Due to a glitch in my memory bank, I forgot to post Inside Israel yesterday. This is the newsletter where we will hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua. So, put on your prayer shawls and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is …
Greetings in The Name of Yeshua, Jesus, Lord of lords, King of kings, THE only true Messiah,
May He be blessed and glorified, and may you be blessed and edified. And may we ALL grow in grace and in the knowledge of Him (not through my letter, but just through His working in us and His Word and prayer! – This has been my constant prayer for myself lately.)
When people come to visit this land for the first time, I try to prepare them for one major cultural ‘difference’ that they never seem prepared for: the subject of ‘manners’…or rather the lack of them. ‘RUDE!’ is generally a word that I hear a great deal when describing Israelis once off the tour bus… and I can understand the misinterpretation of the actions. I say ‘misinterpretation’ because I believe that ‘rudeness’ should not necessarily be judged by ‘action’ but by ‘intent’.
I had been prepared for the situation before we made aliyah, by my brother in law, who is Israeli but sadly does not live here. This is how he described it: ‘Israel is a third world country dressed in first world clothing; sort of like a gorilla in a tuxedo’. He continued: ‘An Israeli will push you over and break your leg trying to get on the bus before you, but then will pick you up, carry you on his back all the way (running no less) to the hospital…pace up and down in front of the operating room while they piece your leg back together, visit you every day with flowers, chocolate and home cooked meals (if not sleep on the floor beside you) AND… you will be at his shabat table and every family occasion for the rest of your life once you recover!’
I found that pretty accurate! There is simply NO malicious intent in Israeli ‘rudeness’!
When we first came (actually the first week and my very first time on the bus alone) I was downtown and went to get on the bus. There were lots of ‘old ladies’ (like me now) trying to push on to the bus before me, so, ‘naturally’ I stepped aside to let them on. Just as I prepared to get on the bus, he closed the doors in my face and took off! I burst out crying. (Very mature response, but I was still pretty much in shock by all of the changes that immigration was bringing)
Several women approached me to comfort me and to see if they could help and maybe pour some water down my throat (perhaps I was thirsty?). ‘What is the matter?’ the one who could speak a bit of English asked. ‘He closed the door in my face as I was about to get on!’ I blubbered. They looked puzzled, ‘but you kept stepping aside!’ they reminded me. ‘Of course…all of those old ladies wanted to get on…’ Now they REALLY looked puzzled. ‘But why didn’t YOU get on?’ You get the picture? I soon learned how to push my way on to the bus and not get left behind.
There actually IS a sort of ‘method’ to it all…and it is NOT considered rude. The truth is…life here is not quite ‘easy’, always pressured…and everyone is trying their best to get something ‘accomplished’ …there is just no time for the ‘niceties’ of ‘space’ between people.
Uh oh! This became a real testing ground for me…a grinding stone for The Lord to work on areas of my life that I did not want exposed. (does that sound like your Lord too?) There are definite reasons that I was born in NYC and had DETERMINED (by the age of two I think!) that I was ‘out of there!’ and going to live in the most far away from people and quiet place I could find. Thus I lived in the remote Alaska bush for 15 years and never had any intent to leave. I was a hermit by nature. Proverbs 18:1 tells me what The Lord thinks about my love of being a hermit:
“A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment.”
The King James Version translates it this way:
“Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh [and] intermeddleth with all wisdom.”
The King James version sounds quite different, which I had interpreted to be a ‘good thing’ for many years. When I read the New KJ translation it sent me to the Hebrew… which I couldn’t understand…so I went to parallel versions. I have come to see that the NewKJ is far closer to the meaning…and I have had to ask The Lord deal with this area of my flesh that loves its s-p-a-c-e and privacy and quiet etc. It has not been an easy lesson and I am still learning it, but sharing His love for this nation and its people (in general…He is oh so dealing with my heart to love people INDIVIDUALLY) drives me to want them to be understood correctly.
Now…what was the point of all of this?
