The Conversion of David Neuhaus

David Neuhaus, SJ, is an unusual man.  He was born into a Jewish family in South Africa, which emigrated to Israel when he was teenager.  At age 15 he got to know an elderly Russian Orthodox nun named Mother Barbara.  He was impressed by her joy and serenity.  As he tells the story

One day, I plucked up the courage and asked her: Why are you so joyful? She knew I was a Jew and she was hesitant at first, but then as she began to speak of the great love in her life, the words came tumbling out and she became ever more radiant. She told me about Jesus Christ, about God’s love expressed in him, about her life of joy with him in the convent.  I was struck and know today that in her radiant joy I saw the face of Jesus for the first time.

He became a Catholic and eventually entered the Jesuits.  Today he is the pastor of Hebrew-speaking Latin rite Catholics in Israel.  This is a small community of several hundred Catholics, many of them Jewish converts.  He says, “Our founding fathers and mothers had a vision of a Hebrew-speaking Catholic community at home within the Jewish people in Israel and living its life of faith in profound dialogue and solidarity with the Jewish people.”  Read an interview with him here.  More about Hebrew-speaking Catholics in Israel here and here.