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 with grace and mercy in The Blessed Name of our Lord, Yeshua h’meshiakh* May He be blessed and glorified, and may you be blessed and edified. May He take this small offering for His glory alone and the edification of those to whom it is sent with love.
Elul is the last month of the modern Hebrew calendar. The month of Elul will end on the 29th of September this year, ushering in Rosh h’Shana (the day of the blowing of trumpets, now celebrated as the new year), followed closely by Yom Kippur (the day of atonement – repentance – the most solemn day in the Hebrew calendar of fasting and prayer) and then the wonderful 7 day feast of Sukkot (feast of tabernacles). Autumn (‘stav’ in Hebrew) is upon us with the fall feasts rushing in! How suddenly summer ends.
School began here in Israel on the 1st of September (yes, Sunday is our ‘Monday’ because Saturday is our Sabbath (shabbat) and being that today (Tuesday) is my day off from work, I smiled with joy as Eric and I walked our 5 and half year old Granddaughter Maya to ‘gan ho’veh’ (or ‘advanced kindergarten’ for those who get to go again).
Our daughter was taking 2 and half year old Nuria to gan, which she began on Sunday – one excited little cookie! ‘All in our places with sunshiny faces’ was all I could sing as we made our way along with the throngs of parents and grandparents taking all of those little shiny excited faces to their respective schools or ga’nim (kindergartens). I was totally absorbed in watching Maya on her scooter chattering joyfully to me when I tripped over part of our notoriously choppy sidewalks and fell smack on my knees, injuring my pride terribly but thankfully otherwise not doing anything serious.
‘Oh Tata! Tata! Are you ok? You scared me!’ (Maya couldn’t say Sav’ta when she was tiny and Tata stuck)
‘I’m fine!’ I assured her as we continued on and I introduced myself to the ga’ne’net (teacher) so that we could get through security to pick her up. Isn’t the love of a child amazing? (To you parents…it gets WAY better when you are grandparents believe it or not.) May we BE like them, that tender, simple and honest love to our Abba God!
The past couple of weeks have been ‘belegan’ here in Jerusalem. The last two weeks of summer vacation there is no kay’tin’ah (sort of summer ‘day camps’ that most children attend. They are specialized and can be just play or sport or art or science, language or history , all sorts of age classified enrichment activities).
As you know, our economy here is different than in the west, a huge portion of this tiny country’s resources go to very necessary defense, so it is pretty rare for a family to be able to survive even simply on one paycheck. Most parents honestly HAVE to work, not to get ahead, but to survive. HOWEVER, the last two weeks of summer, ‘someone’ needs to be home with the children (if retired grandparents aren’t available), and most vacations are taken then.
Consequently, the streets of Jerusalem have been PACKED with large families (religious families are particularly large. As I have said before, our son in law is the oldest of 14). The time is spent getting school supplies and being out on ‘te’oo’lim’ (‘trek’ or ‘trip’, outing). The lite rail and all buses were packed way beyond capacity as families enjoyed museums, parks, the zoo, the Old City, shops and restaurants.
Our dear friend Janet is staying with us for awhile and I have so enjoyed reading her updates (although she has been here on and off for many years, she always sees things with new eyes. I can’t help but borrow from her beautifully written letters:
She mused about large families dressing their children in identical clothing and I hadn’t thought about that for a while but I always think of them as big gardens. The pansies are planted here and the daisies are there, then there are the sweet peas. I think it really solves many problems: First, like school uniforms, it solves the fashion problem. ‘Here’s your ‘dress’ for the year girls’ and each one gets what Ima (mama) picked out. You surely can see your whole family in a crowd without losing any easily. And when they are all on sale it’s a win-win situation for the family. Often though it is a bolt of material that is on sale, and one pattern.
I’ve often wondered at the resilience of the people of this country, how it continues life in the midst of all of the stresses, threats and challenges. There is a philosophy or a culture that has been planted in the people. Perhaps a survival skill. I heard so many stories about how people survived in the death camps of the Holocaust. I was told by a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto about the schools that they set up, about how, in spite of starvation, slavery, degradation and death everywhere, they set up a functioning society with phony money to use to keep themselves from being penniless and to keep an order. Concerts performed by those who could sing or make instruments from garbage. Humor and other forms of entertainment. Doctors and teachers continuing their trade so that they could encourage one another to life. This way they kept themselves from despair and from degradation.
