Israel and Petra Tour Registration Deadline Nearing

You've heard it said that going to Israeli changes you.  It's true!  No one can explain that better than one who has been. To walk where Jesus walked; to visit the cities mentioned in your Bible; to get baptized in the Jordan River; to stand on the Temple Mount...it's a trip like you've never experienced!

We are flying El Airlines this year (the best as far as I'm concerned!) and they require that we obtain trip deposits by February 21st. So, if you are thinking of going, please check out our itinerary and fill out the registration form. Click here for more information or email: info@songforisrael.org


Israel's New Underground Iron Dome Defense

Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system has thwarted numerous incoming rocket attempts from Hamas. However, with much terrorist activity focused on underground tunnels, Israel is now looking to establish new technology to protect themselves.

Israel’s ministry of defense confirmed this week that the United States has budgeted $120 million over a three-year period to help develop and produce a system to detect tunnels that continue to be built by her enemies.

The project has been described as an underground equivalent of the Iron Dome. It will detect concrete-reinforced tunnels that Hamas has burrowed in the earth along the Gaza border.

Hamas has been rebuilding its underground network which was Israel’s target during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge war.  The Israel Defense Force found and destroyed 32 tunnels in that war. Hamas used the tunnels to ambush soldiers, fire rockets or mortars and carry out operations within Israeli borders. Many of Israel's residents are claiming that they can hear digging underneath their homes.

The United States is leaning on Israel to create this underground detection system so that the U.S. can use it to locate tunnels used by criminal gangs that smuggle illegal immigrants or drugs across the Mexican/U.S. border.

 

Tu BSh'vat -- the Jewish Holiday -- New Year for the Trees

This Jewish holiday is celebrated on the 15th of the Hebrew month Sh’vat (January 25th this year) known as the “New Year for the Trees.” It is similar to our Arbor Day or an environmental awareness day.

“I will put the cedar in the wilderness, the acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert together with the box tree and the cypress, that they may see and recognize, and consider and gain insight as well, that the hand of the Lord has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.” Isaiah 41.19-20

Tu B’Sh’vat marks the beginning of spring in Israel! Most of the rains have already fallen. The beautiful almond trees show the first sign of spring as they begin to bloom.

On this special day, the synagogues around the work plan special activities to celebrate. Together they pray prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord Who gave them the Land of Israel and all its goodness.

Israel is famous for their growth of olives, dates, grapes, figs and pomegranates. It is traditional to have a ceremonial meal on Tu B'Shvat, in which these fruits from the Holy Land are eaten.

In addition, it has become a tradition to plant a tree on this holiday.

Tu b’Sh’vat is considered a national Israeli holiday and not a Biblical one. However, the fact that Israel became desolate while her people were exiled and then became inhabited and fruitful is a prophetical fulfillment.

Since the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD, the Land of Israel has been desolate as was predicted. It was a wilderness with no vegetation and almost uninhabitable.  In fact, in 1867, Mark Twain visited Israel and published his impression in a book called Innocents Abroad. Here is his description:

“….. A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds… a silent mournful expanse…. a desolation…. we never saw a human being on the whole route…. hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.”

However, today you will see a beautiful land, filled with agriculture! Over 200 million trees have been planted since Israel reclaimed her land in 1948. She is considered the bread basket for the entire Middle East, exporting fruits, vegetables and all kinds of agricultural products to her neighbors. This is a fulfillment of Scripture. Zechariah 8:12 says of Israel: For the seed shall be prosperous, The vine shall give its fruit, The ground shall give her increase, And the heavens shall give their dew. I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things.

In the days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and sprout, and they will fill the whole world with fruit. Isaiah 27:6

The Assault on Evangelical Christian Support for Israel

Yesterday, two of our Board members at Song For Israel attended a conference in West Hollywood put on by CAMERA (Committee For Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America). It was an event that was attended by pro-Israel Christians, Catholics and Jewish people.

Speaker after gifted speaker shared their concerns that anti-Semitism is not only increasing around the world, but specifically in America. In addition, news coming to us from the Middle East is often distorted and Americans are believing the lies.

