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.

MAOZ TZUR

(1st. stanza)

My Refuge my Rock of salvation!

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

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

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

ROCK OF AGES

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

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

Furious they assailed us, but Thine arm availed us,

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

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

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

And His courts surrounding, hear, in joy abounding,

Happy throngs, singing songs with a mighty sounding.

Children of the martyr race, whether free or fettered,

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

Yours the message cheering, that the time is nearing

Which will see, all men free, tyrants disappearing

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

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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:

      Israel Tour Informational Meeting - This Saturday, Nov. 12 at 1:30 pm

      Are you ready to let God change your life forever? Come join us for a unique tour to Israel, taking you back to your Jewish roots as you walk the places where our Messiah walked.

      Join us this Saturday, November 12th at 1:30 pm at 651 W. Sunflower (three blocks east of South Coast Plaza), Santa Ana in the Conference (to the left of the sanctuary). Learn about this special tour to Israel and Petra--see picture books from previous trips--meet who may be going on this trip with you!

      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!      

      For more information, click here.

      Simchat Torah (Rejoicing in God's Word)

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

      The word "Torah" has different meanings:

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

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

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

      OUR BIBLE IS RELIABLE

      WE CAN REJOICE IN THE WORD OF GOD

       

      Our Feast of Tabernacles Celebration Last Sunday

      Although rain prohibited us from experiencing the fullness of the evening planned, we were able to share the Scriptural importance of this day! The Feast of Tabernacles is a day that is celebrated as we remember God's provision for the Hebrew people as they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. They were always fed, their clothes never wore out and there was always protection as they carried their dwelling place (tabernacle/sukkah) with them. This Feast has a future fulfillment in that we will tabernacle "dwell" with our Messiah and will always be with Him. 

      Here are a few pictures from our celebration! 

      Bomb Shelter Project for Kfar Silver, Israel

      Situated in Kfar Silver, a Southern Israeli village located near Ashkelon (just a few miles from the Gaza Strip), sits an agricultural high school where more than 200 students attend class. On any given day it is a great place to be – unless the sirens go off warning them of an incoming rocket. There are not enough bomb shelters on this property and when the alarms sound, students have 7 to 9 seconds to run for shelter. Where will they run?

      Song For Israel has been asked to help. For $20,000+ we can provide safety for these high school students. Our goal is to raise these funds and personally deliver a check during our next Israel tour. 

      We partner with the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem and Operation Lifeshield to bring shelter to students in Israel. Our first bomb shelter was funded in 2014 to aid the Eden Center, a school for girls near Sderot (two miles from the Gaza border).

      To contribute to this life-saving project, you may either send a tax-deductible donation to Song For Israel, 18340 Yorba Linda Blvd. #107-153, Yorba Linda, CA 92886 or click here. Please indicate this is a bomb shelter donation. Thank you helping save lives.

      Feast of Tabernacles Holiday Begins Tonight and Lasts 7 Days

      The details about this Feast are found in Leviticus 23:33-44. During this seven-day celebration, no work was to be done on the first or the last day. In between these days of complete rest, offerings were to be presented to the Lord on each day of the seven-day period. The first day was a holy day and the rest of the days were feast days!

      For one week, the people of Israel lived in makeshift Booths called SUKKAHs, of leafy branches, symbolizing their journey through the wilderness after leaving Egypt. Feast of Tabernacles celebrates God’s protection and provision in the Wilderness.

      The Feast occurs after Israel’s Fall harvest. Also called The Feast of Ingathering, it was the major annual harvest of the year. The spring harvest was very small in comparison to the fall harvest.

      All over Israel, you will see sukkahs! They build them in their backyards, on their apartment porches, in the back of a truck! Then they invite friends to feast with them in celebration! A sukkah is supposed to be a makeshift structure that is easily moved. Fruit is hung as a reminder that God provides all that we need. Children make chains out of colorful paper. The sukkah provides shade and yet there are openings between leafy branches on top so that we can see His glory in the stars at night. God wants to be our shelter and our shade.

       Leviticus 23:40 says “You shall take for yourselves on the first day, the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.“You shall take for yourselves on the first day, the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. You shall keep it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations and you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

      What fun to be told to rest before and after the 7-day feast and to rejoice and have joy! And to eat, eat, eat! Rest, have fun and eat.  I like that!

      Our non-Kosher Sukkah at our last feast

      Our non-Kosher Sukkah at our last feast

      Deut. 16:13-16 Says “You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress; and you shall rejoice in your feast. Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to the Lord your God…the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you surely will rejoice.”

      In John 7, we see Jesus coming up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles! 1 Corinthians 5:8.  Paul encouraged those in Corinth (mostly NOT Jewish) to celebrate the feasts!

      Significance

      God wanted His people to celebrate the fact that He provided shelter for them in the wilderness. Shelters or booths were to be built in which the people worshiped for the week of the feast to remind them of their departure from Egypt and their long journey to Sinai. They were to rejoice in the Lord, during the entire celebration of the feast, giving thanks to God for His abundant gifts and all that He had done. This was the only festival where rejoicing is commanded by God. It is a time for His people to remember that God dwelled with them in their wilderness journey. He guided them with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. They would look up night or day and see that He was with them. God tells them to live in booths for 7 days to remind them that He was with them and supplied all they needed.

      God has always desired to dwell with us. God wants to be with you. He desires to dwell with His people. He always has and always will.

      There is Prophetic Fulfillment in EACH APPOINTED DAY

      This feast reminded Israel of God’s blessings in the past. He had led them out of Egyptian bondage, cared for them in the wilderness, and brought them into their promised inheritance. Once they had lived in booths and tents, but in the Promised Land, they would live in houses! Tabernacles represent the Lord’s shelter in the future. The Lord will establish his Tabernacle in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 37:26) and the world will come every year to appear before the King & worship Him. A final ingathering will take place.

