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 …
I am thrilled to greet you, DEAR brothers and sisters, chosen for such a time as this to be knit together into His temple, for the glory of The King of kings and The Lord of lords, Yeshua h’Meshiach, Jesus Christ, the risen Son of God. He’s the Hope, Light, and Truth. May He be glorified and blessed and may you be encouraged and blessed.
As in many places, today is the first day of school here. I watched from my merepesset (balcony) as tiny boys with worried eyes grasped their parents hands while bubbly girls bounced and giggled and sang their ways down the street. I have always been stunned by a basic difference between boys and girls, despite all of the variables. One thing they all have in common here though, no matter what age or gender is the telltale Israeli backpack. The tiny preschoolers (gan is the word for pre-school in Hebrew) seem smaller than their backpacks, but this is the trademark Israeli essential uniform: the loaded backpack.
Education is free here, but also expensive at the same time. When we arrived with a 12-year old in 1994, it took me by surprise. Besides the various high school fees, we received a long list of books and supplies that were required as the schools don’t supply the books. They supply a modest building, tables, and chairs and teachers. Coming from the USA where even my HOMESCHOOL supplies had been mailed to us by the state free of charge, we were surprised. It was very insignificant though, compared to the long list of cultural differences we were scrambling to adjust to.
Today, however, as I traveled home with the now returning kids, I smiled for two reasons: (1) there were no terror attacks on this first day of school (although there was a rocket shot in the direction of Ashkelon that fell short and landed back into Gaza that jiggled the nerves of families in that region) (2) and that Israel somehow succeeds so well in instilling a team or family atmosphere right from the beginning. It was fun watching the kids of all ages in their different groups.
When I was young I was always a loner, afraid of groups. But because of the need to live together and sadly, fight together, a warm team and family spirit is planted deep in our society. It was really evident today.
I thought of that last week as I witnessed a poignant street scene on Jaffa Road. There are many street musicians, but one in particular always stands out to me. He is a religious (Jewish) man who sings religious worship and plays a portable piano. His music and voice are beautiful, and often people gather around him to sit and play along or sing. He encourages all to worship with his joyful smile.
This day, he was alone, except for a young woman in a motorized wheel chair. They were deep in song together and she looked at him so peacefully. Their eye contact was striking, considering that it’s forbidden for religious men. I kept walking as I watched and just some short distance beyond I noticed a third party; a beggar who lies in a pile of blankets on this busy street. He was propped up on one hand watching them with a huge smile of joy. I thought about this odd scene, a scene that could have been from an old silent Charlie Chaplain film.
I long to share with you the heart that beats, so often in small places in Israel.
Surely things are hot, and not just the weather.
Israel is extremely concerned about the deal with Iran and the rapid embrace being given to it by western nations fawning over it. Many other issues are also extremely alarming that really have not been seen since WW2. The violent wars and turmoil in the region and the very rapid advance of Islamic extremism is hard to keep up with. Most Western nations are at a loss as to how to interpret what they see and hear. So they look at it through western filters and come up with inaccurate answers.
I KNOW that many, if not most of you grieve deeply over your leaders and so many are truly seeking The Lord. We are ALL watching what swirls around us, knowing that very hard things stand at the threshold, awaiting opportunities. But, OH THANK YOU LORD, WE HAVE THE ANSWER in YESHUA. THE LORD. THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIGHT WHO KNOWS THE BEGINNING FROM THE END. And His is the beginning and the end.
So we must, in the midst of the pressure, whether here or there, wherever you are, turn our heads and hearts and feet to Him. There just is no other way.
Here, we are rapidly approaching the Jewish New Year although not biblically. And for the life of me I have sought the reason and have never gotten a good answer, even though The Lord told us that we were to start the New Year from Pesach (Passover). I am confident that He will set it right some day, but meanwhile I am tickled that more and more people have ALSO begun to say, “Shannah tovah” (happy new year, or literally “year good” at Passover as well.
Rosh Hashanah is the first of the 3 fall feasts or holidays or holy days. They are all commanded in scripture. I began hearing the shofarim (rams horns) being blown on the first day of Elul, leading up to the month of Tishrai, which begins on Rosh Hashanah. Not much is said about this holiday except that it is for the blowing of rams’ horns.
“Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a Sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.” (Leveticus 23:24-25)
There is much to be said about the meanings for the blowing of the rams horn, which is commanding and hauntingly beautiful. I hope to write that before Rosh Hashanah, which begins at sundown on the 13th of Sept. Meanwhile, people are scurrying around preparing.
Traditionally, this is a time of giving of gifts, of setting a beautiful table of worship and celebration and blessing others. Apples and honey and their variations are the traditional foods that includes pomegranates which are ripening right now. Also date honey, nuts of all sorts, particularly almonds are also considered a blessing. Indeed we ARE blessed as I look at the display of fall fruits: figs and dates, grapes of all shapes and colors, pomegranates and melons, we are truly blessed.
A small oasis in the midst of pain and turmoil. May we always look up. May the body be LOOKING UP and truly preparing His temple according to His plan.
I was reading one of the exhortations in Matthew the other day and I stopped to weep and thought, “Oh Lord, don’t let me talk about weighty issues when I can’t even obey Your smallest command. Let me see as You do and learn to walk with You. And as we learn to really BE His obedient children, may it make those around us hungry and be used of Him to open the flood gates for surly the time is short.
God BLESS you,
Your sis J