David Friedman Welcomed as new US Ambassador to Israel

The United States Senate confirmed on Thursday President Donald Trump’s nominee for US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, a close friend of Israel. 

FILE PHOTO -- David Friedman testifies before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on his nomination to be U.S. ambassador to Israel, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

FILE PHOTO -- David Friedman testifies before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on his nomination to be U.S. ambassador to Israel, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

Republican support for Friedman was expected even though the confirmation hearing last month was filled with protesters because of Friedman's position opposing a Palestinian state and giving support for Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Many have thought Friedman takes extreme positions that will keep Israel and the Palestinians from the peace that has been negotiated for decades.

Netanyahu tweeted, “New US ambassador to Israel David Friedman will be warmly welcomed as President Trump’s representative and as a close friend of Israel.”

 

Israel - Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Conference - Sunday, March 26, 2017

Yorba Linda Community Center, 3 - 7 PM

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HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR

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Join us as we hear from a Holocaust survivor, Dr. David Shichor, born in Budapest, Hungary, on St. Patrick Day in 1933 in the year when the Nazis took power in Germany. He will share how his family survived during that extremely difficult time. 

 

 

THE SCATTERED RETURN

Join Robb Schwartz for a challenging look into Israel's past, present, and future as he traces the history of Jewish dispersions and re-gatherings away from and back to the Land of Israel. Beginning with Moses' law and working through the prophets, Robb will show how the promises of God to His people are as relevant today as they were in the ancient world. Robb is a Messianic Jew and author of Operation Last Exodus, a novel based on the possibility of a modern day American exodus. 

A LIGHT TO THE NATIONS

God's call for His people to be a light to the nations is as much a physical reality as a theological one. From the covenant with Abraham to the prophecies of Isaiah and the ministry of Jesus, God's plan for the people of Israel and the Gentiles has been connected through the land itself. Together, we will explore God's use of the land of Israel to accomplish His goals, and through that, our hope for humanity. Brandon Ridley is Youth Pastor at Beach Bible Church in Huntington Beach.                                                        

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF THE BEGINNING OF THE END?

Deby Brown will give a brief Prophecy update. She will share what triggers the Tribulation period known as Daniel's 70th Week. Deby is Director of Song For Israel and leads annual tours to Israel.

To register for this event, click here. Registration closes March 25th at 7 pm.

 

Purim - Festival of Lots

The Jewish holiday of Purim (Festival of Lots) began the evening of March 11, 2017 and lasts one full day. It is one of the most joyous of all Jewish holidays, as they celebrate the deliverance of the Jewish people from annihilation in the ancient Persian Empire!

The Story of Purim

The story of Purim is recorded in the Book of Esther with three main characters: Esther, her cousin Mordecai and Haman, the evil man who plotted to destroy the Jewish people. The Jewish people celebrate the fall of Haman, who came close to executing a plot to exterminate the Jewish people. Instead, the people were saved because of the heroic planning of Mordecai and Esther.

Haman was from the nation of Amalek and had authority over all the princes, and the king’s servants bowed down to him. However, Mordecai did not bow because he was a Jew. This was a transgression of the king’s command (Esther 3:3). This angered Haman and he plotted to destroy all the Jews in the entire kingdom (Esther 3:6) The king accepted Haman’s counsel and handed over the fate of the Jewish People to him.  Haman then made plans to exterminate all of the Jews. (Esther 3:8-11).

Esther, an orphan who had been raised in Persia by her cousin Mordecai, was a beautiful, young Jewish woman. When Vashti, the Queen of Persia, fell out of favor with Ahasuerus, King of Persia, Esther became Queen. The king did not know she was Jewish.

Mordecai counseled Esther to save the Jewish people by courageously visiting the king and pleaded on their behalf, telling her that she had probably risen to the position as queen for this very purpose. Esther took a risk and approached the king and planned a banquet for him and Haman. Going into the king, of course, may seem like the logical thing to do, but it actually put Esther’s life in immediate danger. Even though she was queen, she could not come into the king’s presence without his first summoning her. She knew she may have been put to death if she showed up uninvited. She fasted for three days before going to the king, and when she entered his presence, she found his grace instead of his wrath. (Esther 4).

