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.


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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Chanukah Series: Sufganiot (Jelly-Filled Doughnuts)

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

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

We will be serving sufganiyot from Krispy Kreme at our Chanukah party this Friday, December 30th, 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!





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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

YIELD: 14 doughnuts

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

Jamie Geller was “The Bride Who Knew Nothing” – until she found her niche as everybody’s favorite kosher cook next door. She is the author of the best-selling Quick & Kosher cookbook series, creator of the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller magazine and host  of the popular Quick & Kosher cooking show online at 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: Gift Giving

Getty Gift.jpg

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 24th.

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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Song For Israel - 2016 in Review

Song For Israel would like to thank you those of you who partnered with us financially and prayerfully. In 2016, 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.

With your help this year, Song For Israel:

Kfar Silver students.jpg

·      Launched a new Bomb Shelter Project for a high           school in Kfar Silver, Israel.  Amount collected to date   is  $1,940 (See photo to the right)

·      Launched a new SFI project called “Aliyah” (to help persecuted Jewish people around the world move to Israel). Amount collected to date is $250

·      Completed writing of our book called, Understanding God’s Eternal Plan For Israel

·      Held an 8-week beta test group for Understanding God’s Eternal Plan for Israel. (10 people participated)

·      We were re-invited to apply for the James L. Stamp Foundation grant and mid-December received funds to publish our book and purchase a piece of office equipment;

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

·      Began preparations for our conference in March of 2017

·      Led two Bible study classes in the Book of Hebrews, Parts 2 & 3, and Titus

·      Hosted 18 Prayer Meetings

·      Donations that have come in via Ebay sellers, Ebay Give, iGive and AmazonSmile were $333.30

·      Will host and celebrate a Chanukah party at the Yorba Linda Community Center on December 30th

And, with your help, we’re excited about 2017 and plan to:

·            Offer a conference in March, 2017

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

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

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

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

·            Publish the book, Understanding God’s Eternal Plan for Israel

·            Create a new workbook to go with Understanding God’s Eternal Plan for Israel

·            Offer several 8-week classes for small groups with the Understanding God’s Eternal Plan for Israel curriculum

·            Offer 2 inductive Bible Studies in the Book of Daniel

·            Look for more churches who share our vision and would enjoy partnering with us

·            Host a fabulous Chanukah party

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

As always, Song For Israel counts on your support.  The discrimination towards Israel is rising every day! Your gift is extremely important to SFI because it provides resources that make an immediate impact through education, lifesaving bomb shelters, and ministry to the Jewish people.

Will you prayerfully consider partnering with us to proclaim God’s eternal plan for Israel? Please consider a monthly partnership and/or a year-end tax-deductible donation for Song For Israel. In addition, you might feel led to consider the following special projects:

1. Funds to help offset costs of our March conference

2. Donate towards our Spring Fundraising Dinner

3. Donate toward our Bomb Shelter or Aliyah Project

To make a donation, please click here.

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,

The entire Song For Israel Team

Chanukah Series -- The Feast of Dedication and its History

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Religious neighbourhoods have outdoor chanukiot placed along the streets.

                                                                           CHANUKAH CANDLE DAY 1

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

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

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

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


(1st. stanza)

My Refuge my Rock of salvation!

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

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

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


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

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

Furious they assailed us, but Thine arm availed us,

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

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

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

And His courts surrounding, hear, in joy abounding,

Happy throngs, singing songs with a mighty sounding.

Children of the martyr race, whether free or fettered,

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

Yours the message cheering, that the time is nearing

Which will see, all men free, tyrants disappearing

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

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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: 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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UNESCO Votes that the Temple Mount & Western Wall have No Historic Ties to Israel

Last Thursday, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) voted to approve a resolution by the Palestinian Authority, declaring that both the Western Wall and the Temple Mount have no historic ties to Judaism.  Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, declared, “The theater of the absurd continues at the UN. Today UNESCO adopted its second decision this year denying the Jewish people’s connection to the Temple Mount, our holiest site for more than 3,000 years. What’s next? A UNESCO decision denying the connection between peanut butter and jelly? Batman and Robin? Rock ‘n’ roll?”

