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Teaching Letter

A Year in the Life of Israel—PART 2

Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day)

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Last month, we began our look at Israel’s annual celebrations, some biblical, some traditional, and some secular. We started with Purim (Feast of Esther), which usually takes place in March, and ended with Shavuot (Pentecost). In this Teaching Letter, we will complete the year’s cycle of remembrances.

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A Year in the Life of Israel—PART 1

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As Bible-believing Christians living in Israel, my husband Tom and I have come to see Israel from a unique perspective. It is an amazing place, called in Scripture “the glory of all lands” (Ezek. 20:6, 15). An immense variety of plants and animal species are native to the Land. The cultural diversity of Jewish people from over 100 nations is charming and maddening in turn. An eclectic mix of ancient and modern assault the senses. Israel is my home and I love it dearly. Certainly life in Israel is never boring. But, if I were to pick the most wonderful experience to us, it would be the celebrations.

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The Secret Place

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He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”

Psalm 91:1
 

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A Study of Psalm 46—God is with Us

{image_1} A storm is coming. Any political analyst will tell you so. In fact, anyone who follows the news even occasionally would agree. It is no doubt a storm, the proportions of which, most of us underestimate. “Behold evil is going forth from nation to nation, and a great storm is being stirred up from the remotest parts of the earth. Those slain by the LORD on that day will be from one end of the earth to the other” (Jer. 25:32–33a, NASB).

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CHOSEN—at a Price

{image_1} On the slopes of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa stands a magnificent building, the Mount Nelson Hotel, a testimony to South Africa’s bygone era as a British colony. As a child, I remember my awe as I entered the expansive, gloomy foyer where people spoke in hushed voices and glided about noiselessly on thick pile carpets. The focal point in the foyer was a well-lit display cabinet, advertising South Africa’s finest diamond jewelry. The combination of the gloom, the location of the cabinet, and its valuable contents captured almost everyone’s attention. In a sense, it was the “Israel” of the hotel foyer!

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ISRAEL—Whose Land Is It?

“Next year in Jerusalem!” 

{image_1} This has been the heartfelt cry of countless thousands of Jewish people over the centuries. It is recited daily in prayer, spoken out with longing and rejoicing, cried out in adversity, often hidden deep within hearts, and even thought of as an answer to dreams. What or whom has made this statement a reality for so many Jewish people from the time of Abraham to David––when Jerusalem was acknowledged as the capital of Israel in 1000 BC––right up to the past 100 years?

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Things I Have Learned in Israel

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In the seventeen years I have lived in Israel, I have been blessed to learn many things which have given me fresh insight on the Scriptures. Some say that my husband and I, and the staff of Bridges for Peace, have given our lives to the Lord’s call to Israel. That is true, but what is also true is that Israel has given us new life as well. Christians who visit Israel invariably remark about how their Bible reading has come to life after a trip to Israel. In this Israel Teaching Letter, I want to share a few things that I have learned.

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Praying For Israel In Tough Times

Through the centuries, the Jewish people have endured persecution, danger, and death. They have experienced unparalleled pain as a nation throughout the long years of their dispersion. Hundreds of years of persecution culminated in the Holocaust as Hitler and the Nazis systematically attempted to annihilate the Jewish people. Six million Jews were murdered.

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Why Christians Should Study Torah and Talmud

{image_1}Perhaps this title intrigued you, but you aren’t sure why. After all, isn’t Torah (Gen.–Deut.) really something Jewish? And, isn’t the Talmud a set of writings by Jewish rabbis collected two hundred years after Yeshua (Jesus) lived? And if so, why would a Bible-believing Christian care about the insights and comments from Jewish rabbis, scholars, and sages? You may be worried that your Christian friends might think it strange if you began studying Jewish writings, or your Jewish friends might be offended if they learned you were studying “their stuff.” Let me suggest four reasons why the study of Torah and Talmud can be valuable for Bible-believing Christians.

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The Salt Of The Covenant

{image_1}Every Friday night, I enjoy a Shabbat (Sabbath) meal with Jewish friends in my neighbourhood. It is the highlight of my week.

The Elements of
 a Shabbat Meal
{image_2} Wine symbolizing Joy
 
{image_3} Challa (braided bread) symbolizing the double provision of manna
 
{image_4} The lighting of the candles  to remember and observe the Sabbath
 

When I first experienced a Shabbat meal, while in America, I learned about the symbolism of each part of the meal: the two candles, symbolic of the commands to both remember (Exod. 20:8) and observe (Deut. 5:12) the Shabbat; the wine, the joy of Shabbat; the two loaves of challah (Shabbat braided bread) reminded Jews of God’s double provision of manna in the wilderness on Shabbat (Exod.16:22); the table, a picture of the Temple’s altar; and the father officiating as the priest of the home.

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