Before the banquet, Haman prepared the gallows to later hang Mordecai for not bowing to him.

The night before the banquet, the king could not sleep and he asked that the “book of records (Chronicles) be read to him. During the reading, he was reminded of some good deeds of Mordecai and realized he had not been rewarded for this. (Esther 6)

The next day at the banquet which Esther had prepared for the king, and in Haman’s presence, the king asked Esther to name anything she wanted. She pleaded with him to save her people from annihilation. The king asked her to expose this evil man who had proposed such a thing, and she named Haman as their enemy. (Esther 7:1-6).

This angered the king and he ordered Haman be executed on the very gallows he prepared for Mordecai. (Esther 7). After that, the king elevated Mordecai to take Haman’s position of authority. The king reversed his decree and all the Jews were avenged (Esther 8:1-7).

Today, the 3Three-Day Fast of Esther is a fast from dawn until dusk on Purim Eve, commemorating the three-day fast observed by the Jewish people in the story of Purim. (Esther 9). Purim is a holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people from the destruction planned by Haman. Although Purim is not included as one of the Biblical Feasts of the Lord, it is a custom mandated by Mordechai in Esther 9.

Purim Festivities

Traditional Purim customs include reading the entire scroll of Esther in the synagogues. Because hidden identities is a strong theme in the Book of Esther, it is traditional to wear costumes on Purim. Feast goers cheer at the mention of the hero and heroine, Mordechai and Esther, and boo the villain, Haman. (Boo!)

After the three-day fast, there is a feast with rejoicing and giving of gifts to one another and to the poor.  “He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor” (Esther 9:20–22).

In addition to giving gifts, a tradition is to eat triangular cookies called oznei haman (ears of Haman).

OZNEI HAMAN OR EARS OF HAMAN COOKIES

More than Just a Remembrance -- A Call to Action

While Purim is a time to remember God’s deliverance of the Jewish People from anti-Semitic forces in Persia about 2,500 years ago, it is also a time to remember that enemies have risen against the Jewish People in every age. Today President Hassan Rouhani of Iran vows to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. Once again anti-Semitism is rearing its ugly head in Europe. It is also a force here in America, though more subtle. Those that seek to destroy the Jews also have evil plans to annihilate all of God's people, including Christians. Purim is not justa time to remember, but for believers to listen to the call of the Holy Spirit to rise up, like Esther, on behalf of Israel and the Jewish People.

It takes a lot of courage to resist the "Hamans" of this world and to stand firm against popular opinion here in the United States. Weas be must stand for righteousness and stand for Israel. The Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 62:1) called upon the watchmen to cry out to God day and night on behalf of Zion (Israel). We as believers are to be watchmen on the walls on behalf of Israel and the Jewish People, especially in these end times as multiple Hamans are calling for Israel's destruction.

“For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be silent, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch.” (Isaiah 62:1)

Israel - Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Conference March 26th

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Come meet Robb Schwartz, Jewish follower of Christ, who will be sharing about THE SCATTERED RETURN. He will take us for a challenging look into Israel's past, present, and future as he traces the history of Jewish dispersions and re-gatherings away from and back to the Land of Israel. Beginning with Moses' law and working through the prophets, Robb will show how the promises of God to His people are as relevant today as they were in the ancient world. Robb is a Messianic Jew and author of Operation Last Exodus, a novel based on the possibility of a modern day American exodus. 

To read about our other speakers and for registration information, please click here.

"Israel - Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow" Conference - March 26th

Come meet Dr. David Shichor, a Holocaust Survivor, on March 26th at our "Israel-Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow" Conference in Yorba Linda. David was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1933, the same year that the Nazis came to power in Germany. Hungary was an ally of Germany and he grew up in a very anti-Semitic atmosphere. He lived through World War II, the Nazi occupation and the Holocaust in Budapest. He will share at our conference about the unusual way his parents and his family survived because his father had to work for the Germans. At age 16, he escaped the Communist regime of Hungary and emigrated to Israel.

