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 —
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” DEUT 29:29
” The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.” PSALM 25:14
Greetings with grace in the mercy of our Lord Yeshua h’meshiach, Jesus Christ, Who is and was and will be and Who Alone is righteous and just. May HE be blessed and glorified, and may you be blessed and encouraged.
I am scrapping the letter that I began several days ago and praying that The Lord will anoint this one for His purposes.
I want to share what is taking place here from my standpoint (always realizing that it is opinion as everything else that we read.)
This morning is so very quiet and pleasant. The song birds are singing their hearts out and the trees and flowers are stunning in their full display; it reminds me of a lovely, happy and healthy person in their prime…perhaps 32? That is how the day appears. It is Shabbat. The “settled Shabbat peace” is not deceptive, but it is a comma or parenthesis around the events of the week.
Last Friday, two young Israeli Policemen, Druze (not Jewish) were gunned down as they sat and stood talking to one another at their post by the Lion’s Gate of the Old City, the same Gate through which the City was liberated 50 years ago. Their murderers came running off theTemple Mount with guns. This is an extraordinary event. Israel immediately closed Temple Mount and installed metal detectors. The result has been: world condemnation and bloody riots. NOT about the murders nor about the fact that guns were smuggled on to Temple Mount, but about the metal detectors.
Daily the Palestinians have called for Days of Rage and riots, which have grown daily, watered by inflaming rhetoric. As Friday Moslem prayers approached there was much tension and calls from many nations to take down the metal detectors. They were not taken down and prayers were quiet, but the days of rage organized in surrounding areas were quite violent. Three Palestinian rioters were killed in the battles.
Last night a Palestinian man, incited by his leaders who called for liberating the Moslem holy sites from the infidels, entered a home in a Jewish village and murdered 3 Israelis sitting at Shabbat dinner. AND THAT IS ALL THAT I WILL SHARE WITH YOU ABOUT THE SITUATION FROM MY STANDPOINT.
It’s been HOT and we are a hot natured people.
On Thursday I stepped off the train in front of our apartment and was greeted by my husband and our little bouncy dog, along with billowing smoke. The acrid smell filled my nostrils and the appearance of large snowflakes (ash) falling from the sky cast the hot day into a surreal framework. No doubt about it, a fire was nearby. A big one and a rapidly moving one. My husband looked up at the same time. It was just beginning, but oh my, was it moving on quickly!
We may be smack in the center of Jerusalem, but Jerusalem is surprisingly small in size. The Jerusalem Forest begins just 2 or three blocks below us. Stone homes may not burn like wooden ones but they form a perfect oven to cook the contents. People began to come out of buildings, pointing at the darkening sky. The fire was very near. “It’s coming up the canyon right on the street behind our apartment!” my husband yelled. “We’d better get some things and be prepared to run for it.”
He immediately took off down toward our daughter’s apartment to see if she and the children were safe as they are right up against the Jerusalem Forest. I heard sirens and called our daughter who said that the police were already evacuating the area. I threw a change of clothes, money and passports, daily medications and my Bible into my agala (shopping cart) and looked ruefully around at family photos and a house decorated with mementoes of our life. I was sad that I felt sad at the thought of them burning up. I readied my canary for a trip away from danger, but just about then the water and retardant planes began flying over in a masterful display of rescue: birds dancing in the sky to distract the fire breathing dragon. Rescue and fire truck sirens bounced off of the hills and buildings, and thankfully the fire was put out with no loss of life and little property by nightfall. Such fast and skillful work, but such a reminder of the suddenness with which it all can change.
I know that MANY of you reading this are also in the midst of MAJOR fires (DEAR ones in California!) and other disasters (earthquake in Greece and Turkey) and this fine-tuned my prayers for you.
And as always – there is a lighter side of life in Jerusalem.
Each day as my bus passes the first station (our old wonderful Orient Express train station turned into historic entertainment area). Seriously, the Orient Express used to come here and part of the line and original cars were still in use when we made aliyah. We got to ride on it! I have been noticing the merry-go-round on my trip home from work. I have always loved horses so as a small child, growing up in a big city, the merry-go-round was the closest thing I had to a horse at that time. My Granddaughter Maya is now 3 and all I could think: “Gotta take Maya to the merry-g- round.”