The United States voted in support of Israel (against the resolution), along with five other countries. Most countries (26) abstained and 24 voted for the resolution.

I am very disappointed that the world is basically turning a blind eye to Biblical and historical truths about the Temple Mount and Western Wall that go way back. The original Temple was built by King Solomon and before that, with Abraham being given the land then known as Mount Moriah (the same land where Abraham was to offer Isaac as a sacrifice mentioned in Genesis 22. Because of Abraham’s obedience, God told him that he and his “descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.” In 1 Chronicles 21 Mount Moriah is identified as Arunah or the Jebusite threshing floor that King David bought for 600 shekels of gold. This demonstrates that the Jews received this area through a legal transaction. They have never since sold this land to anyone. It has only been taken from them, the rightful owners.

Watch this video as Prime Minister Netanyahu shares his distaste regarding the UNESCO vote.

US Firefighters "Dropped Everything" to Fight Fires in Israel

39 firefighters gave up their Thanksgiving weekend to help Israel in their fire crisis.  Seven of the 39 are Jewish, but all of them share a love for Israel.

American Firefighters in Israel (Photo by The Times of Israel)

American Firefighters in Israel (Photo by The Times of Israel)

Over 32,000 acres of beautiful forest burned along with hundreds of homes and businesses. According to the Israeli authorities, the fires began because of a very long dry spell and high winds, but were exacerbated by Palestinian and Arab-Israeli arsonists with nationalist motives. While 29 have been arrested for arson, investigations continue.

Last Friday, Israel’s Public Security Ministry requested help from the “Emergency Volunteers Project,” a network of over 950 American volunteers and professional first responders. Many Israeli firefighters had been fighting the blazes for 90 hours straight and appreciated the American help so they could rest.

Elan Raber (Photo from The Times of Israel)

Elan Raber (Photo from The Times of Israel)

Elan Raber, Jewish, flew in Sunday morning from Los Angeles, where he works for the Los Angeles City Fire Department. He was familiar with the station at Petach Tivkah because he trained there with the Emergency Volunteers Program. Raber was born in Israel and served in the Israel Defense Forces and views being in Israel as “part of his calling,” According to The Times of Israel.

Over 200 Fires Threaten Israel Three Days Straight

At a press conference today, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that Israel is facing a wave of terror in the form of arsonists setting much of the country of Israel ablaze. Not all the fires were set by arsons, but many were. "Every fire caused by arson, or incitement to commit arson, is terrorism for all intents and purposes, and we will bring them to justice," he said. 

Photo provided by ICEJ

Photo provided by ICEJ

The forest fires are now threatening many towns and villages nationwide. The biggest concern at this moment is the northern city of Haifa, where several major fires are rapidly spreading into built-up areas of the city. 60,000 residents have been evacuated.

Shin Bet and Police are investigating and have detained a number of suspects on suspicion of arson.

Netanyahu has requested assistance from Greece, Croatia and Russia to help battle the blazes across the country and spreading rapidly with strong winds. Several homes and businesses have been destroyed.

While we are sitting at our Thanksgiving tables, please remember to pray for the safety of those living in Israel and for those fighting over 200 fires today. Pray that God would stop the winds that are accelerating the blazes.


Promises President-Elect Donald Trump Made Regarding Israel

President-Elect Donald Trump has made some remarkable promises to Israel and we are looking forward to them. After the elections, Donald Trump said: “My Administration will stand side-by-side with the Jewish people and Israel’s leaders to continue strengthening the bridges that connect, not only Jewish Americans and Israelis, but also all Americans and Israelis.”  (JPOST Nov 11, 2016) Vice President-elect Mike Pence is one of the most pro-Israel policy-makers in America.

