Any of you who’ve visited Israel (or lived here) know what it’s like to be approached by the insistent, persistent beggars of Jerusalem’s city streets. Day by day, I encounter those who have grown to be familiar faces: the woman who wanders Ben Yehuda crying about her babies who do not have food or diapers; the double amputee who sits in his wheelchair in front of my favorite bagel shop; the gentleman who sleeps by my bus stop, trash-bags full of his belongings heaped awkwardly around him.Continue Reading »
One of my most enjoyable experiences in Israel was when I attended a Friday night Shabbat (the Sabbath) service in a Jewish friend’s synagogue. Because religious Jews don’t drive on Shabbat, a synagogue is located within walking distance. Before we left the house to walk to her modern-Orthodox synagogue, I was instructed not to carry a purse nor pen and paper, because writing and carrying are considered work. Questions would have to be asked later, not during the service. And, of course, women are not allowed to wear slacks.Continue Reading »
“Even the stork in the heavens knows her appointed times; and the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow observe the time of their coming…” Jeremiah 8:7, NKJV. The Hula Valley is an agricultural region in northern Israel that also represents a rare meeting place for African and European flora and fauna. I went there recently with a group of journalists and photographers at the invitation of the Jewish National Fund (JNF), which manages the forests, parks, and nature reserves of Israel.Continue Reading »
Why should Christians be concerned about the political system and the upcoming elections in Israel? Because, we are at a point in history where God’s promises to His people are coming under attack. Just as we are to be good stewards of the things God puts into our hands and use those gifts toward His will, we also must be good stewards of the Land He has given to His people.Continue Reading »
On the corner of Rachel Imeinu and Yotam (a little-known street in my German Colony neighborhood in Jerusalem) stands a bustling, ultra-Orthodox yeshivah (religious school). The yeshivah is three blocks from my apartment, and I stroll past it nearly every day. As I pass the echoing stone walls and vented windows, I hear the students and their rabbis deeply engaged in activity. In the morning, I hear them praying. At noon I hear them debating Torah (Genesis–Deuteronomy). But best of all, in the evenings, I hear the students singing in chorus, and their haunting refrains permeate the otherwise quiet Jerusalem nights.Continue Reading »
Every morning on the bus, I watch a variety of observant Jewish women reading from their tiny personal prayer books. As part of their daily routine, these women softly read aloud from prescribed portions of the Psalms, which serve to focus them on God and help them honor Him at the beginning of each day.Continue Reading »
You have probably heard at least one preacher give a sermon on tithing. I’ve heard a lot of them. Some are fun, others are interesting, and some contain errors. I won’t try to correct all of the errors or repeat all of the goodies. But I will try to correct one erroneous message I’ve heard and give an alternative, which will allow the same sermon to be preached without that error.Continue Reading »
When I tell people I spent the last year of my life studying abroad in Israel, they usually look at me funny and respond politely. When I tell them I'm planning to move there permanently, the flabbergasted look on their faces demands an explanation.Continue Reading »
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