      In the future, families of the earth (the believers) will come to Jerusalem to annually celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 14:16-19). God is setting up His kingdom and he is going to restore it. There will be a new heaven and a new earth. Revelation 21:3 says “...behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God!” God will tabernacle with men! Can you imagine this!?! We will celebrate a spiritual harvest…the Ingathering in that day. The Future Feast of Tabernacles, celebrated on the new earth, with God Himself, will be the most joyous occasion of all time! We can look forward to it!

      We can celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles because it speaks of our Messiah! It reminds us of what He has done and what He WILL DO. 

      Join us for our Feast of Tabernacles Celebration Dinner on Sunday, October 23, 2016. Click here for more information.

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      Ridiculous Resolution Passed Today by UNESCO Rejects Jewish Connection to the Temple Mount

      The United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) passed another ridiculous resolution today that denies the Jewish connection to Judiasm’s holiest site – the Temple Mount. Even though there is archeological proof that the First and Second Temples stood on this same site, UNESCO has resolved that the site is holy to Muslims only as their third-holiest site (second to Mecca and Medina).

      There is no connection in the world stronger than the connection to the Temple Mount from a religious, historical and national perspective. This connection has been strong for well over 2,000 years.

      "Today that organization [UNESCO] adopted another delusional decision stating that the Jewish People have no connection to the Temple Mount or the Western Wall. Even if they do not read the Bible, I would suggest that UNESCO members visit the Arch of Titus in Rome. On it one can see what the Romans brought back to Rome after they destroyed and looted the Second Temple on the Temple Mount 2,000 years ago. There, engraved on the Arch of Titus, is the seven-branched menorah that is the symbol of the Jewish People and, I remind you, is also the symbol of the Jewish state today. Soon, UNESCO will say that the Emperor Titus engaged in Zionist propaganda,” quipped Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

      “To say that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall is like saying that the Chinese have no connection to the Great Wall of China and the Egyptians have no connection to the pyramids,” Netanyahu added. “By this absurd decision, UNESCO has lost what little legitimacy it had left.”

      It was just one year ago (October 2016) that UNESCO also declared Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron (where Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, and Leah are believed to be buried) a Muslim Holy site.

      As Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) is about to begin in Israel (October 16-23), this UNESCO resolution denying the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount is felt strongly as many come to the site to celebrate this holiday.

      Interested in experiencing a Feast of Tabernacles? Join Song For Israel as we celebrate this feast on October 23rd. Click here for more information.

      Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) Begins Tonight

      “The LORD said to Moses, “The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present an offering made to the LORD by fire. Do not work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the LORD your God.” Leviticus 23:26-28 NIV.

      Yom Kippur falls on the 10th of Tishrei, this year on October 11th.

      During the Temple times, a week before Yom Kippur, the Cohen ha Gadol (High Priest) went to live in his chamber in the Temple in spiritual and physical preparation of this holy day. On Yom Kippur he was to make atonement for all Jews in the world. This was the only time of the year he entered the Holy of Holies. During the “Avodah” – Temple service, the high Priest changed into five different sets of garments, immersed himself in the mikveh five times, washed his hands and feet ten times, sacrificed two lambs, one bull, two goats, and two rams. He offered meal and wine libations, and made three incense offerings. On this day, he had to work harder than all the priests and Levites present.

      Today, Orthodox men immerse themselves in the Mikveh (ritual bath) on the day before Yom Kippur.

      Early in the afternoon, all Jewish businesses and shops are closed, and traffic virtually comes to a stand still. Traffic lights stop working and there is no national radio or television. Even Ben Gurion International Airport closes its air space to all air traffic in the early afternoon. About four hours after the end of the holiday the airport reopens for international arrivals. Departures commence an hour later. Likewise, all harbours and border crossings in and out of the country close for the holiday. As a security measure, the crossings into Gaza, Judea and Samaria are also closed until the end of this holiest day of the year.

      Just before sunset, the streets fill with people walking to nearby synagogues. On the evening of Yom Kippur, in synagogues around the world the cantor chants the “Kol Nidrei” – all vows, in Aramaic, dating from post-Talmudic times. The music was composed mid 15-16th century in south Germany. During this holiest day of the Jewish Year, synagogue attendance usually triples.

      “May all the people of Israel be forgiven, including all the strangers who live in their midst, for all the people are in fault…”

      Through the “Kol Nidrei” people ask God forgiveness for vows they made to God and people, but could not carry out.

      During the Middle Ages, German Jews replaced the Kol Nidrei with recitations of Psalms. Anti-Semites accused the Jews of being not trustworthy and their oaths worthless, spurring many pogroms.

      During the Spanish Inquisition, when many Jews were forced to become Christians, this stirring and haunting melody became even more relevant.

      As a symbol of purity many Jews wear white clothing and either walk on plastic shoes or house slippers, as long as they are not from leather. They spend most of Yom Kippur in synagogue, where prayer services are followed by litanies and petitions of forgiveness.

      Even non-religious Jews try to keep the 25 hour fast.

      When the sun is setting, many flock to the synagogue for the Ne’ilah prayer, after which the “Shma Israel” is recited and the Shofar blown. This symbolizes the closure of God’s books, in which the names are written for those who shall live or die the next year.

      When Yom Kippur ends, directly after a festive meal, many religious Jews begin to build their Sukkah (booth for the Feast of Tabernacles). Hammers can be heard all over the city.

      In ancient times it was customary to herald the end of Yom Kippur by blowing the Shofar at the Western Wall. This custom was re-installed when in 1967 Jerusalem was re-unified.

      Copied with permission from Petra van der Zande from her book entitled Remember, Observe, Rejoice which can be purchased by clicking here on this link.