Below are quotes from various sources regarding Trumps promises to Israel: 

 1.  Relationship with Iran

  • “Together we will stand up to enemies, like Iran, bent on destroying Israel and her people, together we will make America and Israel safe again.” (JPost Nov 11, 2016)
  • “Trump has been a strong critic of the deal with Iran. Since this deal was an executive branch initiative never ratified by Congress, we know that President-Elect Trump will be able to immediately take steps to stop the flow of cash and business deals to Iran.” (CUFI 11/10/16)
  • “Trump will vacate the US’s signature from the nuclear deal with Iran.” However, Trump cannot reimpose the sanctions on Iran that the nuclear deal canceled. He also cannot “take back the billions of dollars that Iran has already received due to the abrogation of economic sanctions and through cash payoffs from the Obama administration.” (Caroline Glick Nov. 15 RealClear)
  • “In an AIPAC meeting in March this year, Trump announced that his "number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran" and to "stand up to Iran's aggressive push to destabilise and dominate the region." (Alijazeera Nov. 12)

    2.  Jerusalem as Capitol of Israel

    • "On the campaign trail, Donald Trump the candidate promised to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capitol of Israel—a move that would upend decades of US policy.” (CNN Nov. 14, 2016)
    • “David Friedman, a Trump advisor,  told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday that one of the administration’s first moves would be to follow through on the campaign promise made last month by Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, according to which her father would move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. ‘It was a campaign promise, and there is every intention to keep it,’ Friedman said.” (Jerusalem Post Nov. 11, 2016)

    3.  Settlements

    • "It is certainly not Mr. Trump’s view that settlement activities should be condemned and that it is an obstacle for peace, because it is not an obstacle for peace,” Jason Greenblatt, the Trump team’s point person on Israel — and rumored potential new envoy to the region — told Israeli Army Radio Thursday.” (Vox Nov. 11, 2016)
    • "With Trump in the White House, Israel will continue expanding settlements in the West Bank.” (Alijazeera Nov. 12, 2016)
    • “Education Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the right-wing Jewish Home party, said Trump's election allows Israel to fully dismiss the notion of a Palestinian state. "This is the position of the President-elect, as written in his platform, and it should be our policy, plain and simple. The era of a Palestinian state is over" (CNN Nov. 14, 2016)“Israel has long maintained that only direct negotiations without the involvement of any third parties could lead to a peace settlement with the Palestinians. Trump seems to share that policy.” I believe that my administration can play a significant role in helping the parties to achieve a just, lasting peace – which must be negotiated between the parties themselves, and not imposed on them by others. Israel and the Jewish people deserve no less,” the president-elect said.” (RT America Nov. 13. 2016)

    4.  Relationship with Palestinians

    • “Education Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the right-wing Jewish Home party, said 'Trump's election allows Israel to fully dismiss the notion of a Palestinian state. This is the position of the President-elect, as written in his platform, and it should be our policy, plain and simple. The era of a Palestinian state is over.'" (CNN Nov. 14, 2016)
    • “Israel has long maintained that only direct negotiations without the involvement of any third parties could lead to a peace settlement with the Palestinians. Trump seems to share that policy. 'I believe that my administration can play a significant role in helping the parties to achieve a just, lasting peace--which must be negotiated between the parties themselves, and not imposed on them by others. Israel and the Jewish people deserve no less,' the president-elect said." (RT America Nov. 13. 2016)

      Many of these changes have been promised before. It is only through a willing President and our prayers to God our Father that these things might occur. Song For Israel encourages you to pray for our leaders and for Israel on a regular basis. 

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      Israel's Prime Minister Congratulates Trump Victory!

      Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu published a statement congratulating Donald Trump, saying: "Congratulations on being elected President of the United States of America. President-elect Trump is a true friend of the State of Israel. We will work together to advance the security, prosperity, and peace. The strong connection between the United States and Israel is based on shared values, shared interests, and a shared destiny. I am certain that President-elect Trump and I will continue to strengthen the unique alliance between Israel and the United States and bring it to even greater heights. May God bless America. May God bless Israel. May God bless our enduring alliance." 

      In addition to this statement, Netanyahu prepared the video below: