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"It is better to take refuge in Adonai than to trust in human beings; better to take refuge in Adonai than to put one's trust in princes." -Tehilah 118:8-9

There's an Absolutely Brilliant Conversation Going On...

...over at Israpundit right now. Yesterday, Israpundit cheif Ted Belman posted a frightening report on the state of U.S. policy towards Israel: US to pressure Israel for concessions to solve Iraq problem. A brilliant conversation has ensued between some Israpundit regulars and Israeli commentators including Arlene Kushner and Ellen Horowitz. If you want the true down low on what's really going on between Israel and the United States, and a good discussion on possible solutions to the problem of corruption in the Israeli government, take some time to read the post and the commentary that follows. It is an eye-opening experience, and a quick'n'dirty tutorial on Israeli government.

Excerpt from the post (mainly a recap of a DEBKAfile article):
The cards in Washington are therefore stacked against Israel these days. An unfortunate combination has emerged of a president who regards the Jewish state as strategically weak and a brace of key US advisers on the administration's new Iraqi policy who are drawn from the most anti-Israeli US administrations of the past. The Olmert government, however forthcoming, must brace itself for a period of intensive American pressure to cede ever more assets to curry favor with the Arabs.
Excerpt from comment #23 by Ted Belman:
It seems to me that we have to start with what we've got. That's the army and the settlers and the Haredim. If they can't be mobilized to take to the streets with at least 300,000 people we are wisling in the wind. In our favour is the fact that the opposition public probably exceeds 50%. Thus this government is not representative of them.

Perhaps a petition should be organized and signatures collected against the government. Perhaps a letter should be written to Olmert asking for his resignation etc and then prominent Israelis should be sought to sign it and then such letter should be published.
Here's my question: What is the Messianic community in Israel doing? What is the Messianic community worldwide doing to defend our land and our people (and ourselves- don't think for one minute that we aren't on the hitlist, too) from destruction? I get these great reports from various ministries in the land about believing soldiers fighting in the IDF and that is absolutely awesome. But what is the Messianic community on the whole doing to support Israel and to speak out against governmental policies that are not of Adonai? What can we do to praise HaShem, lift up His truth, and support our fellow Jews and our Jewish right to our Jewish land?

In other words, how can we breathe Torah into this situation?

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posted by Shoshana @ 1:30 PM

The Simcha of Mishpocha, Part Three

The Simcha of Mishpocha
Part Three: From Slave to Servant, from Foreigner to Friend

In Part One we clarified that one of the key purposes of living a Torah-observant lifestyle is to testify to the truth of HaShem and the atoning sacrifice of Messiah Yeshua. In Part Two, we concluded that the foundation of our halacha (our walk with HaShem through daily observance of the mitzvot) is our love for HaShem, grounded in our trust in Yeshua HaMashiach. We discussed the familial structure outlined in Torah. We applied it equally to the people of Israel and the talmidim of Messiah. We concluded that this familial structure was designed to act as a support system in accordance with the mitzvot and the teachings of Yeshua. Finally, we asked:
If the greatest command is to "love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart, soul, and strength," and, in order to testify to the truth of this, we must live out the mitzvot, how can we claim the veracity of this greatest mitzvot without also observing the second greatest, "to love your close companion as yourself," with equal fervor?
Here, in Part Three, we seek to answer the following questions:

What does it mean to love your close companion as yourself?
How do you go about exhibiting such love?
What rewards come from loving each other in accordance with Torah?

The What

In loving each other as Yeshua loved us, we must recognize that, along with being the servant of Adonai, Yeshua was the shamas, the servant of His people. If we are to mirror His actions in loving one another, we must take into account His level of servitude towards His talmidim. For it was Yeshua Himself who instructed, "No one has greater love than a person who lays down his life for his friends" [John 15:13].
After [Yeshua] had washed their feet, taken back his clothes and returned to the table, he said to them, "Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me `Rabbi' and `Lord,' and you are right, because I am. Now if I, the Lord and Rabbi, have washed your feet, you also should wash each other's feet. For I have set you an example, so that you may do as I have done to you. Yes, indeed! I tell you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is an emissary greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. [John 13:12-17]
This lesson was not an easy one for the talmidim. Although they followed Yeshua faithfully, leaving their jobs, their families, and all that they knew to go with Him, the talmidim did not always understand or apply Yeshua's principles to their own lives. For example:
They [Yeshua and the talmidim] arrived at K'far-Nachum. When Yeshua was inside the house, He asked them, "What were you discussing as we were traveling?" But they kept quiet; because on the way, they had been arguing with each other about who was the greatest. He sat down, summoned the Twelve and said to them, "If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all." [Mark 9:33-35]
As with the Torah, Yeshua repeated His teachings multiple times in order to be understood. At a different time, Yeshua repeated to the talmidim the lesson that, in order to lead, one must first be willing to serve:
"Nor are you to let yourselves be called `leaders,' because you have one Leader, and he is the Messiah! The greatest among you must be your servant, for whoever promotes himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be promoted." [Matthew 23:10-12]
Yeshua called them and said, "You know that among the Goyim, those who are supposed to rule them become tyrants, and their superiors become dictators. Among you, it must not be like that. On the contrary, whoever among you wants to be a leader must become your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave! For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve -- and to give his life as a ransom for many." [Matthew 20:25-28]
In other words, we, as His talmidim, are to consider ourselves servants, even slaves, to both Adonai and each other. There are three analogous testimonies made through incorporating servitude into our halacha. Our servitude testifies to:

*Our love for each other :: our love for Adonai, the foundation of our relationship with Him.

*The truth of Torah :: The veracity and character of Messiah Yeshua

*Our separation from the pagan world of the goyim :: Our role as those called out and set aside for G-d's unique purpose

The How

In order to understand how to take on the attitude of a servant/slave, we must understand the role of the servant within the body of Messiah. To understand this, we must first look to Torah.

Servants and slaves are mentioned throughout the mitzvot. They are instructed to keep Shabbat (Exodus 20:10), to be given refuge when they have escaped from their masters (Deuteronomy 23:15-16), to be liberated on the seventh year of their service (Exodus 21:12), to be given an equal share of the food stored for the year of jubilee (Leviticus 25:6), and, if they are a slave of the cohen, to be the only members of the household to partake in his food with him (Leviticus 22:10-11). The level of equality granted to the servant/slave in the mitzvot is affirmed in the cofirmation of the covenant in Deuteronomy:
Therefore, observe the words of this covenant and obey them; so that you can make everything you do prosper. "Today you are standing, all of you, before ADONAI your God - your heads, your tribes, your leaders and your officers - all the men of Isra'el, along with your little ones, your wives and your foreigners here with you in your camp, from the one who chops your wood to the one who draws your water. The purpose is that you should enter into the covenant of ADONAI your God and into his oath which ADONAI your God is making with you today..." [Deuteronomy 29:9-12, emphasis mine]
Here, servants or slaves, those who do the work for the Israelites, also known as foreigners, are counted among those entering into the covenant of Adonai. Therefore, the same blessings and curses that apply to the people of Israel apply to the foreigner/servant/slave in their midst. The Torah was not just a gift to and contract with the Hebrew people. In fact, the Torah was a gift to and a contract with all those present at Mount Sinai, both Hebrew and gentile alike.

The concept of servants being foreigners on equal footing with the rest of am Yisrael (the people of Israel) is one that continues through the prophets. In speaking of the "end of days," the prophet Isaiah writes:
"Adonai ELOHIM answers: "I am beckoning to the nations, raising my banner for the peoples. They will bring your sons in their arms and carry your daughters on their shoulders. Kings will be your foster-fathers, their princesses your nurses. They will bow to you, face toward the earth, and lick the dust on your feet. Then you will know that I am ADONAI - those who wait for me will not be sorry." [Isaiah 49:22-23]
"Foreigners will rebuild your walls, their kings will be at your service; for in my anger I struck you, but in my mercy I pity you." [Isaiah 60:10]
Foreigners--even foreign rulers--will be at the service of am Yisrael. Yet, the people of Israel will not be in the status of royalty, per se. Their cities will be destroyed, their country ruined, and they will be carried back to a devastated land from Diaspora. Truthfully, this is not a glorious picture of Israel, because the glory does not belong to Israel. The glory is for Israel to witness, and they will witness it through the servitude of the foreigner. It is the servitude that acts as a testimony to the truth of Adonai, to whom is given all the glory.

This is the crux of it: That the role of the servant is not a personal (or personnel) classification, but an action that glorifies Adonai and testifies to the truth of His promises. This is why the servant, the slave, the foreigner is put on equal footing with the rest of am Yisrael: because their role is that of a servant of Adonai, not of men. In serving the people of Israel, they are serving to attest to the truth of Adonai and His promises to His people.

The Rewards

In humbling themselves and becoming servants of Adonai, the foreigners opened themselves to the blessings of HaShem. When Yeshua taught that "whoever humbles himself will be promoted," truly, among those He was speaking of were the foreigners of Sinai who, by humbling themselves into "chopping wood" and "drawing water" for the people of Israel, became equal inheritors of the promise of Torah: Yeshua the Messiah Himself.

