Chanukah Series: Sufganiot (Jelly-Filled Doughnuts)

Food plays an important role in Jewish celebrations, and Chanukah is no exception. Fried foods, in particular, have become a tradition during the celebration of Chanukah, as the oil used is reminiscent of the oil that miraculously burned for eight days when the holy Temple in Jerusalem was re-dedicated.

A favorite dessert consumed during Chanukah is the sufganiyot, meaning, “sponge” to describe its texture. Traditionally, this fried donut is filled with red jelly and topped with sugar icing or dusted with powdered sugar. However, today, many variations of this sweet treat exist, including both sweet and savory fillings.

Below is a recipe for a traditional jelly-filled sufganiyot, but if you’re adventurous in the kitchen, why not experiment by filling your donuts with salted caramel or sliced bananas and fudge.

Sufganoit - Jelly Doughnuts

Jamie Geller, author of Quick and Kosher Recipes from the Bride Who Knew Nothing, contributed this Sufganiot Jelly Doughnut recipe for Hanukkah. Geller made these with her whole family one night during Hanukkah. Everyone was given a part – from deep-fry duty to powdering to quality control tasting. It was a delicious and fun mess!





  • 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 2 (8-ounce) cartons vanilla low-fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 cups canola oil
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup seedless strawberry jelly


1.  In a large bowl, place flour, yogurt, vanilla sugar and eggs.

2. Knead until all ingredients are combined and a sticky, doughy batter is formed. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Heat 6 cups canola oil in a 6-quart stockpot, covered, over medium heat.

4. When dough is ready, uncover oil and raise heat to high.

5. Scoop out a tablespoonful of batter and drop in oil. Don’t make the doughnuts too big, so they can cook through.

6. You should be able to fry about 7 doughnuts at a time. Using a slotted spoon, turn doughnuts when halfway browned, about 30 seconds to 1minute. Fry for another 2 to 3 minutes or until entire doughnut is deep golden brown and cooked through.

7. Remove doughnuts and let cool on paper towel-lined plates. Repeat previous two steps with remaining batter.

8. Fill a squeeze bottle with jelly and inject a little into each doughnut.

9. Roll each doughnut in confectioners’ sugar. Or shake 3 doughnuts at a time in a paper bag filled with confectioners’ sugar.

YIELD: 14 doughnuts

SOURCE:Quick and Kosher: Recipes from the Bride Who Knew Nothing, by Jamie Geller. Recipe reprinted with permission from Feldheim Publishers.

Jamie Geller was “The Bride Who Knew Nothing” – until she found her niche as everybody’s favorite kosher cook next door. She is the author of the best-selling Quick & Kosher cookbook series, creator of the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller magazine and host  of the popular Quick & Kosher cooking show online at and on-air on JLTV.  Join Jamie and the world’s largest kosher food community on to discover 5,000 FREE kosher recipes, inspiring menu ideas, how-to videos, and more! Follow more of Jamie’s Quick & Kosher cooking adventures on Twitter@JoyofKosher and on Recipe and photo reprinted and used with permission from Feldheim Publishers.

Check back daily for another Chanukah tradition!

Contributed by Jen Fedler

Chanukah Series: Latkes (Potato Pancakes!)

Latkes are traditionally eaten during the Chanukah festival. The oil for cooking the latkes is symbolic of the oil from the Chanukah story that kept the Second Temple of ancient Israel lit with a long-lasting flame that is celebrated as a miracle.

Despite the popularity of latkes and tradition of eating them during Chanukah, they are hard to come by in stores or restaurants in Israel, having been largely replaced by the Chanukah doughnut (see upcoming article on Sufganoit or Jelly Doughnuts).

Latkes are not necessarily be made from potatoes. Sometimes they are made from a variety of other vegetables, cheeses, legumes, or starches. Potato pancakes are shallow-fried pancakes of grated or ground potatoes and may be topped with a variety of condiments, ranging from the savory (such as sour cream or cottage cheese) to the sweet (such as apple sauce or sugar), or they may be served ungarnished. Potato pancakes are sometimes made from mashed potatoes.

Potato Pancakes, Latkes with Sour Cream

Avi’s Favorite Latke Recipe Makes about 24 latkes

Ingredients: • 7-8 large russet potatoes, peeled • 1 1/2 medium onions • 6 large eggs, beaten • 3/4 cup matzo meal or bread crumbs • 2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper • 3/4 cup canola oil (for frying) • Applesauce and sour cream, for serving

Directions: Grate the potatoes and onion into a bowl or pulse in food processor (careful not to puree it). Drain any excess liquid from the bowl and add the eggs, matzo meal, salt and pepper. Mix all of the ingredients together to thoroughly combine them.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Spoon the latke mixture into the hot oil forming small pancakes, using 3-4 tablespoons of batter for each pancake. Cook until the underside is golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the latke over and cook until the other side is golden and the potatoes are cooked through, about 2 more minutes.

One way to tell that your latkes are done is by sound: when it stops sizzling it’s time to flip it over. Allowing a latke to remain in the oil after the sizzling has stopped will result in greasy, oil-logged latkes (which is not what you want).

When done, remove the latkes from the oil and transfer them to a plate lined with paper towel to drain. Pat off the excess oil once they have cooled a bit, then serve hot with applesauce or sour cream.

