The Pianist

Jeff Serio, International Director

“You are no longer my son. You are dead to me and I never want to see you again!”     Spoken by a Jewish father to his son, after hearing of the son’s new faith in Jesus.

The Jewish son is Sam Rotman, one of European Initiative’s partners in reaching Jewish people in Europe. Sam is an extremely gifted classical pianist, and at his concerts he shares his extraordinary journey of faith. EI recently invited Sam to Europe for an extensive tour that included concerts in Brussels, Paris, Berlin, and Cologne. Sam’s concerts entertain his European audiences, but it is his riveting testimony that he shares at the end of each performance that changes their lives.

Sam’s parents were Jewish, his father born in Romania and his mother born in Slovakia.  They escaped Europe during the Holocaust and fled to South America. Many other family members remained in Europe and were killed in the Holocaust. Sam’s parents eventually moved to the USA where Sam was born and was raised an Orthodox Jew. As a boy Sam attended Hebrew school everyday for eight years and matured into a very religious, observant Jew. His world was exclusively Jewish.

After high school Sam left home to attend the Julliard School in New York City. It was there he met some Christians who gave him a New Testament. Sam labored over the decision to read it, and considered throwing it in the trash several times. Eventually he did read it and was shocked to find that it was not about gentiles, but the Jewish people. To his amazement even Jesus himself was Jewish! Within a few weeks Sam had become convinced that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, the hope of Israel; Sam gave his heart to Him. A few days later he knew it was time to tell his parents.

Sam paid a painful price for his faith in Jesus. His relationship with his parents was lost – even as he was dying, his father not only refused to see him, but also requested that Sam not attend his funeral. Towards the end of his mother’s life, Sam’s re-established contact with her. It was through Sam’s witness, she came to faith in Yeshua!

As Sam shared with the European audiences about his father’s response, groans could be heard across the room. Making a decision to believe in Jesus, for a Jew is a costly one. Sam’s story resonated deeply with the Europeans, causing them to contemplate the worth of something that came at such a great price.

The Sam Rotman concerts reached more than 1,500 Europeans including hundreds of Jewish and gentile unbelievers. One of the concerts was performed at a Jewish nursing home in Berlin, attended by many Holocaust survivors. His testimony pierced hearts across Europe.

European Initiative is honored to partner with gifted men like Sam Rotman, who help us bring the gospel to every sphere of European culture. Sam’s concerts are tools that bring many Europeans to a point of considering faith in Yeshua. Please pray with us for every seed that was sown across Europe, by the pianist.