To learn more about this conference and the other speakers, please click here: http://songforisrael.org/a-concise-history-of-israel-genes…/

Bath House at Masada, Israel

One of the highlights of our visit to Masada was entering the large bath house complex which was built by King Herod. As you enter the outer courtyard of the bath house you can see a model of what it would have looked like. This helped to visualize the bath house which was an integral and vital part of Roman culture. The bath houses were not only for washing but also for relaxing, enjoying spa-type treatments and for socializing. Private bath houses were a luxury afforded only by the very wealthy, especially for those living on Masada in the middle of a desert where water was a rare and valuable commodity.

The bathhouse is located south of the Northern Palace and has four rooms. On the floor of the outer courtyard is what remains of a mosaic made up of tiny tiles. The Romans would exercise in this courtyard before entering the bath house.

The hot room floor has been partially reconstructed so that visitors can get an idea of what it would have looked like. 200 short clay pillars beneath the floor created an open space beneath the floor. A furnace would pump hot air into the space beneath the floor where it would circulate and create heat. The heat rising from the floor produced a Turkish-bath effect, like a sauna. In addition, the walls were lined with hollow clay pipes which were pumped full of hot air. When you exit the bath house you can see where the furnace would have stood to warm the waters and pump hot air through a hole in the bath house wall into the area beneath the floor.

Come see it for yourself on our next tour to Israel. For more information, click here.

Journalist Less Hostile to Israel after Learning Facts on the Ground

“No matter how socially unacceptable it was, I was willing to change my mind,” says a journalist who experienced the Israeli-Palestinian conflict firsthand. 

Former Huffington Post reporter Hunter Stuart grew up believing that “that Israel is unjustly bullying the Palestinians,” but changed his views about the conflict when he moved to Jerusalem in 2015 to report from there, he wrote in this week’s issue of The Jerusalem Report.

His views didn’t change right away. “I believe Israel should relinquish control of all of the Gaza Strip and most of the West Bank [Judea and Samaria],” he wrote in a post shortly after moving into the Jerusalem neighborhood of Baka. “The occupation is an act of colonialism that only creates suffering, frustration, and despair for millions of Palestinians.”

Stuart regularly found himself getting into arguments. In one case, a roommate suggested that most Palestinians supported terror.  Stuart objected to the characterization. The roommate then showed him a 2013 Pew Research poll pointing to 62 percent support for terror among Palestinians. Furthermore, Stuart recalled, “the Palestinian territories were the only place in the Muslim world where a majority of citizens supported terrorism; everywhere else it was a minority ‒ from Lebanon and Egypt to Pakistan and Malaysia.”

While he refused to concede the point, “the statistic stuck with me,” Stuart wrote.

Soon after that incident, the so-called “knife intifada” began, sparked by charges that Israel was threatening Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. Stuart admitted that his initial reaction was to blame the Israelis for the violence, but the reality of the situation soon became much more real to him.

Taking Perspective Most News Outlets Wanted

One day, in the Arab neighborhood of Silwan, he was spotted by a number of Palestinian youth who started taunting him as “Yehudi,” or “Jew.” Noting that the group was approaching him “with a terrifying sparkle in their eyes,” he responded by saying that he wasn’t Jewish and that he “loved Palestine.” That stopped the group, but, he recounted, “the look in their eyes when they first saw me is something I’ll never forget.” An acquaintance, originally from Silwan, later told Stuart, “If you were Jewish, they probably would have killed you.”

After that incident, he admitted, “my attitude began to shift, probably because the violence was, for the first time, affecting me directly.”

While reporting on a terror attack soon afterward for the Jordanian news site al-Bawaba, Stuart “ended up writing a very sympathetic story about the killer… Writing about the attack with the detached analytical eye of a journalist, I was able to take the perspective that (I was fast learning) most news outlets wanted – that Israel was to blame for Palestinian violence."