Here is a video to show you how to make them:

Check back daily for more Chanukah traditions!

Chanukah Series: The Dreidel

The dreidel is one of the best known symbols of Chanukah. A four-sided spinning top with a Hebrew letter on each side, the dreidel is used to play a fun Chanukah game of chance. The word dreidel comes from a Yiddish word meaning “to turn.” Each side of the dreidel has one letter of the Hebrew alphabet:

Pictured from RIGHT TO LEFT  נ (NUN), ג (GIMEL), ה (HEI), ש (SHIN)

Pictured from RIGHT TO LEFT  נ (NUN), ג (GIMEL), ה (HEI), ש (SHIN)

Since the Greeks outlawed the study of the Torah, it was hidden whenever someone approached.  Instead, the dreidels were taken out and played like a game of chance. The letters on the dreidels form the acronym for “Nes Gadol Hayah Sham” which translates "a great miracle happened there". In Israel, the fourth side of most dreidels is inscribed with the letter פ (Pei), which changes the acronym to “ Nes Gadol Hayah Poh” which translates “a great miracle happened here," referring to the miracle that occurred in the land of Israel, the Holy Land. The situation there seemed dire and beyond hope. The commitment of a few people turned the situation around (like a Dreidel turns around) and brought out the miracle and God's salvation.

Spinning the dreidel is not part of the official Chanukah ceremonies, but has become a traditional game played during the holiday. It has become one of the symbols associated with Chanukah.

To play the game of dreidel, two to four players each get a handful of pennies or chocolate money called gelt. The dreidel continues to be passed around the circle until one player has won everyone's coins.

Rules of the game To play the game of Dreidel, two to four players each get an equal number of game pieces (usually 10–15). The game pieces can be any object, such as chocolate money called gelt, pennies, or raisins. The remainder of the pot is left in the middle. The youngest player spins the dreidel to begin the game. It can be played in several rounds.

At the beginning of each round, every participant puts one game piece into the center "pot." In addition, every time the pot is empty and sometimes if it has one game piece left, every player puts one in the pot.

Each player spins the dreidel once during their turn. Depending on which side is facing up when it stops spinning, they give or take game pieces from the pot:

  • NUN - Loses his turn and the top passes to the next player
  • GIMEL - Wins everything in the pot
  • HEY - Win half the pot. (If there is an odd number of pieces in the pot, the player rounds up to the nearest  whole number)
  • SHIN (or PEH) - Lose all of his coins or some play that he only adds a game piece to the pot.

If the player is out of pieces, they are either "out of the game" or may ask another player for a "loan."

The winner is the one who ends up with all the pieces.

A famous song is sung about this game. “I Have a Little Dreidel” (also known as the Dreidel song) is a very famous song in the English speaking world for Chanukah. The English version of the song is well associated with the festival of Chanukah, and is known by many Jews and non-Jews alike. The lyrics of the song are simple and about making a dreidel and playing with it. The lyrics are as follows:

I Have a Little Dreidel I have a little dreidel I made it out of clay, And when it's dry and ready O dreidel I shall play. O dreidel dreidel dreidel I made it out of clay, And when it's dry and ready, O dreidel I shall play.

According to some historians, Jews first played with a spinning top during the rule of the Greek King Antiochus'. In Judea, Antiochus had outlawed Jewish worship, so the Jews would use a game with the spinning top as a ruse to conceal that they were secretly studying Torah.

Please check our site daily for more in this Chanukah series! Comment if you have enjoyed this Chanukah Series! Happy Chanukah!

Chanukah Series -- The Feast of Dedication and its History

Tonight begins the eight days of Chanukah, celebrated all over the world by Jewish people and now more and more by Christians. Song For Israel will post an article each day during Chanukah, explaining traditions  surround the holiday, including the dreidle, gelt, gifts, the nine-candle menorah, recipes and more! Please visit daily! 

When in 175 BC, Antiochus Epiphanes became King of Syria, all citizens had to embrace the Greek religion and culture. In Judea, Sabbath observance was outlawed, kosher* laws and circumcision forbidden and those found practicing Judaism were killed.  By sacrificing pigs on the altar and erecting a statue of Zeus, the Jerusalem Temple was desecrated.

Some Jews complied with Antiochus’ decrees. Others became secret believers or chose to become martyrs.

In 167 BC, Mattathias, the village elder and priest of Modi’in, refused to kill the Greek’s sacrificial pig and eat its flesh. When someone offered to perform the rites instead, Mattathias became so enraged that he killed the man. In the ensuing riot, the Greek soldiers were killed by Mattathias, his five sons and some villagers. Together with a group of people who were faithful to the Lord, Mattathias hid in the hills of the Judean Desert. From this area they conducted guerrilla attacks against the Greeks. After the death of Mattathias, Judah became the military leader. His nickname “Maccabee” is probably derived from the acronym: “Mi kamocha ba’elim Adonai” – “Who is like you among the gods, oh LORD”.

Even though Jerusalem’s Temple was liberated by the Maccabees in 164 BC, it was only in 142 BC that Judean independence was achieved.

As sole survivor of the family, Judah’s brother Simon became the High Priest and ruler. This was the beginning of the Hasmonean dynasty, which continued until the Roman occupation of Judea in 63 BC.

