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Posts tagged ‘Hanukkah’

65 Things to Love About Israel.


Shabbat Shalom
Shabbat Shalom (Facebook)

How many reasons can you come up with to love Israel? Here are 65 from lone soldier Karen Hajioff, but there are certainly a great deal more.

1. I love that there are Israeli flags absolutely everywhere—just because we can.

2. I love that time I was in a pretentious club in Tel-Aviv during Hanukkah and they stopped the crazy partying in order to light the Hanukkah candles.

3. I love that it is considered impolite to not tell someone whom you voted for.

4. I love that Dudi is a common name here.

5. I love that when I was crying once on the bus, the girl next to me put her arm around me.

6. I love that feeling when the siren goes off and everything stops. And you know that everyone is feeling the same thing.

7. I love that under a week of knowing someone, he invited me to his wedding.

8. I love that the taxi driver carried on telling me his story from the Yom Kippur War, despite having already arrived at my destination.

9. I love that time I was on a packed bus with 10 passengers standing. When a seated passenger got off the bus, all the standing passengers were arguing who should sit down. Arguing that the other should sit. After nobody budged, the seat remained empty for the rest of the hour-long journey.

10. I love that the above has happened to be more than once.

11. I love that woman from Beer Sheva who stood in the streets giving out tea and biscuits during Operation Pillar of Defense.

12. I love being told “Chag Sameach” by the electronic sign on the front of the bus. Seventy years ago, nobody would have been able to believe that we would have the technology or a homeland in order to do so.

13. I love how people are dressed up every day for a week to in order to celebrate the one day of Purim.

14. I love watching the video of Sam Sank’s parents surprising him at his beret ceremony (search “sam sank surprise” on YouTube, and you will understand).

15. I love that at the end of my ride in the taxi, the driver gave me a bracha to get married.

16. I love that I occasionally get phone calls in the army from my friends’ parents, just to “see how things are going.”

17. I love that last year during the memorial ceremony for the fallen soldiers of Israel, I met a Holocaust survivor who spent the evening telling me his story and held my hand during the Hatikva.

18. I love that when a glass breaks in a restaurant, everyone, without fail, screams “Mazel tov!” and starts cheering.

19. I love that walking through the streets of Israel and reading the street names is more of a history lesson than most history lessons I have had.

20. I love Mivtza Yonatan (the operation in Entebe). It’s simply the most incredible story ever.

21. I love that while in a clothes shop with my friend, a fellow customer handed us her baby (which was 2 months old) while she tried on clothes.

22. I love getting the seat on the bus next to the middle door. Because as opposed to other seats on the bus, it has its own shade for the window and there isn’t a chance for another passenger to pull the shade down and stop me from looking out of the window at our beautiful country.

23. I love my adopted family. I got an adopted family when I moved to Israel, and they have just accepted me like a real daughter. Its amazing! When I lost my credit card, my adopted mum offered to give me hers. When I was crying during the hard times, my adopted dad knew exactly how to calm me down (he would sing me songs!). And it’s all because a family took me in out of the goodness of their hearts. Unbelievable.

24. I strangely love that people here complain so much about Israel. For people to complain so much about this country means that they have forgotten how great of a miracle it is that we have it. Why do I love the fact that people have forgotten how great it is that Israel is ours? Because it means we are used to it. Why are people used to it? It’s because it has been ours for 65 years. That is something that I am very happy about. So, the more people complain, the more I am reminded that Israel is ours.

25. I love that the most common form of graffiti in Israel is “Am Yisrael Chai.

26. I love that I know an Israeli family that went to a very fancy wedding that I too attended, and after an hour of being at the wedding, I saw them leaving. When asking them why they were leaving so early, they responded, “There are no salatim, no humus, no tehina; we are hungry.” I laughed, but they were being genuinely serious; they left before the main course.

27. I love that I got more than 15 (yes, 15) invitations from people for Seder, including two taxi drivers, a stranger I met in a bar, old friends from the army I hadn’t seen in years, etc.

28. I love watching the Chabad guys chasing men to put on teffilin, then succeeding, and then hugging them. The hugging bit is the bit that I love.

29. I love Israel Defense Forces soldiers. (There was no way that this wasn’t going to one of my 65.)

30. I love that Nimrod is a common name here.

31. I love that the guy in the shwarma shop saw me bopping my head to the music, came out from behind the counter, and started doing a yeminite dance. And then gave me a free bag of chips.

32. I love that when you land in Israel, everyone on the plane cheers. And they really mean it.

33. I love that feeling when you get off the plane and you see everything is written in Hebrew and you are reminded of the fact that we have a Jewish state.

34. I love that on Friday evenings, no matter where you are in Israel—in the field, in a secular community, anywhere at all—you feel that it’s Shabbat.

35. I love that on Friday afternoons, you can already smell that it’s Shabbat.

36. I love the girls that give out Shabbat candles on the streets; it’s so nice of them!

37. I love that the other day, my bus driver pulled over in the middle of the journey and bought himself pretzels.

38. I love that a few days earlier, another bus driver announced at the beginning of his journey that he didn’t actually know where he was going and he would appreciate it if someone would come and sit next to him and direct him.

39. I love that the security guard in Azrielli Mall, after looking at my picture on my army ID, felt comfortable enough to tell me that I used to be fat.

40. I love Elal. During Pillar of Defense, they allowed people to cancel their flights for free in order to stay and help the situation in Israel, which lost them millions of dollars. How nice is that?

41. I love that while eating dinner in a restaurant with a friend, the table next to us brought us a slice of birthday cake.

42. I love that the guy from my phone company, after flirting with me over the phone, added me on Facebook after we finished talking!