He then learned that one of the people killed in the attack, peace activist, Richard Lakin, was a friend of a friend of his. “I felt horrible for having publicly glorified one of the murderers,” he wrote. His killers were paid 20,000 shekels ($5,300) to carry out the attack, and more than a year later, “you can still see their faces plaastered around east Jerusalem on posters hailing them as martyrs.”

Critical Treatment Israel Receives

Stuart went on to observe the uniquely critical treatment Israel received from the media, NGOs and European politicians:

“In almost any nation, when the police confront a terrorist in the act of killing people, they shoot him dead and human-rights groups don’t make a peep. This happens in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh; it happens in Germany and England and France and Spain, and it sure as hell happens in the US (see San Bernardino and the Orlando nightclub massacre, the Boston Marathon bombings and others). Did Amnesty International condemn Barack Obama or Abdel Fattah al-Sisi or Angela Merkel or François Hollande when their police forces killed a terrorist? Nope. But they made a point of condemning Israel,” he wrote.

The reason for this bias against Israel, Stuart wrote, is that it’s easier “to become outraged watching two radically different civilizations collide than it is watching Alawite Muslims kill Sunni Muslims in Syria, for example, because to a Western observer the difference between Alawite and Sunni is too subtle to fit into a compelling narrative that can be easily summarized on Facebook.”

“So, now, I don’t know what to think,” Stuart concluded.

“I’m squarely in the center of one of the most polarized issues in the world. I guess, at least, I can say that, no matter how socially unacceptable it was, I was willing to change my mind.”

Stuart is not the first journalist to have changed his mind about Israel after visiting the country. Zenobia Ravji explored her own, similar experience in the article, Yes, Many Journalists Choose Sides in a Conflict—and Often for the Worst Reasons, which was published in The Tower Magazine last year.

This article was shared with permission from United With Israel dated 2/20/17.

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 (February 11th 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. 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’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 Tomb Of Jesus

Joseph of Arimathea was, according to all four Gospels, the man who assumed responsibility for the burial of Jesus after Jesus' crucifixion. He is described in Matthew 27:57 as simply a "rich man and disciple of Jesus."  We gain more information about him in Mark 15:43 and learn Joseph of Arimathea was a "prominent council member, who was waiting for the Kingdom of God." In Luke 23:50-56 we see how much he cared for Jesus in that he asked for the body of Jesus, took it down off the cross, wrapped it in linen and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock - a tomb where no one had ever lain before. In that day families would share the same tomb/cave, but Jesus was the first to be buried there.

No one knows for sure if this is exactly the place (pictured) that the Bible is referring to, but there is very strong evidence that it is accurate. It is a sobering moment to visit the tomb, walk inside of it, and consider that Jesus the Messiah was buried there.

Nearby the tomb, pictured are several round stones much like the one that had been rolled across the opening and sealed by Roman soldiers after Jesus was placed inside. I am so grateful that the story doesn't end there! No tomb can keep our Messiah sealed inside. He has risen! He has paid the price for my sin and yours and lives forever.

Join us on one of our Israel tour and see this tomb for yourself. Click here for more information.

 

The Pool of Bethesda - Israel

Read John 5:1-18.  In this account, if you think about it a minute, the man had been ill for 38 years. Jesus asked, "Do you want to be well?” His situation seemed hopeless.  Every time he wanted to get into the waters, somebody else got there first. And there he lay and his situation seemed hopeless.  When Jesus asked him if he wanted to be well, he said “But I have no one to help me.” He is making an excuse for why nothing is happening. He didn’t really expect anything. He didn’t expect Jesus to do anything.  His hope lay in getting into the waters. But he needed to take action and Jesus gave him that challenge and said “Pick up your pallet and walk.” And he did.

