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!

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Chanukah Series: Miracles

Whether Christian or Jewish, we can thank God for the miracles He has performed. We remember His miracle in the days of old that is now celebrated at this Feast of Dedication, praising Him for preserving His temple in Jerusalem as the people rededicated it on Chanukah. Today this feast is also called the Festival of Lights! Jesus (Yeshua) IS the Light of the World! ("Jesus spoke saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." John 8:12).

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 will be this evening,, December 24th. Candle lighting is each evening following that until the evening of Saturday, December 31st. 

Check back daily for more Chanukah traditions!

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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 rededicated.

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 Friday, December 15th, 7 pm at the Yorba Linda Community Center. Our reservation list is now full, but you may be placed on the waiting list by clicking here.

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

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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 Friday, December 15th at 7 pm, at the Yorba Linda Community Center! Click here to register and for more information.

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Chanukah Series -- The Feast of Dedication and its History

Tomorrow evening marks the first night in 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 dreidel, gelt, gifts, the nine-candle menorah, recipes and more! Please visit our website daily.

When in 175 BC, Antiochus Ephiphanes 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' degrees. 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 guerilla 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 Simeon 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 SecondTemple in 164 BC. There was only a one-day supply of pure (kosher) olive oil to light the Temple's Menorah (seven-branched candleabra). The Menorah was lit, and miraculously burned for eight days.

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

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) and used to kindle the other candles.

Religious neighborhoods have outdoor chanukiot (plural for Chanukiah) placed along the streets.

On the first night of the Festival, public candle-lighting 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.  

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Song For Israel Thanks President Trump for Blessing Israel Today

Today from the White House, President Trump fulfilled two of his campaign promises:

1. He officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

2. He directed the State Department to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

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Trump stated in his speech, "In 1995, Congress adopted The Jerusalem Embassy Act, urging the Federal Government to relocate the American Embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize that city as Israel's capital. The Act passed by a majority vote, yet for over twenty years, every U. S. President exercised the U. S. waiver not to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, believing that delaying the recognition of Jerusalem would advance the cause of peace." He went on to say that after more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to peace in that region.

"When Israel gained statehood in 1948, they declared Jerusalem as their eternal and undivided capital...Today, Israel claims Jerusalem as its united capital, with most branches of Israeli government headquartered there, including the Knesset building. Only the Ministry of Defense is located in Tel Aviv rather than Jerusalem." (Excerpt is taken from Understanding God's Eternal Plan for Israel" by Deby Brown - book available on Amazon). 

God said He has written His name on the land of Jerusalem: "...Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen for Myself, to put My name there." 1 Kings 11:36

Jerusalem is the city that God claims is His.

Song For Israel thanks President Trump for this bold move!

URGENT CALL TO PRAYER FOR JERUSALEM

Song For Israel partners with the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) with our Bomb Shelter Project (Click on this link for more). Below is an article published by ICEJ today.

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We are currently at a very critical moment as US President Donald Trump is seriously considering a change of American policy on Jerusalem, a decision that is facing stiff opposition even within his own government. On Monday, he let pass the deadline for signing a waiver to delay the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, and on Wednesday he is expected to deliver a speech outlining his new position on the city. Press reports indicate he will announce his official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital while again delaying the move of the Embassy here.

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This appears to be a half-way step meant to placate the Arabs and Muslims, while also trying to please his base, including pro-Israel Christians. But it still touches on the sensitive issue of Jerusalem, and thus the spiritual battle over the city is about to intensify even more. Here in Jerusalem, we sense an urgency to call Christians everywhere to pray and intercede over this pending decision by the US administration.

From the start of 2017, the Lord has been speaking to us about this being a year of Jubilee for Jerusalem. In modern times, there seems to be a Jubilee cycle in operation whereby every fifty years something dramatic is happening to release Jerusalem further into its prophetic destiny. This includes the discovery of the original City of David by Charles Warren in 1867, the liberation of Jerusalem by Gen. Edmund Allenby in 1917, and the reuniting of Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty in 1967. This means we can expect another Jubilee release for Jerusalem sometime during this biblical calendar year, which runs through mid-March 2018 (1st of Nisan).