Chanukah (dedication) refers to the re-dedication and cleansing of the Second Temple in 164 BC. There was only a one-day supply of pure (kosher*) olive oil to light the Temple’s Menorah* (seven-branched candelabra). The Menorah was lit, and miraculously burned for eight days.

In Jesus’ time, Chanukah was called the “Feast of Dedication." “Then came the 'Feast of Dedication' at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon’s Colonnade.” John 10:22-23 (NIV)

The Temple in Jerusalem was the Jewish religious and national symbol. After its destruction, the religious focus moved to the synagogue. Rabbis switched to the “oil legend” (the miracle that kept the Temple’s Menorah burning for eight days). As a visual and hopeful reminder that miracles still happened, people began to light oil lamps in their houses. 

Not wanting to irk the Roman occupiers, the Jewish military aspect of the Festival diminished.

Only in the 19th century, with the emergence of the Zionist movement and Jewish nationalism, Chanukah’s military aspect re-surfaced. The Jewish people took courage in remembering the strength and courage of the Maccabees.

The festival is observed by kindling lights of a unique candelabrum, the nine-branched Menorah or Chanukiah*. It has eight branches with an additional raised branch. The extra light is called a shamash* (attendant or sexton) and used to kindle the other candles.

Religious neighbourhoods have outdoor chanukiot placed along the streets.

                                                                           CHANUKAH CANDLE DAY 1

On the first night of the Festival, public candle-lightning ceremonies are held all over the world. On each night, an additional light is kindled, until all candles burn on the eighth and final night.

After the lighting of the candles it is tradition to sing the hymn Ma'or Tzur (see below). The song contains six stanzas. The first and last deal with general themes of divine salvation; the middle four deal with events of persecution in Jewish history, and praise God for survival despite these tragedies:

The exodus from Egypt, the Babylonian captivity, the miracle of the holiday of Purim, and the Hasmonean victory over the Greeks.

A popular (non-literal translation) is called "Rock of Ages". Based on the German version by Leopold Stein (1810–1882), it was written by Talmudic linguist Marcus Jastrow and Gustav Gottheil.


(1st. stanza)

My Refuge my Rock of salvation!

'Tis pleasant to sing to your praises.
Let our house of prayer 
be restored.

And there we will offer You our thanks.
When You will have utterly 
silenced the loud-mouthed foe.

Then we will celebrate with song and psalm the altar's dedication.


Rock of Ages, let our song, praise Thy saving power;

Thou, amidst the raging foes, wast our sheltering tower.

Furious they assailed us, but Thine arm availed us,

And Thy Word broke their sword, when our own strength failed us.

Kindling new the holy lamps, priests, approved in suffering,

Purified the nation's shrine, brought to God their offering.

And His courts surrounding, hear, in joy abounding,

Happy throngs, singing songs with a mighty sounding.

Children of the martyr race, whether free or fettered,

Wake the echoes of the songs where ye may be scattered.

Yours the message cheering, that the time is nearing

Which will see, all men free, tyrants disappearing

From the book: Remember, Observe, Rejoice ©  by Petra van der Zande, which may be purchased from Lulu Press by clicking here.  Used with permission.  


Sally Shiff (From Israel) -- Recap From Our Event

Sally Shiff was here visiting with us December 1st and began her sharing with the 90-second sound of a siren that resounds throughout Israel warning of incoming rockets. During the sound of the siren, she shared pictures of people running for shelter. It was eerie and helped put the evening in context.

Sally 12 1 14.jpg

Sally experienced those sirens blarring at least ten times in her town of Kfar Saba, which is a 120-year old city of approximately 100,000 people.

She shared about the constant unrest that Israelis live under.

The message continued with an encouragement to "know the signs of the times" from Ezekiel 33....this is not something to be taken lightly, but rather, a responsibility. We are to be watchmen.

Sally finally ended with a "question/answer" time and a discussion about how to effectively pray for Israel. Sally left us with her booklet entitled "How to Pray for Israel." For your free copy, please email: and request your copy be emailed to you.

Song For Israel will be hosting a 1/2-day seminar with Sally in 2015. Please watch the newsletter for more information. If you are not receiving our newsletter, please click here to sign up to receive them via email.

Deby and Lonna 12 1 14.jpg

"The Middle East--Current & Future" with Sally Shiff From Israel

Join us Monday, December 1st, 7 pm

Location: 651 W. Sunflower, Santa Ana, Ca

(just a few blocks east of South Coast Plaza)

Bring your friends--especially your Jewish friends!  

Please register for this free event below:

From our partner congregation, Kihalat Hamaayan in Israel, Sally Shiff will reveal what it is like to live in the shadow of the West bank. She will tell what really happened during the recent Gaza war, as well as share biblical insights from the Book of Ezekiel so that we can better understand the signs of our times!

Saved on the University of Arizona Campus in 1980, Sally was raised in a totally Jewish home with her Grandparents who founded the Conservative Synagogue in Tucson, Arizona.  Since her childhood, Sally has had a love, interest and passion for Israel. 

Making the Aliyah in 2006, Sally is the Liaison for the English-speaking world as well as the prayer coordinator for Hamaayan Congregation in the West Bank, Israel.

Registration is not a must, but it sure would help us in our planning.  Click here to sign up and we will send you a reminder notice. For a downloadable flier to give to your friends, please click here.