43. I love that when flying back from New York to Israel, after introducing myself to the man sitting next to me and telling him I was a lone soldier, he instantly invited me for Shabbat. The plane hadn’t even taken off.

44. I love that Israeli’s say the word “achi” (brother) after approximately every seven words in a sentence—even if they are screaming at each other.

45. I love the taxi driver that felt comfortable enough to have an argument with his wife on loudspeaker.

46. I love that Israeli’s call daddy long legs “helicopters” (in a strong Israeli accent).

47. I love how people in Israel regard their ages in halves up until their mid-20s. “I’m 22 and a half,” “I’m 24 and three-eighths” (the example was made up).

48. I love how Israelis refer to Arabs as our “bnei dodim” (our cousins).

49. I love that when trying on a dress in a shop, one of the workers told me not to get it because it didn’t look good.

50. I love those occasions where I am sitting on a bus or a train and someone is walking around giving out wafers or biscuits. It’s a regular occurrence here.

51. I love that one morning, at 5:30 a.m., while walking to my base, a guy on a bike cycling past me screamed, “Don’t yawn with your mouth open!”

52. I love the time I was driving with a friend and all the cars in the lane going in the opposite direction were flashing their lights as they drove by. I asked why they were all flashing their lights and my friend said, “It’s because they saw police ahead and they are warning me.” Apparently this is a common code in Israel.

53. I love that on a plane from London to Israel, an Israeli sitting next to me was holding a baby. The baby was crying for the majority of the journey, but then it became cute for a bit. During its couple of minutes of being cute, I said to the woman next to me, “Your baby is so cute,” and she said, “Well actually, it’s not mine. I saw a woman I know who has twins, and I thought I’d help her out by holding one of them for the plane journey.”

54. I love that there are so many people riding their bikes and singing out loud. They don’t even get any weird looks; it’s completely acceptable here.

55. I love that people start saying “Shabbat Shalom” as of Wednesday. I even once heard someone say “Shabbat Shalom” on a Sunday.

56. I love that before Pesach, there are adverts on the television and radio reminding people to make sure that everyone they know has somewhere to be for all their meals.

57. I love that on numerous occasions, people have stopped me in the street and asked me to use my phone. And sometimes if I am about to meet someone yet am running out of battery, I make sure to write down their number because I myself know I can find someone’s phone to use.

58. I love that as soon as a mother with a stroller is about to go up/downstairs, there is always more than one person who helps her. They don’t even ask; they simply help.

59. I love that night that my friends and I walked into a random apartment in Tel-Aviv because it looked as if they were throwing a party, pretended we knew people there even though we didn’t, and end up becoming friends with the majority of them.

60. I love that everyone can keep calm and keep going when missiles are being fired at Israel, but when there is snow, that is when panic begins.

61. I love seeing old Israeli men sitting at a table, laughing, playing shesh-besh, eating nuts and smoking, knowing that they have probably been friends for years and been through a lot together.

62. I love seeing a group of guys my age that are so close and are like brothers, knowing that in 40 years time, they will be what I described above.

63. I love that you can go outside in your pajamas and give reason to doing so, because “Even if I’m not inside my apartment, I’m still walking around my home.”

64. (Only those who have experienced this feeling will be able to understand it.) I love that feeling you get when you simply realize how lucky it is to be here. Be it on a memorial day or at the top of a mountain during a hike with friends or on a packed bus, there are those moments where you all of a sudden appreciate where you are. In the state of Israel, the Jewish homeland, those moments are truly great.

65. I love the fact that this list could carry on and on …

For the original article, visit israelforever.org.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ STANDING WITH ISRAEL.

Texas Enacts ‘Merry Christmas Law’ to Thwart Political Correctness Attacks.


 

Christmas tree
The so-called ‘Merry Christmas Law’ allows teachers and students to sing Christmas songs and erect Christmas trees, holiday decorations and nativity scenes. (Laura Bittner/Flickr/Creative Commons)

Texas lawmakers sent notices to schools on Monday informing them that new legislation allows students and teachers to dress in festive garb and say “Merry Christmas” all they want without fear of punishment.

The so-called “Merry Christmas Law” is backed by social conservatives who feel that seasonal religious festivities have come under attack because of political correctness. It also covers the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah, which ended earlier this month.

“We hope to see fewer school districts being naughty and more districts being nice,” said conservative activist Jonathan Saenz, president of a group called Texas Values.

The measure, passed nearly unanimously by the Texas legislature this year, allows students and district staff to “offer traditional greetings regarding celebrations, including ‘Merry Christmas,’ ‘Happy Hanukkah‘ and ‘Happy Holidays.'”

It also allows teachers and students to sing Christmas songs, erect Christmas trees, holiday decorations and nativity scenes, as long as they do not include a “message that encourages adherence to a particular religion’s belief.”

Supporters said some schools have dropped Christmas celebrations in favor of things such as non-religious winter festivities out of regard for the feeling of students who are not Christian.

Saenz said the law does not specifically cover the festivities of other major religions such as Islam or Buddhism, but students of other faiths who find their traditions being censored can seek support under the law.

“It is Christmas activities that are being attacked over and over again,” Saenz said.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.


Reporting by Jon Herskovitz. Editing by Andre Grenon

© 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

The Mystery of the Hanukkah Menorah.


Jewish menorah.
Jewish menorah.

The Bible speaks of the menorah, or lampstand, on three levels: one in the Torah, one in the Prophets and one in the New Covenant. Moses was commanded to build a seven-branched golden lampstand and place it in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle (Ex. 25:31-40).

The priests were required to take care of the lampstand, but there was no clear teaching as to the spiritual meaning of the menorah. When there is no clear teaching on something in the Torah—such as the Feast of Trumpets—it is often because it can only be understood in light of the New Covenant.

