Friday, April 26, 2013

Yom Huledet, Israel


I will rejoice over them to do them good and will faithfully  plant them in this land with all My heart and with all My soul.  Jeremiah 32:41
Did you know that bringing the Jewish people back into the Land of Israel is the only thing the bible says God is doing with His whole heart and His whole soul?  He is passionate about this work of Aliyah, and I feel blessed to be part of it!  

This year Israel celebrated 65 years of blessed statehood.  On May 16, 1948, the modern State of Israel was born in, wake of the Holocaust.  David Ben-Gurion, along with other early leaders, declared independence from the British Mandate, and Israel was granted full state status by the United Nations.  The next day, this young nation was attacked by Arab neighbors, launching the War of Independence.

In Israel, we call this day, Yom Ha'Atzmaut (Independence day).  As a nation, we celebrated in April this year, because this is when the date falls in line with the Hebrew Calendar.   As a family, we celebrated with our Kehilah (congregation) in the form of a BBQ.  




Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell...  In blue and white. 

And inside...

These lovely cupcakes, blue and white, each with an Israeli flag. 


Beverage table decor.


This was my favorite.  Each star contained a scripture or interesting fact about Israel.  I learned quite a few things.  DYK:  Israel has the highest percentage of engineers per capita, in the world. 


And outside...




There was a game of "lemon ball" with a lemon picked straight off of a tree.  

 

Lots of grilling, Israeli style, which means lots of meat, and lots of men manning the meat.


Devin at work.  


And if that wasn't enough meat, on one grill, here's the second. 


I like to take craft supplies to group parties like this.  It helps the kids stay entertained and its always fun to see what the adults come up with, too.  Here's a few patriotic pieces Aviel and I made together. Blue and white, of course.


There was lounging in the grass.  These guys are buddies. 


 And some spontaneous praise and worship with our friends.


A little shot of the three of us.  

It was a joyful and peaceful day.  Happy 65 years, Israel.


Related Posts:
Living in Bible Times Now!  (Callie's article about Yom HaAtzmaut for SAVED News)


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Excuse me... Were you born Jewish?


"Excuse me...  Were you born Jewish?"

I was caught slightly off guard by a question from a Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) woman in the hospital waiting room.

"Um... No, I wasn't."

"Ok, so you were born a Christian.  I was going to tell you how terrible it was that you converted, but I suppose if you were born a Christian its different."

"Oh well, I grew up in a Christian family, but you're not born a Christian.  Following Yeshua is a choice I made when I was in high school."  I differentiated. 

Still a bit surprised by her boldness, my puzzled look must have prompted her further.

"I noticed your book and wanted to tell you how terrible it was."

My appointment included two hours of drinking iodine contrast before my scan.  Being a mother of a small child, I thought I'd seize the opportunity to do some reading and took a long Shaping History Through Fasting and Prayer by Derek Prince.  My Haredi neighbor was insulted by the back cover... 

Christians Can Change World Events

"Christians do change world events, but not for the better.  That's just terrible. What are you doing here anyway?"  she continued.

"I live here with my husband.  He moved here about thirteen years ago, made Aliyah, and we decided to live here after we got married."

"Oh so your husband is Jewish and he married a Christian.  That's just terrible.  He shouldn't have done that.  See, that's how Christians change world events.  Your children will not be Jewish and that's terrible.  That's a terrible way to change world events. "

"Well, my husband is Messianic Jewish...  we are a Messianic family." 

"Uth....  Oh he converted...  that's even worse! Jesus was a terrible person.  He rebelled against Judaism, and Jewish authorities, and his followers killed us...  uh."  

The verbal assault was quite harsh and I didn't know what to do.

Lord, What can I say to reach her heart?  I prayed while she was telling her family history, a story of persecution during the Pograms that led to an escape to American, then Israel.   The Lord whispered:

Ask for her forgiveness.

Really, Lord?  After hearing how terrible we are...  how terrible I am?  Ok...  here it goes....

"Have you ever personally been hurt by any Christians?"  I asked wanting to get a better sense of her heart.

"Personally?  This was my family....  my nation...  my people.  That IS personal."


"I can tell you are really hurting over this issue, carrying a lot of pain.  I am so so sorry that Christians killed your family, and your nation in the name of Yeshua.  I am so so sorry.  As a Christian, I'd like to ask for your forgiveness."

My statement was met with a blank stare.  After an awkward silence, I tried again.

"Well, you don't have to accept it, but I wanted to let you know that I am truly sorry.  And I wanted at least, to offer an apology.  You can give forgiveness in your own time."

Her puzzled silence ensued, so I continued on.  "I know these things happened, but there are also a lot of Christians who love Israel and the Jewish people.  My own family has a heritage of a great love for the Jewish people and passed that on to me."  

"Hmm...  so what is your husband's background?"  She asked with a softer tone.

"He grew up in a Messianic Jewish home.  His father is ordained as a Methodist minister and His mother is a believer in Yeshua from a Jewish background.  They started attending a Messianic Congregation when was 12."