Yeshua was also speaking of the foreign servants and kings who would "lick the dust" from the feet of am Yisrael when they are called rebuild the land. In speaking of the foreigner, the prophet Ezekiel said:
"You are to divide [the land] by lot as an inheritance both to you and to the foreigners living among you who give birth to children living among you; for you they are to be no different from the native-born among the people of Isra'el - they are to have an inheritance with you among the tribes of Isra'el. You are to give the foreigner an inheritance in the territory of the tribe with whom he is living,' says Adonai ELOHIM." [Ezekiel 47:22-23]
This is not merely a prophecy of a future event. It is the teaching of a principle found in Torah and echoed throughout Jewish history, most notably, in the story of Ruth. Given three chances to turn back, Ruth from Moav not only chose to stay with Naomi, but to claim her Hebrew mother-in-law's G-d and people as her own through swearing an oath in the name of Adonai. [Ruth 1:16-17]

Ruth was not prized by Naomi, who changed her name to Marah (bitter) and declared, "I went out full, and Adonai has brought me back empty" [1:20-21]. Likewise, the Israelites of Bethlehem viewed Ruth with little regard, referring to her as nothing more than "a girl from Moav" [2:6]. However, Ruth willingly relegated herself to the duty of servant to her embittered mother-in-law. Taking the lowest of jobs, Ruth asked to gather grain behind the reapers in the fields, a role usually reserved for beggars. Although Naomi elected to return to Israel, it was her foreign daughter-in-law Ruth who acted as her servant in the land, willingly providing food for the household.

Boaz, the owner of the field in which Ruth gathered her grain, proved the exception to the rule when it came to Israeli character. Unlike his neighbors, Boaz protected, provided for, encouraged, and blessed Ruth. He also treated her as an equal, inviting her to dine and glean alongside the other reapers, and instructing his workers not to rebuke her. [2:8-16] Boaz respected Ruth for her actions in standing with and serving Naomi in a land and among a people totally foreign to her. In exhibiting such respect, Boaz was fulfilling the mitzvah regarding how Israelites should treat the foreigners in their midst:
"[Adonai] secures justice for the orphan and the widow; he loves the foreigner, giving him food and clothing. Therefore you are to love the foreigner, since you were foreigners in the land of Egypt." [Deuteronomy 10:18-19]
In adhering to the teachings of Torah, both Ruth and Boaz were blessed with their marriage to each other. Through their union, Naomi's ancestral lands were made secure for future generations, passing to Boaz and Ruth and to their children. [4:9-10] Through their obedience to the instruction of HaShem, Ruth and Boaz also opened themselves to an even greater reward: the gift of continuing the family line through which Yeshua would come into this world. So, you see, the foreigner in our midst who elects to worship Adonai and adhere to His principles, His mitzvot, are given an equal part in the covenant, the land, and the lineage of Israel. As HaShem speaks through the prophet Isaiah:
I will pour my Spirit on your descendants, my blessing on your offspring. They will spring up among the grass like willows on the riverbanks. One will say, "I belong to Adonai." Another will be called by the name of Ya'akov. Yet another will write that he belongs to Adonai and adopt the surname Isra'el. '[Isaiah 44:3-5, emphasis mine]
We began this portion by quoting Yeshua's teaching, No one has greater love than a person who lays down his life for his friends. It is examining the passage from which this quote is taken in its entirety that we clearly see Yeshua illuminating the principles of Torah, the promises of the prophets, and the teachings of our history:
"Just as my Father has loved me, I too have loved you; so stay in my love. If you keep my commands, you will stay in my love -- just as I have kept my Father's commands and stay in his love. I have said this to you so that my joy may be in you, and your joy be complete. "This is my command: that you keep on loving each other just as I have loved you. No one has greater love than a person who lays down his life for his friends. You are my friends, if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave doesn't know what his master is about; but I have called you friends, because everything I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, I chose you; and I have commissioned you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last; so that whatever you ask from the Father in my name he may give you. This is what I command you: keep loving each other!" [John 15:9-17]
To love each other, we must be each other's servants. It is through our willingness to serve each other that we glorify Adonai, thereby opening ourselves to the blessings and promises of Torah. Whether we are Hebrews or goyim by birth does not matter; in choosing to become G-dly servants we are equal inheritors of the covenant (Torah) the land and the lineage of Israel.

posted by Shoshana @ 8:00 PM

Learn from your Roots

"So, your father heard Netanyahu on conservative talk radio the other day. Long story short, armageddon's on the doorstep."

"Yeah, pretty much."

-Everyday conversation between my mother and myself, 11/21/06

I often wonder, how serious is the believing community when it comes to the end times? Sure, you've got your Left Behind crew making millions off the anti-Christ, but does that really count? When the dreck hits the fan, are these people going to be ready, or are they going to be running scared? You've got plenty of TV preachers talking and writing about living in the end times, guys like John Hagee who write books claiming that the Christians will be raptured into their own heavenly Jerusalem while the Jews in Israel battle the anti-Christ on earth... when that glorious rapture never takes place (because it isn't scriptural, but that's another topic for another day) will those end of days congregants actually understand what's happening? Or will they be "eating and drinking as in the days of Noah," just waiting to be sucked up into the sky?

How seriously can you approach a situation when you're taught to believe that it won't effect you in any way? Or you gather the idea that it's fictional, something best left to storytelling? Or, you think it's a million years away? One time, in a television writing class, of all places, we got into a discussion about G-d. Eventually our professor asked the believers in the room if anyone thought Messiah was going to return in their lifetime. All the Christians (one of whom was the head of the University's Christian Fellowship) in the room said no. I said yes. The non-believers just shrugged; the believers were the ones who sat with mouths agape.

I remember thinking there was something terribly wrong with that picture.

I can recall laying in bed as a nine year old, listening as my mother watched Pat Robertson on the television in the next room. Once a year, during fundraising time, he'd go on this apocalyptic kick, preaching hellfire and damnation in-between pleas for money. I remember laying there and shaking with fear thinking of how horrible my life was going to be. I also remember reasoning that, if this is the way life is going to be, I might as well get used to it; the apocalypse was not something to be feared, but something to be looked forward to, right? It meant the return of Messiah, right? So, all these years later, I found myself thinking, "What are these Christians so afraid of?"

When Netanyahu basically insinuated that armageddon was on the doorstep, he was right. Anyone who's been following events in Israel (as all real believers would) would know that. Yet, what do we see happening here in America? Complete and utter ignorance. The media has basically put a black-out on any news involving Israel since the Gaza pullout. Our government is focusing on developing relationships with Syria, and possibly even Iran, at the expense of Israel. Most average Americans take one of two positions: for or against. Those who are for Israel are primarily Evangelical/non-denominational protestant Christians, who pray for Israel so that they and their country, in turn, will be blessed. You can't blame them for expecting something out of the deal; Genesis 12:3 and Psalm 122:6 are the most they've been taught from the Tanak.

Even the American Jews who support Israel do so out of an obligation instilled in them from birth, based on the belief that Jewish American money is what keeps the State of Israel going. This isn't necessarily a total falsehood, but it does justify the Jewish American attitude that the United States is their "new Zion". (Ever been to a Pesach seder that ends with the singing of "G-d Bless America" instead of "L'Shanah haba B'Yerushalayim"? I have.)

In other words, the Christians believe that their prayers for peace are enough; the American Jews believe that their money is enough. Are these things enough? Not when they justify willful ignorance used to mask fear. Placate the problem with money; instead of being praises to G-d, prayers are being used to band-aid a wound that just won't heal. When are Americans going to rip off the band aid and confront the bloody reality?

Israeli Jews may need our money and our prayers, but we need their courage. We need their pride. We need their stubborn bravery. Israeli Jews aren't band-aiding any wounds or throwing money at their problems; they're stepping up to the plate and preparing themselves for battle, because battle is the only solution to the problem.
IDF Enlistment: Motivation is High [Israel National News, via Israpundit]

Though precise numbers are not publicized, many hundreds of youths began their 3-year army service Sunday when the November group of IDF enlistees arrived in the Recruitment Center near Tel Aviv. [..]

Sunday's enlistment, the first since the recent war in Lebanon, showed continued motivation to serve in combat forces, especially in the Golani Infantry Brigade. Some 500 new recruits joined the Golani, beginning with four months of grueling basic training and two months of more advanced training. In addition, despite - or because of - the heavy involvement of tanks in the recent war, motivation to join the armored units remained high, and these units' personnel will increase in number. [..]

A senior officer overseeing the enlistment said that the youths are seeking to enlist in the more dangerous unity. "The units that their parents don't want them to go into," he told the NRG website, "that's where they want to go. Even parents who have lost a son in the line of duty are finding that their sons want to go specifically to Infantry."

For the first time, 18-year-old female soldiers enlisted for three-year stints in Field Intelligence. They will be trained to fight just like other soldiers, and will even be fit to fight against Hizbullah in Lebanon.
Baruch haShem for the willingness to fight, the courage to conquer fear, and the determination to win! How much do we, as believers in Yeshua, have to learn from these brave men and women! We who know the truth of Messiah, yet couch behind empty promises of rapture and false peace, we who are so willing to fall for the glamour of fictionalized accounts, only to pale at the idea of having to fight any real battles on our own. It is a pathetic thing that we who know the power of Messiah have reduced ourselves to nothing more than cowering mortals who seek to bribe or swindle for their earthly salvation.
Then I said, "Lord, how long will this go on?"

And he replied, "Until their towns are empty, their houses are deserted, and the whole country is a wasteland; until the Lord has sent everyone away, and the entire land of Israel lies deserted.