Dr. Tricia Miller, Christian Media Analyst for CAMERA, monitors Christian organizations and media activity in relation to the Arab-Israeli conflict and focuses specifically on the effects of Christian anti-Zionism on support for Israel in the Evangelical world. She shared three developments that began in 2010:

1. Christ at the Checkpoint Conference in Bethlehem -- "Christian Palestianism" abounds with those who support Christ at the Checkpoint. In essence, it is Christian anti-Semitism. Its roots come from the Bethlehem Bible College where they hold that Jesus was a Palestinian (simply because He was born in Bethlehem) and was persecuted by Jews; they compare the existence of Israel and Zionism with the swine flu and other negative comparisons.  You may read more about Christian Palestinianism and Christ at the Checkpoint by clicking here.

2. In 2010, Mart Green (one of the heirs to Hobby Lobby), produced a film called "Little Town of Bethlehem" which has a false narrative and demonizes the Jewish state. It is being shown around America in colleges and churches to undermine support for Israel.

3. "Empowered 21" whose mission statement reads: Empowered 21 is an organization that is helping shape the future of the Spirit-empowered movement throughout the world by focusing on crucial issues facing the movement and connecting generations for intergenerational blessing and impartation. Sounds harmless. Don't believe it. It is a movement toward a one-world religion with a call to unity. They demand full agreement. They demonize the Jewish people, deny the Jewish roots of Christianity, and target an Evangelical Christian audience. The movement is based in Tulsa, Oklahoma with a huge backing from Oral Roberts University (which formerly was very supportive of Israel). They now demonize the Jewish people and the state of Israel and have strong financial backing.

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Dexter Van Zile is also a Christian Media Analyst for CAMERA, whose work has focused on the failure of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and other Christian institutions to address human rights abuses in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East. He has also played a major role in exposing the errors in the Palestinian Christian narrative and has made an important contribution in the battle for accuracy in relation to Christian anti-Zionism. He taught that anti-Zionists believe that Jewish sovereignty is against God's plan. Anti-Zionists believe that Evangelical support for Israel makes Muslims less apt to convert to Christianity. He said to watch Wheaton College as many students from this college are attending Christ at the Checkpoint as advocates. He added to Dr. Miller's presentation that "Little Town of Bethlehem" (which you can Google to watch the trailer) has been applauded by Christianity Today. This film twists truth to gain momentum for the Palestinian cause. It does not present a truthful picture of what is going on in the Middle East.

Dr. Laurie Cardoza-Moore was a dynamic and passionate speaker at this conference. She has devoted her life to educating Christians about their Biblical responsibility to stand with their Jewish brethren and the State of Israel. In 2005, she became the founder and president of Proclaiming Justice to The Nations (PJTN), an organization that utilizes the powerful medium of documentary films to educate Christians and facilitate dialogue between the Christian and Jewish communities. Song For Israel purchased one such documentary called the Forgotten People, which we plan to air at one of our future events.  She reminded us that we live in challenging and sobering times and that the climax is coming. The "Elect" have been deceived. She quoted 2 Timothy 3 citing that many will turn away from their faith in these deceiving days. Many Evangelical Christians are being deceived right in their churches. She challenged everyone to KNOW the Word of God. It is the only shield we have to guard us with truth. We need to study the whole Bible...the Old Testament with the Torah and the writings of the Prophets as well as the New Testament writings. We need to understand that we as Gentiles, when we became believers in Jesus, that we came into the commonwealth of Israel....a faith with Jewish roots.

Several other speakers, including a panel, presented their findings about the increase of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism spreading across American and landing in Evangelical churches. Christians need to know who Romans chapters 9-11 is talking about and we need to understand our Jewish roots of our faith. 

Song For Israel will soon be launching a new study series called Understanding God's Eternal Plan for Israel. In small groups we will cover much of what was shared at this conference. It will give a biblical foundation of support for Israel and a love for the Jewish people. It will give a history of Jewish persecution, an understanding of Christians grafted into Jewish roots, as well as challenge Christians to become pro Israel because the Bible clearly supports that! Sign up to receive more information and watch for the date when our book will be published and available to the public.