According to the Law of Moses (Leviticus 25), in a Jubilee year slaves are set free, debts are forgiven, and land reverts to its rightful owners. The Bible further speaks of it as a year of God’s favour upon Israel. So we urge you to pray for all of Jerusalem to be fully released into God’s redemptive purposes for Israel this year. Pray that President Trump would be a modern-day Cyrus, making a decree that enables the Jewish people to reach their prophetic destiny here in this city. Pray that the Lord would show favour to Israel by quickly dealing with those who would seek to stoke violence over this decision. And finally, pray for the peace of Jerusalem – that the city would remain calm, united and in Jewish hands.

In Christ!

Dr. Jürgen Bühler
ICEJ President

USA Passes Legislation to Stop Funding Terrorist Activity

The USA House Foreign Affairs Committee has approved legislation that would cut off any financial aid given to the Palestinian Authority unless it puts an end to its policy of paying monthly stipends to prisoners who are jailed in Israel and to the families of Palestinians who are killed while confronting Israeli security forces. This legislation is called the “Taylor Force Act” and was named after an American was murdered in a terror attack during a “Stabbing Intifada” in Tel Aviv a few years ago.

Committee Chairman, Ed Royce, declares, “With this legislation, we are forcing the PA to choose between USA assistance and these morally reprehensible policies, and I am pleased to see this measure move forward in both chambers with so much support.”

In response to this new legislation, PA leadership said they would not give in to USA threats to stop its payments to terrorists and their families. An adviser to Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, said: "These are heroes and we are responsible for them and for their families."

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you. Peace Psalm 122:6be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces.”

Just Published - "Understanding God's Eternal Plan For Israel"

There is no other nation in history that has experienced what Israel has. Throughout history, people and nations have tried to destroy the Jewish people. With anti-Semitism on the rise once more and enemies threatening to wipe Israel from the face of the earth, many Christians want to instead show their love for Israel and the Jewish people. However, most Christians have no idea how to show support for or defend the Jewish people.

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Understanding God's Eternal Plan for Israel provides an overview of Israel's spiritual, historical, and political history, challenging believers in Christ to bless Israel and its people. Christian believers can learn about the biblical holy days (or feasts), how God called Israel to be a chosen nation to accomplish His work, and how the Middle Eastern conflict began and why it matters for both the Jewish people and Christians today.

If Christians can understand God's plan for Israel, then we can be in alignment with the Word of God. We must examine the evidence for ourselves, and then we can prepare to support our Jewish brothers and sisters and the nation of Israel as they carry out God's chosen plan.

                   Deby Brown, Author

                   Deby Brown, Author

Deby Brown is president of Song For Israel, a nonprofit organization proclaiming God's eternal plan for Israel. She educates others on the biblical truth and significance of God's plan for Israel, and she works relentlessly to build biblical awareness and active support for Israel and the Jewish people through prayer, education, service projects, and financial support. Deby is a commissioned pastor and teaches several Bibles studies weekly. She also leads annual tours to Israel (click here).

To order a book, click here and scroll down to payment button.

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 cemeteries 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.

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. 

In Defense of Christians

Christians face genocide in the Middle East. The United States government is finally making the advancement of international religious freedom -- and solidarity with persecuted Christians and other faith communities -- a top priority.

Several days ago, Vice President Mike Pence delivered the keynote address at a conference in Washington organized by the group, "In Defense of Christians." You may view it here:

Vice President Pence said he will soon travel to Israel and Egypt, in part, to advance the issue. "President Trump has directed me to go to the Middle East in December," the V.P. told the assembled Christian leaders. "And I promise you one of the messages that I will bring on the President’s behalf to leaders across the region is that now is the time to bring an end to the persecution of Christians and all religious minorities."

