Louis Kaplan was born December 13, 1915, to Russian Jewish parents in New York City. He was raised in an Orthodox Jewish home, attended Hebrew school, and was made “a son of the commandment” at his Bar Mitzvah at age 13. Louis was taught by the rabbis to observe rituals, ceremonies, and Jewish traditions more than the teaching of the Tenakh—the Torah, the prophets, and writings of the Hebrew Scriptures.
When Louis was 19 years old, he found himself working in a packing house in Florida. There he met what he described as “a real Christian.” This young man was very kind to Louis and showed concern for the welfare of his soul, something no other person had done before. Shortly after they’d met, the man left Florida, but the impact of his faith remained with Louis.
When a local church held a revival meeting, Louis attended, “out of curiosity.” But, he said, “I was also hungering for the precious something that this young man had in his heart which I did not have.” That night, he realized it was Jesus that his soul thirsted after.
Louis discovered that in the Messiah, God had broken down the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile, making one new man. He saw that the Church of God was not the Jewish nation or the Gentile nations, but Jews and Gentiles made one in Messiah.
There weren’t very many Jewish people receiving Messiah in 1935. At least, not enough to notice. Certainly not in the numbers we’re witnessing today. Then, as now, however, God was preserving a remnant of Remembering the Kaplans the Jewish people, opening their eyes and helping them see and embrace their Messiah and carry the message of His coming to any who would listen. Louis was among this small remnant. Upon meeting him, you wouldn’t consider him a “world changer.” A survivor, and a successful one at that, but a world changer? You wouldn’t think so, and quite frankly, neither would he. But he was.
You see, there was one thing about Louis Kaplan that set him apart. He had a fire in his heart for Yeshua, one that wasn’t content only to have a relationship with God himself, but which yearned to bring others into relationship with their Messiah as well.
Chira was more than just the wife of Louis Kaplan. She was really the visionary force behind the ministry for many years, in the latter years of her husband’s life. She was host of the ministry’s television broadcast, editor of the monthly magazine, and on-the-field emissary. She was the face of Jewish Voice Broadcasts. Her immense contribution to this ministry is immeasurable.
Although she ministered to thousands by television each week, Chira was an intensely private person. She was very uncomfortable drawing any attention whatsoever to herself. Humble, yet as stubborn and tenacious as anyone, she was a godly woman. She walked in the fear of the Lord. She and Louis lived simply and frugally, never becoming attached to the things of this world. For most of her life—almost 50 years of the 73 she was on this earth—she was solely focused on one mission: the restoration, salvation, and well-being of Israel and the Jewish people.
She was a true Ruth—the Jewish people became her people, the God of Israel her God, and wherever the Lord led her to go help them, she followed.
Today, millions of people worldwide are reached daily with the Good News through Jewish Voice Ministries over regular networks and via satellite because the Kaplans decided to trust and obey the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Yes, Louis and Chira were pioneers. They were trailblazers. They enriched our lives, and they will not be forgotten.