Our borders are heating up. I know that I say that to you often, but things erupt here suddenly. On Sunday we had a skirmish with Hizbollah in Lebanon sending residents of the North into shelters and sealing off the roads. It did not erupt into the war …yet. There is MUCH background fighting going on and as our Prime Minister has openly announced often, he (we) will not compromise Israeli security and will strike at all threats. We have been doing that with missions and raids in Syria and Lebanon and in other places.
Iran has been playing a chess game against Israel, using other counties as pawns since they have no border with us, but their proxies – Syria and Lebanon do share our borders and Iran has been based there. It has been a game of cat and mouse so to speak as Israel identifies threats (sophisticated weapons and deadly projects) and eliminates them. Drones and drones heavily armed with highly destructive smart weapons have entered the arena. To admit it, Iran has to expose their presence, which is illegal, so it has been covert. But it has been intense and building. Added to this toxic mix is Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Isis in Gaza and in the Sinai, infiltrating Judea and Samaria – our heartland – called by the world media “the West Bank.” With continuing active riots on the Gaza border every Friday, our southern population is frayed but not Afraid
“Be strong and of good courage”…”DO NOT FEAR NOR BE AFRAID” are probably THE most oft repeated COMMAND given throughout the scriptures, particularly the Torah (the first 5 books of Moses) when the fleshly REASONS to fear were ABUNDANT.
In my 44 years of reading and re-reading through the Scriptures I am strongly struck by the irony of this command. Perhaps it is one of the PILLARS on which our faith rests. YES, the giants are there! YES, the Sea is before you and the Egyptian army behind you. YES the inhabitants of the land are fierce and we are as grasshoppers in our own eyes and probably theirs. YES there is no water and YES there is no food and YES we are surrounded by armies far larger than we are and YES! IT IS IMPOSSIBLE, BUT LOOK UP! THOSE WHO ARE WITH US ARE MORE THAN THOSE WHO ARE AGAINST US, as Elisha told his servant when the Syrian army was coming down upon them.
I listen to some who seem to feel that faith in our God is a “get out of jail free” ticket and we will be always physically well and safe but in Luke 21, Yeshua says something very interesting that bares understanding and the context of the whole chapter is helpful:
“You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But not a hair of your head shall be lost. By your patience possess your souls.” (Luke 21:16-19)
SOME OF YOU WILL BE PUT TO DEATH, BUT NOT A HAIR OF YOUR HEAD SHALL BE LOST. May our values be His, our perspective HIS.
We (as a part of the body of Messiah here) have been through fire lately in the loss of 4 beloved members. Eliyahu Ben Haim and the three members of the Rosetsky family. These were all people walking in the will and the ways of The Lord and living completely for Him, aside from 2 month old Itai, who had as yet done not right nor wrong). They ARE safe with not a hair of their head being lost.
His ways are not ours. His thoughts not ours but it is a wake-up call for sure. One sister remarked to me last shabbat that “We weren’t yet back to normal’”
I said, “I don’t think that we are SUPPOSED to be ‘back to normal.’ A very precious sacrifice was placed on the altar and I believe that He wants us all changed by what we have witnessed.”
We don’t know what lies ahead, but we are NOT afraid.
We are told to fear ONLY GOD and we believe that. Our upcoming re-elections are scheduled to be held on 17th of Sept. Lord knows what lies ahead, we don’t. But one thing we know (both you and us) is that the ONLY safe place in this world in IN HIM.
Our pastor is faithful to remind us time and time again to turn our faces to Him. Run into Him! Look to HIM! THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH!
My years are running into one another and I surely never expected that, did you? May we ALL be found IN HIM IN (HIS) PEACE! May His Word be a living two-edged sword in each of us. May we be dangerous to the enemy for His sake. May we be kept from deception. Oh may we be humble in the fear of The One True God, The Lord of heaven and earth! May we be purified for His glory.
your sister J
*Small note. Lately transliterators have been writing ‘kh’ instead of ‘ch’ to indicate the sound that is like ‘clearing your throat’. For years it has been written ‘ch’ but we know that in English ‘ch’ is pronounced like the beginning of ‘child’ and that leads to much confusion. I am joining the pack, so I spelled (Messiah) Meshiakh instead of Meshiach.