Muslims Refuse to play Israeli Anthem or Show Flag as Judoka Wins Gold

This past week, Israeli, Tal Flicker, won the gold in the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam judo tournament. However, Israel was the only participant now allowed to air their national anthem nor their country's flag during the final ceremony.

This global show of discrimination (anti-Semitism) is tolerated against a Jew in a Muslim country, but would not have happened toward a Muslim in Israel.

While the judo tournament anthem played, the Israeli gold winner quietly sang "Hatkivah" (The Hope), which is Israel's national anthem.

Ammunition Hill - Jerusalem and the Six-Day War

Another Song for Israel board member and myself (Deby) visited Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem in July. There was a movie that explained its history and then we visited the site.

During the British Mandate (1917-1948), the British built the Police Academy in northern Jerusalem. The ammunition stored on the nearby hill provided the name: Ammunition Hill.

During the War of Independence (1947-1948), the Jordanians captured parts of northern Jerusalem, including Ammunition Hill. As a result of the War of Independence (and continuing until the Six-Day War in 1967), Jerusalem remained divided between two countries - Israel and Jordan. Running between both sections of the divided city, there was a line of demarcation along which barbed wire was strung; mines were concealed and military posts were constructed. The Old City remained in Jordanian hands. 

The Six-Day War broke out on June 5, 1967. Israel's political attempts to prevent this war with the Jordanians had failed and Jordan's King Hussein instructed his army to open fire along the line of demarcation. A bloody battle was waged on Ammunition Hill, resulting in the Old City's capture by Israeli soldiers. Paratroop Brigade Commander Mota Gur reported: "The Temple Mount is in our hands" - The Divided City has been reunited.

In 1975, at the initiative of the grieving families and comrades-in-arms of the fallen soldiers, a memorial site and museum were dedicated on Ammunition Hill, and 182 olive trees were planted - equal to the number of those who had fallen in the battles for Jerusalem in the Six-Day War. 

God performed many miracles during the Six-Day War and many are documented in the book, The Lion's Gate by Steven Pressfield (available on Amazonsmiles.com - add Song For Israel as your favorite charity). 

Each year the national Jerusalem Day ceremony is held at Ammunition Hill.

The USA and Israel Plan to Withdraw from UNESCO

The Trump administration announced this past week that the US will withdraw from UNESCO, the UN’s educational, scientific and cultural body. UNESCO designates World Heritage sites but has become anti-Semitic in its decisions. In recent months, UNESCO members pushed to recognize Jerusalem as a holy site exclusive to Muslims, without recognizing its Jewish roots.

 On the heels of the USA announcement to withdraw from UNESCO, Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu also announced that Israel would also withdraw over the organization’s anti-Israeli bias.

Earlier this year, UNESCO declared the ancient city of Hebron, King David’s first capital and home to the tomb of the biblical patriarchs, an endangered Palestinian heritage site. Last year, UNESCO passed resolutions declaring that Israel has no rights to Jerusalem, and described the Temple Mount and Old City of Jerusalem as Muslim holy sites.
 

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Simchat Torah (Rejoicing in God's Word)

Tonight Jews and Christians around the world celebrate the rabbinical holiday, Simchat Torah! "Simchat Torah" means the rejoicing of the Torah and celebrates and marks the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings and the beginning of a new cycle. 

The word "Torah" has different meanings:

  • It can refer to the first five books of the Hebrew Bible;
  • It can refer to the entire Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) called the Tanakh
  • It can refer to the entire Bible (both the Old Testament and the New Testament)

How do we know if the Bible we hold in our hands today is accurate?

  1. The Tanakh was written by eye witnesses
  2. It is confirmed by archeological investigations
  3. It was attested to by Jesus Christ Himself (see Luke 24:44, Matthew 7:12)
  4. The Tanakh was preserved by careful copyists
  5. Copies have been validated over a 1,400- year period

OUR BIBLE IS RELIABLE

WE CAN REJOICE IN THE WORD OF GOD