Sometimes we think about our situations where we think things are hopeless and it has been this way for 38 years and nothing is ever going to change it.  We need to remember that part of our problem might be that we are making excuses…that we are not expecting Jesus to do anything. We are sitting there in our hopelessness, making excuses, instead of acting on what Jesus has told us to do in His Word, and that by faith, we need to pick up our pallet and walk. And that is the solution, rather than lying in wait in hopelessness, like poor me, I hope somebody comes along and helps me someday.

Come see this site for yourself on our Israel Tour May 25 - June 5, 2017. Click here for itinerary and more information.

Capernaum - Israel

Take a look at the stones in the third picture. At the base of those stones, you will see gray stones…the salt stones. Those are the very stones of the synagogue that was here at the time of Jesus. These are the stones that heard the messages Jesus preached. These are the stones that watched, in a sense (it says the stones cry out), when Jesus in that synagogue, cast out demons. People were set free. (Another church was built on top of the synagogue where Jesus preached).

In Matthew 12-13, you see that Jesus came and settled in Capernaum. This is where Jesus lived! From here, you can look out at the sea that Jesus sailed on - His disciples fished on. You can look at what remains of Peter’s house. As a tourist, you can stand in the synagogue that is built on the stones where Jesus was. and there are wine presses and the things that were used in that day.

In verse 13-14: "...He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Napthali. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, 'The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who were sitting in the darkness saw a great light..."

Who is Jesus? He is the Light of the world! John chapter 1 says He is the Light, the true Light that lights every man that believes in Him. The people sitting in darkness are about to see a great light! What will they do with Him? It says this was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet (v. 14). 

Matthew 4:17 says "From that time Jesus began to preach (in the synagogue in Capernaum) and say, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'"

Learn more and see it for yourself during our 2017 Israel Tour, May 25-June 5, 2017. For more information, click here:

2016 ANTISEMITIC STATISTICS

Diaspora Affairs Ministry released a report surveying antisemitic incidents in the West during 2016. There were notable increases in Germany and Britain.  However, the sharp rise in antisemitic incidents in the US was more shocking.

According to the report, the recent US presidential campaign was a major catalyst for the dissemination of hate speech and enabled the voices of marginal groups to reach far beyond their own communities.

The Israeli government report noted that the common thread among these groups was an opposition to political correctness, an affirmation of racial supremacy, and a resistance to multiculturalism and to immigration. These ideas, the ministry said, lead to antisemitic discourse and Holocaust denial.

Antisemitism is almost always a symptom of broader forms of prejudice and blind hatred. The Diaspora Affairs Ministry report reinforces the findings of an Anti-Defamation League report released in October that documented the frightening rise of antisemitic tweets.

There are no easy answers to antisemitism, humanity’s oldest hatred. The government could do more than just release an annual report. Tracking and reporting antisemitic attacks is important, but that needs to be followed up with aggressive diplomatic action. Partnerships need to be forged and legislation needs to be passed. The real antidote to hatred is upholding a positive vision for mutual respect and understanding.  Taken from JPOST 1/23/17

A Two-State Solution is a Three-State Problem by Ron Cantor

Ron Cantor is the host of Out of Zion on Godtv and the director of Messiah’s Mandate, Tel Aviv-based teaching ministry to Israel and the nations. To learn more, go to: www.roncantor.com The following article is used with permission:

Today in Paris, the “Kings of the Earth” (Ps. 2) have taken their stand against God’s holy mountain, Jerusalem. They want to give Judea and Samaria (The West Bank) and East Jerusalem (including the Western Wall and Temple Mount) to the so-called Palestinians in hopes of creating a two-state solution.

However, what people don’t seem to know is that there already is a Palestinian state for Arabs that was recently created and it is called Jordan. Here is a little history.

1) The word Palestine comes, not from the Arabs, but the Romans. The Roman emperor Hadrian changed the name from Judea to Palestine in 135AD.

2) Before World War I, the border of “Palestine” was not only lands west of the Jordan River, what we now call Israel, but lands east of the Jordan as well—all of modern-day Jordan and Israel.

