Inside Israel – Come Ride the Bus with Me?


Hi and welcome to a look inside Israel today!  Our Sis in Jerusalem takes us on the bus in this letter .. .always a beautiful experience.  God bless you and thank you for reading and praying for Israel and our sis there! Now, here she is . ..

Greetings dear sisters and brothers, in the midst of such a changing and shaking world…may we be found with His kingdom enlarging itself within us so that we might be ‘hidden in The Rock’ bringing others with us when the time comes. 
May He be glorified and blessed, and may you be blessed!
I grew up riding the NYC subways and the events of the past week caused me to think about them. As I rode to and from work over the past few days, I found myself writing in my head.  I wondered about the people that used to ride those trains when I was young.  I didn’t care about them, I’m sorry to say.  So I took a look around at those riding with me today.  Each one has his own story.  We see people daily on public transportation and then, one day they are gone from our lives.  I looked around the bus yesterday morning and almost laughed out loud.  What a motley bunch of characters ride that 6:30am bus!  I’ve told you before that I felt as if the bus has much more character then the train…and…well…perhaps I should have said many more ‘characters’ as well! 
I smiled as I was greeted by one of my favorite drivers yesterday.  Where most bus drivers set their radio to popular music, this driver plays CLASSICAL music mid-day…very unusual…indeed the only one I know of in the city.  However in the morning he dials his radio to ‘reshet gimmel’, (network 3) the ‘all Israeli nostalgia station’ that plays only old Israeli songs.  They are wonderful and the whole bus taps their feet or sings along.  It can get pretty emotional at times as this bus serves an unusually large number of ‘mentally different’ people.  Some are retarded and some are downs syndrome, but others are just ‘unique’.  They ride out to the neighborhood of Talpiot where they employed in a number of ‘sheltered’ jobs and it is really a very congenial bus…sort of like family.  (you generally don’t get many ‘new’ people on the 6:30am route)  So, what do you do with ‘family’?  You introduce them to people whom you love.  That’s you!  So, let me introduce you to those whom I ride with daily, morning by morning. I warn you…none of them have names.  You will meet them by the character that they openly display in the morning.
You have already met the driver.  He is a burley man, but shy.  Most drivers are rather shy and have A LOT of PATIENCE!  That must be a requirement for driving public transportation here.  In Israeli buses there are many signs.  They are not advertisements but little notices that are mostly ignored.  Right under the sign that says ‘Do NOT put your feet on the seats’ will be someone with their feet on the seats.  The front two seats have a special notice that encourages people to leave those seats for the elderly or infirm.  One sign is taken from the book of Proverbs exhorting people to ‘rise before the grey bearded’.  You will undoubtedly find young people sitting here.  BUT…Some older people (or infirm) (OR crazies) stand their ground!  On the 6:30 bus, the front seat is currently under contention: ‘The woman who had cancer treatment at the same time as I did’ (but like me, is fine now, thank God) loves to get on, set all of her bags and purse down on the second seat and begin to read.  She is relatively young.  She ALWAYS looks surprised and a bit indignant when ‘crazy newly immigrated from America Viet-Nam veteran’ gets on and demands the seat beside her.  She slowly (painfully slowly!) removes her packages, gets up, and has him scoot in.  He wears a series of striking tee shirts…all of them concerning the Marines in Viet-Nam and veterans.  He only wears one other tee shirt that says (and I quote) “You say the word ‘psycho’ as if it were bad!”.  He has a frighteningly hostile attitude and ANYTHING can set him off cursing and screaming, and even swinging.  He doesn’t know Hebrew and reads the Jerusalem Post daily.  I am praying much for this man and waiting for the right opening to talk with him…I feel as if he is one whom The Lord has put in my path.  Back in the 60s when my contemporaries fought in the war, I was a very hostile, aggressive and arrogant ‘peacenik’…and I have had a number of opportunities since meeting Yeshua to comfort some of those who fought.  Perhaps this man will be one.  He doesn’t hear well.  It is humorous to see him explain that in English to the retarded man speaking Hebrew who then says ‘My lips are curled so I don’t speak well.’  The bus moves on.  A very heavy woman sits down across from me and unwraps a HUGE sandwich, devouring it in minutes.  This is her daily ritual. A religious man who works as a security guard at the shuk greets me.  A friendly government worker who speaks an abundance of languages sits across the aisle studying Chinese and telling the man across from him that he is hoping to go to China for a visit soon.  A religious woman gets on and gives the newspaper to another mentally challenged man who sits behind me.  He is so grateful for it and reads it from beginning to end before he leaves the bus and hands it to the equally grateful driver.  An older religious woman caught my eye several years ago and we have struck up quite a friendship.  She is a master teacher at a religious grammar school and I love listening to her stories and insights.  She was born up north, on the border with Lebanon and has a naiveté about her that is so refreshing. She, on the other hand, is fascinated by my life, and I am praying for a time to share with her as well.  I have shared with her that my husband, as a Christian, was reading the Bible and suddenly said ‘It says here that all Jews should live in Israel.  You and the girls are Jewish.  We must need to move to Israel.’ (true by the way!) She was amazed.  May our conversations grow in depth and purpose!  There are a number of religious people who are reading Psalms in the morning and at certain points they stand up and face the Old City (Temple Mount) to pray.  We also have a number of Arabs, Moslem and Christian, on the bus. Such a mix and all getting along just fine, helping one another; teachers and mentally challenged, Moslems and religious Jews, secular and non secular…each one trying to start the day on the right foot and earn a way to provide for their families.  We smile at one another.
I have grown to love the people on my bus and I miss them when they ‘suddenly disappear’ from my life with no other name known to me then ‘The man who never combs his hair in the morning’ and the like.  So many people cross our paths.  Lord, help us to know and take advantage of every open door You give us!
On a personal note, I want to apologize for all of the letters that I owe to so many of you who have encouraged me.  This time of adjustment to the changes we are experiencing has been hard…and has taken a bit of a toll on my health.  I hope to be back in place of writing again soon.  Thank you for bearing with me, and mostly, thank you for your prayers for our family and for our nation.
 Lovingly, your sis in Jerusalem