Jerusalem Terror Attack

Tuesday was a sad day in Israel as terrorists broke into a Jerusalem synagogue where many gathered for morning prayer. Two Muslim Palestinians entered the synagogue armed with a pistol, butcher knives and axes. They shouted “Allah Akbar” (Allah is Great) as they shot and hacked their victims. What remained were the lifeless bodies of four rabbis and Bibles and prayer shawls soaked in Jewish blood. In addition, a policeman died trying to save a life and several others were injured. Palestinians in Gaza celebrated the murderers in the streets, throwing candy and flaunting knives and axes

Please pray for the comfort of the families of the rabbis who died, leaving 24 children fatherless and for the recovery of those injured.  Also, pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

In addition, we urge you to write letters/emails or make phone calls to Congress urging them to cut all funding to organizations that encourage these types of killing. Our taxes are supporting organizations like the Palestinian Authority and Hamas who carry out acts of terrorism against the Jewish people. Let your voice be heard and prevent another Holocaust.

News from Inside Israel--Please PRAY!

Below is an article from the Pastor of our partner congregation in Israel, Kehilat Hamaayan (West Bank). Please read his article and take up the prayer challenge!

Dear friends,

To me there is no doubt in my mind that the battle for Kobane is right now the most strategic issue for our intercession against "Daesh" the islamic caliphate.

As I am following daily the development of this conflict and  I am conviced it is coming in line with the vision of Esaiah 19 [Isaiah 19] and the restoration of Assyria as a covenant ally of Israel ("Assyria the work of my hands.")

The Kurds are the most loyal friends of Israel and the only Defensors of the Christians and other minorities.

They represent together with those Christian Arameic and chaldeens communities that new entity of Assyria.

They have been denied their own state by all foreign powers even though they are a population numbering more than 30 millions.

Targeted prayers should be raised for them...for God to raise genuine support for them from the rest of the world. Pray for Turkey to move to fight "Daesh," just 5 km from its border, instead of sitting with its tanks doing nothing and stopping its Kurdish citizens to bring relief .

Pray for the US and Europe to move quickly in the area and show courage against the "Sudeten" and "Anshluss" spirit they display right now.

This "black cloud from the North" will continue to grow and move to the borders of Israel unless intercessors all over the world take seriously their places on the walls.

There is still time to pray but it is getting very late,

"The weapons of our warfare are mighty to destroy strongholds "

Pastor Tony Sperandeo

History is Beginning to Repeat Itself: Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass)

Kristallnacht (German pronunciation), also referred to as the Night of Broken Glass, was a pogrom (a series of coordinated attacks) against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and Austria on November 9-10, 1938. German authorities looked on without intervening. The name Kristallnacht comes from the shards of broken glass that littered the streets after Jewish-owned stores, buildings, and synagogues had their windows smashed.

At least 91 Jews were killed in the attacks, and 30,000 were arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps. Jewish homes, hospitals, and schools were ransacked, as the attackers demolished buildings with sledgehammers. Over 1,000 synagogues were burned (95 in Vienna alone) and over 7,000 Jewish businesses destroyed or damaged.

The attacks were prompted as a result of the assassination of a German diplomat by a German-born Polish Jew. Kristallnacht was followed by additional economic and political persecution of Jews, and is viewed as the beginning of the the Holocaust.

History seems to be following the same path today that led up to the Holocaust. Just within this year, we saw these anti-semitic issues arise:

  • Presbyterian Church USA considered banning the word "Israel" from prayers (June 14-21, 2014)
  • Shoppers use App to Boycott israel in grocery store aisles (April, 2014)
  • National Council of the American Studies Association (ASA), announced an academic boycott of israel (December 4, 2013)
  • More than 650 anthropologists signed a petition which calls for a boycott of all events, conferences, journals and projects with israeli academic institutions (October, 2014)
  • Unit Arab Emirates, a partner of American Airlines, has removed Israel from its flight map and refuses to transport Israelis (March 2014)

Watch the video and look for similiarities in what is going on around the world today that very well could be leading up to another Kristallnacht and launch another Holocaust. 

A Bomb Shelter is Delivered in Ashkelon, Israel

Song For Israel partners with Operation Lifeshield in Israel to build bomb shelters to help save lives!  We are collecting funds now for the women's "Eden Center," but below you can read about another project that will save lives in Israel. To donate to our Bomb Shelter project, click here.

Operation Lifeshield Briefing    

The video of the deployment of the Lifeshield shelter at the Centre for Traffic Safety Education in Ashkelon has evoked much emotion. Is it the sight of a massive 70 ton pre-cast concrete shelter being lifted over trees and a classroom? The realization that there was no shelter at this unique school until now? Or is it the smiling faces of the 4th grade students as they proudly pose in front of a structure that might save their lives one day?

Like all shelter deployments, this one was very emotional and inspiring. But the shelter placed in Ashkelon last week had an added dimension. You could sense the relief and the change of mood from the staff and educators. It was as if a great burden had been lifted off their shoulders, and replaced with the blessing of a safe space for their students.

Here's the video.

Blessings from Israel.