3) Great Britain took control of this land in 1917 after the Turks were defeated in WWI. They told the Jews in writing that their aim was to create a Jewish Homeland in Palestine. This document is known as the Balfour Declaration.

4) In 1920, the San Remo Conference (the legal body made up of the victors of WWI) assembled to decide how to administrate lands taken from the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). This group embraced the Balfour Declaration, giving the establishment of a Jewish homeland in historic Palestine international legal backing.

5) However, in 1921, Great Britain gave up 80% of historic Palestine as a gesture to the Arabs and created Transjordan (which would become Jordan). In addition, they officially removed this area from the land formerly promised for the establishment of a Jewish state. And if they had to revise their commitment to the Jewish people, then it can be established that they had originally planned to allow Jewish settlement on both sides of the Jordan River.

6) Now understand: there had never been a nation called Jordan or Transjordan in the past. This was a brand-new nation for Palestinian Arabs living on the East Bank of the Jordan.

7) Therefore, to take more land that was promised legally for Jewish settlement and create another Palestinian Arab state would be in fact, a third state in the region, two of which are for Palestinian Arabs and one for Palestinian Jews.

8) You may be surprised that I just used the term, “Palestinian Jews”. But that was the term given to anyone living in historic Palestine—Jew, Arab or Christian. There was no Arab nationality connected to the word nor has there ever been an Arab nation called Palestine.

So, when the nations of the world seek to divide up the Promised Land, creating an Arab nation on the West Bank of the Jordan, understand it is not a two-state solution, but a three-state problem. What is worse is that the leadership of the Palestinians is utterly corrupt, robbing the people and stealing international aid money. Islamic terror groups would seize power very quickly, even as they already have in Gaza.

While on the one hand, the West fights ISIS; they want to create another state of Islamic radicals. Israel embraces democratic ideals, human rights and a robust economy, but the nations want to create a nation that will soon be another Islamic totalitarian state. Israel floods the world with technological and medical breakthroughs, while the Islamic states teach their children hate and murder. Do we really need another state like this?

Despite it all, we stand in Israel knowing that the same God who rebirthed Israel out of the ashes of the Holocaust and has given us victory in every attack against us since, will continue to watch over us.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep. (Ps. 121:1-4)

If you want to learn more, download my free e-Book, “The 15 Most Important Facts about the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict

Israel Tour With Jewish Roots Emphasis PLUS Petra, Jordan

May 25 - June 5, 2017

 (12-day study tour)

Registration deadline: February 25, 2017

We invite you to share the experience of a lifetime—a trip to the land of the Bible—where the Patriarchs of our faith walked.  On this 12-day journey, visit Jerusalem with its garden tomb, Mt. of Olives and Garden of Gethsemene, Caesarea by the Sea, visit Megiddo where the Battle of Armegeddon will take place, float in the Dead Sea, view the Mt. of Beatitudes, stand on Mt. Nebo where Moses overlooked the Promised Land, get baptized in the Jordan River, take a Cable Car up to Masada, witness Ein Gedi where David fled from Saul,  see the Qumran Caves, kayak in the Sea of Galilee, visit the village of Nazareth where Jesus lived, and tour Petra (Jordan) where many assume the Jews will flee in the future, and so much more!    

Our tour has a "Jewish roots" focus with optional Sabbath (Shabbat) worship services at two different Messianic congregations (churches where Jewish and Gentile believers worship together). For those interested in more information and who live in the southern California area, we will be having several Information Receptions. Our next Informational Reception will be Saturday, January 14th, at 1:30 pm at 651 W. Sunflower, Santa Ana (3 blocks east of South Coast Plaza) in the Conference Room. Please email info@SongForIsrael.org for more information.

If you live outside of California and will be joining our tour, please fill out the registration form by clicking here, so that you will receive any handouts given out at the meetings.

Printable copies of the itinerary, registration form and colorful flier may be found by clicking here.

Enjoy photos from some of our previous tours below.