We cannot be silent on this issue of anti-Semitism...that is what Christians did as the Nazis took over much of Europe -- demonized the Jews and then exterminated them. It began with silence; then the world watched as six million Jews were put to death -- only because they were Jewish. To be silent now invites this same horror to be repeated.  We must know what our Bible says, what we believe, and then stand for truth while we still can...while we still have a voice.

 

Song For Israel 2015 -- A Year in Review

2015 in Review

Song For Israel would like to thank you for partnering with us financially and prayerfully. In 2015 Song For Israel was able to boldly help stand in the gap for Israel and the Jewish people.  We are so grateful for the opportunity to continue to pursue our committed goal of proclaiming God's eternal plan through Israel.  We could not do that without your support.

With your help this year Song For Israel:

· Collected and delivered a check for $10,831 to build a bomb shelter in Israel via Operation Lifeshield at the Eden Center (a school for abused teen girls);

· Launched a new SFI project called “Aliyah” (to help persecuted Jewish people around the world move to Israel).

· Completed writing of the first draft of our book called, “Understanding God’s Eternal Plan For Israel;”

· Partnered with Ben David Messianic Jewish Congregation for their Passover Seder at the Embassy Suites in Garden Grove in March;

· Had a Purim Cookie Demonstration in March;

· Spoke on “Passover” at Friends Church Joint Heirs class in April;

· Provided volunteers, representing seven different congregations,  for the Orange County Jewish Federation (At the Shumeli Campus)  at its Yom Ha’Atzmaut event in May.

 · Led two Bible study classes in the Book of Revelation, Parts 3 & 4,      and Hebrews, Part 1;

· Hosted 26 Prayer Meetings;

· Spoke at Friends Church New Life Class in May on “The Jewish Holidays Spell out God’s Eternal Plan;”

· Co-led an educational tour in Greece and Israel June-July;

· Spent an additional week in Israel after the tour and visited the Eden Center (School for abused girls ages 12-18, where  money from our bomb shelter project will place a shelter as the campus is 2 miles from Gaza); visited our partner  congregation Kihilat Hamayan in Kfar Saba, Israel; spent time with Operation Lifeshield director, Shmuel Bowman

· Spoke at Whittier Community Church twice with the messages regarding Israel;

· Shared “An Arm-Chair Tour of Israel” (Israel tour slides and message) with Whittier Community Church, Ben David  Messianic Jewish Congregation and in a private home with 18 in attendance

· Held our annual conference, this year called “Israel—A Light to the Nations,” at Richfield Community Church

· Celebrated with a Chanukah party at the Yorba Linda Community Center in December

 And, with your help we’re excited about 2016 and plan to:

·          Provide volunteers for the 2016 Israel Expo, on May 22, 2016;

·           Solidify a contract that is in the works with radio station KBRT to reach a larger audience across Southern California;

·          Hold our first Spring Fundraising Dinner;

·          Host the annual Israel Tour May 25 - June 5 (with a side trip to Petra,        Jordan);

·         Partner with Ben David Messianic Jewish Congregation for a Passover      Seder;

·         Host quarterly educational seminars;

·         Continue to raise money for bomb shelters in Israel through                       Operation Lifeshield;

·        Continue to raise money for the “Aliyah” project in Israel;

·        Launch a new prayer ministry to focus on prayer for Israel;

·        Create a workbook to go with the “Understanding God’s Eternal Plan       for Israel”

·        Launch a beta test group for “Understanding God’s Eternal Plan for         Israel;”

·        Publish the book and workbook for “Understanding God’s Eternal             Plan for Israel;”

·        Offer a Feast of Tabernacles Celebration Dinner;

·        Offer 2 inductive Bible Studies in the Book of Hebrews (parts 2-3);

·        Host a fabulous Chanukah party

·       Work on a plan to reach new people and share our vision

As always, Song For Israel counts on your support.  The discrimination towards Israel is rising every day! Your gift is extremely important to SFI because it provides resources that make an immediate impact through education, lifesaving bomb shelters, and ministry to the Jewish people. Will you prayerfully consider partnering with us to proclaim God’s eternal plan for Israel? Please consider a monthly partnership and/or a year-end tax-deductible donation for Song For Israel. In addition, you might feel led to consider the following special projects:

 1. Funds to publish our new “God’s Eternal Plan for Israel” curriculum

2. Donate towards our Spring Fundraising Dinner

3. Donate to underwrite our Feast of Tabernacles dinner or Chanukah party

 Scripture tells us that “Those who bless Israel will be blessed…” (Genesis 12:3) In addition, our prayer team regularly prays that God will bless you, our donors.

