I was raised in a fairly traditional Jewish home in the Chicago area. I went to Hebrew school, Shabbat school, and was active in BBYO, a Jewish youth group affiliated with our Conservative synagogue. I had my bar mitzvah.

When I was seventeen and my grandmother died, my thoughts turned to some of life's bigger questions: Why are we born if life ends in death? Is there anything which gives life a deeper meaning than just work and play; providing for family and having a good time?

By a strange twist, in my first semester at university I wound up writing a research paper on why the Jews at the time of Jesus did not believe he was the messiah (and this was for a Jewish professor). I had to examine those passages of the Bible that our rabbis had said spoke of messiah.

As I read books by Jewish, Christian, and secular authors, all who attempted to explain these passages, my questions seemed to multiply; and so I met with two rabbis and two Christian ministers in town to hear both sides.

Through all of this I began to lean in the uncomfortable direction that perhaps Jesus just might be the messiah and that maybe I hadn't been told the whole story as I grew up. But my Jewishness prevented me from being completely objective, and so with a sense of relief I finished my paper and tried to put the subject behind me.

A few months after this, a close friend of mine told me that she began to believe in Jesus, and I quietly began to observe her life and to detect some positive changes. Around that time I began to "pray." That is, I began to question out loud if there was a God and whether Jesus might be the promised messiah.

In my own way I uttered an honest prayer wanting to know the truth.

Without going into other details, let me say that God does answer prayers like that. I came to the point where I believed that there is a God and that Jesus is the Messiah.