Shmuel Bowman

Executive Director | Operation Lifeshield

Simchat Torah - A Jewish Holiday Focusing on the Word of God

We rejoice with Israel and the Jewish people as this evening we celebrate the Law (the Word of God). At 8 AM tomorrow morning, the synagogues around the world will be packed as the last pages of Deuteronomy 34 are read. The first five books of the Bible (often called the Books of Moses) are called the Torah. The services continue, once the scroll has been rolled back with the reading at the beginning of the Bible in Genesis. Several people take turns reading Genesis 1:1-2:3. This represents the reading of the yearly Torah cycle.  Most services last around three hours as men and women rejoice over the Book given to Israel by God through Moses.

The Torah scrolls are taken out of the Ark (an ornamental closet which contains the scrolls) and is carried around a platform. The scroll is carried in a procession while others are singing and dancing. Jewish people around the world will parade their precious Torah scrolls around their synagogues in circles call hakafot.

The Jewish People have diligently preserved the Word of God for more than 3,000 years, and Simchat Torah gives joyful expression to the Jewish People’s love of the Torah. Will you join them in your heart, praising God for preserving His Word for us?

Pictures From our Feast of Tabernacles Celebration Dinner!

The Feast of Tabernacles is a Joyous Occasion!

The details about this Feast are found in Leviticus 23:33-44. During this seven-day celebration, no work was to be done on the first or the last day. In between these days of complete rest, offerings were to be presented to the Lord on each day of the seven-day period. The first day was a holy day and the rest of the days were feast days!

 For one week, the people of Israel lived in makeshift Booths called SUKKAHs, of leafy branches, symbolizing their journey through the wilderness after leaving Egypt. Feast of Tabernacles celebrates God’s protection and provision in the Wilderness.

The Feast occurs after Israel’s Fall harvest. Also called The Feast of Ingathering, it was the major annual harvest of the year. The spring harvest was very small in comparison to the fall harvest.

All over Israel you will see sukkahs! They build them in their backyards, on their apartment porches, in the back of a truck! Then they invite friends to feast with them in celebration! A sukkah is supposed to be a makeshift structure that is easily moved. Fruit is hung as a reminder that God provides all that we need. Children make chains out of colorful paper. The sukkah provides shade and as instructed, we leave openings between leafy branches on top, so that we can see His glory in the stars at night. God wants to be our shelter and our shade.

 Leviticus 23:40 says “You shall take for yourselves on the first day, the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.“You shall take for yourselves on the first day, the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. You shall keep it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations and you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

What fun to be told to rest before and after the 7 day feast and to rejoice and have joy! And to eat, eat, eat! Rest, have fun and eat.  I like that!

Deut. 16:13-16 Says “You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress; and you shall rejoice in your feast. Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to the Lord your God…the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you surely will rejoice.”

In John 7, we see Jesus coming up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles! 1 Corinthians 5:8.  Paul encouraged those in Corinth (mostly NOT Jewish) to celebrate the feasts!


God wanted His people to celebrate the fact that He provided shelter for them in the wilderness. Shelters or booths were to be built in which the people worshipped for the week of the feast to remind them of their departure from Egypt and their long journey to Sinai. They were to rejoice in the Lord, during the entire celebration of the feast, giving thanks to God for His abundant gifts and all that He had done. This was the only festival where rejoicing is commanded by God. It is a time for His people to remember that God dwelled with them in their wilderness journey. He guided them with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. They would look up night or day and see that He was with them. God tells them to live in booths for 7 days to remind them that He was with them and supplied all they needed.

God has always desired to dwell with us. God wants to be with you. He desires to dwell with His people. He always has and always will.

There is Prophetic Fulfillment in EACH APPOINTED DAY

This feast reminded Israel of God’s blessings in the past. He had led them out of Egyptian bondage, cared for them in the wilderness, and brought them into their promised inheritance. Once they had lived in booths and tents, but in the Promised Land, they would live in houses! Tabernacles represent the Lord’s shelter in the future. The Lord will establish his Tabernacle in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 37:26) and the world will come every year to appear before the King & worship Him. A final ingathering will take place.

In the future, families of the earth (the believers) will come to Jerusalem to annually celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 14:16-19). God is setting up His kingdom and he is going to restore it. There will be a new heaven and a new earth. Revelation 21:3 says “..behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself with be with them and be their God!” God will tabernacle with men! Can you imagine this!?! We will celebrate a spiritual harvest…the Ingathering in that day. The Future Feast of Tabernacles, celebrated on the new earth, with God Himself, will be the most joyous occasion of all time! We can look forward to it!

We can celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, because it speaks of our Messiah! It reminds us of what He has done and what He WILL DO. 

May Your Name Be Inscribed in the Book of Life!

The Fall is filled with Jewish holidays! After welcoming in the Jewish new year, for a ten-day period, the Jewish people observe a somber and introspective period called the “Days of Awe.” An important aspect of the Days of Awe is to seek reconciliation with anyone you may have wronged in the past year. According to Jewish tradition, one cannot find forgiveness from God unless they have a clear conscience. They believe that when they petition God with their since that they “stand trial” before Him and wait for the verdict. The Jewish people focus on the “Book of Life” and attempt to prove to God that their names deserve to be sealed in that book for another year on the Day of Atonement (in Hebrew Yom Kippur).

Western Wall at the Temple Mount, Jerusalem

Western Wall at the Temple Mount, Jerusalem

 Leviticus 16:29-34 establish the Day of Atonement on the 10th day of the Jewish month of Tishri (on our calendar that would be October 4th.  This holy day is called the “Shabbat of Shabbats”—the most important day of the year for the Jewish person. It is the day “to afflict one’s soul, to cleanse oneself of all sin and abstain from any work or pleasure.”