If even a tenth of a remnant survive, it will be invaded again and burned.
But as a terebinth or oak tree leaves a stump when it is cut down, so Israel's stump will be a holy seed." [Isaiah 6:11-13]
Believers like to talk about their Hebrew roots. Well, these are their roots: strong, mighty, holy seeds that survive destruction and cannot be torn from the land. Don't just study your roots and don't just embrace them; don't think your roots are 2,000 years old, or relegated to mere pages in a book. Your roots are living and thriving before your eyes.

You had better learn from them before it's too late, before you're the one who is uprooted because you aren't strong enough to last.

posted by Shoshana @ 10:26 AM

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious People of Israel

Last Sunday marked my introduction to Borat Sagdiyev, everyone's favorite Kazakh television news reporter, created and played to perfection by Anglo-Jewish comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. Borat, previously seen on Cohen's Da Ali G Show on HBO and BBC Channel Four, made it to the big screen in Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan with more than a few grumbles and complaints from PC-mongers the world over. Although I'm usually not inclined to plunk down seven bucks for a ticket to a matinee, the slew of criticisms surrounding Cohen's portrayal of a racist, sexist, anti-Semitic Eastern European goy piqued my interest. That, and, well, Cohen's a Jew; I've got to support the tribe. (It's a mitzvah.)

The film begins and ends with credit sequences that appear as if they were ripped from those 1970s filmstrips you used to watch in science class. Peppered with subtitles in Kazakh and shot using a variety of mediums ranging from amateur film cameras (I'm thinking Super-8 at some points, maybe) to the standard 35 mm, Borat is a technical film watcher's delight, proving both visually appealing and stylistically appropriate to the plot.

Borat is exactly what its title claims to be: a film chronicling the journeys of a Kazakh journalist through America's heartland, from New York to LA and all points in-between. Sent by his government to study the culture of "U S and A, greatest country in the world," in order to see where improvements could be made in Kazakhstan life, Borat quickly becomes distracted by reruns of the popular American TV show Baywatch. Before you know it, he's convinced his producer to change their plans so that he can travel cross-country to Los Angeles, where he plans to marry model/sex superstar Pamela Anderson. While the plot may seem weak at best, it is purposely vague and affords a lot of elbowroom for Borat to interact with average Americans along the way.

Employing the improvisational style that made him a star, Cohen interacts with people on the streets of New York, walking up to them with such greetings as, "I am Borat, I from Kazakhstan, I want to say hello. I want to kiss you." After an incident on the city streets last year, when playing Borat on the fly got Cohen and pal Hugh Laurie into a fist fight with a humorless New Yorker, Cohen could be seen as nothing less than brave for trying to kiss the Big Apple hello. In fact, Borat's interactions with Americans throughout the film were comprised of some bold choices made by Cohen, who could've easily been shot once, if not multiple times, for the things that came out of Borat's mouth. His ability to stay in character and think quickly on his feet has made Cohen such a success. His willingness to push the boundaries in character is what makes Cohen a star, and what makes you think twice about what he's doing with his Kazakh character.

Not for the faint of heart, Borat has its share of potty-humor. I'm not talking dirty words as much as I'm talking dirty jokes, mainly about bodily functions, gratuitous shots of frontal male nudity, and one extended scene involving two naked men in a wrestling match that I could've done without. There's also a fair share of jokes, mainly verbal, regarding female sexuality. Needless to say, Borat is not a film to bring the kids to, or your parents, for that matter. However, Borat's essentially perverted nature serves to support Cohen's brilliant thesis on the true nature and character of anti-Semitism.

In his introduction, Borat informs us that, while Kazakhstan is a glorious country, it has three main problems: "economic, social, and Jew." One of the Kazakhstan traditions portrayed in the film is the "Running of the Jew," an event, not unlike the running of the bulls, in which a man and a woman wearing grotesque head-masks run down the street in stereotypical Jewish garb while the people chase them and throw money at them in order to get them to go away. At one point, the female Jew stops to lay an egg, which the children proceed to pounce on. It is an ugly, vilifying scene, but one that serves to prove a point many Jews in America seem to have forgotten: That anti-Semitism is an ugly, disgusting ideology that can have deadly results.

Although his dialogue is peppered with anti-Jewish comments, Borat has only one interaction with an American Jewish couple in the film. Arriving at a bed and breakfast in the country, Borat is horrified to see the walls of the stylish home covered in Jewish art. When he asks the hostess why she has paintings of Jews hanging on her walls, she informs him that she is Jewish, and Borat goes green. Holing up in their room, Borat and his producer do their best to hide their fear, not wanting to provoke an attack from the "shape-shifting Jews." When offered a sandwich by the Jewish couple, Borat tries to casually pawn it off to his partner before taking a bite and carefully spitting it out once the hostess's back was turned.

What could be deemed the most offensive anti-Semitic scene didn't involve the Jewish couple at all. Two cockroaches slip under Borat's bedroom door in the middle of the night. Borat and his producer, convinced the Jews have shifted shapes, ply the bugs with money before running out of the house in horror. Putting the cherry on the sundae of ignorance, Borat screams, "Let's go back to New York! At least they don't have Jews there!" as they pile into their truck and drive off.

While the hosts must have been left confused, they themselves were never subject to Borat's anti-Semitic rapport, nor were they abused in any way. Instead, both the humor and the humiliation belonged to Borat himself, as well as the gentiles around him who fed into his anti-Jewish schtick. In the following scene we find Borat in a gun store, asking the owner what would be the best weapon for protecting himself against a Jew. Without blinking an eye, the storeowner recommended a number of guns and even let Borat try a few (but refused to sell to him because he "wasn't an American"). Later in the film, Borat hitches a ride with some college boys on a road trip. In the midst of a beer-fueled conversation, one spouts out that "the minorities of this country" are the ones with the real control; at the top of the list were Jews.

At the end of the film, Borat informs us of the improvements made in Kazakhstan due to his American journey. "We don't make fun of Jews no more. That not nice. We Christians now!" Borat declares before the film cuts to a shot of an Orthodox man hanging on a cross, his Kazakh neighbors poking at him with pitchforks and raised fists. Despite the brazen imagery, this one shot is probably the most poignant in the film. In showing the Christians hanging a Jew from a cross, Cohen negates the concept of Jews as "Christ-killers" while, at the same time, drawing attention to the gross anti-Semitism so prevalent in the Christian church. It is as if we are being told that, although some things change, some always stay the same.

Should the viewer be offended by the Jew-raking that goes on in Borat? In a recent interview in Rolling Stone magazine, Cohen comments, "Borat essentially works as a tool, by himself being anti-Semitic, he lets people lower their guard and expose their own prejudice, whether it's anti-Semitism or an acceptance of anti-Semitism.... I remember, when I was in university I studied history, and there was this one major historian of the Third Reich, Ian Kershaw. And his quote was, 'The path to Auschwitz was paved with indifference.'"

In a world experiencing a sharp rise in anti-Semitic attacks over the past five years, especially in Western Europe, viewers should take heed of the classic technique of Jewish self-mockery; often, it is something used to illicit more than laughter. When actor, comedian, and Orthodox Jew Jack Benny released his infamous tongue-in-cheek film To Be or Not to Be in 1940, his own father condemned him for making light of the growing Nazi threat in Europe. It was only after Benny explained that he was using humor to make a very serious point that his father, and the rest of the country, saw the light. Now, Benny's film is hailed as a World War Two classic.

Cohen's Borat can be seen in much the same way. In a post-Twin Towers world, with the remnants of Nazism in the Arabian penninsula gaining global power and precedence, Borat's anti-Jewish attitude should act as a wake-up call to a country and a people deluded into thinking that anti-Semitism doesn't exist. While Borat chases after Jews and hangs them on crosses in Kazakhstan, the most incriminating aspect of his anti-Jewish attitude exhibits itself in America, when he explains that he chose to drive cross-country instead of fly, out of fear that "the Jews would blow up planes again," like they did on 9/11. This oft-repeated conspiracy theory that originated in the Muslim world and is growing in popularity among anti-Semites the world over (especially among the White Pride movement in America) is not anything to be taken lightly. With the publication of Mearsheimer and Walt's "The Israel Lobby" and a political return to the Arabist policies of anti-Semite James Baker following the midterm elections, American Jews should think twice before dismissing such notions as nothing more than the cannon fodder of the minority.

Despite its frat boy sense of humor, and, perhaps, even through it (because, what better way to portray a virulent anti-Semite than to have his disgusting behaviors mirror his disgusting beliefs), Borat provides a wake-up call to many American Jews who remain blind to the times we're living in. In an atmosphere of political correctness that presents anti-Semitism as nothing more than fodder for Jewish comedians, Cohen's use of Jewish self-mockery proves the point that hatred of Jews is anything but a laughing matter, and can often have deadly consequences. From crazy Kazakhs with pitchforks to your average American frat boy with a beer, Cohen's improv proves that anti-Semitism is no respecter of persons, Jew or goy alike. In defying the conventions of Jewish self-mockery, it is clear that Cohen's attitude toward Jew-hatred is anything but indifferent; perhaps, as a member of the priestly tribe, he is setting an example for us all.

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
20th Century Fox, One America/Everyman Pictures
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Ken Davitian, Pamela Anderson
Written by: Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham, Dan Mazer, Todd Phillips
Directed by: Larry Charles
MPAA Rating: R for pervasive strong crude and sexual content including graphic nudity, and language
Running Time: 82 minutes
Release Date: November 3, 2006

posted by Shoshana @ 9:51 AM

Shabbat Update 11/18

This Week's Torah Parsha, Chayei Sarah is up at Chavurat Achim. It is interesting to note that thousands of Orthodox Jews in Israel flock to Sarah's tomb for the reading of this parsha every year.