In the Hanukkah story, the Jews, led by Judah Maccabee and his small army, defeated the Syrian king, Antiochus Epiphanies. It was considered a miracle that this tiny army of Jews could defeat the massive Syrian force.

Antiochus Epiphanies “devastated Jerusalem in 168 B.C.E., defiled the Temple, offered a pig on its altar, erected an altar to Jupiter, prohibited Temple worship [sacrifices], forbade circumcision on pain of death, sold thousands of Jewish families into slavery, destroyed all copies of Scripture that could be found, and slaughtered everyone discovered in possession of such copies, and resorted to every conceivable torture to force Jews to renounce their religion.”

The Menorah

After the surprising Jewish victory, the temple, including the menorah, was rededicated by the Maccabees as they celebrated the new holiday of Hanukkah. (Hanukkah means “dedication.”) The lampstand at Hanukkah is called in Hebrew a Hanukkiah. It has nine lights that represent the eight days the menorah in the temple remained lit, despite having only enough oil for one day (according to tradition) and an extra candle, called the shamash, that is used to light the others. Though most American Jews call this a menorah, it is not a replica of the tabernacle menorah. Nevertheless, it was clearly meant to represent the temple menorah in Jewish religious tradition, as it commemorates the miracle of the seven-branched menorah during the temple’s rededication.

A Sign of Restoration

On the second level, the prophet Zechariah saw a vision of a mystical menorah with two olive trees—one to each side. This symbolized the Lord restoring Zion and the temple by the power of His grace and Spirit (Zech. 4:1-10). This vision became the basis for the symbol and seal of the modern state of Israel.

The Body of Messiah

The third level is found in the book of Revelation, in which John has a supernatural vision of Yeshua in a glorified form, standing in the midst of seven lampstands. It is more likely, if we are going to be consistent with Scripture, that it was either a menorah that John saw, with seven branches, or seven menorahs with 49 lights in total. The word for lampstand in the Hebrew Scriptures is almost alwaysmenorah, a seven-branched candelabra. In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the same word is used for menorah as John used for lampstand in Revelation. In the Hebrew New Testament,lampstand is translated as menorah. Furthermore, the menorah(s) in Revelation are made of gold, just as God told Moses (Ex. 25).

Each branch of the menorah (or each menorah) represented the seven churches or congregations of Asia Minor (Rev. 1:12, 20), which are symbolic of all types and streams making up the internationalecclesia, or body of believersAnd let’s not forget—everything in the temple was an earthly shadow of a heavenly reality (Heb. 8:5). The menorah represents the worldwide body of believers.

As the Mosaic lampstand found expression in Jewish religious tradition, Zechariah’s prophetic vision found expression in modern Zionism, and John’s vision pictures people of every tribe, tongue and nation being glorified by the power of God.

Unity Brings God’s Fire

We know that the menorah in the temple had to be built according to the pattern God gave Moses. (“Be sure to make them according to the plans you were shown on the mountain” [Ex. 25:40].) So if John’s vision of a seven-branched menorah was representative of the united body of believers, then fire must also have meaning.

Without the menorah, you cannot have fire—certainly not a contained, managed, focused fire. Once the menorah was built, it could be lit. In the same way, when the believers gathered on Shavuot (Pentecost) in unity—with one purpose and focus, waiting on the Holy Spirit—they became that spiritual menorah that could be lit, and the Spirit came as tongues of fire. In fact, the image of the 120 with flames of fire upon them is an image of one menorah with many branches. Each branch is on fire, doing the will of God.

With the menorah is in place—just as Yeshua instructed (“But stay in [Jerusalem] until you have been clothed with power from on high” [Luke 24:49])—the fire or Holy Spirit could not only fall upon, but also function through each believer. The fruit was that 3,000 men, plus women and children, were born again that day.

The lesson is that like the menorah, the body of Messiah must be built according to the heavenly pattern. Yeshua tells us in John 17 that His deep desire is for unity. Only when the body is in unity can the Spirit flow as He desires (Acts 2). Gossip, backbiting, dissensions, jealousy and the like all work to thwart the authentic fire of God.

Only the Servant Can Light the Candles

It is interesting that in Jewish tradition, it is that one special candle, the shamash, that leaves His special position above the other candles to come down and give light to the other unlit ones. Shamashmeans “servant.” Once the shamash has brought light to the other candles, He then takes His place, once again, above the others. Unbeknownst to most religious Jews, this is played out in Philippians 2:

“Who, being in very natureGod, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant [Shamash!], being made in human likeness.

“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Yeshua the Messiah is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:6-10).

Shine Your Light!

One more thing. According to Jewish tradition, we are to take the lit Hanukkiah and place it in a window to declare the Hanukkah miracle to all who would see it. Was Yeshua thinking of this (even though the tradition came later) when He said, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:14-16)?

Or, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12)?

You also might find it interesting to know that Yeshua himself celebrated Hanukkah. In John 10:22, it speaks of Him being in Jerusalem for the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah). What is the lesson?

  1. Strive for unity (Phil. 1:7).
  2. Expect the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4).
  3. Let your light shine (Matt 5:14-16).

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ STANDING WITH ISRAEL.

Asher Intrater is the apostolic overseer of two congregations in Israel. He also leads Revival Israel and international prayer ministry in Jerusalem. He is the author of Who Ate Lunch With Abraham? andCovenant Relationships.

Ron Cantor is the director of Messiah’s Mandate International in Israel, a Messianic ministry dedicated to taking the message of Jesus from Israel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Cantor also travels internationally teaching on the Jewish roots of the New Testament. He serves on the pastoral team of Tiferet Yeshua, a Hebrew-speaking congregation in Tel Aviv. His newest book, Identity Theft, was released April 16. Follow him at @RonSCantor on Twitter.