 In Malachi 3:16-18, the Book of Life is described as “A book of remembrance was written in His presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored His name.” The Jewish people are taught that in order to ensure their names are sealed in the Book of Life, they must repent, pray and do good deeds. They can only hope that their names are sealed for another year based on their works. For the Christian, we know that our salvation is not based on our own works, but on the finished work of Jesus on a cross. In John 14:6, Jesus says “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” It is not by works. And we also know that Jesus payment on that cross is permanent. We do not have to wait for Yom Kippur and hope we will be sealed another year.

 However, this holiday is a great reminder 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” God still expects us to confess sin, but it is not the admission ticket to heaven. Faith in Jesus alone takes care of that, once and for all.

 It is still a very good practice to observe the holiday with the Jewish people and fast 24 hours to spend time with the Lord and confess sin and pursue reconciliation with others.

 All of the Jewish “appointed days” point to prophecies (some have been fulfilled and other await fulfillment). Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) points to the time in the future when Israel (as a nation) will repent and look to Messiah in one day (Zechariah 3:9).

 A common saying you may hear from Jewish people in preparation for Yom Kippur is: “May you be inscribed in the Book of Life!” We hope that you have found faith in Messiah and that YOUR name is permanently inscribed in that Book of Life!


Rosh HaShana -- the Jewish Year in Review by Rabbi Sacks

Below is an article (in part) by Rabbi Sacks called "On Rosh Hashanah, A breath of Life" (Published in The Forward, September 2014--to the Jewish people)

In the year that we are now parting with, 5774 {by the Jewish calendar}, it became dangerous once again to be a Jew. 

Israel, subject to sustained missile attack, discovered how hard it is to fight an asymmetric war against a terrorist group ruthless enough to place rocket launchers beside schools, hospitals and mosques. It found itself condemned by large sections of the world for performing the first duty of any state, namely to protect its citizens from danger and death. 

Anti-Semitism returned to the streets of Europe. One hundred and twenty years after the Dreyfus trial, the cry “Death to the Jews” was heard again in Paris. Seventy years after the 
Holocaust, the call of “Jews to the gas” was heard in the streets of Germany. There were times when it felt as if the ghost of a past we thought long dead had risen to haunt us. More times than was comfortable I heard Jews say, “For the first time in my life I feel afraid.” 

Israeli tanks near the border

Israeli tanks near the border

Let us stay with those fears and confront them directly. We are not back in the 1930s. To the contrary, for the first time in the almost four thousand years of Jewish history, we have simultaneously independence and sovereignty in the land and state of Israel, and freedom and equality in the Diaspora. Israel is strong, extraordinarily so. The success of the Iron Dome missile defense was the latest in an astonishing line of technological advances —not just military but also agricultural, medical and commercial — designed to protect, save and enhance life. 

Israel has lived with the disdain of the world for a very long time. Even the most lukewarm among us knows that it is infinitely preferable to have a state of Israel and the condemnation of the world than no Israel, no Jewish home, and have the sympathy of the world. 

The unity Israel showed during the Gaza conflict was deeply moving. It reminded us that in a profound existential sense we remain one people. Whether or not we share a covenant of faith, we share a covenant of fate. That is a good state to be in, when we stand before God not just as individuals but as a people. 

As for anti-Semitism, rarely has it been more self-evident that the hate that starts with Jews never ends with Jews. The most significant enemies of the Jews today are the enemies of freedom everywhere. Worldwide we may feel uncomfortable, anxious. But there are parts of 
the world where Christians are being butchered, beheaded, driven from their homes and living in terror. 

As for Muslims, one prominent academic recently estimated that of the hundreds dying daily, at least 90 per cent were doing so at the hands of their fellow Muslims. Bahai are at risk. So are the Yazidis. So in other parts of the world are Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, and for that matter atheists. No historian looking back on our time will be tempted to call it the age of tolerance. “Whether or not we share a covenant of faith, we share a covenant of fate.”

Tne message resonates through these days: life. “Remember us for life, King who delights in life, and write us in the book of life for your sake, God of life.” Almost at the end of his life Moses turned to the next generation and said to them: 

Apples and Honey are a tradition of Rosh HaShanah

Apples and Honey are a tradition of Rosh HaShanah

“Choose life, so that you and your children may live.” We take this for granted, forgetting how relatively rare in the history of religion this is. 

Why so? Why, if we believe the soul is immortal, that there is life after death and that this world is not all there is, do we not say so more often and more loudly? Because since civilization began, heaven has too often been used as an excuse for injustice and violence down here on earth. What evil can you not commit if you believe you will be rewarded for it in the world to come? That is the logic of the terrorist and the suicide bomber. It is the logic of those who burned “heretics” at the stake in order, so they said, to save their immortal souls. 

Against this horrific mindset the whole of Judaism is a protest. Justice and compassion have to be fought for in this life not the next. Judaism is not directed to fear of death. It is directed to a far more dangerous fear: fear of life with all its pain and disappointment and unpredictability. It is fear of life, not fear of death, that have led people to create totalitarian states and fundamentalist religions. Fear of life is ultimately fear of freedom. That is why fear of life takes the form of an assault against freedom. 

