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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

Jerusalem United or House Divided?

"Save Jerusalem" Emergency Coalition Forms [Israel National News]
An unprecedented coalition of American Jewish groups has formed on short notice to ensure that united Jerusalem remains Jewish.

Among the member organizations are the National Council of Young Israel, the Orthodox Union, the Rabbinical Council of America, Emunah Women of America, AFSI, Hineni, AJOP (Outreach), NCSY, Poalei Agudath Israel of America, ZOA, and more. More organizations are set to join in the coming days.

The formation of the coalition marks the first time since the establishment of the State of Israel that a significant group of American Jewish organizations has united in opposition to Israeli government policy...
What is the Messianic Jewish community in America doing to ensure that Jerusalem remains the undivided capital of the State of Israel/the Jewish people?

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posted by Shoshana @ 5:48 PM

More Israeli By the Minute

Chalk these up on the list of reasons why I'm losing my taste for America:

Condi Rice says, "It’s Time For The Establishment Of A Palestinian State" [Israpundit]

U.S. micromanaged Israeli evacuation: Oversaw uprooting of small Jewish communities [World Net Daily]

Uuuggghhh. It makes me sick to my stomach that my tax dollars are supporting the people who enable the continued persecution of my people in their homeland. Talk about feeling dirty. And, FYI to any believer who thinks voting Republican in '08 will make a difference: If Condi's State Department hasn't made you think twice about the power and presence of neoconservatism (you know, the lastest "Jewish cabal" on Pennsylvania Avenue) check this out:

[Republican Front-Runner] Rudi [Giuliani] sets pre-conditions to negotiations with Palestinians [Israpundit]

Because we all know how viable a move it is to forward the promise of negotiations to a people whose term for "cease fire" implies that their silence will be temporal at best.

Judaism is Zionism. Scripture states and illustrates that the condition of the land is directly related to the condition of the people, and vice-versa. In fact, since the land is technically HaShem's and we are merely tenants, our presence in Israel and control over the territory is directly tied to our relationship with G-d: How personal do we want to get with our Creator who created us so that we could dwell with Him? Zionism is Judaism.

So, how can we as believers in a Messiah whose sacrifice has allowed us to attain the goal of a personal, living relationship with HaShem where He may sukkah with us, be anything less than passionate Zionists? Living in the land is the physical fulfillment of what we know to be a spiritual truth: That His Ruach is dwelling with us, just as He will dwell with us again in Yerushalayim. His Yerushalayim. Our Yerushalayim.

Eretz Yisrael Chai=Am Yisrael Chai.

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posted by Shoshana @ 8:41 PM

Know Your People

I'm watching a DVD of Broza doing one of his infamous Masada concerts, where he plays all night until the sun rises for a crowd of thousands. There used to be this great blog on Israeli culture called Shaister, but since it's "temporarily unavailable" I'll summarize by stating that Broza on Masada is like a one-man Woodstock without all the mud and chaos. A folk artist on the popularity level of Bob Dylan, David Broza has been writing, composing, and performing since the 70s in Hebrew, English, and Spanish. He's lived in various places around the world (including the U.S.) and, most recently, he toured the bomb shelters of northern Israel during the War with Lebanon in 2006. His music incorporates Israeli, Spanish, and American rock/jazz sounds and is mainly acoustic in nature, carrying with it a very mellow, easy-going vibe, without being as meditative/ethreal as, say, Idan Raichel. The crowd ranges in age from 16 to 45, or thereabouts, and looks to be composed mainly of hippies. From what I've observed, there's a pretty big hippie population in Israel, mainly due to the fact that life is so incredibly hard that most young people seek release in a free love lifestyle (and all the drugs, alcohol, and sex that goes along with it).

Yesterday I made a trip to my favorite Judaica store in the city and was happily surprised to see that the Israeli owner was stateside for a change. She carries a growing selection of Israeli music in her store, and over the course of a few years I've developed a great collection of CDs by many Israeli artists including Shoshana Damari, Boaz Sharibi, Arik Einstein, Ofra Haza, Ruchama Raz, Sarit Hadad,Idan Raichel, and (of course) David Broza, to name a few. (You know, this blog post is going to take me an hour to write because this DVD is so distractingly good.) Each time I go, I pick up a few CDs and we talk Israeli music. Yesterday, the owner's jaw practically dropped to the floor when she looked through my selections. "You like Broza? You like Sarit? I love Sarit! Her music is so happy! Here," she digs through the box, "I'm giving you this CD complimentary-- on me. Is good!" It's as if she can't get over the fact that I'm not just there because I like Israeli jewelry-- it's because I like Israel, I like the culture, I like the sound and the language, and I want to know more. A Jewish woman from the 'burbs was next to me in line, and when I told the owner I listened to Israeli music to familiarize myself with Hebrew, not only did her jaw drop, but the woman next to me was floored. The Israeli owner was charmed, and the Jewish American thought I was nuts.