And I did.
But even that turned out to be an ‘Israeli experience’.
The day was HOT so we left early, not as early as I wanted, but we had fun on the bus and the train. She was already a bit tired by the time that we arrived so I knew that it would be a short but fun trip UNTIL I WENT TO BUY MY TICKETS. “It’s only kaytinoat in the morning. You can come back after 1:30.”
OF COURSE! I am Israeli! How could I not have remembered? “Kaytina” an Israeli institution that I have described in past letters. With the very high cost of living here, it is expected that both parents work. NOT to work is considered a huge luxury and few can even pay the rent on one salary, let alone food, etc. So children are cared for from very young ages in a variety of creative (and usually excellent) ways. There are gans (or nurseries) for very young children. After school hoogim (activities structured for every possible talent) for older and in the summer there are kaytinot, which are SORT OF like day camps, but not quite. The variety is HUGE. Art? Science? Play? Legos? Swimming? Sport? Crafts? Drama? Play? Trips? YOU NAME IT – there is a kaytina available. AND a way to find help to pay for it. Children are considered our national treasure.
So on that Tuesday, 10 groups of religious girls (kaytinoat), each accompanied by her armed soldier to protect her from unseen events were scheduled to ride the rides and blow the bubbles and play in the gymboree. Maya looked as if she wanted to cry and so did I.
I looked up at the kindhearted ride operator and started begging as only a Jewish Grandmother can. Perhaps not your most spiritual or gracious response, but yes, an Israeli one. He caved in immediately.
Obviously he also had a Grandmother. I purchased tickets for two rides and he quickly scooted us on to the merry-go-round before the next group of girls could gather. We picked the BEST horse! The camp director was furious but the ride operator came to our defense and winked at us. As the horse began to go up and down Maya’s eyes got as big as saucers. She looked up at the decorated ceiling and burst out in a passionate soprano rendition of “twinkle twinkle little star.”
It was surely a Grandmother moment!
BUT THE ISRAELI MOMENT WAS NOT OVER.
Our benefactor forgot the merry-go-round on our behalf and let it go around 14 times. When the ride finally ended, we still had one more ride ticket and Maya wanted to go on the miniature train, but no! The camp director was counting 15 campers to a ride and Maya was not one. It got hotter. Tears began welling up. The ride man looked over and pointed to a long locked container decorated like a train car and signaled for us to go up the ramp and knock on the door. Ok: I’m adventurous.
As I got to the door a man about my age walked out and eyed us suspiciously. “The man down there told us that we could come in here for awhile because we can’t get on the rides and we didn’t know that it was only for kaytinot this morning.”
He looked a bit annoyed but opened the door and asked Maya what her name was. “Maya. You can go in if you PROMISE NOT TO TOUCH anything but the buttons,” he said as we entered an extraordinary hidden treasure.
As you know, virtually all Israelis are in the Israeli Defense Forces, some for much of their lives. The Israeli Defense forces are probably unique for MANY reasons. I have often noticed that there is a creative and delightful sense of the secret…and we were walking in on one of those “secrets.” The entire inside of the double container had been set up with a miniature world spanning at least a century and connected by a system of miniature trains moving by the upgrade of precision computers, lights flashing, tiny terraced farms operating, villages going about daily life as the trains passed through. IT WAS AMAZING!
The man told me that the oldest and most intricate trains and miniatures were from Germany, about 100 years old. Some were modern, some things were plastic, but what a tiny world. He had rewired everything to work by computer (he even had a schedule log for switching tracks). There were buttons that Maya could press to cause a monkey grinder to play music or a Ferris wheel to go around, or farm equipment to operate. I don’t know who was more amazed: she or I.
“I’ll give you 10 minutes.” he told me somberly. I was delighted, and so was Maya. It was a day well spent: an Israeli day. Nothing went as planned, but even better.
On the bus going home I pulled a small finger puppet out of my purse to entertain my Granddaughter, and immediately the woman across the aisle, with 7 daughters, pointed and they all gathered around grinning. In one big family some moments are happy ones.
BLESSINGS, WITH GRACE AND PEACE AND MERCY AND HIS PRESENCE TO YOU! Lovingly,
your sister in Jerusalem