Sunday, March 4, 2018
3:00 - 7:15 pm
Yorba Linda Community Center
Join us for a day focusing on Israel and prophecy! Cost is $20 per person. Optional Mediterranean dinner (if pre-ordered) is $12. Scroll to the bottom of this page to register.
3:00 pm - Brandon Ridley - "Go to the Land I Will Show You" - He will share about the 4 worship sites of Abraham (places he built an altar) and how the events/promises of those places echo through Israel's history, including a New Testament tie in.
Brandon Ridley's life was changed when he went on a study tour of Israel the summer before finishing his last year of school at Biola University. Physically walking in, studying, and experiencing Israel awakened Brandon's passion for the land, culture, and history of the Bible. Two years and a few books later, Brandon moved to Jerusalem where he earned a Master's Degree in Biblical History and Geography from Jerusalem University College. Since then, he has served professionally in pastoral roles in churches and been a guest speaker in various venues, bringing his experience and love of text and biblical context with him.
4:00 pm - David Sielaff - "The True Temple Mount Location and How it Affects Our Future"
Do not believe anyone who says they “know” where the Temple was — if they say it was located at the traditional “Temple Mount,” they must be wrong.
There are 11 theories where the Jewish Temples were situated on the Haram esh-Sharif, the so-called “Temple Mount.” All are wrong. All are based on religious tradition. The true site of the Temples must correspond with the prophecies of Jesus, the Old Testament, the writings of the apostles, contemporary eyewitness testimony, and post-70 AD historical documents. David will present evidence to show that the Jerusalem Temples of Israel were all located above the Gihon Spring. The traditional so-called “Temple Mount” is the remains of Fort Antonia in the 1st century AD.
David is Director, Associates for Scriptural Knowledge. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree as a dual major in History and Political Science. He attended Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California and received a Masters of Arts in Theology degree in June 1987.
He discovered the work of Ernest Martin in 1974. Dr. Martin's theological and historical work has been seminal to Mr. Sielaff's understanding of the Bible and the world, which was later supplemented by his seminary experience. In 1983 Mr. Sielaff went to Israel on a tour conducted by Dr. Martin, after which a slowly increasing regular contact began between the two men. It was during the final edits on The Temples That Jerusalem Forgot in early 2000, that Dr. Martin first discussed the continuation of his work, should that be necessary.
6:15 pm - Lawrence (Low) Norris -- "Peaceful Readiness"
Our world is consumed with so much turmoil and there are many reasons to believe that it’s just a matter of time before Jesus returns. This has always been and always be, but how are we to carry ourselves as people of the Messiah? Let’s look at the Lords sobering warning and comforting direction of how to be part of His divine plan rather than sucked into the diabolical trappings of this world we find ourselves.
Low has a deep love for the local church. At age 26 he surrendered his life to Jesus and began an aggressive pursuit of following Christ in every aspect of his life. It was through the church, and the many pastors who cared for him, that he was able to not only find healing, but his purpose as a minister of the Gospel.
In the 15 years since, Low has had the privilege of leading in several ministry areas which have included: college, singles, young adults, homeless, evangelism, small groups, men, foster kids and missions. Over the past 5 years, Low served as a campus pastor of a multisite church and most recently as a church planter. As a result of these various ministry experiences, Low has gained a great deal of empathy for the leaders of the local church and the struggles that can exist in their roles.
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The Jerusalem Post published an article this week stating, "The strongest allies and best friends of Evangelical Christians in Israel are Israel’s Messianic Jews – Jews who, contrary to popular opinion, insist that one can believe in Jesus and still remain Jewish."
In addition, the Jerusalem Post argued that Messianic Jews are a key diplomatic asset to Israel and should be treated as such.
It is an excellent article and I suggest you take four minutes to read it. by clicking here.
Register now for our March 4th conference: "Israel--The Prophetical Unfolding" in Yorba Linda, California. Click here.
Amazon Prime offers a movie (also on DVD) called Jerusalem and the Lost Temple of the Jews, which discusses where the first two temples were built and where a third might be built before the Messiah's return.
You may have heard for years that the currently named "Temple Mount" may not be the correct location. This movie uses as its main sources: The Bible, The Works of Josephus the Historian, and the Book of Maccabees.