"Oh ok...  well, he didn't know....  he didn't know... maybe he won't be judged for what he has done because he didn't know. "

I could see her wheels turning, really trying to work out the morality of the situation. I also felt something rise up in my spirit...

"Actually, we fully believe he won't be judged for anything he's done because Yeshua is his atoning sacrifice."

"Oh.. oh... oh...  That's a terrible idea."

I sort of laughed at that because I knew it was coming. 

"So are you here as a missionary or something?"  She pressed.

"No...  we live here."  I emphasized.  "We are citizens.  My husband made Aliyah, served in the army.  We pay taxes.  Our son was born here.  This is home for us.  And I believe being here is part of a prophetic fulfillment of that love for Israel that was passed down through my family that I was telling you about."

"How is that?"

I then shared my family history with her.  A story of my grandfather working for one of the few Jewish men in town.

"My dad's family grew up with the rhythm of the Chagim (Holy Days).  They took all of their family vacations with the Chagim and were aware of timing and traditions.  There's a verse in Isaiah that says even the Goyim who keep my Shabbats will worship me on my Holy Hill. I believe me being here today is a fulfillment of that verse, since I now live on the Lord's Holy Hill."  (see Isaiah 56:6-7)

"Well, HaShem surely is doing quite a bit to bring people into their destinies these days."

I love how the orthodox are mystic about these things and found some unity with her.

"Yes, He is!  The fact that Israel even exists is miraculous and evidence of that!"    

 "Yes."  She agreed, "And it means the Mashiach is coming soon."

"Yes!  And His feet will touch down on the Mount of Olives and it will split in two!  He'll have a Holy procession and take his throw forever!"  (See Zechariah 14)

She chuckled a little at my passionate statement, thanked me for talking, then had to leave.

Though it ended well, I was wiped out after that conversation.  It took a tremendous act of His Spirit to not be offended, to love her through the insults, and to offer an humble response.  We serve a humble God, a servant who ate with sinners, washed feet, and was willing to atone for me, and for you,  through His own shed blood.   The Lord is good, and I have tremendous faith, based on His word,  that this Haredi woman will one day receive Yeshua as her Messiah.

Thank you, Lord, for granting me the privilege of being part of that process in her life.  To YOU be the glory, forever.  Amen. 

 “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him..." Zech 12:10
  
 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”  Matt 23:37-39



Related Posts:
His Time Out Chair Was the Cross
The Angel of Death Won't Get In
Living in Bible Times Now! 
A Testimony of Keeping Shabbat
 


   

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sometimes We.... do PIZZA Shabbat!

Israel does many things well, but pizza is not really one of them! Its not terrible...  its just...  ok.  They don't get the concept of sauce, and because most restaurants keep kosher, separating milk and meat, toppings are all veggies. No pepperoni or meat lovers pizzas around here!

 Regardless, we do treat ourselves now and then and have even developed a little family tradition of going out for pizza before for the Feast of Unleavened Bread.


Here's Aviel at this year's pre-Seder pizza night...


And a real Israeli pizza. Toppings:  2 regular cheese, 2 mushroom, and 2 Bulgarian cheese.

This pizza is from a little restaurant called Pistachio's.  They make some of the better pizza in town, but we learned  that in order to get a really good pizza,  we have to make it ourselves! We don't do this often, but every once in a while we splurge on ingredients and calories because its just plain fun.  And it especially makes for a nice Shabbat Dinner when its just the three of us! 

Devin's the Pizza man around here... 
 

Here he is making the dough for the crust.  Devin's quite a chef.  He can cook far more sophisticated things than me, and he makes dinner most weeknights.  I appreciate his skills in the kitchen.


Aviel took this photo of Devin rolling the dough around. 


Then he asked if he could touch it.

After the dough is well kneaded, it goes in an olive oil coated bowl to rise.


While we wait for the dough, Devin makes his secret recipe pizza sauce.  Ok... so its not really a secret, but I'm not sure exactly how he does it... so we'll call it a secret for now.  :)


And the guys get a little sample. 



Then Devin grates fresh mozzerella and slices turkey salami (no pepperonis here). 


And he rolls out the crust.  


Meanwhile, the pizza stone is in the oven heating up. 


Next he adds the sauce....  


Then the cheese and salami.  

It goes in the oven and....  



...We get these lovely personal pan sized pizzas!  Devin made three little pizzas, and a small calzone.  We did our candles, bread and wine blessings, then ate the best pizza in Jerusalem.

Thank you Chef Devin! 

Related Posts:

Monday, April 1, 2013

How Do We Eat Matzah? Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies!

Fasting from one thing often means feasting on another.  In the case of Feast of Unleavened bread, that means Matzah!  Who says Matzah has to be boring?  Part of the fun of the feast is finding ways to make this cracker-like bread taste yummy.

As I've lived in Israel, I've enjoyed, and sometimes wept over, trying to adapt my Southern food culture into our life over here.  I've had great successes (Israelis love broccoli salad and sweet potato casserole), and other times, epic failures!  In the case of Matzah, I have something that I'm actually really proud of:  an adaptation of the ever popular Christmas Chocolate Covered Ritz Cracker Cookie,  Matzah-fied and totally kosher for Pesach.   

