During the week covered by this review, we received 6 articles on the following subjects:
Messianic Judaism (Organizations)
Kol Ha’ir, November 23, 2018; Gal-Gefen, November 22, 2018; Haaretz, November 27, 2018
The first article reported that the YMCA in Jerusalem will be hosting a number of events during the Christmas season, the first of which will be the traditional decorating and lighting of the tree. Christmas carols will be sung in all three languages (Hebrew, Arabic, and English) by a Jerusalem youth choir. Santa Clause will distribute chocolates and take photos with the children. Finally, at the end of the night the tree will be lighted, as will the YMCA building itself. Throughout December there will be a Christmas market, which will include roasted chestnuts, mulled wine, and other traditional Christmas foods.
The second article reported that the Church of St. George in Lod hosted its annual celebration of its saint. St. George is one of the most important saints for Orthodox Christians. Tourists and pilgrims filled the church with a “magical atmosphere,” as candles were lit all over the church. St. George was martyred towards the end of the 3rd century. After being tortured and killed, his body was brought to Lod and buried there. In the Christian tradition, the martyr is also known as “St. George the Dragon Slayer,” and has become a symbol of defeat over one’s enemies. The mayor of Lod blessed those who gathered, saying, “Holiday blessings for the Orthodox Christians and residents of Lod in light of the feast of St. George, who puts Lod on the tourist map, locally and globally.”
The final article is about a “Christmas Run,” which is to take place in the Galilean village of Mi’ilya. The race is meant to mark the holiday season, as well as to bring together people from different cultural and religious backgrounds. Runners will hail from a variety of different religions, and will run through Mi’ilya in either a 2k, 5k, or 10k race. The running trail will be lined with decorated Christmas trees.
Haaretz, November 26, 2018
Zion Oil & Gas Inc., which is publicly traded, recently announced that the drilling at the well “Armageddon-Jezreel 1” was dry and failed to turn up any oil. The company uses biblical verses to garner the financial investment of American Evangelicals. In a report sent to investors who lost their money, Zion Oil & Gas Inc. signed off with the following New Testament verse: “That your faith should not stand the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” This is the company’s fifth drilling session that has failed. To date the company has lost 181 million dollars in investments, mostly of Evangelicals who believe they will find treasure in the Holy Land. Since its height in March 2018, the company’s stock has plummeted by 91%.
The second article is about Johan Huibers, a devoutly Christian Dutch carpenter who, over the course of four years, recreated and built the ark from the book of Genesis. The project cost 1.6 million dollars, mostly from donations. Huibers now wants to sail the ark to Israel, because “it is only natural that I would sail it to God’s land.” Huibers talked of his deep love for Israel. The trip will cost about 1.3 million dollars.
Messianic Judaism (Organizations)
Ma Nishma BeEilat, November 22, 2018
The Messianic non-profit organization, “Maayan Eilat,” is celebrating its tenth year. The organization has provided support for those in need in Eilat without receiving municipal help or recognition. The non-profit was started by three Messianic families, immigrants from the former USSR, who decided there was too much need in Eilat. One of the founding members, Ariel Ben-David, said, “we wanted to help Holocaust survivors in the city, and we also understood that Eilat had become a sanctuary city for single parents.” More than 300 people volunteer their time, and no one earns a salary. The non-profit runs a prayer house for all people, and in addition, organizes a Shabbat meal every Friday night. They collaborate with other organizations in Eilat, for example, by supporting women who for lack of funds might have otherwise aborted their babies. Maayan Eilat provides financial support for these women, both before and after the birth of their children. Ben-David said that more than 50 women have decided not to abort as a result of this aid. Additionally, 400 Holocaust survivors are also supported. Where is the money from? The volunteers themselves donate not only of their time, but also from their income. Israel-lovers from around the world have donated as well. Ben-David said: “Every family gives what they can, and this giving is not tied to recipients of a certain faith or religion, even though it is our faith that drives us to love our neighbors.” When asked what Messianic Judaism is, Ben-David said, “We believe in the God of Israel… Messianics believes that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel, and no one else. We read the same Bible, but we also read the New Testament, which we believe is a continuation of the Tanach. When you read the two books together, you realize that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel.”