Against that fear we say from the beginning of Elul to Sukkot {Feast of Tabernacles} that monumental psalm of David: “The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom then shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life. Of whom then shall I be afraid?” On Rosh Hashanah we blow the shofar, the one mitzvah (command) we fulfill by the breath of life itself without needing any words. On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, the “anniversary of creation,” we read in the Torah and haftorah not about the birth of the universe but about the birth of Isaac to Sarah and Samuel to Hannah as if to say, one life is like a universe. One child is enough to show how vulnerable life is – a miracle to be protected and cherished. On Yom Kippur we wear the kittel, a shroud, as if to show that we are not afraid of death. 

Israeli reservist prays near Gaza border July, 2014 

Israeli reservist prays near Gaza border July, 2014 

Never before have I felt so strongly that the world needs us to live this message, the message of the Torah that life is holy, that death defiles, and that terror in the name of God is a desecration of the name of God. “

The state of Israel is the collective affirmation of the Jewish people, a mere three years after emerging from the valley of the shadow of death, that Lo amut ki echyeh, “I will not die but live.” Israel chose life. Its enemies chose the way of death. They even boasted, as did Osama bin Laden, that the love of death made them strong. It did not make them strong. It made them violent. Aggression is not strength; it is a profound self-consciousness of weakness. And the main victims of Islamist violence are Muslims. Hate destroys the hater. 

Today it is not just Israel or Jews whose freedom is at risk. It is the whole of the Middle East, large parts of Africa and Asia, and much of Europe. Therefore let us approach the {Jewish} New Year with a real sense of human solidarity. Let us show, by the way we celebrate our faith, that God is to be found in life. The love of God is love of life. Let us take to heart King David’s insistence that faith is stronger than fear. No empire ever defeated the Jewish people, and no force ever will. 

May God write us, our families, the people and State of Israel and Jews throughout the world, in the book of life. And may the day come when the righteous of all nations work together for the sake of freedom, peace and life. “Let us approach the New Year with a real sense of human solidarity. Let us show, by the way we celebrate our faith, that God is to be found in life. The love of God is love of life. Let us take to heart King David’s insistence that faith is stronger than fear. No empire ever defeated the Jewish people, and no force ever will. 

May God write us, our families, the people and State of Israel and Jews throughout the world, in the book of life. And may the day come when the righteous of all nations work together for the sake of freedom, peace and life. 

Rosh HaShanah and the High Holy Days

The Hebrew month of Elul (August/September) is the month of the “High Holy Days”. The period between Rosh haShana (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) is also called “the ten days of awe”, because of the need for introspection and repentance. This yearRosh haShana begins Wednesday evening, September 24th.


Rosh haShana (lit. head of the year) heralds the Hebrew month of Tishrei (September/October). Tishrei is Aramaic for “to begin”.

It is celebrated for two days and is seen as a Day of Judgment. On the first day, the tashlich* (“you will cast”) ritual takes place in which “sins” are symbolically cast into open water. People also throw bread and pebbles.

Rosh haShana is a day of rest, like the Shabbat. The sound of the shofar* (ram’s horn) is intended to awaken  people from their “slumber” and alert them to the coming judgment. The days of repentance begin with Rosh haShana and climax at Yom Kippur. Religious Jews believe that even though judgment is pronounced on Rosh haShana, during the following ten days they can mend their ways and alter judgment in their favour. (That is why people are extra nice to each other.)

In the weeks leading up to the holiday, people greet each other with “Shana Tova” (A good year) or “Shana Tova uMetuka” (A good and sweet New Year). Often they add “Gmar Chatima Tova” (May you be inscribed in the Book of Life), referring to the coming Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement.

Apple and honey, symbolizing the sweet New Year is always part of the holiday cuisine. Other symbolic food is a fish head (“head” of the new year) and a round challah, to symbolize the year cycle).

In ancient times, Rosh haShana was the beginning of the economic year. The emphasis was on the agricultural seasons and the pilgrim’s festivals (PesachShavuot and Sukkot). It those days it was only celebrated for one day, instead of the modern two-day holiday. 

Rosh haShana is seen as the anniversary of God’s Creation. On this day, mankind passes before the Creator, like sheep before the shepherd. Three books are opened – the Book of Life, which seals the righteous, who will live; The wicked are “blotted out of the book of the living” (See Psalm 69:29), while those “in between” have until Yom Kippur to repent and become righteous.

By Petra van der Zande

Excerpt from the book: Remember, Observe, Rejoice.  Used with permission.

Two New Revelation Bible Studies Begin Next Week

Book of Revelation - Precept Upon Precept

"What is the Sign of His Coming and of the End of the Age?"

(Chapters 5-22)

The focus of chapters 5-22 is the end times. Through careful observation of the text, discover exactly what God says will take place. Explore the relationship of the book of Revelation to the Gospels -- realize the prophecies and teachings they contain about the last days. 

  • Begins Wednesday, September 17th,  2014,    7 PM. (Co-ed) in Anaheim Hills,
  • Thursday, September 18th, 2014 at 9:15 AM (Women only), Anaheim Hills. 

Both classes end mid January, with another book on Revelation following. Cost $29 (includes workbook). (Part 1 & 2 are not pre requisites). Click here to register.