Before I popped the DVD in the machine, I hopped past one of those 24-hour Christian networks and caught Preacher X telling his listeners that if they "sowed the $1000 seed" HaShem would begin to sew seeds for them in abundance, and they would receive the "Boaz blessing." I don't know what he meant by that, but I do know that Boaz didn't love Ruth because she was rich, he loved her because she cared--about the people and the land of Israel--even if that meant picking scraps and living the life of an outcast. Boaz loved Ruth because she didn't walk away, instead she walked towards-- Ruth made both a spiritual and a literal aliyah. What kind of a testimony of love could we Messianics make if we followed Ruth's example and showed a genuine interest, not just in the fiscal welfare of Israel, but in the lifestyle and the culture of the land? "We don't just want to bless you for tax purposes or heavenly reward," we'd say, "we want to bless you because we care about you, about what you think and what you do, and as your family we're proud of you and all of your amazing accomplishments."

American Jews like to say that without Jewish American money, Israel would never survive; I know for a fact that without Israeli courage and tenacity, Jewry the world over would be up the creek without a paddle. So, the next time you want to send some money Israel's way, don't just draft a check to a charity, seek out alternative ways you can bless Israel while learning about the people of the land at the same time. Seek out places to buy Israeli media; there are tons of places across America that are Israeli owned and operated, and get their stock from the land. FYI: A great artist to seek out is Ahron Razel, a Modern Orthodox musician who sings songs about Israel and HaShem: the lyrics of his album "The Burning Bush" are taken straight from Tanak. And, of course, you can't truly consider yourself an educated Jew until you've listened to the music of Ofra Haza, including her infamous rendition of Carlebach's "Am Yisrael Chai" for the Eurovision song contest.

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posted by Shoshana @ 3:34 PM

L'Shana Haba B'Yerushalayim

Yeah yeah yeah, wrong holiday-- NOT. This article in the JPost reminded me of why every holiday is a reason to pray Next Year in Jerusalem:

Comment: A classically Zionist, very Israeli march By BRIAN FREEMAN

Some great excerpts:

My family of five hiked yesterday with thousands of other Israeli families, organizations, work groups and individuals from the outskirts of Jerusalem past the Old City and on to Sacher Park, symbolically recreating the Succot pilgrimage to the capital during Temple times.

As we hiked, the overwhelmingly dominant language was Hebrew, the landscape was vintage Israeli and the singing was all about Jerusalem. We even passed a number of haredim standing along the route offering help to anyone who wanted to say the blessings over the lulav and etrog.

...For I find this event to be one of the most Zionistic experiences on the calendar, giving full expression to Israeli Jewish pride and providing a way to celebrate Succot beyond the religious rituals while honoring our heritage.

...The park was the site of the second stage of the event, and it was only there that the visiting Christians, who were completely absent from the long morning hike from what I could see, joined the party.

...But even with all that and [the Christian] record reported numbers of 7,000 this year, they are still only a minority of the approximately 30,000 total participants.

And let us not forget that they come for our holiday, in the context of how we celebrate, usually even singing their songs in our language. Perhaps our many years in the Diaspora have made it hard for us to remember that, in situations like these, we are setting the tone and they are playing the role of friendly support.

If anyone has to worry about being influenced by the other, it is them and not us.

What would Messianic Judaism be like if we exhibited as much determination and pride in living out our identity as Jewish believers, let alone in a Zionistic fashion?

All I can say is, WHOA: I'd like to be at that Sukkot celebration.

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posted by Shoshana @ 6:06 PM

Zionism is Messianism

This is just one of the many reasons why Zionism MUST be considered an integral aspect of the Messianic Jewish movement.

I'm still stuck wondering why we Messianics spending so much time trying to "reclaim" our faith from the dying Church, when our brothers and sisters in the land-- the am ha'aretz Yeshua loved so much-- are literally fighting and dying in an ongoing battle to reclaim the land from enemy invaders (who are as much spiritual enemies as they are physical ones). Our identity crisis is about ego. Their identity crisis is about survival. We argue over matters of intellect from our comfortable, safe dwellings while our mishpocha in the land head off to basic training, wondering whether or not they'll survive the 6-week stint without having their heads blown off.

It's time for the Messianic community in the diaspora to get a grip and start focusing on what truly matters to our G-d, our Messiah, and our nation. If you want to argue ecumenical theory, do a cross-country conference tour to juice up, or stay satisfied with the same old same old, it's time for you to re-prioritize your thinking, fast. Stop hiding behind the Word and start living it. Israel isn't just an idea, a legend left to history or a concept trapped in heaven: Israel is here and now, and we are a part of it. Therefore, we are responsible to her and for her survival and success. Moreover, we are responsible to the G-d who created us and called us out to conquer and defend the land He has given us:
It is not because of your righteousness, or because your heart is so upright, that you go in to take possession of their land; but to punish the wickedness of these nations that ADONAI your God is driving them out ahead of you, and also to confirm the word which ADONAI swore to your ancestors, Avraham, Yitz'chak and Ya'akov. Therefore, understand that it is not for your righteousness that ADONAI your God is giving you this good land to possess.
Our passion for our land is a witness, a testimony to the truth of the word of Adonai, and who is the Word made flesh, but Yeshua haMashiach? Standing up for Israel is the equivalent of acting as a living witness to the truth of Messiah!

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posted by Shoshana @ 5:35 PM