By Mark Ellis —
She was born in Jerusalem when it was still under the British mandate. As a child, she witnessed the birth of the modern state of Israel on May 14, 1948. But the birth was not without labor pains, and her personal travail continued after she found the Jewish Messiah following a move to the United States.
“I came from a very Jewish Orthodox home,” says Eve Szternlicht Cohen Ellingwood. “My parents were lucky to be there from Poland so as not to be killed in the holocaust. The family that stayed behind were killed.”
Following World War II, hundreds of thousands of Jewish Holocaust survivors and refugees sought a new life in Palestine, which provoked conflict with the existing Palestinian Arab population. In 1947, the British announced they would withdraw from Palestine, frustrated in their attempt to resolve the immigration crisis in a way acceptable to both Arabs and Jews.
“When the British left the Arabs attacked Israel,” Eve recounts. “We were in Jerusalem during the siege. There was no food or water. If you saw an egg it was a miracle. We had curfew at 6 pm. They kept shooting at our building.”
During the Palestine war, local Arab forces took control of the hills overlooking the road to Jerusalem – the only link to the coast. Soon there were shortages of food, water, fuel and medicine.
Volunteers constructed a makeshift bypass route known as the Burma Road (named after the Chinese Burma Road), which brought relief to a desperate population.
“I will never forget at seven-years-old, a caravan of 400 trucks broke through on Shavuot (Pentecost) at 7 a.m. to bring us food. I went running…there were people singing on the rooftops they were so happy it was happening. If this caravan had not come to Jerusalem when it did we would have all starved within a week,” she recalls.
Eve was in Tel Aviv when independence was declared. “Everybody was dancing in the street. They did the hora (dance) until six or seven in the morning. Everyone was dancing, singing, and laughing.”
She finished ninth grade in Israel, then moved to the U.S. with her family. Eve received a scholarship to UCLA and met her husband, Howard Cohen, there.
Following her graduation, she became engaged and was also accepted to Loyola Law School.
“I believe you marry and stay home with the kids, but my mother wanted me to get an education. I didn’t pass the bar right away because I had a baby at the time.”
In her growing legal practice, she was also very active in politics, eventually working on the Nixon, Goldwater, and Reagan campaigns. As her career advanced, she received an offer to become an administrative law judge.
In her judicial position, she traveled throughout much of California. On one of those trips in 1972, two men witnessed to her about Jesus.
“No way, no how!” she told the men emphatically. “Not only am I a Jew, I was born in Jerusalem and I can’t go against my parents like that.”
A short time later, Herb Ellingwood (who worked with Ronald Reagan and later became her husband) sent her the book: Michael, Michael why do you hate me? by Michael Esses, the story of a Jewish rabbi who became a follower of Jesus. He also sent The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey.
In December 1973, Eve was working in Oxnard, California and the gas shortage delayed her drive home. In need of a haircut, she opened the yellow pages and found a salon nearby.
As she settled into a chair for her haircut, a hairdresser named Feliz asked her, “Are you a Cohen by marriage?”
“Yes,” Eve replied.
“So am I. My husband is Howie.”
“What did you say?” Eve asked incredulously. “That’s also my husband’s name.” They quickly made sure they were not talking about the same Howie.
Eve made note of Feliz’s accent. “Are you from France…or North Africa?”
“No…I’m from Israel.”
“You’re kidding. So am I…I’m afraid to ask…are you a Christian?”
“Yes, I am,” Feliz said. “I have a picture of Jesus on my mirror and God sends me people who are looking for him.”
Eve could not escape the conclusion that Jesus was after her, following this “chance” meeting with a Jewish woman who had accepted Jesus as her Messiah, a woman with remarkable similarities in background.
Over the next several weeks, the Holy Spirit continued to pursue Eve’s heart. She began to pray every day: “God I want to know you.”
Eve was invited to a prayer meeting, along with the president of the Lawyer’s Club of L.A., Harry Crowder. Harry expressed surprise at Eve’s interest in attending.
“Why is a Jewish girl looking for a prayer meeting?” he asked her.
“I’ve been looking for Jesus all day.”
“Are you ready to do it now?” he asked. Harry pulled out of his pocket The Four Spiritual Laws tract from Campus Crusade for Christ.
As they went through each of the Four Laws together, they landed on a page with a diagram of two circles. One circle shows a self-directed life with ‘self’ on the throne and Christ outside the circle.
The other circle depicts Christ in the life and also on the throne of one’s life. “Which circle best represents your life?” Crowder asked.
She knew Jesus had been outside, but now she wanted to invite Him inside.
Eve recited the sinner’s prayer aloud. “I said it with my whole heart,” she recalls.
Suddenly something remarkable happened. “It was like somebody took a knife and sliced the veil off my eyes, from the inside to the outside and lifted it up. I couldn’t stop crying.”
“The next day when I went to work the sky looked bluer and the trees looked greener. When people looked at me my face was shining.”
At Harry’s suggestion, she began to read the book of John. “I couldn’t believe the love in it. The love was right there.”
One day Eve’s husband found some Christian literature in their house and asked, “Are you a Christian or something?”
Eve could not deny her newfound faith. His reaction was harsh: “Either give this up Christ fantasy or our marriage will end.”
She knew she could never give up her Savior. Looking back on her marital crisis, she notes, “Jesus, is not only my Savior, he is my Lord and my life. He is the Spirit power holding my body together. If I gave him up Jesus, I would literally die. My body would come undone.”
Eve’s testimony attracted attention and she went on TBN to proudly proclaim her faith, but the media spotlight invited further opposition from family members.
Eight years later, her husband divorced her. Her parents threatened her, while her brother and sister conspired to have her removed from the family trust.
“I found out my brother and sister killed my parents,” she alleges. “They used doctors and medication like Michael Jackson. They stole their millions. They forged my parents’ trust and took everything my father left for me.”
“Corrupt high level Jewish people in Beverly Hills helped them all became I was a Jew named Cohen who dared to go on TBN and talk about my faith in Jesus.”
Undaunted by the persecution she has endured, her faith continues to shine. “My heart’s desire is to see people come back to their first love,” she says.
To know more about a personal relationship with God, go here
Judge Eve Ellingwood Cohen is a retired Administrative Law Judge who now serves as a prayer warrior, prophet, public speaker, radio host, author, coach, business consultant, and elder abuse advocate. To learn more about her ministry, go here