Hanukkah: The Miracle of Light.


menorah
Jewish people celebrate the miracle of light over Hanukkah. (crisderaud/rgbstock.com)

Hanukkah is the last feast in the Jewish calendar and tells a remarkable story of the deliverance of Israel from the control of the Syrians in 164 B.C. The Syrians had assumed rule of the area through a political and military struggle after Alexander the Great had died.

In their wake, they sought to assimilate the people into their Hellenistic culture (ancient Greek culture or ideals) and way of life with no exceptions, dealing ruthlessly with anyone who would oppose them. Had they been completely successful, they could have threatened the very environment that brought Messiah into the world.

Not only did they ransack the holy temple of God, desecrating all of its contents, but they actually sacrificed a pig to their Greek god Zeus on the temple altar, which naturally repulsed all of the Jews, owing to their strict dietary laws, where the pig was considered most unclean.

The Jews were outraged, and a priest named Mattathias and his five sons took up against several Syrian soldiers and killed them, which sparked a revolt. Being completely outnumbered, they utilized guerilla-style warfare tactics, first in the hill country and then throughout the land. They met with surprising success, and their faith in the God of Israel inspired the nation to take back their own country, despite the odds that were against them.

In the month of Kislev (December), they reached Jerusalem and took back the temple. In restoring the menorah, which symbolized the light of God, they only had enough oil to last for one day, as it took eight days to prepare new oil. However, the oil miraculously lasted for eight days. This event demonstrated two miracles of God: the first to deliver His people and the second to lighten His temple.

The temple was restored and rededicated to G-d, and a new holiday was established called Hanukkah (Hebrew for dedication) to remind Israel of these miracles. Hanukkah was not one of the original Jewish feasts mentioned in Leviticus 23, as it had not happened yet. However in light of its significance, its prophetic picture through Daniel, as well as God’s intervention, it became part of the Jewish calendar and has been celebrated ever since by Jews and some Christians all over the world.

In fact Yeshua/Jesus celebrated this holiday and forever connected its significance by reflecting His own messiahship through the feast (John 10:22-39). Isn’t it interesting that in every Jewish holiday, we can see the character of God’s love and light for mankind? And nowhere is this clearer than through the Hanukkah celebration that we see the light of the world.

Isn’t it fascinating that the very last miracle recorded in the Jewish calendar is a miracle of light to foreshadow and tell us of the great Light that was to come into the world?

On Hanukkah itself, Yeshua/Jesus, the great Light of the world, went into the temple area giving perhaps one of the only teachings where He actually refers to Himself as the Messiah and asks the Pharisees to review His credentials by acknowledging the miracles He had performed to provide authenticity as to who He said and claimed to be in the flesh. And if you look carefully, please note the very next miracle recorded that Yeshua performs (in John 11) is life from the dead by raising Lazarus and foretelling the world of His resurrection and life (John 11:25-26).

There is no greater miracle in this world than the gift of God’s one and only Son, and so there is also a beautiful connection that exists between Hanukkah and Christmas, as Hanukkah truly foretells of the great Light that was to come into the world. As believers in Yeshua, both Jew and Gentile alike, we have the liberty to celebrate these holidays that remind us of God’s faithfulness and deliverance of His people.

Hanukkah is observed using a menorah, which is a candlestick that holds nine candles, one for each day of the miracle and the ninth, called the Shamash, which actually means servant. On each day, the Shamash candle is lit and used to light the other candles, increasing one each day until the last day, when they are all lit. Gifts are given and special foods are eaten, usually those cooked in oil.

May His great light and His servant’s heart lighten us and cause us to show His presence and His glory to the world.

Happy Hanukkah, everyone!

Source: STANDING WITH ISRAEL.

Grant Berry is a Jewish believer in Yeshua/Jesus and author of The New Covenant Prophecy and The Ezekiel Generation. He has founded Reconnecting Ministries with the specific focus to help the church reconnect spiritually to Israel and considers it vital to the kingdom of G-d in the last days. His message focuses on the unity, love and healing that the Father wants to bring between Jew and Gentile yet clearly points out the differences and misunderstandings between the two groups. Now is the time to look more carefully into this mystery to make way for healing and reconnection in the Spirit. For more information, please visit reconnectingministries.org.

The brightest Light shines in Jerusalem.


A SPECIAL MESSAGE
From Mike Evans the founder of the Jerusalem Prayer Team

I pray that you and those you love will enjoy a wonderful Hanukkah and Thanksgiving this week.  Each night of Hanukkah, a new candle is lit until the entire lampstand is filled with glowing lights. But there is another light that must continue to shine as well.

God promised to make Israel a “light to the nations” (Isaiah 49:6). And Jesus said that His children were to be “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). During this wonderful holiday season, we have a unique opportunity to show that light to the poor, hungry, and hurting Jewish people of Israel. While others around them are enjoying feasting together and joyful celebration, they are suffering alone.

Many thousands of elderly Holocaust survivors have never received an act of love and compassion from a Christian. Many thousands of hungry Jewish children wonder if anyone cares about them. Today, you and I can change that! We can shine the light of God’s love to these precious people during the Festival of Lights and throughout the year.

“Light is sown like seed for the righteous and gladness for the upright in heart” (Psalm 97:11).

This year, Hanukkah actually starts before Thanksgiving.  The first night of Hanukkah begins at sundown on the 27th of November, and Thanksgiving is on the 28th.  The last time this happened was in 1888, before the date for Thanksgiving was changed to where we observe it now.  And it won’t happen again for 77,000 years!

During Hanukkah, I will be returning to Israel again as your Ambassador.  In addition to meeting with the leaders of Israel and working on the Righteous Gentile Heritage Center, we will be hosting a special Jerusalem Hanukkah party for Holocaust survivors.  I have also received an urgent request for us to increase our efforts to help and touch the lives of Holocaust survivors in great need.  This is an amazing open door God has set before us.