Once again, thank you for helping Song For Israel impact our world in support of Israel and the Jewish people. May God richly bless you.

Blessings and Shalom,

Deby Brown and the entire Song For Israel Team

Song For Israel Bomb Shelter Placed at Eden School

In December, the bomb shelter that our Song For Israel donors provided was placed at the Eden School at Kibbutz Karmia. The shelter was placed at the site where 40 girls and young women have classes each day. Until now, there has been no shelter for them.

Kibbutz Karmia is located 2 miles north of Gaza, and in serious harm's way of rockets fired by Hamas.

This sign appears at the entrance of the shelter. 

This sign appears at the entrance of the shelter. 

To donate to our next bomb shelter project and save lives in Israel, please click here.

Chanukah Series: The Nine-Candle Menorah

The Chanukah menorah, also called a “hanukkiah,” is a nine-branched candleholder and one of the most common symbols of Chanukah.

Just after sundown, family members and friends gather around the menorah and recite blessings as the middle candle, the shamash, is lit. It is a little taller than the other eight candles and is used to light all the other candles. It is considered to be the servant candle, lighting candles from left to right. One additional candle on the menorah is lit on each of Chanukah's eight nights.

On the eighth night, all nine candles (the 8 Chanukah candles and the shamash) are lit. On nights after the first, only the first two blessings are recited; the third blessing, called “she-hekhianu” is only recited on the first night of holidays. 

Lighting the Chanukah menorah is an important part of celebrating this Jewish holiday. According to the Hanukkah story, once Jewish revolutionaries had retaken the Temple from the Syrians they wanted to rededicate it to God and restore its ritual purity. Eight days worth of oil were needed to complete the ritual purification, but they were only able to find one day's worth of oil. They lit the menorah anyway and miraculously, the oil lasted for eight full days. The menorah reminds us of this miracle of the Chanukah lights.

The Jewish people use a different, seven-candle menorah for their weekly Sabbaths (Shabbats). The seven is significant because God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. He asks us to rest on the seventh day too. “Shabbat” in English means “to rest.”

First candle lighting of the Menorah for this Chanukah was on the evening of December 6th. Candle lighting is each evening following that until the evening of Sunday, December 13th. 

Check back daily for more Chanukah traditions!

Chanukah Series: Gelt (Chocolate Money)

The tradition of Chanukah gelt (money given to children during Chanukah) originates from a 17th century practice of Polish Jewry to give money to their small children for distribution to their teachers. Later, children were allowed to keep the money for themselves.

In the 18th century, it became custom for poor yeshiva students to visit homes of Jewish benefactors dispensing Chanukah money. It is also possible that the custom evolved from Jews in Eastern Europe giving coins to religious teachers as a token of gratitude. (Similar to the custom of tipping service people on Christmas.)

In 1958, the Bank of Israel issued commemorative coins for use as Chanukah gelt. That year, the coin bore the image of the menorah that appeared on Maccabean coins 2,000 years earlier.

Children often use chocolate gelt to play dreidel with. Parents, grandparents or other relatives give older children actual money.

In Chassidic communities, the rabbis continue the practice of distributing small coins to those visiting them during Chanukah. Chassidic Jews consider this to be a blessing from the Rabbi, and a hope for success.

Please check back daily to read more about Chanukah!

Chanukah Series: Gift Giving

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One of the major reasons Chanukah has become so centered around gifts is because of its proximity to Christmas. On the Jewish calendar, Chanukah is celebrated beginning on sundown on the 25th day of Kislev. This year it began on December 16th.

There has always been a tradition of giving, but in a different way than it is today. Gift-giving at Chanukah (one gift each night) is a relatively modern Jewish tradition, developed in response to the older tradition of gift-giving at Christmas. It is extremely unusual for Jews to give Chanukah gifts to anyone other than their own young children. The only traditional gift of the holiday is "gelt," (Yiddish for money) small amounts of money.