Inside Israel – Bus in the Rain

Hi everyone and thank you for coming by on New Year’s Day for a look inside Israel. Today’s post is from a letter “J” sent back in November. I pray that it blesses you and gives you insight into praying for Israel and J. Now, here’s “J” . . .

Rain!  What a BLESSING when the badly needed life giving rain comes down from the heavens.  Cold, wet and uncomfortable, EVERYBODY gives thanks!  On buses, in the street, in stores, everyone is cold and wet and smiling.  Everyone gives thanks to God; ‘Burr!  I’m wet to the bone…and cold…but THANK GOD THERE IS RAIN!  WE NEEDED IT!’  It’s one of the few things that no one seems to complain about it.  It’s fun!
I used to regularly pray the scripture from Isaiah where The Lord promises that He will pour His Spirit out as water upon a dry and thirsty ground.  Years ago I was blessed by the ministry of a wonderful man of God, Tim Ruthvan.  He preached from this scripture.  He was from New Zealand and he explained what  truly parched, cracked ground looks like and how the rain needs to soften it and penetrate it…so it must be the ‘right’ rain…a tender rain first before a driving rain…like prayer before testimony.  Although his description moved me to much prayer for the outpouring of The Spirit, living with this ‘natural example’ that I have before me makes it even more vivid. I’ve told you before that we have a season of rain, and a season where it does not rain.  We haven’t seen rain since late April or early May last year and that is how the seasons are here.  When I was in ulpan, studying Hebrew, some 17 years ago, our teacher shared how she had once spent 6 months in NYC as a Hebrew teacher for the work of the Jewish Agency there (they prepare people for aliyah and language training is part of the preparation, although we didn’t receive any training or information before we came because we lived so ‘remotely’ and far away from any Jewish community).  She said that it taught her how olim (new immigrants) feel since she neither understood the culture nor the language around her.  But what struck her most was YOU COULDN’T PLAN ANYTHING BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNEW WHEN IT WOULD RAIN!  It could rain just ANYTIME; EVEN IN THE SUMMER!  ‘How strange is that!’ she exclaimed.
RAIN!  Life giving water.  Our land has been parched during the past 7 years of drought.  Oh, we’ve had some good rains during the rainy season, but not enough to fill the lakes and cisterns, so this good beginning is still no ‘guarantee’, but we are hopeful. Thank you to everyone who has prayed (I know some of you really have been!).  Please keep praying as we need much water.  Please also pray that lives will be spared.  As strange as it seems, flooding here can be horrific and people (adults and children) have been know to drown in their cars or in apartment rooms due to flash floods.  Rain is forecast through Friday at this point.
ANOTHER ANSWER TO PRAYER:  This is a personal answer (not complete yet, but wonderful progress!)  Some of you prayed diligently for our older daughter who went through (and took us along) an awful time when she suffered from severe post partum depression after the birth of our Granddaughter, just over 6 years ago.  She is a ‘doula’ (a birthing counselor and assistant, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the term) and has a blog on which she has just posted an ‘article’ about what has happened.  It is astounding…even if she is my daughter.  I would like to share it with you and encourage you to read it.  Please share it with anyone who could use it to help others.  Her blog site is   and it is the first article under her introduction of herself.  (if you have trouble opening it, please let me know and I send you the article itself) Thank you so much for continued prayer for our family.  ALL COMMENTS WELCOME!  I trust that The Lord will, eventually show her how He used it ALL for the good in Him.
As life swirls on around us, pinning us tighter and tighter under the angry finger of the world, this tiny country continues to find the will AND the way to go on and get through each day…in spite of the hatred that, at times, is tangible.  We keep a sense of humor!  Last night I needed to travel downtown on the bus.  It didn’t come for a long time and when it did, it was diverted away from the shuk.  Since I was going elsewhere, I found it worked out quite well for me, for, as I told you before, I have been stuck in traffic in the area of approximately 5 blocks, for as long as 45 minutes due to the traffic dilemma caused by the lite rail.  (Perhaps you forgot, particularly if you aren’t familiar with Jerusalem, but the buses used to go down our main street, Jaffa Road.  Jaffa Rd is now closed down to all vehicles and now only serves the ‘lite rail’, which, by the way, is still free because it has yet to overcome a multitude of difficulties.  All bus traffic was diverted to the extremely narrow and busy Agrippa Road, which goes through the shuk and is, at any given time, overflowing with trucks and people, some in wheel chairs and others who should be, tons of shopping carts and baby carriages.  It is truly something to see…buses trying to get through!)  But WHY the bus was diverted remained a much discussed mystery to everyone on the bus.  Again today I waited for the bus, this time to the shuk.  I waited…and waited…and waited some more.  People began taking taxis.  The train station across the street was overflowing also as the train also didn’t arrive.  What was happening now? ‘I didn’t hear a bomb…did you?’ one would ask another. ‘No…no ambulances…’  An empty bus went flying by.  We speculated and waited some more.  After about half an hour a bus arrived and it was mine.  I asked the bus driver if he would be going to the shuk.  ‘I always go to the shuk.  This is a 21.’  Ok…maybe it was my Hebrew.  ‘I know.’ I said ‘but last night the bus was diverted away from the shuk and now there have been no buses or trains, so I just wondered.’  He shrugged a resigned shrug ‘Who knows.  We’ll see.  I’m SUPPOSED to go to the shuk…but…you know… it’s all a belegan since the lite rail came in.’ We laughed.
We can only smile and laugh when the rains begin well, because, after all… it IS such a BLESSING!
May each one of you be blessed with the refreshing of His Presence pressing you…and me…closer into His purposes for this time and season.  Lovingly, your sis
ani b’derek
Published in: on January 1, 2012 at 9:15 am  Comments (8)  
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Inside Israel – Moving towards the New Year

