this account of his path to faith entertaining and uplifting — encouraging progress on one’s own path to faith.

As local Jewish and Christian congregations respectively celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas this month, worshipping the same God according to the text that is the basis of their faith (the Torah, aka Books 1-5 of the Old Testament), we are reminded that God’s blessing of monotheism was first given to the Jews to preserve and protect, and to be passed on to non-Jews (Genesis 50). Their pivotal link is in the strong faith and obedience of the Jewish girl named Mary who took part in the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ (New Testament). His earthly deeds, crucifixion and resurrection as prophesied in the Old Testament evidence the continuity of God’s grace to humanity.

Jewish and Christian congregations serve our community alongside each other, providing education, works of compassion and the concepts that can connect believers to eternity. 

This example of peaceful service can connect us with one another in ways that can lead to peace in this world.

Betty T. Moore

43-year resident of River Forest

50-year member, Grace Lutheran Church

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