OURS is the first generation in which children are more religious than their parents. This was the opinion of New Yorker Roy Neuberger, the son of wealthy atheists.
"People are coming out of the woodwork towards religion,'' he said. He felt that, despite all today's current problems, this was a proof we were living in a messianic age. He said: "We have to have the courage to walk through the darkness and come out and see the light where God will receive us.''
Describing his childhood, he said: "Materially we had everything, spiritually nothing. I had no brit, barmitzvah, Chanucah, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur or Pesach. I was aware something was missing. There was a huge vacuum.''
Roy felt he had a split personality like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. He was afraid that he could not control his Mr Hyde. This made him feel terribly afraid.
His wife Leah, who later came to Judaism with him, said of her childhood: "We kept Chanucah and not December 25 like Roy 's family. But it was a cultural identification. We didn't go to school on Rosh Hashana out of respect, but we didn't go to shool. We did have a seder.''
Leah attended a Reform Sunday school for three years but left when she was taught about a succah as she felt it had nothing to do with her.
She said: "My Jewish education was almost zero. I had a vague feeling that something was missing, that there had to be something bigger outside ourselves.
"That is why I got involved in the peace movement and conservationism as a student. "I was anti-Vietnam because I wanted to bring peace to the world. Then we studied different religions.''
Roy described as nothing less than miraculous the fact that he got to marry Leah. He said: "She was Miss Universe who had everything. I was afraid to speak to girls. God opened my mouth like Bilaam's ass.''
He described their wedding as "the most non-Jewish, Jewish wedding you could have''.
Considering himself "allergic to being Jewish'', he found a Reform rabbi who would conduct a service without Hebrew.
After marriage, Roy thought life would be perfect. He now says: "Because we did not have God in our life, after 18 months our marriage was falling apart. I panicked and couldn't function. There seemed to be no hope. Every door led nowhere.''
One morning, whilst they were both studying at Michigan University , he woke at 2am and cried from hopelessness. Then the "unbelievable'' question entered his mind whether there could be a God. Roy realised he needed Him.
He described that moment as the "turning point'' of his life. But he still did not want to be Jewish.