So good to have you here for another look at Israel, through J of Jerusalem’s eyes and heart. She has a very precious way of sharing and is a blessing to us who aren’t there, but long for His will and His nation Israel. Thank you for your prayers! Now, here’s J . . .

Our first rain showers of the year came, yesterday to the North and Tel Aviv, and in the night and today to Jerusalem. The smell of the air, after the long hot summer, is indescribable. How comforting and assuring that after the UN speeches last night, we have our first sprinkle. It is not a full rain, but it is a reminder of the promise of His faithfulness. And ‘faithful’, thank you for all of those who watched and prayed last night (our time) for our Prime Minister and the hearts of the world leaders. Even several who wrote back that they were, right then watching and praying! I will refrain from commenting on the events right now, but I do know that He heard our prayers! If any of you did not hear the speeches and would like to hear or read them and can’t find the links, please ask me and I will send them.

As I smell the freshness of the air, I also prepare for our fall feasts. The entire country prepares. We are entering nearly a month of mo’edeem (appointed times before The Lord). First is Rosh h’shana (the new year, the feast of trumpets), beginning this coming Wed. night, a time of thanksgiving and prayer and the blowing of shofarim (ram’s horn), of giving of gifts, eating apples and honey and meals together. Indeed, the shofarim have been sounding every morning since the beginning of the month of Tishri (on the Hebrew calendar). The days of Awe follow, leading up to Yom Kippur (the day of Atonement) a week after Rosh h’shana. This is quickly followed by the full, wonderful week of Sukkot (feast of tabernacles) –a time of thanksgiving and sitting in the outdoor sukka. Sukkot ends with Simchat Torah (rejoice in revealed The Word). What a month! What a time for Israel to stand…again…in precarious situations…forced to look up and find her strength and salvation in God Alone! By His grace, I will share with you the times, smells, heartbeats of the days ahead.