I'm trying to find more congregations/ministries with audio teachings online. Although my schedule is tight, I'm always looking to listen to new things. If you know of any audio resources online, please drop me a line with some links!

Seminar Alert! First Fruits of Zion is hosting a one-day teaching entitled "The Last Days: Hanukkah and the Rise of the Anti-Christ" at various locations around the country. You can learn more at the FFOZ Conference Page. If anyone is attending and plans to post a blog entry on the topic or has any commentary to share, please please send me a link.

In the Believing Blogosphere:

Nate Long posts a quote worth contemplating that reminds me of the joy I receive when I am around the am haaretz that Yeshua loved so much. (In 21st century American speak, we would call it "Keepin' it real.")

Victor seconds the love for the average people, who are prophesied to make fools of the wise.

In Google Blog searching for this week's roundup, I came across a Brazilian blog post discussing kosher laws, Torah, and Yeshua. Now, my Spanish and French are rusty, and my Portugese is non-existent, but from what I can assuage, we've got a Torah-observant Messianic believer in Brazil here! I think that's pretty cool and deserves a hearty Baruch haShem. So, if you speak any of these languages, or feel like learning a new one, check out: Quando Yeshua Eliminou os Requisitos de Kashrut da Torah? at Shema Israel.

A Roundup of News Articles from the Week:


Anti-Semitism on the Rise Worldwide [Israel National News]

The number of attacks against Jews in New York City rose by 20 percent since 2005, from 39 to 47 in the period from January 1 to November 5.

...European Jewish communities in 25 different countries participated in the study by the European Jewish Congress which found that anti-Semitic sentiments in the European continent have doubled since the beginning of the summer.

According to Professor Dina Porat, co-coordinator of the conference, the research showed a significant change in the attitudes toward Jews in moderate sectors of the European population as well as in more extremist groups.

NY Times: Cracks in US-Israel Ties [Israel National News]

"Many Israelis feel that the free world under the leadership of the U.S. is facing a similar situation to Europe in the 1930s, when they watched the re-arming of the Nazi Reich. No one could predict the global catastrophe 10 years later, and Iran may be the same."

New U.S. Defense Secretary Backs Talking with Iran [Israel National News]

Israel "could have reason for concern about the resignation of...Rumsfeld" because Gates has backed calls for dialogue with Iran. [Ed. Note: Sounds like someone's been talking to Caroline Glick.]

JPost Supplement on the 2006 General Assembly in Los Angeles This year's GA is focusing on ways to strengthen bond between N. American Jewry and the people of Israel.


In the ongoing coverage of the 2006 General Assembly, the JPost printed an article titled US group seeks to get young Jewish activists involved in Israel After reading this, I wonder, what Messianic groups are doing to get young Messianics involved in Israel. From what I've observed, I'm sorry to say that the answer is not much. The usual answer, given in a somewhat defensive tone, is that Messianics aren't welcome to become citizens of the land. My question in return is, who defines your ownership in the land of Israel; G-d, or the bureaucrats?


The Jerusalem Post reported on the aftershocks of the haredi reaction to the gay pride parade in Jerusalem in, Burning Hatred. Explaining the difference between the violent sects of haredim, versus the average ultra-Orthodox Jew, reporter Gil Zohar writes:
Founded in 1919, the Eda Haredit is a coalition of a number of groups of mitnagdim (opponents) and Hassidim such as Toldot Aharon, Satmar and Jerusalem Hassidim. The extremist sect, well known for its kosher food certification, should not be confused with ultra-Orthodox society as a whole, which is also called haredi, meaning trembling [before God].
Zohar gives a more objective take on the actions, often violent, always empassioned, taken by this haredi sect in protest against the gay pride festivities. In doing so, he paints an accurate portrayal of the ultra-orthodox sect that has been coming under increasing fire, as of late, for the violent actions spurred on by their Rabbinic beliefs. It is important for the reader to note the difference between this haredi sect versus the ultra-Orthodox, Orthodox, and modern Orthodox in general. In recognizing the differences, we can more clearly recognize a halacha based in Torah, versus a halacha based in the traditions and passions of men.

From Israpundit:

Wafa Sultan, Muslim critic, says that Bush is undermining the battle against Muslim barbarism (and she's right)

Israel is debating on giving large portions of the West Bank to Palestinians in exchange for promises of a ten year "hudna" In English, Hudna translates to "Time to rearm and re-train"

The West has nothing to offer Iran and Syria but Israel That's us Jews: the scapegoats and the bargaining chips of the world...

Have you said your prayers for your people and your land today?

Plans for this week: Due to the upcoming holiday and an increasingly busy personal schedule, I'm probably going to be cutting back on the posts for a while. My goal for this week is to get Part Three of my Mishpocha series up and running. The Shabbat Update most likely won't be happening, although, if there are any major news stories I will do my best to link them up.

Bevakasha, accept my wishes for a kol tuv and a blessed Thanksgiving. Enjoy the history of our nation as you sit down to your turkey dinner. It's a good and blessed history, one that has a lot of respect for and ties to the Jewish people and Yisrael. For instance, did you know that Ben Franklin proposed that the great seal of America contain a depiction of Moshe standing before the parted Red Sea? As a colonist who recently won his freedom, he drew a strong correlation between the liberated Israelites and his own fellow countrymen, who had been granted freedom by Providence. Baruch haShem. Embrace America's history; we'll need that revolutionary spirit when we help to rebuild Eretz Yisrael!

posted by Shoshana @ 8:57 AM

Shabbat Shalom

Good Shabbos, fellow blog readers, believers in Messiah, Jews from all walks of life, and anyone else who happens upon this post!

I've been listening to the three-part Torah Talk series on the importance of keeping Shabbat, hosted by Pastor Mark Mclellan of Kehilat Tnuvah in Colorado. I was impressed by one caller who phoned in to question, "Is it not an issue of the heart, whether I celebrate on Sunday or not? Isn't it the issue of my heart?"


An "issue of your heart"?

What does that mean?

"Shabbat was made for mankind, not mankind for Shabbat; So the Son of Man is L-rd even of Shabbat." (Mark 2:27-28) Shabbat is a GIFT from G-d; remembering Shabbat and keeping it holy is the 4th mitzvah. Our Messiah is L-RD of Shabbat. Shabbat has nothing to do with your heart, or how you feel about it; Shabbat is when you stop thinking about you and make it a point to remember your covenant with HaShem and His blessings in your life, the lives of your people, your ancestors, and your descendants.

One of the greatest problems with Christianity is the philosophy of ME. Think about it: Any time someone asks you about your faith, do you answer them by telling them about G-d, or do you tell them about you? How many answers being with "I go," or "I do," or "I think," instead of, "Yeshua teaches," or "Adonai says," or "G-d has done such-and-such in my life"? Look at the Christian aisle in any bookstore, and what will you see? Devotionals for individuals, tomes about empowerment and growing in your faith as an individual, Bibles that are laid out like teen magazines "all about YOU!" ...When did Yeshua being our personal Savior translate into, "It's all about ME"?

Most people, whether they are Messianic or Christian, think of Shabbat as a day to sleep in, to hang out with friends, maybe to put in a few hours at services, but that's about it. How many believers actually spend the entire day of Shabbat, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, thinking about G-d? If they do think about Adonai, how long do they spend thinking about Him? For those few hours at services? During grace at dinner that night? Shabbat isn't a vacation day given to you by Adonai so you could loaf around, go shop, hang out, and do whatever "your heart tells you" to do, because it isn't about you, it's about HaShem. It's about His covenant with us, manifest and fulfilled in Yeshua the Messiah's atoning sacrifice and resurrection. It's about living out our halacha in accordance with our covenant with Him in Torah. It's all about HIM, not us. His heart, not our hearts. Since when is an emissary greater than his master?

I'd like to encourage you to spend this Shabbat focusing, or re-focusing, your energies on Adonai. Spend this Shabbat as He commanded, not as your heart intends. The ways of man are sinful; this is why we have been commanded to mark Shabbat along with all of the other appointed times and mitzvot, so that we can be pleasing to Him, our Creator and Savior. Isn't He who our faith is all about?

posted by Shoshana @ 3:47 PM

The Simcha of Mishpocha, Part Two

The Simcha of Mishpocha
Part Two: Living Torah With Your Whole Heart

In Part One, we clarified that one of the key purposes of living a Torah-observant lifestyle is to testify to the truth of HaShem and the atoning sacrifice of Messiah Yeshua. Yeshua instructed, "If you love me, you will keep my commands...," a statement that echoed the words of His Father: In Deuteronomy, Adonai equates turning away from Torah with turning away from Him. (29:18) Adonai promises that when the Israelites finally return to Him and pay attention to Torah:
"Then ADONAI your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your children, so that you will love ADONAI your God with all your heart and all your being, and thus you will live." [Deuteronomy 30:6]
In affirming His promise to His people, Adonai reminds them that loving Him and walking in Torah go hand-in-hand:
I call on heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have presented you with life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore, choose life, so that you will live, you and your descendants, loving ADONAI your God, paying attention to what he says and clinging to him - for that is the purpose of your life! On this depends the length of time you will live in the land ADONAI swore he would give to your ancestors Avraham, Yitz'chak and Ya'akov. [Deuteronomy 30:19-20, emphasis mine]
When one Rabbi asked Yeshua what he should do to obtain eternal life, Yeshua instructed that he should "observe the mitzvot." (Matt. 19:17) When asked which mitzvot should be observed, Yeshua said, "Don't murder, don't commit adultery, don't steal, don't give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself." [Matthew 19:18-19] Rav Shaul gives a brilliant mini-drash on Yeshua's answer in Romans 13, verses 8 through 10:
"Don't owe anyone anything - except to love one another; for whoever loves his fellow human being has fulfilled Torah. For the commandments, 'Don't commit adultery,' 'Don't murder,' 'Don't steal,' 'Don't covet,' and any others are summed up in this one rule: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does not do harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fullness of Torah."
In other words, Yeshua was not "cancelling out" the observance of all 613 mitzvot in Torah; rather, He was explaining His Father's teaching, that love for and in accordance with Adonai is the foundation of the mitzvot. In observing the mitzvot, our works testify to our faith, a faith grounded in our love for Yeshua.