Would you celebrate Hanukkah with a prophetic Holy Spirit-led gift today? Jesus celebrated Hanukkah. “And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.  And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch” (John 10:22-23).  Will you do the same right now?

Even as we host our Hanukkah party for Holocaust survivors and work to meet their ongoing needs, we cannot delay our work on the Righteous Gentile Heritage Center.  This vital witness of Christian love to the entire nation of Israel will only become a reality if we work and give today.  And remember that your gift today will be doubled through the matching gift offer.

DONATE NOW:  https://secure.etransfer.com/JPT/2014CalendarMezuzahPrem.cfm?dn=1032&commID=468244600&ID=711760

With your gift of any amount, we will send you our beautiful 2014 Jerusalem Prayer Team Calendar.  This fourteen-month calendar is filled with amazing scenes from Israel and Scripture verses to encourage your prayers throughout the year.

With your gift of $40 or more, we will send you the calendar and an ornate mezuzah.  Since ancient times the Jewish people have placed mezuzahs with verses from Deuteronomy by the doors of their homes.  When they passed it, they would touch it and kiss their fingertips as a sign of respect for the Word of God.  This mezuzah has the Hebrew letter “shin” inscribed on it–the first letter of Shaddai–Almighty God.  We placed a mezuzah like this one inside the Jerusalem World Center when we dedicated it.  It’s a great prayer reminder and expression of your faith in the promises of God.

When you send your gift of $100 or more, we will send you the calendar and the Jerusalem World Center Study Bible.  This beautifully bound Bible is filled with helps and notes and is prepared especially for our friends and partners who make this outreach to God’s Chosen People a reality day after day.

If you are able to send a gift of $250 or more, we will send the calendar and a stunning Torah Scroll.  In addition, your name or the name of someone you wish to honor will be placed on a special Scroll of Honor in the Righteous Gentile Heritage Center.

Perhaps you would like to do even more.  If you are able to send a gift of $1,000 or more, we will send you the calendar and a massive collection of 12 of our most popular and requested books and resources, including several of my newest, best-selling titles.  We will also place your name or the name of someone special you wish to honor or remember in the Hall of Righteous Gentiles in the Jerusalem World Center.

DONATE NOW:  https://secure.etransfer.com/JPT/2014CalendarMezuzahPrem.cfm?dn=1032&commID=468244600&ID=711760

Your support of the Jerusalem Prayer Team today allows us to continue our work on the Righteous Gentile Heritage Center, to stand up and speak out for Israel, and to meet urgent humanitarian needs among the poor Jewish people living in Israel.  Thank you so much for being part of this vital worldwide prayer movement.

Your Ambassador to Jerusalem,

Dr. Michael Evans

Count Your Blessings


A SPECIAL MESSAGE
From Mike Evans the founder of the Jerusalem Prayer Team

Dear Nnamdi,

This time of year, I reflect on God’s blessings on my life. I have so many. I am blessed and highly favored.

As a young child, I only had one friend–my dog. But my dad got very angry with my dog one day and shot him. I am so glad to have you as a friend, and more than a friend. We are partners in the vital cause of defending Israel and the Jewish People through prayer.

How blessed I am to have married my best friend, Carolyn. She was the first person to ever believe in me, and she still does. How blessed I am to have three beautiful daughters, Michelle, Shira, and Rachel, and a handsome son, Michael David. I am blessed to have nine grandchildren.

Regarding Michael, I had never told Carolyn that I wanted a son to love the way my father never loved me. I think she knew that in her spirit because, after three girls, she was determined to have a boy. She said God had revealed to her that she would have a boy. When my son was born, I looked at the nametag on his crib, and it said, “Michael David Evans II.” I was a bit confused because I had no middle name, and I wasn’t “Michael,” I was Mike. I asked, “Carolyn, how can he be Michael David II when I’m not Michael David I?”

She looked at me and laughed. “That’s your problem,” she said. Shortly afterward, I went before a judge in a courtroom filled with people. He asked, “Why do you want to change your name?” I answered, “I want to be named after my son, so when I grow up, I’ll be just like him.” My son is a mighty man of God and a pastor. I couldn’t possibly be more proud of him.

I’ve walked with my Savior for 54 years…since the day he appeared to me face-to-face at the age of 11. He said, “Son, I love you and have a great plan for your life.” He certainly did, and He still does. I’m so grateful that His great plan included you, my partner.

This year, Hanukkah actually starts before Thanksgiving.  The first night of Hanukkah begins at sundown on the 27th of November, and Thanksgiving is on the 28th.  The last time this happened was in 1888, before the date for Thanksgiving was changed to where we observe it now.  And it won’t happen again for 77,000 years!

During Hanukkah, I will be returning to Israel again as your Ambassador.  In addition to meeting with the leaders of Israel and working on the Righteous Gentile Heritage Center, we will be hosting a special Jerusalem Hanukkah party for Holocaust survivors.  I have also received an urgent request for us to increase our efforts to help and touch the lives of Holocaust survivors in great need.  This is an amazing open door God has set before us.

Would you celebrate Hanukkah with a prophetic Holy Spirit-led gift today? Jesus celebrated Hanukkah.  “And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.  And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch” (John 10:22-23).  Will you do the same right now?

Even as we host our Hanukkah party for Holocaust survivors and work to meet their ongoing needs, we cannot delay our work on the Righteous Gentile Heritage Center.  This vital witness of Christian love to the entire nation of Israel will only become a reality if we work and give today.  And remember that your gift today will be doubled through the matching gift offer.

