Inside Israel – Already August Part 1

Hi and welcome to a look inside Israel today, as J of Jerusalem shares about life in Jerusalem these days.  God bless you and thank you for reading and praying! Now’s here’s J . . .

Beloved sisters and brothers,
I greet you in The Name of The Lord Jesus Christ, Yeshua h’meshiach – King of kings and Lord of lords – and it is an honor to call you sister and brother and to part of the body in these days. I miss you and think of you and don’t want to loose touch…
Our Granddaughter receives speech therapy through our ‘kupot holim’ (health provider-one of the 4 we are given to choose from). We are very grateful for this service and it is such a blessing to see her Hebrew skills being refined before they leave and are plunged into an English speaking world.  She is a non verbal little girl, so gaining a foundation with which to communicate will hopefully help her to be more confident as she will soon have to face another new language challenge.  Since I am helping with the children this summer(4 days a week and working 2), I took over our 8 and one year old Grandsons while Ana was at her lesson today with her Mom.  I cherish every moment that I have with them…but they are surely proving to me that aging is NOT just a state of mind!  I decided to take the bus home from Meveserret Zion (the town outside of Jerusalem where her speech therapy is given).
My first job in Israel was in Meveserret, where I had worked for a well known ministry for a year and a half. I used to ride that bus daily, but that was 15 years ago and I was looking forward to ‘revisiting’ the route.  I caught the bus at my old ‘takh’ha’nat’ (bus stop) which is just across from an ‘Absorption Center’ to house and ‘absorb’ people arriving from Ethiopia.  When we made aliyah (immigrated) there were a lot of new immigrants from Ethiopia, and there has just been a new wave as well.  I was delighted to be joined on the bus by a ‘te’ool’ (trip) group of perhaps 10 young girls (maybe around 12-15 years old? They are a very small people and telling age can be a challenge) apparently on their first big outing!  They were accompanied by several girls from ‘sheroot leumi’ (national service – the alternative to army service) and they were EXCITED…if not a bit scared. I shared years ago, that for most of the immigrants from Ethiopia, they are literally plunged into the 21st century overnight.  In Ethiopia, they live in camps just as they have for hundreds (if not thousands) of years and actually their ‘form’ of Judaism seems to me much ‘purer’ in so many ways, as they follow the Scriptures as they were written.  They are generally illiterate and have rarely seen a large ‘modern’ city, so breaking them into the culture here has presented very unique challenges and (I feel) has been generally done remarkably sensitively.  These new immigrant girls on the bus with me ranged in behavior from jumping up and down with excitement at seeing and experiencing new things to remaining curled up in a ball on their seats, frightened.  Their ‘guides’ were constantly asking them ‘Are you ok?’ (it is a very curvy route) and ‘Do you see that?’ They all spoke in early Hebrew (from the moment that an immigrant arrives in the absorption center, Hebrew is spoken and taught, although there are counselors available to counsel in the native language, in this case Amharic) but I was impressed to hear the ‘sheroot leumi’ guides add a few personal words in Amharic, sort of bridging and cushioning the new experience.  The immigrants from Ethiopia are a gentle people, small with high pitched voices and generally shy.  Many of the women have tattoos on their faces, necks and arms.  Babies there are tattooed for beauty and identification.  Often, once here, they have them removed.  The problems of the Ethiopian community are fierce (as you would imagine) and the women often adapt better then the men (as is often true in all groups.  For a man who was a strong man and provided for his family by fishing and hunting to be faced with such daunting challenges can be overwhelming…and tragic.  We women seem to face foundational challenges differently.) 
So I watched these girls, wearing clothing from the ‘absorption bag’, looking awkward in shoes, being faced with so many new challenges, and I would LIKE to say that I prayed for their salvation and for ‘life’ for them, but it would be a lie. I am sad to say that I just watched and smiled at them a lot. I aim to “Pray without ceasing” but found that ‘easier’ to attain when life wasn’t swirling around me and was less distracting…a sad but true commentary.
  Being raised in NYC in the 1940s and 50s, I thought that I had lived in a true melting pot, but I do see here that the process of ‘bringing them back home’ continues daily. In the 18 years since we arrived, knowing no one (actually, we knew one person) and nothing, and not a letter of Hebrew, we have seen large waves of Russians, French, South Americans, and also lately Brits and Americans, as well as Ethiopians arrive. We arrived just as our youngest daughter was turning 13, so as I looked at these young girls I knew that this is a particularly tough age to change cultures, and I do pray for them now as I write…and for their families.  God’s thoughts toward us ARE for good and NOT for evil…to give us a future and a hope…and I remember that it is HIS purposes that are drawing people home after 2,000 years, from the far corners of the earth.  If it weren’t for that knowledge, I would be oft tempted to despair.
Many of you have told me that your favorite part of what I write is about daily life here.  I really enjoy doing that…and I have believed that I am indeed called to be a ‘witness’ as to what I see, hear, smell, taste and experience in this land of my ancestry since so many of you can’t be here yourselves.  But I also feel (that very ‘subjective’ word…) an increasing need or pressure to share other things; spiritual ‘observations’ from the perspective of ‘my seat here’ in Jerusalem, during these so very crucial times.  I am surely NOT qualified; I am only an ‘untrained’ lamb and no more…so please forgive me if I embarrass you (myself?) by my naiveté…and please feel free to correct me as you see fit; we are the body, working together as one, fitly joined together…in dangerous times.
Come back next Sunday for Part 2!
your sis from Jerusalem
Published in: on August 19, 2012 at 7:49 am  Comments (4)  
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  1. you write so well!!!!

  2. God bless you, Angel Terry! I will let J know that you enjoy her letters!!!

  3. Thanks for sharing, Deb

    I bookmarked this to read later and it took me almost a week to get here 🙂

    “God’s thoughts toward us ARE for good and NOT for evil…to give us a future and a hope…and I remember that it is HIS purposes that are drawing people home after 2,000 years, from the far corners of the earth. If it weren’t for that knowledge, I would be oft tempted to despair.”
    The stories of the bus tours bring back many memories 🙂 New cultures can be so daunting, yet we learn to fit in…

    Something about this post made me think of how He is gathering His people unto Himself and what may/will happen on that day when all the cultures and ethnic groups and nations appear before Him. I don’t know if we will sing in our own language, or if He will give us all a new one, or whether we will understand what the other is singing, but what a praise day that is going to be!


  4. I love what this post made you think of, Ann full of grace and song! I can’t help but get excited about that day! 🙂 God bless you and thank you for reading and praying and commenting. J LOVES and treasures you and your support! (me too!!!)

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