Pictures from our Chanukah Party

Below are some pictures gathered from our very fun Chanukah Party!

Deby shared about Jesus/Yeshua, The Light of the World

In John 10:22- Yeshua (Jesus’ Hebrew name) was in Jerusalem during the Feast of Dedication (translated from the Hebrew, Chanukah).  Why do the Scriptures not teach about this event? Chanukah commemorates something that happened in between the writings of the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament, and the New Testament. It was about the unlikely victory of the Jewish people from 165 BCE against the Syrian Emperor, Antiochus Epiphanes, who sacrificed a pig in the Holy Temple, desecrating the Temple, and demanded that all the Jews worship his Greek god.

Chanukah is an 8-day feast where the rededication of the Temple is celebrated. 

Years after the victory (referred to as the Macabbean Revolt), Yeshua recognized Chanukah as the occasion to declare Himself as the Son of God. In John 8:12, Yeshua told the scribes and Pharisees, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Later in the same conversation with the scribes and Pharisees, there is a discussion about Abraham and in the end, Yeshua says in v. 58, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” This became a problem as the Pharisees recognized Yeshua was calling Himself God.

In John 8, while in the Temple, Yeshua declares in v. 12, “I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of light.”

It was during the Feast of Dedication, Chanukah, that Yeshua shows He is the Messiah, the Light of the world. He relates the lights of Chanukah to Himself as being the Light of the world. 

Cotillion Dancers dance to a Chanukah song!

Swing Dancers dance to a Chanukah song!

 

Listed below are the raffle prizes that were donated and pictures of the winners:

1) Who doesn’t want to win during a game of spin the dreidel? Then how about winning A GELT OF GIFT CARDS! This gift includes a Trader Joe’s $25 card, two In-N-Out Burger cards each worth $7.85, a Starbucks $25 card, Blaze Pizza $25 card, two $10 Lucille’s BBQ cards, a Happy Nails $25 card, and an A La Minute $20 card! YUM! Won by Carolyn Dupaquier

2) PIE, ANYONE? This gift includes a total of 12 pies for a whole year! Your choice of one pie per month from one of America’s favoite restaurants, Polly’s Pies! Who doesn’t need a sweet, gourmet treat once a month? Also included is a ceramic pie serving dish, with a pumpkin pie recipe! So maybe, 13 pies? Won by Linda Gilman.

3) A DAY AT THE SALON! Join Suzy Kil at Addiction Salon in Orange for a haircut valued at $65. Plus, a bottle of Ulta Beauty Buttercream Cupcake 3-in-1 Smoothie Shower Gel, Bubble Bath, and Shampoo! Won by Pamela Sherman.

4) A DAY AT THE SALON! Join Suzy Kil at Addiction Salon in Orange for a partial highlight and haircut valued at $150. Plus, a lovely bottle of Ulta Beauty Hibiscus Punch 3-in-1 Smoothie Shower Gel, Bubble Bath, and Shampoo! Won by Dorris Lyons and Eva Valez.

5) A WORLD OF FRAGRANCE – Gift #1 donated by Catharina Baker which includes a treasure trove of multiple scents from soap to perfume! Perfect for getting compliments on new, modern, and fresh scents of the day—just for you! Won by Julia Humphrey.

6) A WORLD OF FRAGRANCE – Gift #2 donated by Catharina Baker which includes a treasure trove of multiple scents from soap to perfume! Perfect for getting compliments on new, modern, and fresh scents of the day—just for you! Won by Eva Valez.

7) Need to rest and relax this weekend? Well this prize includes a private reserve bottle of 2014 CHARDONNAY donated by the Familia Achiro Winery located in Dutch Flat, California. Plus a $25 gift card to BJ’s Restaurant and Grille located in Anaheim Hills. Won by Carolyn Dupaquier.

8) Need to rest and relax this weekend? Well this prize includes a private reserve bottle of 2013 BARBERA donated by the Familia Achiro Winery located in Dutch Flat, California. Plus a $25 giftcard to Stefano’s Restaurant located in Yorba Linda. Won by Janet Allen.

