September 6, 2013

I just returned from the US in time for the beginning of the Jewish Holy Days. These are indeed holy days in the yearly cycle of life in Israel; the time of celebrating the Fall Feasts of Trumpets (now called Rosh HaShanna or the jewish New Year), the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and Tabernacles (Sukkot). The 10 days between Rosh HaShanna and Yom Kippur are referred to in Judaism as the "Days of Awe". Jewish people around the world go to synagogue after sundown at the beginning of Yom Kippur to hear and pray the "Kol Nidre" or the famous prayer annulling all vows made to God, hoping that He will annul His against them. Jewish people believe that during these 10 days it is determined who will live and who will die for the upcoming year, and therefore many spend the Days of Awe in retrospection, repentance, and reconciliation. I remember as a child and teenager attending this service with my family and hearing this prayer sung in a haunting but beautiful tune.

On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created; who will live and who will die; who will die at his predestined time and who before his time; who by water and who by fire, who by sword, who by beast, who by famine, who by thirst, who by storm, who by plague, who by strangulation, and who by stoning. Who will rest and who will wander, who will live in harmony and who will be harried, who will enjoy tranquillity and who will suffer, who will be impoverished and who will be enriched, who will be degraded and who will be exalted.
I remember that the prayer always impacted me into thinking about my own mortality. It was the synagogue and my exposure to the Bible in the religious instruction that I received in the synagogue which started me on my spiritual quest to know God, to hear His voice, and to know the purpose for which I was born.


This year, in the days before Rosh HaShanna, I felt an atmosphere of holiness settle over the nation. Israel is an interesting place to live. At times you can clearly sense in the spiritual realm what is going on in the natural. I mean, everyone feels it - it is something like I said that settles on the nation, and it is so clear that if you mention it to people they will agree that they feel it too. I was talking to Ami about this and he said he had exactly been thinking about it - it is very unique. It was definitely something from heaven that descended, perhaps because of the impending holy days before us, coupled with the threat of U.S. Airstrikes on Syria with the inevitable kickback onto our nation. It was a good time to pray for the nation. I found myself asking for Israel what the Apostle Paul prayed for the believers in Ephesus in Ephesians 1:17-18
17 that the God of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, (believers made holy by His righteousness)
The trip to the US was for the purpose of bringing Ami to Miami for his second round of laser treatments on his scars, and then to bring him back college for the next school year. By the grace of God, we were able to achieve all of our objectives while there  One of our objectives was to prepare for and get through the laser treatments, which took a lot of pre-planning, mental and physical fortitude on Ami's part, and much focus in the face the many stressful challenges going on around us. My 26 year old son Natan, who had left one job for an advancement to another job told them he would begin September 1st so he could help me with the formidable tasks that lay before us, and traveled with us to the U.S. He was a tremendous help. He and Ami have similar senses of humor, and really can set each other off. I was laughing the whole two weeks we were there which was actually good because we were reading and hearing of the U.S. President's intention to bomb Syria because of Assad's chemical weapons attack on the rebel forces and ordinary citizens, and we were staying in touch with David and his recovery as he was in no condition to travel.
We arrived in the US five days before Ami's treatments.  We were staying with my 91 year old mother who is amazing.  Although she is wheelchair bound, she plays bridge several times a week, gets her hair done, has lunch every Saturday with girlfriends in the mall, and keeps herself busy.  She rises to every challenge with a healthy dose of spunk and vinegar, and is mentally sharp.  She also maintains a healthy sense of humor.  We had a wonderful time with her, and are grateful for her willingness to care  for and always feed our horde as we descend on her for these treatments.  The care and feeding of a 6'6" basketball player is a formidable task, which requires planning and lots of food shopping and cooking!!  
The treatments went well, but were more intensive this time, which resulted in more pain in the recovery period. However, Ami went through it all in his brave and uncomplaining way, and we were on our way to NY State and college before we knew it! With Ami successfully installed in school, Natan and I returned home to what seemed like flying into the eye the storm. The army had called him several times as there was a partial reserve duty call up, but by the time we got back the attack on Syria had been postponed.
Please pray for Israel, for protection, wisdom of leaders political and military, for victory, revival, and salvation.
Please pray for our meetings and outreaches which are continuing.
Please pray for Ami's upcoming school year - he is encouraged by some new, good players who are on the team this year. Please pray for his studies, as English isn't his mother tongue. He is doing very well conversationally, but expressing himself in writing is difficult still, and he says the papers are endless!
Thank you for praying  for David's recovery, he is getting stronger but still has a way to go. His last checkups have been very good, the blood test results seem to make the doctor's happy....
Thank you for standing with us. Below are two links to videos, both from CBN. The first is from Chris Mitchell and is an excellent, gripping and inspiring report on the viscous persecution of Egypt's Christians and their responses to it. They need our prayers very much and to know that we stand with them.
This is a link to a series of reports on Israel's innovations and discoveries that are blessing the world! It is called "Made in Israel".
To end, a promise for all who call upon the Lord
Psalm 145:17-19
The Lord is righteous in all His ways,
Gracious in all His works.
The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.
He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He also will hear their cry and save them.
Yours in the Messiah,

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