Meet Our Rabbis
Rabbi Jack Zimmerman
I was born into a Conservative Jewish household in Brooklyn, New York, where growing up Jewish meant going to Hebrew School, attending synagogue services every Saturday morning, having my Bar Mitzvah, and understanding that the only place where pork was permissible to eat was at the local Chinese restaurant. That is, as long as the pork was mixed in with the fried rice, and that way, you almost couldn’t see it, so it wasn’t really there.
My desire was not to go into ministry. Rather, it was to work as a broadcast news reporter in radio, and then eventually work in television as a producer; both of which I did. During this time, I also became involved with a number of stand-up comedians whose names are well-known today, and had the opportunity to do some comedy work myself as a TV studio audience warm-up host in New York.
Little did I realize that God had other, greater plans: I married a Christian woman in 1988, and after Sandie shared the Messianic Prophecies of the Tanakh (Old Testament) with me, I asked Yeshua into my life a short time later. We began attending Messianic Congregations during our time in the northeast, and in 1998, we moved to Phoenix.
In 2000, a Church pastor and great friend of Israel, offered his sanctuary as a place for us to have our own Messianic Congregation, and in May of that year, Tree of Life (formerly Beth Simcha )was born! The Mission then was the same as it is now: share the Good News of the one true Jewish Messiah, with Jews and Gentiles alike. We thank the Lord for the awesome blessings he bestows upon us, and are grateful to be doing the work of the Kingdom!
Rebbetzin Sandie Zimmerman
So what is a nice gentile girl doing in a Jewish ministry? 4 words… the book of Ruth. As a non-Jew or gentile woman, I am called to the Jewish people. In other words, their God is my God, and where they go, I will go. God prepared me for my “Boaz” all my life, I believe. I had the privilege to grow up in a Christian home, go to Christian school, and attend a church that was very pro-Israel. In fact we had a ministry at our church called, ‘Friends of Israel.’
I grew up in a Philadelphia neighborhood that was 1/2 Jewish and 1/2 Catholic. I remember observing the Jewish people walking to synagogue on Saturdays. I learned a lot about the Jewish people in my bible classes at school and how we are to bless Israel as Christians. So when I met my Jewish husband, it did not seem odd to me that God brought us together.
I see the book of Ruth as prophetic. I believe it will be the gentile church who will provoke the Jewish people back to their redeemer Yeshua the messiah. Because we have what they already have… but just cannot see it yet as a nation. As we cling to the God of Israel and proclaim more and more the message of Yeshua back to His Jewish people, and the Jewish community sees us living the way of Hashem and his commandments which has power from Yeshua the living Torah, then I believe through evidence of scripture the “scales” will fall off as a nation, and then Israel will be able to fulfill her prophetic calling and lead all nations up to Jerusalem to Yeshua the Messiah and king siting on the throne forever!