What does it mean to "love your neighbor as yourself?" Messiah taught
I am giving you a new command: that you keep on loving each other. In the same way that I have loved you, you are also to keep on loving each other. Everyone will know that you are my talmidim by the fact that you have love for each other. [John 13:34-35]
Although He calls this "a new command," Yeshua is repeating the mitzvah in Leviticus 19:18, "Don't take vengeance on or bear a grudge against any of your people; rather, love your neighbor as yourself; I am ADONAI." The phrase "love your neighbor as yourself," is translated in Hebrew as, Veahavta l'reyacha kamocha. "Reyacha," although translated in most texts as "neighbor," is more closely translated to mean, "very close companion." In commanding the talmidim to "keep on loving each other," Yeshua reiterated Leviticus 19:18, to "love your very close companion as yourself." For, truly, as the family of Yeshua (Matt. 12:50), and the bride of Messiah, how could we be anything but close companions of one another?

I believe that this familial structure was designed in Torah to govern the body of believers, because HaShem recognized from the beginning the adversity His followers would encounter for walking in the halacha of Yeshua, not the traditions of men. Yeshua echoed:
Listen to me, you who know justice, you people who have my Torah in your heart: don't be afraid of people's taunts, don't be upset by their insults. For the moth will eat them up lie clothing, the worm will eat them like wool; but my justice will be forever, and my salvation for all generations. [Isaiah 51:7-8]
in stating,
How blessed you are when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of vicious lies about you because you follow me! Rejoice, be glad, because your reward in heaven is great-- they persecuted the prophets before you in the same way. [Matt. 5:11-12]
How could He, having lived a human life, expect His believers, however loving and faithful to Him, to withstand such gross persecution and hatred? Because He knew that His believers, whose halacha was based in Him, would understand that loving your close companion as yourself meant watching out for each other in accordance with the teaching in Torah:
"You are not to watch your brother's ox or sheep straying and behave as if you hadn't seen it; you must bring them back to your brother. If your brother is not close by, or you don't know who the owner is, you are to bring it home to your house; and it will remain with you until your brother asks for it; then you are to give it back to him. You are to do the same with his donkey, his coat or anything else of your brother's that he loses. If you find something he lost, you must not ignore it. If you see your brother's donkey or ox collapsed on the road, you may not behave as if you hadn't seen it; you must help him get them up on their feet again." [Deuteronomy 22:1-4]
We are to love each other as He loved us. Yeshua loved us so much that He laid down His life for us. He sacrificed Himself so that we, who lost our way, could be saved and set right on the path to eternal life. In turn, as a living testimony to the Truth of our salvation, we are instructed to become like Yeshua in our love for our close companions, our mishpocha in Messiah. We are to look out and care for each other just as Yeshua did for us.

If the greatest command is to "love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart, soul, and strength," and, in order to testify to the truth of this, we must live out the mitzvot, how can we claim the veracity of this greatest mitzvot without also observing the second greatest, "to love your close companion as yourself," with equal fervor?

Stay Tuned for Part Three: From Slave, to Servant, to Friend

posted by Shoshana @ 12:45 PM

The Simcha of Mishpocha Part One

This is the first part of a four-part series that will discuss the nature of interpersonal relationships within the body of believers in Yeshua the Messiah. The "Simcha of Mishpocha" essentially translates to "The Joy of Family." Yeshua said, "Whoever does what my Father in heaven wants, that person is my brother and sister and mother." (Matthew 12:50) It is in seeking to better understand this teaching and apply it to my own halacha that I present this work to you.

Baruch haShem and Shalom,


The Simcha of Mishpocha
Part One: It's All About G-d

Mishpocha [Yiddish] the entire family network of relatives by blood or marriage (and sometimes close friends)

Unfortunately, not many in the believing movement truly understand what it means to be a family. Yeshua instructed his talmidim, But you are not to let yourselves be called 'Rabbi' because you have one Rabbi, and you are all each other's brothers. [Matt 23:8] Often, the first portion of this verse is cited in criticisms of Rabbinical clout within the movement, while the second portion, the part about calling each other "brother," is completely ignored. It is all well and good to focus on Yeshua's criticisms of the "hypocritical Torah teachers" but if we ignore the thesis of His message-- that we are all mishpocha in Him-- we miss the essence of His words to His people.

It's All About G-d

To understand Yeshua's rebuke of the hypocrisy of the Torah teachers and P'rushim, we must understand the very culture of these religious authorities. Too often, the Christian Church interprets Yeshua's rebukes as criticisms against Torah study, where the exact opposite is true. Directly preceding His rebukes, Yeshua states, "The Torah-teachers and the P'rushim sit in the seat of Moshe. So whatever they tell you, take care to do it. But don't do what they do, because they talk but don't act!" [Matt. 23:2-3]

"Do what they tell you." In other words, these Torah-teachers and P'rushim who speak the words of HaShem repeatedly should be listened to because they speak the words of HaShem from the Torah on a weekly basis.

How can we assess the veracity of the statements someone makes? By looking at the actions that accompany the words. [Matthew 7, Yakkov 2] The Scriptures are filled with accounts of HaShem's actions on behalf of His people that testify to the truth of Torah. In fact, the entirety of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation bears witness to the greatest and most everlasting act of G-d that testifies to His truth: the atoning sacrifice of Yeshua haMashiach. Over and over in the Psalms we can read of David haMelekh praising HaShem for His actions, His works, His deeds:
God, you have taught me since I was young, and I still proclaim your wonderful works. [71:17]

Blessed be ADONAI, God, the God of Isra'el, who alone works wonders. [72:18]

Each generation will praise your works to the next and proclaim your mighty acts. [145:4]
This is truth: That G-d, through His mighty works, testifies to the truth of His words.

In turn, we as believers are charged to prove the veracity of our verbal testimonies with our actions. Hence, we have been given the Torah, outlining the way of living that not only separates us from the pagan nations of the world, but testifies to the the truth of Adonai's existence. Without a halacha grounded in Torah, we are trees that bear no fruit, because our actions do not and cannot testify to the truth of HaShem and His Messiah- Our Messiah- Yeshua.

HaShem's prophets spoke extensively against the actions of the religious leaders of Israel. [Isaiah 3:13-15, Jeremiah 2:8-9, and Jeremiah 5:5 come quickly to mind.] This was the basis of Yeshua's criticisms of the Rabbis; their actions were not done as a testimony to HaShem, but in order to glorify themselves before men: "Likewise, you appear to people from the outside to be good and honest, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and far from Torah." [Matt. 23:28] The halacha of the Torah teachers and the P'rushim was all about them, however, the halacha of Yeshua, the halacha of Torah, is all about G-d.

Faith without works is dead; works without faith are useless, because they do not hit the mark.

Stay Tuned for Part Two: Living Torah With All Your Heart

posted by Shoshana @ 1:03 PM

Evangelical Support...Jewish Style

Embrace Christian Evangelical Support [Jerusalem Post]

In highlighting the gifts of the Jewish people and giving an extremely brief overview of Islam and Christianity's relationship with the People of the Book for the past 2,000 years, Orthodox Rabbi Shmuley Boteach (TLC's Shalom in the Home) has declared that: How can Israel survive as a tiny democracy in a hostile sea of Arab tyranny? ...the new answer must be Christian love and support for the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

If this declaration doesn't shock you enough, check out the graphic the JPost editors decided to couple with the headline:

Although no caption is provided, I can tell you for a fact that that is none other than Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn of Hope of the World Ministries and Beth Israel Worship Center in northern New Jersey.

That's right: The Jerusalem Post associated a Messianic Jewish Rabbi with the idea of Evangelical support for Israel and the Jewish people.

Try wrapping your head around the semantics of that one.

I wonder what the Jewish embrace of Evangelical Christianity will mean for the Messianic community. In the article, Boteach voices his support for and alliance with the International Embassy of Christians and Jews, an organization that Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Bernis will be commenting on in the upcoming edition of the Messianic Times. I have the feeling that once I read his commentary, it will be time for me to voice some of my own opinions on the subject. For now, I'm more than pleased to just sit back and be amused by the irony of it all.

posted by Shoshana @ 6:45 PM

Shabbat Update

Shabbat Shalom, blogosphere!

Torah Time

Along with posting the weekly reading from the Torah, Haftarah, and Brit Chadasha in an easy-to-read format, Chavurat Achim provides insight and discussion from three Messianic friends on the Parsha. This week's reading, Parashat Vayera means "And appeared," and the chaverim at Chavurat Achim pray, "May our Father appear to you this week." Baruch haShem.