According to this documentary, It is quite possible that the Temple Mount is actually 1/3 of a mile south of the currently-named Temple Mount, located in the City of David. Here is a summary of the evidence:
1. The Bible says in Matthew 24:1-2 that as Jesus went out from the temple with His disciples. He pointed to the temple buildings and said to them…”Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Jesus was prophesying about the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. Jerusalem and her temple were, in fact, destroyed just as Jesus predicted. However, when you look today at the “temple mount,” you will see its Western Walls still standing. These walls are what supported the “temple mount,” and according to Jesus, not one stone should be stacked upon another. This fact raises a question, is this the right location?
Herod built two fortresses – one was the Antonia Fortress. He also built the Jewish Temple. When Titus destroyed Jerusalem, he destroyed the temple, down to the foundations. Many stones left in the walls are still standing - 10,000 of them. Either Jesus was not precise (which we know can’t be right) or we are missing something. Archaeologists say that these stones were not destroyed because we are looking at Antonia's Fortress, which is outside the City of Jerusalem. The Antonia Fortress is located just north of David's City and was built to accommodate a legion of Roman soldiers. The currently-named Temple Mount is the site of Herod’s Antonia Fortress.
To learn more about this topic, register for our upcoming conference, March 4th from 3 - 7:15 pm with guest speaker David Sielaff speaking on this topic. For more information, click here.
2. Josephus was a Jewish historian who wrote in the late 1st century. He was an eyewitness for the period of time when Jerusalem was destroyed. He was from the tribe of Levi – a Priestly family. He could have served in the temple. The Romans gave him access to the high court records of Herod and to the temple books. Josephus wrote a detailed account of the size and proportions of the temple and the Antonia’s Fortress. Antonia's Fortress was used to house 6,000 troops of the 10th Legion. This Fortress was a 35-acre site and much larger than the temple. However, if you visit the temple mount today, the so-called Antonia’s Fortress is much, much smaller than the temple could have been. In addition, the Fortress wall protrudes from the wall, whereas Josephus states it is flush with the wall. The southeast tower was 1.3 larger than the other 3 towers so they could view the temple.
The Holyland Model of Jerusalem is a 1:50 scale-model of the City of Jerusalem of the late 2nd Temple period, created by Israeli historial and geographer Michael Avi-Yonah, based on the writings of Josephus. Some use this model as historically accurate, however, it does not exactly match the dimensions Josephus wrote about.
Josephus claims that Antonia's Fortress is flush with the wall. The Fortress sat on a 35-acre parcel of land, not just a little fortress attached to the wall.
3. Another issue with using the Holyland Model for accuracy are the two 600-ft. colonnades mentioned by Josephus in the section called Wars of the Jews. These two colannades (called arms) denote a long sequence of columns. They joined the Temple Mount buildings with Antonia's Fortress, connecting on the Northwest corner of the temple. They were 50 cubits high and built on a rock that was 75 ft. in height. These do not appear in the Holyland Model and are significant as a major battle took place on these colonnades. Titus watched this battle take place. There is no such rock at the Temple Mount. According to Josephus, Jerusalem was built upon two hills opposite one another. On one of these hills is where the upper city called the Citadel by King David s located. The Valley of the Cheesemongers (later called the Tyropoeon Valley) was in the middle of the two hills.
4. An archaeological dig unearthed of a 7th-century market called the cardo which was built by Justinian. Stairs lead down 20 feet, but the city was buried deeper than that during the first century. The Old City wasn’t in this location, but Southeast of there. It was called the City of David.
5. More evidence that the Temple Mount is not where it is said to be today can be found in writings left from the few survivors of Masada who wrote about the destruction of Jerusalem. They state that the temple and the city were completely destroyed and the only thing remaining of significance was Antonia’s Fortress. The Fortress was not considered part of Jerusalem because it was outside of the city. It is now believed that the currently-named Western Wall (i.e. Wailing Wall) is actually the fortification that supported Antonia's Fortress and not the Temple.