DONATE NOW: https://secure.etransfer.com/JPT/JerusalemPrintIsraelStoryPrem.cfm?dn=1032&commID=467945983&ID=711760 

With your gift of any amount, we will send you a gorgeous Jerusalem Peace Print. It is suitable for framing, and you will be proud to display it in your home or office. Each time you see it, you will be reminded to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

When you send your gift of $70 or more, we will send you the print and a special edition copy of “The Story of Israel.” This fascinating book traces the rebirth of Israel and its struggle for survival. Filled with rare photographs and details, it also contains wonderful facsimile reproductions of some of the most important pieces of Israel’s history. It is a real treasure.

If you are able to send a gift of $250 or more, we will send you the print and a stunning Torah Scroll. In addition, your name or the name of someone you wish to honor will be placed on a special Scroll of Honor in the Righteous Gentile Heritage Center.

Perhaps you would like to do even more. If you are able to send a gift of $1,000 or more, we will send you the print and a massive collection of 12 of our most popular and requested books and resources, including several of my newest, best-selling titles. We will also place your name or the name of someone special you wish to honor or remember in the Hall of Righteous Gentiles in the Jerusalem World Center.

DONATE NOW: https://secure.etransfer.com/JPT/JerusalemPrintIsraelStoryPrem.cfm?dn=1032&commID=467945983&ID=711760

Your support of the Jerusalem Prayer Team today allows us to continue our work on the Righteous Gentile Heritage Center, to stand up and speak out for Israel, and to meet urgent humanitarian needs among the poor Jewish people living in Israel.  Thank you so much for being part of this vital worldwide prayer movement.

Your Ambassador to Jerusalem,

Dr. Michael Evans

Why isn’t the Obama Administration serious about stopping Iran’s nuclear programme.


A SPECIAL MESSAGE
From Mike Evans the founder of the Jerusalem Prayer Team

Dear Nnamdi,

For months now, it’s been apparent as I read the news and talk to friends in Washington and Jerusalem that the Obama Administration is not serious about stopping Iran‘s nuclear weapons program. Make no mistake–nuclear weapons in the hands of the radical Islamists in Tehran are not just a threat to Israel; they pose a grave threat to America and to the rest of the free world as well.

Yet the Obama Administration is doing everything it can to stop Congress from passing tougher sanctions to force Iran to stop its illegal nuclear weapons and uranium-enrichment program.  I am not sure why the Administration refuses to take this matter seriously, but it is common to the liberal worldview to downplay the threat of evil.  We cannot afford to make that mistake.

It is more important than ever before that you and I stand in the gap for Israel. The scripture tells us that God controls the heart of kings, and we need to seek His face to turn the hearts of world leaders in favor of Israel during these critical days.  Today, I am asking for your gift of support for the Jerusalem Prayer Team as we stand for and with Israel and the Jewish People.

This year, Hanukkah actually starts before Thanksgiving.  The first night of Hanukkah begins at sundown on the 27th of November, and Thanksgiving is on the 28th.  The last time this happened was in 1888, before the date for Thanksgiving was changed to where we observe it now.  And it won’t happen again for 77,000 years!

During Hanukkah, I will be returning to Israel again as your Ambassador.  In addition to meeting with the leaders of Israel and working on the Righteous Gentile Heritage Center, we will be hosting a special Jerusalem Hanukkah party for Holocaust survivors.  I have also received an urgent request for us to increase our efforts to help and touch the lives of Holocaust survivors in great need.  This is an amazing open door God has set before us.

Would you celebrate Hanukkah with a prophetic Holy Spirit-led gift today? Jesus celebrated Hanukkah.  “And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.  And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch” (John 10:22-23).  Will you do the same right now?

Even as we host our Hanukkah party for Holocaust survivors and work to meet their ongoing needs, we cannot delay our work on the Righteous Gentile Heritage Center.  This vital witness of Christian love to the entire nation of Israel will only become a reality if we work and give today.  And remember that your gift today will be doubled through the matching gift offer.

DONATE NOW: https://secure.etransfer.com/JPT/JerusalemPrintMugsPrem.cfm?dn=1032&commID=467675205&ID=711760 

With your gift of any amount, we will send you a gorgeous Jerusalem Peace Print. It is suitable for framing, and you will be proud to display it in your home or office. Each time you see it, you will be reminded to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

With your gift of $40 or more, we will send you the print and a set of Jerusalem Prayer Team mugs. Featuring a sleek and unique design, these 10-ounce mugs are perfect for your favorite drink…and a great way to share your support of the Jewish People with everyone who sees them.

If you are able to send a gift of $250 or more, we will send you the print and a stunning Torah Scroll. In addition, your name or the name of someone you wish to honor will be placed on a special Scroll of Honor in the Righteous Gentile Heritage Center.

Perhaps you would like to do even more. If you are able to send a gift of $1,000 or more, we will send you the print and a massive collection of 12 of our most popular and requested books and resources, including several of my newest, best-selling titles. We will also place your name or the name of someone special you wish to honor or remember in the Hall of Righteous Gentiles in the Jerusalem World Center.

DONATE NOW: https://secure.etransfer.com/JPT/JerusalemPrintMugsPrem.cfm?dn=1032&commID=467675205&ID=711760

Your support of the Jerusalem Prayer Team today allows us to continue our work on the Righteous Gentile Heritage Center, to stand up and speak out for Israel, and to meet urgent humanitarian needs among the poor Jewish people living in Israel.  Thank you so much for being part of this vital worldwide prayer movement.

Your Ambassador to Jerusalem,

Dr. Michael Evans

This will never happen again in our lifetimes–we must not miss it.


Thanksgiving is a very special time of year for Carolyn and me.  We are preparing to celebrate our wedding anniversary and looking forward to spending time with our kids and grandkids.  Truly, God has been so good to us, and there is much for which we will give thanks–and I am sure that the same is true for you.