9) A NIGHT AT THE MOVIES includes 4 admission tickets and 4 complimentary bags of popcorn at Starlight Cinema City. This gift also includes gourmet popcorn, Whoppers, pretzels, and Good and Plenty candy. What a fun night out with the family! Won by John Windsor.

10) INSPIRATIONAL BIBLE QUOTE FRAME donated by Jennifer (Deby’s daughter). A Blessing for the home. Who doesn’t need a daily reminder of God’s everlasting love? Won by Julie Healis.

11) IT’S BURGER TIME!!! Enjoy FOUR $7.85 Gift Cards to IN-N-OUT!! Also included in this gift pack is some gourmet popcorn, a set of straws, and old time sodas: Orange Soda, Root Beer, Lime Rickey, and Black Cherry Cola Soda. A fun gift to share with friends and family! Won by Dana Roberts.

12) IT’S BURGER TIME!!! Enjoy FOUR $7.85 Gift Cards to IN-N-OUT!! Also included in this gift pack is some gourmet popcorn, a set of straws, and old time sodas: Root Beer, Lime Rickey, Black Cherry Cola, and Blue Cream Soda. A fun gift to share with friends and family! Won by Janet Allen.

 13) IT’S PARTY TIME! This gift includes a classic glass Chanukah tray and server for all those latkes, a Chanukah ugly sweater cookie kit, a dreidel mold, and a novelty kitchen utensil.  Stop schvitzing and get to work! Won by Susan Young.

14) A LITTLE BLING FOR YOUR COLLECTION! Four (4) pairs of lovely, designer earrings from the creation of Sandy Dileo. Also, one (1) cross and sterling silver prayer charm necklace and one (1) necklace with crystal beads and silver ring. This is a perfect gift for any woman going out for a night on the town! (Approx. Value $100) Won by Pamela Rohan.

15) HANUKKAH GOODIE BASKET perfect for those eight nights of lights! This basket of goodies includes one (1) men’s large T-Shirt based on 1 Corinthians 15:51, a Schmoozer mug with a $5 Starbucks Gift Card, a Tin of Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix, a Chanukah Stamp Set, and themed Disney Dreidels. This’ll keep the kids entertained for a good few hours! Won by Elleke Reid-Humphreys.

16) HANUKKAH GOODIE BASKET perfect for those eight nights of lights! This basket of goodies includes one (1) men’s large T-Shirt based on 1 Corinthians 15:51, a Schmoozer mug with a $5 Starbucks Gift Card, eight (8) Star of David novelty candles, a Starbucks Via Instant Italian Roast, and four (4) Ghirardelli Premium Hot Cocoa Mixes. Won by John Baker.

17) SHOPPING SPREE for the New Year! This gift includes a $75 Gift Certificate for ARIEL GORDON fine jewelry located in South Coast Plaza plus a collectible Disney Hanukkah pin and desk novelty. Won by Pamela Sherman.

18) Having a PARTY for the holidays? Then this beautiful SPODE “The Judaica Collection” Star of David serving dish and a keepsake Hanukkah hand towel are a must.  Won by Christopher Otis.

19) CHOCOLATE FOR ALL! You’ll be the absolute bell of the ball! Or should I say, you’ll be the “sweetest” of them all!? This gift includes an old fashioned candy jar filled with classic chocolates, plus a gift certificate for 1 pound of See’s Candy. Won by Julie Healis.

20) MISCELLANEOUS GOODIES donated by Sheila Looney include a lovely blanket, a devo, a lunch pail and treats. Just right for our cold Southern California Nights! Won by Pamela Rohan.

21) A BEAUTIFUL FLORAL ARRANGEMENT FROM MOTHER EARTH FLORIST won by Janet Allen.

A very special thank you to all who donated raffle prizes and cash donations!

 

 

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 tonight, December 30th, at the Yorba Linda Community Center! Click here to register and for more information.

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!

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