Jewish News You Can Use


The major event of the week in Israel centered on the Gay Pride Parade set to take place in Jerusalem. Originally cancelled due to the war with Lebanon, the parade was rescheduled, much to the dismay of the Orthodox public. Israel National Radio hosts discussed the parade from all angles, and what such a parade would mean for the religious welfare of the State of Israel. YNet News reported that the Haredim (Ultra-Orthodox) were not above calling for "holy war" on the issue. Mystical Paths, a blog manned by four Orthodox Jews, chronicled the scary Israeli government response to the protests, as well as the threats received from the homosexual community.

Israeli Bloggers have been posting on the controversy over the parade non-stop. Most are for the parade, some are against. The majority of Israelis, being secular, view the parade through a political rather than a religious lens. Seeing Israel as a democracy, they cannot justify canceling the parade on the basis of Orthodox disapproval of homosexuality. Hence, the issue went from sexuality to the freedoms granted to individuals in a democracy. Israelity cross-posted the story of one Israeli woman's experience, not too long ago, with an Orthodox man and a self-proclaimed "Arab Fruit" on a bus ride in Israel. The story is one that goes to show you that you can't always measure the character of a person by their group identity.

Yeshua teaches us that He is the judge, and He is no respecter of persons, that HaShem hates the sin, not the sinner. In knowing this, I can't help but find the violence, both physical and verbal, spouting from the controversy to be the real story in this entire event. When is it justifiable for a Jew to use force against another Jew? Yet, perhaps it isn't about the violence, but the mindset behind it. When is it permissible for a Jew to judge another Jew, or a gentile for that matter?

The Torah speaks of stoning sinners for various crimes. The teachings of the Brit Chadasha speak of "correcting" those in the community who contradict the teachings of HaShem. In II Timothy, Rav Shaul warns his son in Messiah to "keep away from godless babbling, for those who engage in it will only become more ungodly, and their teaching will eat away at people like gangrene." (2:16-17) Rav Shaul instructs Timothy not only to avoid useless argument, but to "be gentle as he corrects his opponents. For G-d may perhaps grant them the opportunity to turn from their sins..."(2:25). Citing the example of Pharoah's magicians, who sought through magic to replicate the miracles HaShem did through Moshe, Rav Shaul instructs:
"In the same way as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moshe, so also these people oppose the truth. They are people with corrupted minds, whose trust cannot pass the test. However, they won't get very far; because everyone will see how stupid they are, just as happened with those two." (3:8-9)
Everyone will see how stupid they are... Perhaps it is in this statement that we may learn our greatest lesson: In allowing the sinner to commit the sin, we are leaving them open to the judgement of HaShem, whose truth stands forever. Yeshua instructed in Yochanan 3:18
Those who trust in Him are not judged; those who do not trust have been judged already, in that they have not trusted in the one who is G-d's only and unique Son.
In other words, the sinner, in choosing to sin, has also made the free will choice to be judged. Their judgement before the throne of G-d is the spiritual version of a public stoning; as believers, we are witnesses to it by knowing and trusting in the truth of HaShem and His word.

Therefore, there is no need to raise a hand against those who disobey HaShem, neither Jew nor gentile; our job is done when we testify to His power to render judgement. We do this through speaking the truth publicly and stepping aside to give G-d the power over the situation and the glory for the victory.

Does this mean I think G-d is a pacifist? HA! We don't call Him Adonai Tzvaot for no reason. Rather, I believe that He is the leader, the General of the army, and we are under His command.


The midterm elections left a lot to be desired for Israel. Scripture teaches us that as goes your nation's relationship with Israel, so goes your nation. Americans better watch out. The excellent Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post has penned two articles this week that provide great insight into what the midterm elections will mean to Israel and Jewish Americans: Column One: Olmert's ill-timed Washington visit from November 10, and Our World: A midterm correction, or capitulation? from November 6, are must-reads:
The central contention of people like Walt and Mearshimer and Democratic leaders like Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Kerry and Senator Ted Kennedy is that there is no global war that needs fighting. If they understood that the US is fighting a global war, then the question of whether Israel is part of the problem or part of the solution would have been settled definitively in Israel's favor five years ago.

It is only by ignoring the reality of the war that it is possible for people to pretend that Israel is the cause of Islamic fascism, or that American Jews and Jewish neoconservatives are the source of the world's misfortunes. - Nov 6
In a series of recent press interviews, Baker and Hamilton have indicated that they will recommend that Bush enter into negotiations with Iran and Syria. The proposed talks they say, will serve to motivate Iran and Syria to stabilize the situation in Iraq in a manner that will pave the way for a retreat of US forces from the country.

Since it is Iranian and Syrian sponsorship of the insurgency that is causing the war to continue, it is fairly clear that Baker is egging for a temporary ceasefire that will last long enough to enable a pullout of US forces. The fact that the price of the temporary ceasefire will be a US defeat in Iraq and the surrender of Iraq to the tender mercies of Iran and Syria is apparently okay by Baker. -Nov 10
An article on Israpundit titled Conflict of Interest? Baker tied to Oil details the Antisemitic background of influential White House personality James Baker:
James A. Baker III, close friend and confidant of the Bush family and Secretary of State under George the First, is back in the news again.

Lest we forget, this is the same Baker who, when Israel wasn't caving in to his State Department's demands fast enough (such as his promise to Hafez al-Assad, Saddam's twin butcher in Syria, of a complete Israeli withdrawal from the Golan–from which Syria regularly bombarded Israelis below), responded "F_ _ _ the Jews, they don't vote for us anyway!"

He regularly referred to his "Jew boys," who he had do his bidding for him at Foggy Bottom. It’s great to have a Jew stick it to other Jews in Israel.

And regarding Israel, he was quoted as seeing it in the eyes of a hunter stalking a wild turkey.
American believers should heed the signs of the times and think twice about believing that they're living under an Israel-friendly Presidency. Dare to look behind the green curtain, and you'll find out that we certainly aren't in Kansas anymore.

Around the Believing Blogosphere

This week's theme is perspective. I never cease to be amazed at the varying attitudes and approaches towards G-d and His Torah. Despite the fact that we are one people, we each have something different to contribute to our faith; one body, many parts, so to speak. In providing these links here, I would also ask, what's your perspective? How has it been formed? Has it been formed through a Ruach-led reading of the Word, or through the commentaries of men? How best can your perspective contribute to the community of believers in Yeshua?

Victor over at Dominic Ville contemplates the paths of the believing community in Worldview and Wilderness.

Boaz at Scaling the Soreg
looks at Parasha Noach from a scientific perspective.

A great discussion ensued on the physical and spiritual of the mitzvoth over at Gentile for Judaism this week.

Sean at Toward a Messianic Judaism contemplates the role of Torah in Messianic Judaism, and how Torah-observant Messianic Jews are often seen as rebels within the community.

Rabbi Stuart Dauermann at Rabbenu discusses what it means to be a true Child of Abraham.

Aaron Sperry at Chavurat Achim discusses the kingdom of knowledge versus the kingdom of Heaven battle within the One-Torah/Messianic community in his drash on Ashrei.

If you have a post you would like to see included in the Shabbat Update, drop me a line at theunifiedbody AT yahoo DOT com. Barring offensive language or inappropriate subject matter, I will be glad to link it up!

Stay tuned for this week's four-part series, Mishpocha in Mashiach. In the meantime, Shabbat Shalom and Kol Tuv!

posted by Shoshana @ 12:55 PM

What is Messianic Judaism? Part Two: The Christian Reaction

"Actually, I'm a Messianic Jew."

"A what?"

"A Messianic Jew. I believe in Jesus and practice my faith the way His followers and the rest of the first century believers did- Jewishly."

"Oh. Well. That's close enough."

"That's close enough." The girl who was supposed to be my new roommate in college then asked if it was okay for her boyfriend, a praise and worship leader at their church, to spend the weekends in our room.

I'd like to begin by saying that I do not dislike Christians. I do, however, dislike Christianity a great deal. By "Christianity" I mean the set of practices and doctrines built up by pagan priests around a belief in Yeshua as the Messiah. I do not dislike nor do I argue with the idea of having faith in "Jesus," although I do dislike not calling Him by His proper name, Yeshua. I do not dislike Christians, I do however dislike the way they choose to practice their faith in Messiah. This doesn't mean that I'm casting judgement on a fellow believer; it means that I believe that their actions do not match up to the Biblical template designed by HaShem, the instruction sheet for how to worship Him properly. In other words, it's the hypocrisy of Christianity that I can't stand.

The idea that roughly 1600 years ago a group of pagan priests decided to steal the religion of a growing sect of believing Jews and grafted in gentiles, cancel out the majority of the faith in favor of adapting a bunch of pagan practices and justifying them "in the name of Jesus Christ," and then use their newfound religion to justify the murder of Jews throughout the centuries burns me up, quite frankly. The argument made by many modern day believers, often Protestants of various sorts and Evangelicals, that their church today is in no way connected to the church of 1600 years ago also burns me up. Just because your ancestors listened to Martin Luther doesn't make your history any different; he hated the Jews, too. He called for a negation of Torah practice, too. He perverted faith in Messiah into a reason to replace Israel, too. Your church may not hold any of those distinct beliefs, but Church history still impacts how you believe and practice your faith in Jesus today.

And that can be a very dangerous, very sad, and very boring thing.