A Greater Threat--From the North

Below is a letter received from Sally, from our partner congregation in Israel:

Shalom from Kfar Saba!,

I want to update you and give you prophetic perspective from here in Israel.

Last week, once again, Hamas and Israel agreed to a temporary cease fire.  This time it is for 30 days to discuss long-lasting peace.  Interestingly enough, this cease fire was executed exactly 30 days from Rosh Hashanah, which begins September 24th.   If you recall, one of the plans that the Israeli military confiscated, was the plan to cause a pogrom on Israel and her people, to be executed on Rosh Hashanah of this year.  It was to be done through the tunnels that were discovered, and would have involved murder, kidnappings of women and children, and complete devastation to our communities next to Gaza.  Through this discovery, we can only hope that this plan was thwarted.  But only prayer and time will tell.  As of this writing, the cease fire from Gaza is holding.

A new front is in our midst, and that is up North.  Some fear this will be far more devastating to our nation as it involves Hezbollah and Isis.  Already there are rockets flying indiscriminately from Syria and involving the United Nations Peace Keeping forces.  Our forces are prepared, and our people are ready. Now we just wait on the God of Israel, Who never slumbers nor sleeps to watch over us.

While this has certainly been an unusual summer, God is doing amazing miracles!  We have had a few religious Jews come to faith by a dream in the night, and are sharing with others about their new found faith.  In addition, our next generation is responding to your prayers and is developing deeper relationships with Yeshua and each other.

Here are a few prayer points:

  • For God to protect us from terrorist attacks from the south, north and Samaria (just a few days ago, there was a terrorist attack at a border crossing 2 km from us in Kakilia.)
  • For God to direct you and us how to pray for our safety and protection and provision during this time.
  • For our children to be safe in schools and to be a light to those who are fearful due to this summer’s war.
  • For those who are impacted by the war, to be healed from the shock and trauma.

I look forward to what He has in store!

Love you


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Stand With Israel Music Video

Song For Israel stands with Israel! We want to do more than just stand. We are collecting donations to build a bomb shelter for women and children. We have collected over $2,500 so far and with the Israeli government matching our donations, that is $5,000!  Please click here to learn about our bomb shelter project and donate.

Israeli Responses to the Video:

"I saw your video for Israel and I cried the whole time! It is simply amazing and I have no words! I live in Israel and yes, we are going through a really hard time now. I am in Yerushalaim where thank G-d it is not like in the south (!) but still yesterday we had a siren late at night and had to pull children out of bed, etc... it was scary. But... we know that G-d is with us and with all the good people of the world. I am so so touched by what you did!
Love and blessings,"

"I just want to tell you how much joy and tears your song "Israel, You're Not Alone" brought to me. I am not much of a Facebook person but my wife showed me the video which apparently is touching the souls of so many Jews who are currently feeling very alone in the world, almost like when Hitler came to power. Your song reminds us that we do have real friends, like you, motivated by the belief in the One God, whose words contained in the Torah are absolute truth. You have brought much comfort to me and MANY others and I want to bless you with all of God's blessings, material and spiritual. May the One God grant all of you continued strength to persevere in proclaiming His truth in an upside-down world in which falsehood increasingly reigns.
God bless you and thank you SO much!"

"From Jerusalem, a heartfelt Thank You for your support, your song and your love. Your sincerity is apparent and we hope that your message is heard by many."

"thanks for all your thoughts, efforts and activities. And may G-d be with you and bless you, and may you be enveloped in the peace of those who seek Zion and Jerusalem, especially in the face of those who seek it not. (see Jeremiah 30:17)"

"We are so grateful that you are standing with Israel and the Jewish people. Your son made me cry with joy. It warmed my heart. We are grateful to you for your love and support. Please continue to stand strong!"

"I just wanted to thank you for the beautiful video "Israel You're Not Alone." My brother sent it to me after seeing it on Arutz Sheva, and, aside from at first being slightly confused because you all looked quasi-Jewish, I felt so touched and awed that you would do that for Israel. All those images of people around the world holding signs saying Israel You're Not Alone made me tear up. We always hear about those who are anti-Israel, considering they're usually vocal and violent; it's heartening to see there exists non-Jewish people who recognize that Israel is in the right and aren't afraid to say it. Thank you, thank you!
Now that I've explored your site, I can also commend you on your support of small farmers. So important!
(And as an aside - really nice photos.)"

"I loved everything about it. I also love the fact that you guys are not hate mongers, nothing about what you do is about hating the enemy, its about loving Israel. I was reminded that this is the major difference between us and them and your activities, clearly demonstrate it. Palestinians supporters are about hating Jews and Israel and our supporters are about loving what is good. We will defend the good, hard, but we are defined by loving what is good, not by the need to defend it."

"I just stumbled over your website and I was so moved. To hear about people who love and support my home, who see the beauty and holiness of Yehuda and the Shomron was truly heart-warming. Thank you for taking this rather uncomfortable stand. These are indeed the days leading up to redemption and you have a part in it. May you be blessed."

"My father, grandfather, great grandfather and all of my three sons are/were dedicated orthodox rabbis. So I think I have some acquaintance with what it takes to be a true servant of G-d. Therefore let me testify that I believe with all my heart, with all my soul and with all my might that you are faithful servants of G-d, par excellence. Thank you, and may G-d reward your sacred service with His abundant blessings in this world and the next"