I've made this treat three years in a row, now... so I figure it deserves a place on the blog.  :) 




Simple ingredients:  Matzah, Peanut butter (or other nut butter of your choice...  I use a sugar free organic Israeli brand), and chocolate bars.  Funny story about the chocolate bars.  I accidentally bought the chocolate with nuts because I was shopping in haste and I don't know enough Hebrew yet to have realized what happened... even though there are clearly nuts on the package! It didn't hurt the taste at all, although it did cause me to use more bars per Matzah. 
 

Next, create a double boiler to melt the chocolate without burning.  While its melting, I broke up the Matzah and made little peanut butter sandwiches.  This part of the process makes this treat distinguishably different from the southern Ritz Cracker version.  Matzah doesn't not cut or break evenly because its very crumbly.  It takes a little work "guess and check" work to match up peices that are similar sizes.  AND the result is always a variation of size.  I actually like the size differences in the cookies because I can always find one to fit the sweet tooth needs of the moment!
 

Next, smoother them in chocolate!  For this, I don't recommend dipping because of the crumble factor.  Its best to use a spoon to cover the Matzah on both sides.  This will leave a little bit of exposed Matzah on the end, but I like something about that, too!  Then let them firm up on a baking sheet covered in wax or parchment paper.  In Israel, I let this take place in the fridge do to lack of HVAC. 


Here they are, ready to eat!  And the Bread of Affliction tastes so sweet! 

***

Ingredients:
Matzah
Peanut Butter
Chocolate Bars 

*To give an idea about how many chocolate bars/Matzah.... From my experience , 1 dark chocolate bar will cover about 2 full sized Matzah crackers broken and peanut buttered, 1 milk chocolate will cover 1 Matzah cracker broken and peanut buttered, and 1 bar of white chocolate will cover about 3/4 of a full sized Matzah cracker broken and peanut buttered due to opacity. 

Instructions:

1.  Set up a double boiler with a sauce pan and a metal mixing bowl.  Bring water to a boil, and melt chocolate in the mixing bowl. 

2.  While chocolate is melting break Matzah into cookie sized pieces and make little peanut butter sandwiches. 

3.  Use a spoon to cover the little sandwiches with chocolate on both sides.

4.  Place on a baking sheet covered in wax or parchment paper and allow chocolate to cool and firm up.  

5.  Eat and enjoy!  

***

Related Posts:

Nuts About Stuffed Honey Dates - Another Kosher for Pesach Treat

Why Do We Eat Matzah?

Why Do We Eat Matzah?

A question that is part of the Pesach Hagada, or telling of the Exodus Story, is answered in Exodus 12:
The Egyptians urged the people, to send them out of the land in haste, for they said, “We will all be dead.” So the people took their dough before it was leavened, with their kneading bowls bound up in the clothes on their shoulders. (v. 33-34)
In the practical sense, the people fled before the bread was able to rise, and eating Matzah commemorates this time.  The Lord commanded that this time of fasting (from from leavened bread) and feasting (on unleavened bread), for seven days, would be an integral part of Pesach:
...seven days you shall eat with it unleavened bread, the bread of affliction (for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste), so that you may remember all the days of your life the day when you came out of the land of Egypt.  See Deut 16:1-8
And...
Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.  Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread...
You shall also observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt; therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as a permanent ordinance. See Exodus 12:14-20
A Permanent Ordinance...

The weight of these words from scripture sits heavy on my heart.  How about yours?

This is an ordinance that is taken seriously here in Israel!

According to the rabbinic tradition, nothing Hametz, or leavened, is to be eaten during this time.  This even includes certain oat and rice products as well.  Houses are scoured for the smallest crumbs, stores seal up all of their Hametz products, and boxes and boxes of Matzah adorn the aisles.

Here's Matzah for sale at the shuk.

A rigorous process goes into making Matzah.  Rabbinically, it must be cooked at temperatures higher than 600 Degrees F, and from the beginning of the kneeling until its placed in an oven, it must be made in 18 minutes.

Matzah also has three distinctive visual features:  Stripes, bruises, and piercings.  The tradition is that the Jewish people grilled their Matzah, rather than baking because it needed to cook quickly in order for them to flee.  The stripes were left by the grill, the bruises from the flames, and the bread was peirced inorder to hasten its cooking time.  

Can you see the Messiah in the Matzah? 


Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.  Isaiah 53:4-5
“I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn. " Zechariah 12:10

Significantly, Messiah Yeshua broke the Matzah as His body during the Seder feast that has come to be known as the Last Supper (I wrote more about that here).

So...  Why do we eat Matzah?

We eat Matzah to remember the great Exodus from Egypt, but ultimately, we eat Matzah in remembrance of Him, who was and is the bread of life.

Related Posts:
His Timeout Chair was the Cross
Celebrating Passover
Macaroon Madness!