But recently, I found out something very, very unusual about Thanksgiving this year…and I believe it is something that God has ordained “for such a time as this.”

This year, Hanukkah actually starts before Thanksgiving! The first night of Hanukkah begins at sundown on the 27th of November, and Thanksgiving is on the 28th.  The last time this happened was in 1888, before the observance of Thanksgiving was changed to where it is now on the calendar.  And it won’t happen again for more than 77,000 years!

Because the Jewish calendar doesn’t line up with the Western one that we use, the dates of Hanukkah shift every year.  But this is something almost unprecedented…and something that will not be repeated in our lifetimes.  While we could dismiss this joining of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving as a coincidence of the calendar, I don’t believe it is.  I believe this is a moment of Divine opportunity.

During Hanukkah, I will be returning to Israel again as your Ambassador. In addition to meeting with the leaders of Israel and working on the Righteous Gentile Heritage Center, we will be hosting a special Hanukkah party for Holocaust survivors. I have also received an urgent request for us to increase our efforts to help and touch the lives of Holocaust survivors in great need.  This is an amazing open door God has set before us.

The work that we have done in Jerusalem with renovating the massive bomb shelter there into a community center for Holocaust survivors has been a witness to the entire nation. Because of that demonstration of compassion, others have requested our help.  There are many Holocaust survivors in Israel who have no permanent residence. Others live in tiny, dilapidated apartments that are in terrible condition.

These precious people who have endured so much pain, suffering, and loss urgently need help with housing. They also need help with food and clothing.  They have also requested our aid in providing transportation for things like medical appointments. In short–we have been asked to transform the lives of these precious people.

Of course, as you know, we are in the final push to pay for the Righteous Gentile Heritage Center.  We cannot stop work on this great lighthouse of true Christian love…but neither can we close our ears and our hearts to this plea for help.

What we are able to do to meet this need will be determined by the response of our Jerusalem Prayer Team members–generous and loving friends like you. If you give as God leads, we will be able to make a huge impact on this great need…and more importantly, we will be able to show true Christian love to the Holocaust survivors and the whole house of Israel.

DONATE NOW: https://secure.etransfer.com/JPT/PrayerPouchBetsiePrem.cfm?dn=1032&commID=451692366&ID=711760

With your gift of $30 or more, we will send you a paperback copy of my new book, “Ten Boom: Betsie, Promise of God.”  In this novel, I tell the story of the life and sacrifice of Corrie ten Boom‘s sister, Betsie. This book is so dear to my heart. I have the privilege of serving as the chairman of the ten Boom House and Museum.  This is a powerful story, and I know it will move you as you read it.  If you are able to send a gift of $80 or more, we will send you an autographed, hardback copy. You will also receive the “any gift” offer, a Jerusalem Prayer Team prayer pouch, along with your paperback or hardback copy of the book.

With your gift of any amount, we will send you the Jerusalem Prayer Team prayer pouch.  This prayer aid was designed especially for our partners.  This beautifully decorated prayer pouch contains two notepads: one for prayer requests and one for answered prayers.  As you use it, your faith will be strengthened as you see how God has answered your requests.

If you are able to send a gift of $250 or more, we will send you the prayer pouch and a stunning Torah Scroll.  In addition, your name or the name of someone you wish to honor will be placed on a special Scroll of Honor in the Righteous Gentile Heritage Center.

Perhaps you would like to do even more. If you are able to send a gift of $1,000 or more, we will send you the prayer pouch and a large, silver-trimmed Yemenite shofar.  I have one of these in my office, and it is amazing.  We will also place your name or the name of someone special you wish to honor or remember in the Hall of Righteous Gentiles in the Jerusalem World Center.

DONATE NOW: https://secure.etransfer.com/JPT/PrayerPouchBetsiePrem.cfm?dn=1032&commID=451692366&ID=711760

Your support of the Jerusalem Prayer Team today allows us to continue our work on the Righteous Gentile Heritage Center, to stand up and speak out for Israel, and to meet urgent humanitarian needs among the poor Jewish people living in Israel.  Thank you so much for being part of this vital worldwide prayer movement.

Your Ambassador to Jerusalem,

Dr. Michael Evans

Hobby Lobby Apologizes for Hanukkah Flap.


 

Hobby Lobby CEO Steve Green
Hobby Lobby CEO Steve Green

The owner of the Hobby Lobby craft store chain, under fire because his stores do not carry Hanukkah merchandise, apologized for employee comments “that may have offended anyone, especially our Jewish customers and friends.”

Many Jews and others took offense after reading a Sept. 27 blogpost by a Marlboro, N.J., man who wrote that a Hobby Lobby employee told a Jewish woman that “we don’t cater to you people” after she asked if the store carried bar mitzvah cards.

“Our family has a deep respect for the Jewish faith and those who hold its traditions dear,” read a statement issued late Thursday (Oct. 3) by Hobby Lobby president Steve Green.

“We’re proud contributors to Yad Vashem, (Israel’s official Holocaust museum) as well as to other museums and synagogues in Israel and the United States.”

The statement, however, did not answer whether Hobby Lobby would carry Jewish holiday-related items in the future.

“We have previously carried merchandise in our stores related to Jewish holidays. We select the items we sell in our stores based on customer demand,” the statement said. “We are working with our buyers to re-evaluate our holiday items and what we will carry in the future.”

Ken Berwitz, in his “Hopelessly Partisan” blog, wrote that after he heard that the Marlboro Hobby Lobby does not carry items for Jewish holidays, he called the store and was told that Green’s Christian faith precluded the chain from doing so.

When he then called Hobby Lobby headquarters in Oklahoma City, Berwitz said he was told the company was not stocking items for Hanukkah or Passover, but was not given a reason.

