Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua. Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is …
Greetings, dearest sisters and brothers in Yeshua. May HE Whom we love be blessed and glorified and listened to and worshipped and adored…and may we His body be built into His glorious temple for His glory alone.
As I write, the train has stopped and shrill sirens fill the air as yet another fire, a very large one, burns out of control, apparently between the Jerusalem forest, Yad v’shem and Ein Kerem, right here on the outskirts of the city. Large plumes of thick smoke billow upward, darkening the sky, punctuated by the acrid smell of burning trees. The sheer number of fire trucks, water planes, police, and many ambulances are quite worrisome.
Our largest hospital, Hadassah Ein Kerem, is in this area. Many if not most of the fires like this are purposely set by Arabs. Sad but true. See photos of the ongoing fire here.
We are surrounded by “sad but true” events much more then we would like to admit. The relief comes in rare, special moments. There was one of those moments on the train coming home from work today. Actually the first time that I have had an experience like this on the train.
A small Haradi man got on the train with an old accordion. The man was a rather good looking gentleman of about 55, distinguished, neat, and intelligent. His accordion had flowers painted on it and designs that I haven’t seen since I was a child when accordions were more popular.
The train was as usual quite crowded, but some relief comes at the Central Bus Station stop (tachanat merkezit in Hebrew). Many get off the train and a collective sigh of relief comes from those of us finally able to find a seat. As the train took off again I thought that I heard the lovely melancholy strain of the accordion and turned to look. The man with the accordion was sitting and two other, much older Haradi men were standing beside him. Others gathered.
He was playing some old Russian Jewish songs, beautiful ones that spoke to the heart. The lady sitting beside me started humming. A young man called out, “Where are you from?”
Strain and fatigue left every face in the car and soon everyone was humming and smiling. The man just played quietly with such a lovely expression on his face and we all smiled. Each one thanked him as we got off at our respective stops. He simply nodded. It was a delightful and peaceful interlude in the midst of tension and pain.
The three kidnapped Israeli teens remain the prominent issue in every heart here. Billboard sized signs are displayed on the buses: Bring Back Our Boys. The responses by other countries of the world have been filled with concerns for the Palestinians being upset over our search efforts. This compounds the hurt in the hearts of the Israeli people. Perhaps it is a cultural difference.
In an interview on local news, US envoy Dennis Ross made the point that the place of the child in the Jewish family is unique and that each child is celebrated here as a special treasure. This fact is not something understood by everyone.
Over the years, I have been struck by how much cultural differences influence our perceptions of everything, even The Word of God. That is until The Holy Spirit truly becomes our translator. Then there is hope. How wonderful that through The Holy Spirit we can REALLY fellowship and communicate.
I had the opportunity to sit yesterday in a most wonderful and unique facility that I have described before, called Yad Sarah. Yad Sarah is unique and wonderful. It was started by a young Haradi boy who rode a bicycle around the neighborhood. He saw that a neighbor needed a hospital raised toilet seat. His family had one. He strapped it to his back and brought it to the neighbor.
Then he found a walker − and wouldn’t you know it − another neighbor needed one. He strapped it to his back and took it to him. Soon people began hearing about the boy who could get you hospital equipment to use at home for free. Some donated and others borrowed. An old bus shell became the first storage shed.
Well, time, vision, and a big heart began to do its work. And Yad Sarah was born. It is a 100% volunteer nationwide organization that not only supplies wheel chairs, beds, canes, walkers you name it, but dental care for the elderly, hearing aids, legal help, and so forth. Well, why am I telling you?? See for yourself here.
So, as I sat there, I noticed a young Chinese man with a kippa (yarmulke or skull cap) atop his head talking to a counselor. The conversation was in Hebrew, English, and CHINESE. Yep, the Israeli volunteer spoke Chinese. As I listened, my heart went out to them. They spoke for well over the hour. They were there when I came and still there when I left. It seemed from what I heard that the young man had made aliyah fairly recently. He seemed to be experiencing what I have come to recognize as a trauma particular to immigrants: having functioned as a competent adults in their old country, they are now helpless children, even needing to learn how to speak again.
It is a terrifying and confusing experience. Growing up in NYC I have known and witnessed this phenomena all of my life but only found out what it felt like myself nearly 20 years ago when we made aliyah. It HURTS!
I listened as the counselor said to this young man, “Ok, so you go to the shuk (market) and you will hear people say mah nish mah? (how are you?) What do you answer? At one point they discussed how to make a doctor’s appointment and then the young man took the phone and made one while the counselor coached him in the background. It was so touching. He patiently encouraged the panicky depressed young man, so gently showing him how far he had already come.
Soon my turn came.
Ok, I have NEVER had a problem like this before. You stood with us in prayer through our move and I KNOW that The Lord brought us to THIS apartment with its challenges and lessons. But I have never had a neighbor call the POLICE before and file a complaint that we were too noisy. Certainly not at 4:30 in the morning when I was asleep.
“Let none of us suffer as an evil doer.”
Oh my, this was a pickle. It will not glorify The Lord to go into full detail, but my heartbeat was thrown off by these incidents. Our stress levels went through the roof as we became afraid to even MOVE. I received very wise counsel from my Pastor who told me that I needed to consult a lawyer and find out our rights and responsibilities. Just get some legal advice.
“Lawyer!” The very word struck fear into my heart. EXPENSIVE…scary…”agree with your adversary quickly”…yada yada yada.
Well, Yad Sarah offers free legal help for those over 65 years (yep, that’s me) or under certain income (yep here, too) so I made an appointment with a volunteer Lawyer. I received not only advice, but A LOT of sympathy and a forceful letter stating that her client has been harassed and intimidated to the detriment of health. And if it continued she herself (the lawyer) would prosecute to the full extent of the law.
She suggested that I give the letter to the upstairs neighbor immediately, but I will simply hold it in case of further trouble. We were told that we must be free to live normally and NOT to allow ourselves to be intimidated. This was then made clear to me by The Holy Spirit. Under HIS Authority we are here and HIS boundaries are also here. I am continuing to thank The Lord daily for this apartment AND to pray mercy for my neighbor and SALVATION.
I must close and make dinner, but I have been re-reading the old book, “Of Whom The World Was Not Worthy” by Marie Chapian. It’s an incredible testimony of a praying godly family in WWII Yugoslavia. Perhaps because war is such an ever present tangible here I see afresh the great value of watching someone who lived through great atrocity by fixing their eyes upon Jesus, Yeshua h’Meshiach The Lord and seeing His Hand move in impossible ways to navigate His sheep through fire and flood.
There was a 13 year old boy killed and his father injured on Golan Heights several days ago when someone from the Syrian army fired a rocket at a work vehicle. The young teenage boy had accompanied his father to work that day because it was the first day of school vacation. He was an Israeli Arab from a town in the Galilee.
Israel responded by bombing Syria for the first time. We are told that 4 soldiers were killed in our response. That is in the north. To the east, Iran and Iraq are looming large. To our south, Egypt has wrested itself out of the grips of the Moslem brotherhood. Gaza ferments on the SW and the Palestinian Authority within our borders writhes with anger and hatred.
And a small people, unworthy to be given great promises, has those promises as our only hope. May The Giver of those promises become our only focus.
OOPS…dinner is late.
I SEND MUCH MUCH MUCH LOVE,
Your sis J