Yom HaZikaron

Yom Hazikaron

Photo from internet.

Tonight began Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day) here in Israel.  This day is taken very seriously here and it is a difficult day for many families.  It is to remember fallen soldiers and victims of terrorist attacks.

At 8:00pm tonight, a siren sounded.  At this time, everyone stops what they are doing and stands still for the duration of the siren.  It is so moving to be out in public when it is sounded.  I’m sure you have seen pictures of the freeways in Israel with all of the cars stopped and their occupants standing beside the cars.  The siren will sound again tomorrow at 10:00 am.

There are ceremonies which can be watched on television, but most other channels cease broadcasting until tomorrow night.  All of the stores are closed.

Tomorrow many stores will open for part of the day and then close again, because tomorrow evening begins Independence Day.  So, we go from a sad day to a happy day. Tomorrow night there will be concerts and festivities in every town.

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Good News!

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A couple of days ago we received very good news.  Our television program is now airing in India and South Korea for no additional cost!  Daystar is now broadcasting into these countries.  This means that the LoveIsrael program is available in 181.11 million homes in India and 19.5 million homes in South Korea!

This is a huge answer to prayer!  This is one more reason why it is vital to make budget to have the ability to continue to broadcast around the world via Daystar.  If you are not currently supporting LoveIsrael.org to reach the world with sound Bible teaching, won’t you consider partnering with us today?

Shabbat Shalom!

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Picture taken today in Ashdod, Israel.

This week we have two parashiot.  The reason for this is that this is NOT a leap year and so there are extra parashiot which are distributed into other weeks.  This week is one of those instances.  The two Torah portions are Tazria and Metzora.

Below is a commentary on the the parasha Metzora.

The disease of leprosy plays the major role in this week’s Torah reading. In parashat Tazria, it is recorded that the Kohanim were to inspect the skin of the one infected in order to see if the outbreak was in fact leprosy, or if it was some other ailment. Likewise, when one saw that the leprosy had departed, there was a requirement to present oneself to the priest in order to receive his declaration that the person had been healed, and only then could the leper begin the process of purification so that he could return to society. Yeshua also told the ten lepers which He healed to go and show themselves to the Priests (Luke 17:14). Why was the declaration of the Kohanim so important?

The simple answer is that the Kohanim were trained in discerning leprosy from other skin abnormalities and they would not have any incentive for declaring one healed who was not actually healed. They were simply unbiased experts who would look out for the well being of the community. There is, however, an additional reason. One must remember that one of the underlying causes of leprosy was pride. Hence, a leper was not accustomed to submitting to another and in fact doing so was against his prideful nature. The removal of the symptoms did not mean necessarily that the leper had changed. In order to see if his pride had also departed, and whether he had learned submissiveness, he had to go and present himself before the Kohan and then submit to the priest’s ruling.

In the account concerning Yeshua and the ten lepers, it is highly significant that while the ten were traveling to the Kohanim that one, when he saw that he was also healed, he stopped and returned to Yeshua, praising G-d. This act of gratitude is most telling. Usually, leprosy was a long affliction, and therefore each of these men would have wanted to receive the proclamation of the priest and begin at once the week long process of purification in order to complete it and return to society, especially their family. The fact that this one stopped and went back to thank Yeshua, praising HaShem all the way, shows a significant change in this man.

This Shabbat, as we study Parashat Metzora, why not think of the people who have blessed you and impacted your life? Also praise Yeshua for them and give these people a call, or write a short note (not email) thanking them and expressing to them your feelings.

A Special Day!

 

Pdut L’amo, the Hebrew name of our television show, airs on METV television network every Thursday night at 10:30 pm in Israel and other countries in the Middle East.  Here, I’m showing you on my laptop what the program looks like.

Tonight, the 200th episode of our Hebrew television show airs!  We feel so blessed to be able to continue broadcasting without any hassle from the Israeli broadcasting authorities.  Thank you to those of you who support the work.  Without you this would not be possible.

A Cool Thing about Israel

Living in Israel is great.  Especially for those who wish to live the Jewish lifestyle.  Kosher food (in restaurants and grocery stores), Kosher for Passover food (in restaurants and grocery stores!), scores of synagogues, etc., are all readily available.

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The synagogue in a hotel in Eilat, Israel.

How gorgeous is this synagogue in a hotel?  Living here is such a contrast to other areas of the world.  We were recently flying to Amsterdam and when we got off the plane, the man sitting next to us removed his kippah.  He told us that his employer required him to for his own safety.

While we appreciate the freedom and opportunities to live and observe the Biblical holidays and ways here in Israel, we must not fail to recognize how the world is changing and Jewish people around the world are not able to freely live out the Jewish lifestyle.

The (Former) Jewish Community of Hateg

The Synagogue in Hateg, Romania.

We were very fortunate to have the opportunity to visit the synagogue and Jewish cemetery in Hateg.  Our lunch host (Constantine) and the pastor (Niko) of the church took us to the 2 locations.

The synagogue has been declared a Historic Monument.  Unfortunately, it is in disrepair. The small, round windows at the top along with the star of David are broken.  This time we were not able to see the inside, but Constantine offered to arrange an opportunity to see inside the next time we come. We enjoyed so very much spending time with Constantine and Yoanna and their son Levi. Also we appreciated Pastor Niko and his wife Emma who walked with us Friday night from the village outside of Hateg back to the city.

The synagogue  in Hateg was opened in 1864.  Soon there after they built a mikve (ritual bath) and a cheder (Jewish school).  They also had an active ladies group and chevra kadisha (men and women who prepare bodies for burial in the halachically-correct way (according to Jewish law), which were created in 1896.

They later split into Orthodox and Neologs.  Neolog Judaism, prominent in Hungary, was socially more liberal and modern and promoted assimilation. Remember that Romania in the past was ruled by Hungary.  The more liberal Neologs became active in teaching agriculture and Zionism and many of them made aliyah at some point and founded a few kibbutzim in Israel.

By 1937, one of the youth movements, “Habonim”, had become a training base for volunteers for the Haganah, which was a Jewish paramilitary organization which functioned in Israel during the British Mandate and later became the foundation of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

In 1940, all of the Jewish residents of Hateg were rounded up and housed in one location. All of their possessions were taken from them.  Near the end of the war, Romania changed sides and joined the Allies. By the end of World War II, 30 Jewish residents remained. The community prior to the war was 600. The rest left the area, many going to Israel. We could not find out exactly how many were killed from Hateg during the Holocaust.

Some of you may wonder why I write about the history of Jewish communities and Israel which are not exactly concerning Biblical content.  One reason is to make people aware of the anti-semitism of the past which will certainly happen again. As we speak with people throughout Europe, we are hearing more and more stories about how the atmosphere today is similar to the first rumblings in Europe leading up to World War II and the Holocaust. Another reason is to show that miracles happen every day and we may not even recognize them. Groups trained unprofessionally and then came together with others from throughout Europe and Israel and defeated all of their Arab neighbors in a supernatural way! Thirdly, we want to share with you the experiences and information which touch us as we minister to the people in Europe.

The Jewish Cemetery.  The last burial took place there in 2006.