A humorous thing has occurred! I have shared much with you about our ‘new lite rail system’ that is NOT appropriate for Jerusalem! Its fine in Europe, or Seattle, or probably most places in the world…but in Jerusalem? It is a disaster, at least for those (like me) who have to ride it daily! Occasional riders and tourists seem to love it, but it is a nightmare for the commuters and this is not just my opinion. I would say it is nearly 100% across the board express this opinion… vocally …daily, and there have been many demonstrations and ongoing letters to the editor…all a waste of breath.
Now…let’s see if I can describe (just) one of the problems: the doors. There has been a serious problem at each stop as perhaps 20 people push to get off while, simultaneously, approximately 20 people push to get on. There is a ‘stance’: head down, hands in fists in front of your chest, mouth open yelling a variety of things, and the push and shove begins. It can get quite nasty (and occasionally funny) and there has been no solution. There had been ‘guards’ at stops yelling ‘don’t push! Don’t push! Let them off before you get on!’ to no avail. Once on the train the conversation always turned to ‘These awful trains!’
Last Friday morning I went to the train stop and was greeted by some new very bright yellow markings all over the side walks; they were lines and arrows resembling traffic lanes. Not really ‘normal’ traffic lanes, but the kind that you see at very busy intersections where there had been a lot of deadly accidents. These are seriously ‘aggressive’ lines and arrows that scream ‘This way dummy! NOW that way!’
Since I leave quite early in the morning, there were as yet no people around, but on the way home there were smiling young people dressed in bright red giving out freebies. We Israelis love freebies! Who doesn’t? They were giving out a free candy along with a little cartoon booklet showing people how to ‘WAIT’ until the passengers get off BEFORE you try to get on.’ All of the cartoon characters were smiling; they did NOT look Israeli! We took the little booklet and the candies and waited for the train. Everyone stood behind the yellow lines and smiled at the red-jacketed workers…UNTIL THE TRAIN CAME. The battle was on once again! It is definitely funny. A dear sis mentioned last night that this campaign was probably started by the complaints of North Americans or Brits and she was likely right! By the way, the happy cartoon characters also grace posters sprinkled around the train stops.
(I just looked for photos of the campaign for you, but found only this article from a secular Canadian online site that gives you an idea plus photos http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/06/06/its-unpleasant-and-people-push-each-other-jerusalems-light-rail-transit-starts-a-courtesy-campaign/ It’s funny…but also an eye opener if you read the ‘comments’. ‘Standing in defense of Israel’ can be emotionally painful as I am sure that most of you are aware. One of the things that I noticed in the article was the mention of the couple (2 I believe) of Jewish kids provoking fights with Arab kids on the train. There was no mention of the (also 2 I believe) stabbings of Jews by Arabs on the train. Note the hostility.)
Explaining Israel…the Jews…it all comes back to The Word…it has ALL been written…and He has provided us with The Holy Spirit…the Interpreter, The Guide Who will lead us into all Truth so that we can rightly divide The Word of Truth. I am so thankful that He does all things well and as I have been seeking lately to understand His WAYS IN (His) JUDGMENT and to grasp how we are to respond during HIS TIMES OF JUDGMENT, I am reminded that Israel is to be separate, alone and that He too was despised and rejected. So my only purpose here it to try to remove some of the stumbling stones from before the feet of those of you who may be able to walk here for a limited period of time as a tourist or short term volunteer.
I have rambled on for a long time and should go, but I find that every time I write, I linger in a sort of ‘virtual fellowship’ and I think of the names of those of you on the list and I am so thankful for His way of weaving us into His body together…praying for one another…building one another up in His Holy Spirit.
I have several unspoken (sorry) personal family requests for prayer and I thank those of you whom He has burdened with ‘carrying my family’. I also have a prayer request for a dear sister (not here) who has just been diagnosed with cancer and will begin treatment soon, although I will not mention her name. There is another sister among you to whom I write who has recently been deserted by her husband who unexpectedly turned from The Lord who surely needs prayer. I know that if He wants any of you to carry these before the throne He will enable and remind.
May The Lord fine tune each of us for HIS GLORY alone, and may we be about His business. LOVINGLY, your sis here.