As I've said before, I spent the first ten years of my life in churches. It was a long enough period of time for me to develop a very solid belief in Yeshua as the Messiah. It was also a short enough period of time that I avoided being indoctrinated into the majority of Christian theology. Since I was eleven years old, I have lived out my life among Jews, some Messianic, some not. While this has left me well equipped to communicate with the Jewish world, I am often left confused when confronted with the Christian thought process. Not long ago, I participated in a comment-conversation on a fellow believing blog regarding the use of Christian hymns in Messianic practice. The owner of the blog commented on the "Christology and logos" of the hymns, and, in reading that, I realized how completely different Christianity is from Messianic Judaism. Literally, it IS all Greek to me. I can't help but think that it would be all Greek to Messiah and his talmidim as well.

We once invited a Pastor and his wife over for coffee. They had just established a new church in our area and were walking around one day, introducing themselves to the neighbors. In striking up a conversation with my mother, the Pastor shared some of the tenents of his church; they did not celebrate Easter or Christmas, as they are not Biblical holidays, etc. etc. Recognizing some common ground, my mother offered him a copy of her book, The Unified Body and invited he and his wife for an evening of discussion. Being a pleasant, affable sort of man, he took her up on her offer.

What a night that was.

Of course, the core of the conversation revolved around Torah observance. You don't realize how different Christianity is from Messianic Judaism until you get to the subject of Torah observance. The Pastor didn't see the need for Torah observance, because, according to what his theological school taught him about Rav Shaul- er- the Apostle Paul- the Torah was moot. Dead. Old. Cancelled out.

"But you believe in the importance of Israel," I asked.

Of course they did! They pray for Israel all the time. They pray for the Jewish people to be saved. They didn't believe in replacement theology one darn bit.

"Then why do you think Torah is somehow cancelled out?"

I got a lot of slack-jawed "uhms" that night. I don't hold it against them; I do, however, have a serious bone to pick with his theological professors.

After explaining the importance of Torah observance and the fact that the teachings of Yeshua never cancelled out Torah observance, because He came to fulfill the promises of the Torah (Deuteronomy 18:15-19; Matthew 5:17-18), I got to explaining the teachings of Rav Shaul, namely in Romans 9-11. You see, you're grafted in. Gentiles are grafted in. They never started their own faith; the Torah was never cancelled out. The gentiles who believe in Yeshua are grafted into the Hebrew faith! You're a part of us now!

When the Pastor's wife asked me, "So what is Jesus to you?" I knew I had been tagged as a heathen.

As the conversation wore on, we went from explaining Messianic Judaism to defending it and defending our very belief in Messiah. Because we practiced as Torah outlined and Yeshua Himself explained, because we practiced as Jews and not according to the way of Christian theologians, we were the ones in the wrong.

Near the end of the night, the subject of Israel came up again. "We pray for Israel all the time!" the Pastor's wife said. "We love Israel! We want all of the Jews to go back to Israel! I mean, after all, when they do, Jesus will come back!"

Huh? The Jews are only important to you, Israel is only important to you, because they'll get you one step closer to Jesus? The grand irony in that statement is mind-boggling. You take the Jewishness out of believing in Jesus, spend hundreds of years persecuting Jews, and then turn around and decide that you like Jews, because if you like them, Jesus will come back.

Do you see? Do you see how thousands of years of pagan-created and influenced teachings have turned a Jewish faith in Yeshua the Messiah into some bizarre, non Biblical practice? Do you see the far-reaching consequences of it? The pagan priests declared Torah to be dead, which allowed them to call the Jews Christ-killers, which allowed how many pogroms, inquisitions, expulsions, and the Holocaust to happen, which created a huge divide between believers in Messiah and the very olive tree that they are grafted into, which caused these believers- these Christians- to float upstream without a paddle. They had to make one of their own instead of relying on the model that works. That model belonged to a group of people who didn't matter anymore; whose G-d had rejected them; whose Torah was dead.

Over time, the hatred may have dissipated to a degree (although I have been in churches where it has not) but the ignorance remains. Suddenly, you have Christians who don't hate Jews anymore, but who don't know how to relate to them either. At most they are "the people of the Book" who should return to their Promised Land so Jesus can come back. To a Christian that sounds very nice and heartwarming; to a Jew, it sounds cold, cruel, calculated. I once asked a Jewish friend if he ever thought of making aliyah. He didn't have any use for it. "They only want us to move to Israel so Jesus can come back," he answered wryly. The Jewish people don't find any love in a statement like that; to us it just sounds like you want to use us to get to Jesus-- we're the bargaining chip between you and your maker. To Christians, I ask this: When did the Jewish people become the sacrifice?

As a believer, I can understand that many Christians who spout out statements like that do have a genuine- if somewhat misinformed- love for Israel. As a Messianic Jew I can also understand where the Jewish people are coming from when they're turned off by such comments. That's the game we play as Messianic Jews; we can see the good and the bad on both sides of the coin. And, sometimes, we can be seen as both good and bad ourselves. The Pastor and his wife contacted us several months after that evening's discussion to let us know they were praying for Israel, and to share with us a book explaining why Torah was moot. To them, in their wardrobe of drab grays and browns, they who did not do Christmas and Easter, but who did not celebrate the Feasts either, who sang the Psalms but did so without instruments, to them that lived in a kind of middle-ground, a purgatory of their own making, we were in the wrong. But to other Christians, I wasn't all that bad.

Telling some Christian friends that I was a Messianic Jew and explaining what that meant made them more comfortable around me, not less. In fact, some felt so comfortable around me that they felt free to sling Antisemitic slurs and jokes around, as if I wasn't really Jewish at all. One time, a Catholic girl who worked in a hotel was telling me about a woman who wanted to reserve a ballroom for her son's Bar Mitzvah party. "She was trying to bargain us down on the price, just like a cheap Jew." To our mutual friend's immediate rebuke, she replied, "Oh, it's all right, Shoshana's not one of those Jewy-Jews." Don't worry; for clarification, she made sure to explain what "Jewy-Jew" meant for about ten minutes.

Awkward doesn't even begin to describe that experience.

Then, of course, there are the random slurs. They don't come out much, and they usually aren't in reference to me, but I have had both friends and family members express things like, "You know, she's one of those real Jewy ones," or, "They Jewed us down on the chicken," from time to time. For some reason, Christians tend to read the term "Messianic Jew" as some sort of code that says, "Okay, you like menorahs and stuff, but you ain't one of those Heebs we really have to worry about." It's bizarre what you will take for granted when you don't understand the difference. Try telling one of those Christians that they're a Heeb, too, and see what kind of reaction you'll get. Maybe your grandmother and grandfather will sit you down with a book titled How to be a Good Christian. Maybe you'll have your Christian friends chasing you down with invites to join their "Pastor who was born Jewish" for a chat about what Jesus means to you. There's more than one meaning to Yeshua's statement, "a prophet is never accepted in his own hometown." Try telling your average Christian that we are all mishpocha- family- in Messiah, and see how welcoming they are to you for bringing up the idea of being a part of the tribe.

It is the hypocrisy of Christianity that I can't stand, and I can't stand it because it divides us, the family of believers. For thousands of years that hypocrisy separated millions of believers from Torah, from Judaism, from the Jewish people, from Israel-- all of which they have a share in as believers in Messiah Yeshua! I cry for these people and their lost inheritence as much as I cry for the millions of Jews out there who associate a belief in Yeshua with a hatred of Jews and Judaism, thanks to that same hypocrisy that dared to say "Well, this is what the Torah says, but we can do it better."

We are the same tribe, but we live in two different worlds and we often look at each other through a glass darkly. What is important for Christians to realize is that we can see each other face to face through the light of Messiah Yeshua. As believers in Him, it is the responsibility of Christians to do everything in their power to help facilitate that face-to-face connection. To my great joy, there are a growing number of Christians out there embracing their Jewish roots; to my elation there are a growing number of former Christians out there who now know the fullness of their Messianic JEWISH identity. Now, we must realize together that we are under the call to be a light, "to the Jew first and also to the gentile" (Romans 1:16) by provoking both camps to jealousy, because, truly, both have missed out on the Torah they so desperately need.

Then He added, "Those experts in Jewish law who are now my talmidim (disciples) have double treasures, from the Old Covenant as well as from the New!" Matt. 13:52

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posted by Shoshana @ 2:04 PM

Signs, Witnesses, and Testimonies

I just got back from lunch. One of our coworkers was recently married, so we decided to throw her a luncheon. My part was to pick up a sandwich from a local deli; not a problem. When I went to pay, I caught the cashier looking from my face, to my neck, and back to my face again with a level of suspicion that I hadn't noticed before. Then, I remembered that I was wearing one of my Magen David necklaces today. I watched the man carefully as he counted change, waiting for some sort of reaction, of which there was none. I simply received my change and left.

That kind of thing hasn't happened to me in a while, but it has happened before. And, you know what? It felt good in a way. As you begin living out your Jewish life- I mean, really living out your Jewish life, not just talking Jewish around your Jewish friends- you start noticing how differently you're treated by the gentiles around you. I say "gentiles" without giving you the specific description of any of them, because whether they're Asian, Arab, Latino, African, American, or European, male or female, young or old, it doesn't matter. What matters is that they specifically notice that you're Jewish, and that strikes enough of a chord in them that you know they're taking special notice of the fact that you're Jewish.