Several publications, including Religion News Service, wrote about the controversy, stirring a heated online debate in which reactions ranged from cries of anti-Semitism to cries that Green is being demonized for his Christian faith.

Green, a conservative billionaire, owns more than 550 Hobby Lobby stores nationwide, all of which are closed on Sunday, the Christian Sabbath. He is also known for his lawsuit against President Obama’s health care law, which he said forces him to provide employees with free insurance coverage for some contraceptive services that he objects to on religious grounds.

Green’s statement Thursday reiterated one made by a Hobby Lobby spokesman days before—that the company is investigating the matter. Berwitz said Thursday he hopes Hobby Lobby employees are not going to get in trouble for explaining the lack of Hanukkah items in the store, because he believes they were simply stating company policy.

“They’re investigating this as if someone made an offensive statement about Jews,” said Berwitz. “I didn’t take it that way.”

The problem, he continued, is that a company that sells general merchandise has decided not to carry Jewish-related items, even in locations where there are a significant number of Jews.

In a follow-up blog post, he writes that Hobby Lobby has a right to sell or not sell whatever it wants, but that it should know it’s sending a message to Jews.

“It is telling them ‘You can come into our store, and spend your money here … But we won’t put out a thing that has any Jewish orientation here, even during the specific times of the year when you would be most likely to come looking for them. And if you don’t like it, take a hike.’”

“Why would a Jew feel welcome there?” he said.

Here is Hobby Lobby’s statement in its entirety:

Hobby Lobby President Steve Green has issued the following statement on behalf of the company:

“We sincerely apologize for any employee comments that may have offended anyone, especially our Jewish customers and friends. Comments like these do not reflect the feelings of our family or Hobby Lobby.

Our family has a deep respect for the Jewish faith and those who hold its traditions dear. We’re proud contributors to Yad Vashem, as well as to other museums and synagogues in Israel and the United States.

We are investigating this matter and absolutely do not tolerate discrimination at our company or our stores. We do not have any policies that discriminate; in fact, we have policies that specifically prohibit discrimination.

We have previously carried merchandise in our stores related to Jewish holidays. We select the items we sell in our stores based on customer demand. We are working with our buyers to re-evaluate our holiday items and what we will carry in the future.”

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ STANDING WITH ISRAEL.

Survey: Yom Kippur Not as Important to Younger Jews.


 

Yom Kippur
Children participate in a Yom Kippur service. People 60 years and older were more likely to pick Yom Kippur as their favorite holiday than did those ages 18-39. (Alan Kotok/Flickr/Creative Commons)

Older and younger Jews agree that Yom Kippur tops Passover as the most important Jewish holiday. But the Jewish Day of Atonement, which falls on Sept. 13, is not as important to younger Jews.

Asked in a Public Religion Research Institute survey “What is the most important Jewish holiday to you personally?” Jewish Americans of all ages picked Yom Kippur. Traditionally, the fast day has been considered the most solemn of the Jewish holy days, a time which God determines whether one will live or die in the coming year.

But those 60 and older were far more likely (53 percent) to pick Yom Kippur than did those in the younger 18-39 cohort (37 percent).

The percentage of younger and older Jews who chose Rosh Hashanah—the Jewish New Year, which begins on sundown on Wednesday (Sept. 4)—hovered around 10 percent for both age groups.

Hanukkah presented another generational divide. More than three times as many younger Jews called the Festival of Lights, which celebrates religious freedom, their most important holiday, even though traditionally it is not considered a major holiday.

In these Days of Awe, as Jews call the 10-day period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we asked students and staff at Hillel, the largest Jewish student organization in the world, to share their thoughts on the Jewish holidays and the PRRI survey results. The survey, of 1,004 Jewish American adults, originally was released in March 2012.

Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Q: Is it a problem that more younger people don’t consider Yom Kippur the most important Jewish holiday?
A:
 “No, it would be problematic if younger people found nothing to be important. It’s great that they are connecting with a variety of holidays.” —Sheila Katz, 30, director of the “Ask Big Questions” program at Hillel’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. Her favorite Jewish holiday: Passover

Q: Why do you think more older Jews consider Yom Kippur their most important Jewish holiday?
A:
 “I believe Yom Kippur to be, in many ways, the heaviest of Jewish holidays, and the most serious. This new generation of Jews appreciates Judaism more for its meaningful customs that may not be so serious, because they have less of a direct connection to the Holocaust, but this is not necessarily a bad thing.” —Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, 19, Hillel of Princeton University. His favorite Jewish holiday: Yom Kippur

Q: Overall, is it a good thing that among both younger and older Jews, Yom Kippur is considered most important?
A:
 “Yom Kippur is important, but no more than any particular Shabbat. It is comforting that the most introspective and solemn day of the Jewish year resonates with so many. Still, if it is the only point of connection for some, then there is a risk that Judaism will seem too serious and stale, formal and detached. There are plenty of joyous reasons to be Jewish that don’t involve traffic jams, tickets, fasting and long sermons.” —Rabbi David Komerofsky, 41, executive director of the Texas Hillel. His favorite Jewish holiday: Shavuot

Q: “Why is there a big difference between older and younger Jews on Hanukkah?”
A: “I can see that Hanukkah, a holiday that often coincides with Christmas, would be seen as a more important holiday in the eyes of younger Jewish Americans … I would imagine that young Jewish Americans trying to fit in with their peers would put more of an emphasis on a holiday that they feel all Americans can relate to.” —Kayla Joy Sokoloff, 20, member of the Texas Hillel Executive Board. Her favorite Jewish holiday: Passover and Purim

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ STANDING WITH ISRAEL.

LAUREN MARKOE/RNS


Copyright 2013 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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