Instead of focusing on gifts, Jewish people prefer to focus on Israel’s victory, which Chanukah commemorates and as a reminder of God’s faithfulness to His people.

Check back daily for more Chanukah traditions!

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: 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.

We will be serving sufganiyot from Krispy Kreme at our Chanukah party this Sunday, December 13th, 7 pm at the Yorba Linda Community Center. Please join us.  Reservations are a must. Click here to register.

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!

PREP TIME: 8 MINUTES

COOK TIME: 10 MINUTES

TOTAL TIME: 18 MINUTES

INGREDIENTS:

  • 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

PREPARATION:

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 youtube.com/joyofkosher and on-air on JLTV.  Join Jamie and the world’s largest kosher food community on joyofkosher.com 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 facebook.com/joyofkosher. Recipe and photo reprinted and used with permission from Feldheim Publishers.

Check back daily for another Chanukah tradition!

Contributed by Jen Fedler

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!

Join us for a dredel game at our Chanukah Party this Sunday, December 13th at the Yorba Linda Community Center! Click here for more information.

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  surrounding 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.

MAOZ TZUR

(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

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.  

 

Israel Arrests IS Suspects in Wednesday Raid

Israeli security officials announced Wednesday that they have arrested several Arab citizens from a village in the Galilee suspected of preparing to join the Islamic State (IS) terror militia in Syria. The announcement came just as reports came in from Paris the police had raided an apartment where it was believed that the mastermind of the Paris massacre had been hiding. During the raid, there was a shootout and an explosion of a female suspect who detonated a suicide vest and killed herself. One other suspect died on the scene and five others were taken into custody. 

The Infamous Anniversary of Kristallnacht

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 2,500+ 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 1,500 synagogues were burned (95 in Vienna alone) and over 7,000 Jewish businesses destroyed or damaged. Jewish cemetaries were vandalized and countless Jewish homes were destroyed. To make matters worse, Germans charged Jewish people for "damages."

Photo taken at the Jewish Museum in Berlin, Germany by Deby Brown 2013

Photo taken at the Jewish Museum in Berlin, Germany by Deby Brown 2013

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 Holocaust.

History seems to be following the same path today that led up to the Holocaust. Just within the last few years, 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)
  • In January 2015, two large swastikas were spray-painted on the Alpha Epsilon Pi fra­ter­nity house at the University of California, Davis.
  • In Feb­ru­ary 2015, three swastikas were drawn inside a George Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­sity residence hall.
  • At the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley, the phrase “Zion­ists should be sent to the gas cham­ber” was found in a cam­pus restroom in March and a swastika was found on a uni­ver­sity owned build­ing in February.
  • On Feb­ru­ary 22, Uni­ver­sity of Chicago stu­dents and staff reported anti-Semitic posts on a Face­book page called UChicago Secrets, such as “Peo­ple are hyp­ocrites. This is a fact. One exam­ple? The Jews at UChicago…” and “As a Per­son of Pales­tin­ian descent, I don’t think it is unrea­son­able or hor­rific for me to hate Jews…”
  • Swastikas were spray-painted inside the house of a Jew­ish fra­ter­nity (Alpha Epsilon Pi) at Vanderbilt University on March 15.
  • In March at UCLA, a student was asked, "Given that you are a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community, how do you see yourself being able to maintain an unbiased view?" during the Student Council's confirmation of the nomination of the student to the council's Judicial Board.
  • Several swastikas, along with personal slurs and epithets, were spray-painted on Stanford University's chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon in April 2015
  • In April, 2015, vandalism of a residence hall at the University of Missouri included a swastika, the Illuminati symbol, and the word “heil.” Later, another swastika and the words, “You’ve been warned,” were discovered in the same area.
  • In May at Drexel, a student came back to his residence hall to find a swastika and the word “JEW” taped next to his Israeli flag.
  • October 2015, UNESCO takes a stand and declares the Cave of the Patriarchs a Muslim site only (In Hebron, Israel...this is where the tombs of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and more were buried).

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