I've had a variety of these experiences, mostly benign, some charming, and some downright creepy. They're all worth noting and will most likely be brought up from time to time as conversation permits. However, the true focus, the true point is not in the experiences themselves, but what I've been able to learn from them. Each time someone gives me a suspicious look, a nervous smile, or comes off with a rude remark, I am reminded that I am pleasing to HaShem. Yeshua taught us that, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." [John 15:18-19]

It has been my experience that, in America, Jews (especially Messianic Jews) do not fully comprehend Antisemitism, nor do they believe that it can happen to them. This is mainly due to the fact that the American Jewish community on the whole is incredibly insulated from the larger nation and the world, including Israel. In truth, outside of the greater New York metropolitan region, Jews are few and far between, with the exception of places like Chicago, L.A., and Dallas, and retirement capitols like Boca. It is a fact that there are many Jewish people all over the country in drips and drabs, but for the most part we stick to metropolitan centers and we stay to ourselves.

When I travelled to Texas for my graduate degree, I learned from the small Jewish community there that some Texans still honestly believe that Jews have horns. My friend from West Virginia told me once that I was the first Jew she'd ever met. To the majority of the country, the Hebrews were a people that existed in Bible times and mattered a whole heck of a lot-- until they killed Christ. Top that off with a good amount of socialist-bred Antisemitism coming out of the academic world, the Muslim population (that is closely united with the White Power movement), and leftists in general, and you'll realize that there are quite a few million folks in this country who: A. Have never met a Jew, and B. Think a whole lot of bad things about us, mainly out of ignorance.

New York City is not a microcosm of the country; in fact, the Big Apple is about as much the opposite of the rest of the nation as any city ever could be. But, because of the large system of Federations, Hillels, day schools, synagogues, and JCC's, most Jewish people (at least in the greater northeast) will never understand this because they will never get out of their element. The same is true whether you're Orthodox or Messianic; you have your little network of shuls, family, friends, and activities that dominate your world. It is a system that stretches back to the shtetl, first designed for our protection, now employed for our retention since assimilation has become so attractive.

But there are Jews everywhere, I can hear you argue. Jerry Seinfeld's a Jew, Jeremy Piven's a Jew, Larry David, Adam Sandler... Go ahead, keep naming away. Name every celebrity you know, and you're most likely right, they're Jewish. One of the worst comments I ever received was from a fellow graduate student who eyed me up and asked, "Why are there so many of you in the media?"

I never knew I was a plural. I bet my mom would have a thing or two to say about that.

I had a Catholic friend go to the National Association of Television Programmers and Executives (NATPE) Conference once. She was amazed at the number of Jewish people. "I felt like a total outsider!" she exclaimed, recounting the experience. Yes, quite a few of us are in the media.

Because the American goys wouldn't let us do anything else.

Remember that medieval myth that Jews control all the money in the world because they're bankers? The veracity of that myth is as viable as that of the myth that the Jews control the world media because they're in the TV and film industry. Just as the medieval Jews were forced into banking by the gentile ruling class who didn't permit Jews to do anything else, so American Jewry found its way into the burgeoning film industry because the American gentile ruling class would not permit Jews to be lawyers, doctors, or anything else deemed "respectable." The reason there are so many Jewish people in the media today is because our ancestors weren't permitted the education to become anything else, so they made a billion dollar industry out of nothing.

When I presented my fellow student with these facts, the Turkish girl next to him gave him a nudge and laughed. He followed suit.

"If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me." [John 15:20-21]

When the Jewish people were first set apart for G-d's purposes, they were deemed to be "a light unto the nations." The Rabbis teach us that Avraham Avinu himself was the first witness to the goyim of the truth of HaShem. Now, the majority of us in America surround ourselves with each other and don't bother with the rest of the world, except to try and fit in the best we can. We have gone from lights to troglodytes; very intellectual, sophisticated ones, but cave-dwellers nonetheless. Not only are we doing a disservice to ourselves, we are doing a disservice to the One who made us who we are and to each and every gentile who has a heart to know Him.

This is why I rejoice at suspicious looks, wide-eyes, nervous laughter, and harsh words. They aren't the best criticisms in the world, but in receiving them, I know that I am at least doing my job.

"When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning." [John 15:26-27]

Be encouraged to live out the words in which you place your trust!

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posted by Shoshana @ 11:53 AM

Shabbat Update

I'm finding as I'm getting into this blog that the posts I want to make are going to take more than five or ten minutes to write. In an effort to keep my content fresh while I expound on more timeless (and timely) issues, I'm going to start posting some links to various news articles and items of interest I've clicked into during the past week. I'd love to see this develop into yet another way we in the believing blogosphere can network together, so don't hesitate to drop me a line if you have something you'd like to include in the next Shabbat Update!

Shabbat Message of the Week:

Pastor Mark McLellan, Kehilat T'nuvah, Denver, CO.

I've enjoyed listening to Kehilat T'nuvah's Shabbat messages for the past few weeks. They're a great resource for anyone looking to expound on their knowledge of G-d, and a great way for believers currently without a congregation to still have their souls fed on a weekly basis. This week's message is about as political a one as I've ever heard, and I can't help but wonder if the Pastor didn't get some flack for so boldly speaking the truth. (I hope not.) Overall, I've found Kehilat T'nuvah's Sabbath messages to be enlightening, encouraging, and intriguing, so I'd encourage you all to check them out!

From Around the Believing Blogosphere

Jamie Guinn remembers The Soldiers of Israel when he posts a moving montage of shots from the frontlines in Eretz Yisrael. Baruch haShem, it is evidence that even we in the believing community understand our connection to the Land. Too often, I see Messianics focusing solely on discussions about our halacha; this is integral, yet, we cannot neglect the fact that Eretz Yisrael and Am Yisrael are a PART of our halacha with the G-d of Israel!

Boaz Michael's family road trip has begun! Boaz, one of the founders of the Messianic ministry First Fruits of Zion, decided to embark on a "year long road trip across the country to build and strengthen relationships and find new friends of the Messiah and Torah." This will be an interesting blog to follow; finally, the believing community is using the Internet to their advantage to network and develop relationships with one another. We should all recall that the majority of the Brit Hadasha consists of letters from one talmid to another, or to a believing community. Truly, we are a people who stay connected through the words we write!

The Torah Guy asks, Who Did Isaiah See? In this thought-provoking mini-drash, we are reminded that loving the glory means testifying to it out loud. So, be bold and speak up!

Nate Long brings a conversation from Gentile for Judaism over to his blog when he asks, Who Was Yeshua? Warning: For those not fresh with what could best be termed Orthodox lingo, this may prove quite a read, but a worthwhile one nonetheless. Here we have a discussion on the role of Orthodox literature in the crafting of our halacha with Yeshua. This is a topic that will take on more and more relevance as the Torah-observant believing community grows; therefore, I can only encourage those of us who are on the ground level to sort out these issues now, lest we leave the next generation hanging.

If you have a beliving blog and you have a post you're proud of, send a link to me at theunifiedbody AT yahoo DOT com and I'll be glad to give it a read. Barring foul or inappropriate dialogue or subject matter, I'll be glad to link it up to the Shabbat Update.

Homeland Happenings

Iran successfully test-fired the Shebab-3 missle this week. The Shebab-3 can be equipped with nuclear warheads and Israel is within range. According to the Jerusalem Post's excellent analyst Caroline Glick, Israel has six months to attack Iran before their nuclear firepower becomes viable. This, on top of the fact that Iran and Syria have been arming and training Hamas/Fatah/Hizbullah guerillas for months. An estimated 7,500-10,000 of them are now in Gaza, watching and waiting for the orders to attack. If that weren't bad enough, the United States is now arming and training Palestinians, believing that they'll turn their weapons on Hamas, not Israel.

In an open letter titled, An Appeal of Faith to President George W. Bush, Israeli columnist Michael Freund details that, "...a growing number of my fellow Jews have begun to build underground nuclear shelters adjacent to their homes." He ends the letter with his own version of the blessing that ends the Torah, "Be strong, be strong, Mr. President, and through you, may we all be strengthened." It reminds me of a Pesach seder I attended in Texas, where, at the end, instead of singing "L'Shana Haba B'Yerushalayim" the family around me sang "G-d Bless America." I weep for Israel my people and will continue to do so until she turns to our G-d, for He is our sole source of salvation.

Being Jewish in America

Israpundit reports: John Kerry, et. al. Glad to Get Al-Aqsa Backing For months, Israpundit has hit hard on the Democratic PAC for its virulent anti-Semitic and racist hate speech. Now, thanks to World Net Daily, we're learning that the terrorists are doing a lot more than phoning it in when it comes to supporting the party. Even some self-hating Jews are in the mix.

Filmmaker Aaron Russo was on Israel National Radio this week talking about his new documentary America: From Freedom to Fascism, an in-depth study into how much power the Federal government really has in this nation, and how un-Constitutional that really is. The film is making the rounds in middle America; I'd be surprised if it ever made it to a theater on either coast. In a related note, Russo appeared on The Tamar Yonah Show, the show that also gave us Americans the inside scoop on the North American Union, aka SPP, with guest Jerome Corsi.

Human Dis-Interest

A student showed up at a University of Pennsylvania Halloween party dressed as a suicide bomber. Faculty had their pictures taken with them. ...And I was reminded of why I left academia.

If you have a blog entry, Shabbat podcast, Torah teaching, or news item you'd like to see included in the Shabbat Update, send a link to theunifiedbody AT yahoo DOT com. Barring any inappropriate or foul language/dialogue, I'll be glad to include it.

Hope you've enjoyed this Shabbat Update. Kol Tuv!

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posted by Shoshana @ 5:02 PM