6. The discovery of Hezekiah’s tunnel that led to the waterway was an important archaeological discovery. It was built in 700 BC by Hezekiah to rechannel the water from the Gihon Spring from the outside to inside in order to protect their water source from invaders. The discovery of Hezekiah's tunnel proves that the City of David was just above this tunnel. It proves that the City of David is on the southeast ridge and not the southwest hill. The "City of David" was synonymous with "Mount Zion" and the Jewish Temple. Solomon, David's son, built the Temple over the Gihon Spring. There was no other source of water for Jerusalem within a five-mile radius.
7. In the time of Simon the Hasmonean, the current temple mount was not the highest mountain. Mt. Zion is where the Temple was located. The Temple was descrated by Greeks during the time of the Maccabees. Simon the Hasmonean decided to remove Mt. Zion. He leveled the land and threw it into the Tyropeon and Kidron Valleys. He filled up the valley with the earth and wanted to join the upper city with the Temple. The name Mt. Zion was transferred to the western hill and the city expanded to the west. This explains why this mountain cannot be seen today. What you see now is not what Josephus was talking about. It is difficult to look at Jerusalem today and picture what the geography used to be. We must rely on historical resources rather than on what we see.
Today tunnels lead to the foundation blocks of the "so-called Temple Mount." There are massive rocks in these tunnels. The Antonia Fortress is said to have been built on a plateau that was higher than the City of David. There are no other foundation blocks like this that have been found. Josephus calls this the third hill. The apex of this rock is where the Dome of the Rock is located. This is the Antonia Fortress.
The City of David is built on land in the shape of a crescent (according to The Works of Josephus). Satellite photos show the crescent ridge. It stretched from the Kidron to the Tyropoean Valleys and was built over the Gihon spring. The Temple Mount extended from one valley to the other and could not be extended further. The City of David is exactly 600 feet across. However, the currently-called Temple Mount is 900 feet across. This is just one more piece of evidence that this land has been misnamed.
If the above findings are true, then the currently-named location of the Temple Mount is false and has clouded truth, keeping the Jewish people from locating the proper site for their Temple. It seems that the problem has been that "tradition trumps eyewitness and historical records," according to the DVD. The Book of Maccabees also contributes details to the geography during the Second Temple period.
The DVD is based on the findings of Dr. Ernest Martin, who provides the following sketch of the Temple and the Antonia Fortress. Dr. Martin's book is called The Temples Israel Forgot.
Today, there is excavating going on in the City of David. Some of the findings are evidence that this is actually where the Temple was located. Once the Jewish people determine where their Temple belongs, they can rebuild it. The glory of Jerusalem will return!
To learn more about this topic, register for our upcoming conference, March 4th from 3 - 7:15 pm with guest speaker David Sielaff speaking on this topic. For more information, click here.
Early this morning (Israel time), my iPhone alerted me over and over that rockets were hitting the northern part of Israel (Golan Heights). Here's what happened: Iranian military forces stationed in Syria invaded Israeli air space with an unmanned drone. This drone invasion was a massive breach of Israel’s sovereignty and a hostile act of aggression by Iran.
In response, Israel sent eight fighter jets into Syria to engage in a counterattack against the drone's command post. The Israeli jets came under anti-aircraft fire from Syrian forces while they flew over Syria. Israel succeeded in destroying their target, but in the process, one of Israel’s fighter jets was hit by Syrian fire and the two pilots ejected and escaped. However, both were injured and are currently in the hospital. One of the pilots is severely injured.
Israel’s response to this attack was an immediate counterattack of overwhelming force. In the strongest attack in 30 years, Israel destroyed 4 Syrian command posts and 8 Iranian command posts in Syria.
This morning’s breach was a blatant attempt by Iran to assert its dominance in the region and threaten Israel.
Pray for the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to continue His protection upon Israel and her people.
Song For Israel has a BOMB SHELTER project to help save lives in Israel. We just completed one project for $16,000 December 31st being sent to Kfar Silver. We have started our next BOMB SHELTER project and you can help save lives also. Every dollar donated is being matched by an anonymous donor. Please click here for more information: http://songforisrael.org/bomb-shelter-project/
This Jewish holiday is celebrated on the 15th of the Hebrew month Sh’vat (January 31st 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’Shvat 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. Last year there were so many fires in Israel - especially in the Haifa area - that trees need to be replanted. On our tour to Israel this year, we hope to spend a few hours planting new trees in this area!
