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Reaching Out in Love to Widows and Orphans

Life in Israel

“With an Outstretched Arm…”

{image_1}“For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come…” (Song of Songs 2:11–12a). What are the signs that Israel’s long awaited spring has arrived? Are they the final passing of winter’s cold, wet weather, the budding of almond trees, the joyful songs of birds, or perhaps the red poppies and cyclamen carpeting the hillsides? According to the Hebrew Scriptures (Gen.–Mal., Tanach), the coming of spring is marked by the arrival of Pesach (Passover). “Observe the month of Abib [spring], and keep the Passover to the LORD your God, for in the month of Abib the LORD your God brought you out of Egypt by night” (Deut. 16:1).

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Jerusalem Day–40th Anniversary of the Reunification of Jerusalem

{image_1}The liberation of Jerusalem on June 7, 1967 (Iyar 28 on the Hebrew calendar) marked the first time in thousands of years that the entire city of Jerusalem, the holiest city in Judaism, came under Jewish sovereignty.

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Yad Lakashish “Tzedakah In Action”

{image_1}The Hebrew word tzedakah is often translated as “charity.” However, when understood from a Jewish viewpoint, it is much different. The root word for tzedakah is tzedak, which means righteousness, justice, or fairness. “In Judaism, giving to the poor is not viewed as a generous, magnanimous act; it is simply an act of justice and righteousness, the performance of a duty, giving the poor their due” (www.jewfaq.org). Maimonides, a 12th-century Jewish sage, organized tzedakah into eight levels, from giving begrudgingly (level one) to giving when neither party knows the other’s identity (level seven). However, “the highest degree of tzedakah,” said Maimonides, “is helping others help themselves.”

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Special Olympics Israel makes a Splash

March 18, 2007

Special Olympics Israel made a big splash when nine of its athletes traveled to California to participate in the Robert C. Placak Tiburon Mile. Athletes swim one nautical mile from San Francisco Bay's Angel Island to the shores of downtown Tiburon. This is not a Special Olympics event, but the world's biggest and most competitive open-water swim, in which Olympic and World Champion swimmers from the nations participate.

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Searching for Meaning in the Holocaust

March 18, 2007

We are dedicating this center spread to Yom Hashoah or Holocaust Memorial Day, which falls this year on April 15. At a time when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is asserting that the Holocaust is a Jewish myth, we believe it is vitally important to publish the truth. Thousands will be participating in a March of the Living in Poland, walking 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) from Auschwitz to Birkenau, two of Hitler’s concentration camps, in remembrance of the 6 million Jews who died during the Holocaust. In Israel, at the sound of a siren, everyone will stop to observe two minutes of silence, and memorial ceremonies will take place throughout the Land.

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Remembering Yuri Shtern — Founder of the Christian Allies Caucus

March 18, 2007

“Israel lost a hero when our dearly beloved Yuri Shtern passed away after a long fight with cancer. As I marched in the funeral procession with thousands of Israelis and other Christian leaders, I thought to myself, not only Israel lost a hero, not only Israel lost a great man, but the Christian world lost one of their best Israeli friends. I for one am going to mourn over the loss of this great man.”

—Rebecca J. Brimmer, January 17, 2007

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A Reader’s Point of View

January 3, 2007

We received the following letter from a Jewish reader in Jerusalem in response to our October 2006 Israel Teaching Letter. We thought you would enjoy it as much as we did.

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The Jordan River—A Political Bargaining Chip

January 3, 2007

Naaman the leper was told by Elisha to dip seven times in the Jordan River and be healed. Today Gidon Bromberg, the Israel director of Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME), says the Jordan River is a health hazard because of sewage dumped into the Jordan. “Almost no fresh water is flowing down the Jordan River anymore. It’s true there are springs along the way which replenish [it] a little bit, but unfortunately it has become the dumping yard of countries,” said Mira Edelstein, an expert on the Jordan Valley and a spokeswoman for FoEME.

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Mount Hermon—Israel’s One and Only Ski Resort

January 3, 2007

I enjoy seeing the look on people’s faces when I tell them that the first time I ever went snow skiing was in Israel, and only one day after Hizbullah fired a couple of rockets at the mountain.

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Temple Rededication

December 4, 2006

The word hanukkah means “dedication.” After the Jewish revolt in 165 BC against Syrian-Greek forces, the Temple in Jerusalem was left desolate, having been desecrated when juice from cooked pigs was poured over its altar. The book of 1 Maccabees describes the extent of the damage: “They saw the Temple laid desolate and the altar profaned and the gates burned and the courtyards overgrown with plants as ‘in a thicket’ or like ‘one of the mountains’ and the chambers laid in ruins.”

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