ou are no longer my son!”
Those were the words Richard heard as his father threw him out of their house. After that day, Richard didn’t see his father for 10 years.
Richard was born into an Orthodox Jewish family in Casablanca, Morocco. At that time, living there was difficult for Jews, so his family moved to Paris, France, when Richard was a young boy. In the suburb of Paris where they lived, there was no Jewish synagogue, so Richard’s father started one. What began as a home synagogue eventually became the official synagogue in the town of Villejuif. Richard celebrated his bar mitzvah in this synagogue.
When Richard attended primary school, he made a friend whose father was one of the few Adventists in Villejuif at that time. Through this family, Richard was introduced to the Messiah. Over the next few years, he used every opportunity to go to his friend’s house so that he could study the Bible. Over time, Richard began to feel a change in his outlook on life.
After studying the Bible for several years, Richard felt ready to accept Jesus as the Messiah, but his family didn’t approve of his decision. His father had several rabbis meet with Richard to try to change his mind. But no argument could compete with Richard’s newfound understanding of the Bible. Seeing that Richard couldn’t be swayed, his father disowned him and made him leave the house.
The next time that Richard saw his father was 10 years later, at Richard’s older brother’s wedding. His father invited him to the celebration at the insistence of Richard’s relatives. According to Richard, the encounter wasn’t warm, but it was a start to the mending of their relationship. Richard says that their meetings progressively improved to the point that eventually, they were able to relate to one another as father and son again.
From the time he gave his life to Jesus, Dr. Elofer has been passionate about sharing the gospel with Jewish people. He spent 43 years working as a colporteur and a pastor and served as the president of the Israel Field for 15 years. While serving in Israel, he was also appointed as director of the World Jewish-Adventist Friendship Center (WJAFC), one of six centers set up by Global Mission to build bridges of understanding to other world religions and communities.
In 2012, Dr. Elofer moved back to Paris to continue his work in reaching the Jewish people and serve full-time as the director of the WJAFC. While there, he also led an Adventist Jewish congregation that met regularly and focused on making connections between the Jewish and Adventist faiths.
For 18 years, Dr. Elofer sent out a weekly newsletter in several languages. In March 2021, he informed his subscribers that the issue they were receiving would be the last under his leadership. Dr. Elofer retired from his position of director of the WJAFC in August 2021. His tireless work comprises hundreds of seminars and sermons delivered all around the world; thousands of pages of writing, some of which are presented in the three volumes he authored of an ongoing Bible commentary series based on Jewish sources and thought; and his passionate advocacy for mission to the Jews.
Dr. Mike Ryan, former director of Global Mission, says, “Richard joins the list of Seventh-day Adventists who passionately worked for and believed that Jewish people are not only chosen of God, but they are loved by God, and through the grace of Jesus will live eternally in the New Jerusalem.”