Tu b’Shvat 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
Israel’s national anthem, Hatikvah, was written more than 50 years before the birth of the Jewish state.
Hatikvah – Hebrew for “The Hope” – refers to the 2,000-year-old dream of the Jewish People to return to the Land of Israel. It has served as a source of inspiration for Jews who have found themselves in the most dire of circumstances. During the darkest hours of the Holocaust, Jews defied their tormentors by singing the song’s powerful lyrics.
In this performance, which took place in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Israel’s national anthem of hope and peace was played on restored violins that were owned by Jews during the Holocaust.
Yesterday, Vice President Mike Pence addressed the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, affirming the US’ support for the Jewish state, for Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and for Israel’s security.
He quoted history as much as the Bible in his keynote speech, where Pence stated, “I am here to convey a simple message from the heart of the American people: The American people stand with Israel.” “We stand with Israel because your cause is our cause, your values are our values… we stand with Israel because we believe in good over evil, in liberty over tyranny,” he stated.
“John Adams said the Jews have done more to civilize man than any other civilization,” Pence said. “Through the generations, the American people became fierce advocates for the Jewish aspiration to return to the land of your forefathers.”
Pence then recited the “Shehechiyanu” blessing in Hebrew, a Jewish prayer recited to celebrate special and joyous occasions, eliciting a standing ovation from the Jewish-majority parliament. He said the US is proud to have been the first country to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. President Donald Trump, he said, “righted a 70-year wrong” by acknowledging Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. His speech made me proud to be an American!
Last Sunday, the Israeli military said it demolished a tunnel that was built by the Hamas militant group. The terror attack tunnel stretched from the Gaza Strip through Israel and into Egypt and was 180 meters (590 feet) long.
Israeli jets struck part of the tunnel and other sophisticated “tools” destroyed the rest. The tunnel ran past Israeli military posts as well as gas and fuel pipelines. They could tell a Hamas attack was imminent.
Since the 2014 war in Israel known as “Operation Protective Edge,” Israel has been neutralizing tunnel threats. Israel has destroyed three tunnels over the past two months and is deploying the most advanced technological means to do so.
Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the tunnel’s construction was a clear violation of Israeli sovereignty and destroying it delivered a stinging blow to one of Hamas’ most significant assets. “The message to Gaza’s leadership and residents is clear – invest in the sanctity of life and not these burial tunnels,” he said.
Israel has filed notice to withdraw from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) alongside the United States.
In recent years, Israel has blasted UNESCO over the organization’s criticism of Israel's occupation of East Jerusalem (Judea and Samaria) and its decision to grant full membership to Palestine in 2011.
Both Israel and the US – which filed its own withdrawal notice in October, noting that it would instead seek to establish a permanent observer mission to UNESCO - will officially cease membership as of December 31, 2018.
In announcing its withdrawal, the US Department of State noted "anti-Israel bias" and "the need for fundamental reform" within the organization. Shortly afterward, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel would also pull out of UNESCO on the grounds that the body had become "a theatre of the absurd".
Interested in joining us for a Jewish roots tour to Israel and Petra? Plan to come to our information meeting on Thursday, January 11th, 7 pm in Orange. For more information about the meeting and location, email: info@SongForIsrael.org.
For photos from previous trips, itinerary and more, click here.
Late last night (around 11:45 am Israel time) the Code Red alarm sounded in Gaza border communities as a rocket hit a structure in Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council shortly thereafter. The rocket launched from Gaza was fired during a ceremony for a slain soldier. My "Red Alert" phone app went crazy as I watched report after report of rocket attacks every few seconds. I sat in silence and prayed that God would spare lives. Later I learned that there were no casualties reported. Two of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome system. The Israel Defence Force retaliated by attacking Hamas positions in northern Gaza.
There are not enough bomb shelters in the areas attacked for people to run to safety.
Time is running out. A Song For Israel donor has pledged to match every dollar donated by December 31st toward our Bomb Shelter campaign. Last night twelve rockets hit in the very area that a new bomb shelter is needed. Please donate and help save lives in Israel.
To learn more about our Bomb Shelter campaign and to donate, please click here.
Song For Israel would like to thank you for partnering with us financially and prayerfully. In 2017, 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 goal of proclaiming God's eternal plan through Israel. We could not do that without your support.
Celebrating God’s Hand Over Israel in 2017
This year SFI was excited that Israel celebrated 50 years of a united Jerusalem. After 70 AD when the Romans destroyed the city, it was not until 1967 that Israel regained Jerusalem. In June, Israel celebrated their 50 years of liberation for Jerusalem. Deby spent the month of July with Board member, Jeanette Johns, in Jerusalem.
As 2017 was coming to an end, another cause for celebration occurred. On December 6, President Donald Trump announced the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and that the US Embassy, now located in Tel Aviv, would be moved to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem. It was Jerusalem’s jubilee year and the time was right for the nations to begin recognizing Israeli sovereignty over their capital city. Since that time, Guatemala has announced they will be moving their embassy to Jerusalem as well.
Celebrating God’s Hand over Song For Israel in 2017
With your help this year, Song For Israel:
Completed a Bomb Shelter Project for a high school in Kfar Silver, Israel. We collected $16,000 for this project and will be sending the donation this week
We began our third Bomb Shelter Campaign in Eskol, Israel, where rockets have been hitting regularly for the past six weeks. This shelter will be $21,000 and we have a donor matching every gift up to $20,000
Published our book called Understanding God’s Eternal Plan For Israel with the grant funds provided by the James L. Stamp Foundation
We became eligible for a second grant from the James L. Stamp Foundation and will submit our “wish list” in a few weeks
Partnered with Ben David Messianic Jewish Congregation for their Passover Seder at the Embassy Suites in Garden Grove in April
Sponsored a “Walk for Israel” on Yorba Linda Blvd, Yorba Linda, in celebration of Israel’s Independence Day
Held a successful conference in March 2017 and began preparations for our conference in March of 2018
Offered two fundraiser events: one at Miguel Jr. Restaurant and one with Premier Jewelry. These events brought in a total of $385
Led two weekly Bible study classes in the Book of Revelation, Part 4 and Daniel
Hosted 18 Prayer Meetings
Celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles with a celebration dinner and entertainment - 80 people attended
Donations that came in via Ebay sellers, Ebay Give, iGive and AmazonSmile were $1,134 and much appreciated!
Hosted a Chanukah party at the Yorba Linda Community Center on December 15th.
We wrote and posted 103 website articles in 2017
And, with your help, we’re excited about 2018 and plan to:
Offer a conference on March 4th, 2018, at the Yorba Linda Community Center, focusing on Israel
Partner with Ben David Messianic Jewish Congregation for a Passover Seder on March 31st at the Embassy Suites, Garden Grove
Host the annual Israel Tour April 19 – 30th (with a side trip to Petra, Jordan)
May 14, 2018 marks Israel’s 70th birthday. Watch for plans for this date
Complete our third Bomb Shelter project in Eskhol, Israel, through Operation Lifeshield
·Begin small group 8-week studies in our book, Understanding God’s Eternal Plan for Israel
Create a new workbook and PowerPoint slides to accompany Understanding God’s Eternal Plan for Israel book
Offer 2 inductive Bible Studies in the Book of Daniel, followed by Galatians in February.
In the Fall, we will be studying the Book of Romans. All studies are taught with a Jewish-roots focus
Search for more churches who share our vision and would enjoy partnering with us
Host a fabulous Chanukah party in December
Work on plans 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. To donate, please click here. In addition, you might feel led to consider the following special projects:
1. Funds to help offset costs of our March conference
2. Donate toward our Bomb Shelter Project
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
On Christmas Eve, Guatemala’s President, Jimmy Morales, announced that the Central American country will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Guatemala is the first nation to follow the lead of President Donald Trump in ordering the change.
Guatemala was one of the nine nations that voted with the US and Israel last Thursday when the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted a resolution denouncing Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
No other country has their embassy for Israel in Jerusalem, although the Czech Republic has said it is considering such a move.
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 Easter 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 the dreidel game. 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!
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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 12th.
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!
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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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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).