Following a very full ifi prayer meeting yesterday at 6:30am… a time when Isaiah 14:32 was spine tingling alive “What will they answer the messengers of the nations? That The Lord has founded Zion, and the poor of His people shall take refuge in it.” (how TIMELY!) I ran to the bus to get to work. Even more then usual yesterday morning I was so sad to have to leave early. My bus stop near the ifi Friday meeting is at the shuk and from a distance the bus stop looked unusually crowded for 7am. As I approached I saw that there was a class of, perhaps 6th or 7th graders there with their teacher, a tour guide and an armed soldier guarding them (that is the law for any organized group of children together… there must be an armed guard with them) I listened as the guide, along with the teacher, was sharing the history of the shuk and it’s habits. The children were excited to enter it’s just-waking alleys. I love the way Israelis tour Israel…CONSTANTLY! As if everyone wants to get to know each rock and tree personally. I prayed for them to encounter Yeshua.

I was off to begin my day.
But it was a bus ride the day before that I wanted to share with you. Once again I took the 18 bus; that is the bus that I told you about, whose new route has been a nightmare. It was jammed, so I stood beside a young woman who was already grumbling. ‘He thinks we are bowling balls, this driver! It is impossible to stand up. Why can’t he drive smoothly?’ I had to agree that he did seem to be doing his best to knock us all down. ‘Well, that is probably the one good thing about the lite rail anyway is that it is a smooth ride.’ I said. ‘Ah! Olmert’s! He took all of our money and built luxury buildings, a lite rail and ruined our public transportation!’ she continued. I laughed ‘Well…the GOOD thing is that no one ‘outside’ knows how stupid we are. The nations think that we are so clever. That is probably our best weapon…they don’t know. And since we ARE so clueless, we would be crazy to think there is no God, since only He could keep this crazy country going!’ She thought; ‘You are right ‘ she said. ‘It’s a miracle that we keep going’ There I agreed and it opened the door for a wonderful conversation. She is a single woman, probably in her mid thirties, and she has 3 old people whom she cares for. This is hard work, and low paying at that.

I soon found out that she was very discouraged and her life was hard. She asked about mine, and I shared with her some of our situations…but again I laughed; ‘Without Elohim I would quit…but He makes it all worthwhile…He is enough, He fills my heart with Joy, and we still have a roof over our heads and food today.’ I smiled. ‘You are religious?’ she asked, obviously surprised, since I do not dress like the religious women. ‘No. But I love Elohim with all of my heart and I get up very early every morning and read the scriptures without a prayer book or a rabbi and then I pray from my heart.’ She looked serious ‘Oh, that is the best way. To pray from your heart. I think He hears then.’ I answered ‘Oh, He always hears an honest heart that is sincerely seeking Him. Did you know, the scriptures are really EASY to understand if you ask Him to help? We don’t need the rabbis to tell us what they say.’ She nodded ‘Yes. They have our history in them’ (the children read the scriptures in school as the history book) ‘But more then that!’ I said…’It is the CHARACTER of those who follow Elohim…and those who don’t… that we can also look at. The character of King David, for example; his life was so hard but he always turned to God and he was given help and joy and strength and wisdom from God’. I went on to explain that even more then man’s character, we learn of GOD’S character and of His ways. My new friend’s stop came and we warmly thanked one another for a good ride together and wished one another a Good New Year. ‘Shana tova omevorach!’ (Happy and blessed new year) As she got off the woman behind me burst out with ‘THIS BUS IS RIDICULOUS! WHAT DID OLMERT DO TO US!’ I think I can actually THANK our x prime minister Olmert for the wonderful opportunities that he is providing me to share words of encouragement toward The Lord, prayerfully opening windows to The Name of Yeshua.

Shabat has drawn to an end now and I hear that we are on high alert along the Egyptian border. God knows what lies ahead this week…this night…this hour…and THAT is so comforting! How wonderful is His Mercy, how Great His Love! Thank you for your continuing prayers for this nation, this people and for the indigenous body of Messiah here. Love and blessing to each of you. Your sis

ani b’derek

Published in: on September 25, 2011 at 6:29 am  Comments Off on Inside Israel – Moving towards the New Year  
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Inside Israel – Bus Encounter

Hello and welcome to a little look inside Israel today. J of Jerusalem takes us on the bus with her. Her heart for Him and His heart for the lost comes through here. Thank you for your prayers for J, her family and for Israel. Now, here’s J . . .

Bus encounter – 4 Aug 2011
Yeshua is so good! And He has even knit us together into one body in Him. What a blessing!

I just got home from work and witnessed an interesting interaction on the bus, so I thought that I would share it with you while it is fresh in my mind’s eye. It was an encounter between cultures and generations, but could have also been between two worlds.

It was a real blessing to finally get a seat on the hot and crowded bus. I had been at work since 7 this morning, having left the apartment at 6, and it was now 2:30. I noticed a tall young man, somewhere in his 20s, speaking accented English with a very elderly Israeli man, perhaps in his 80s. I recognized both accents; the young man was from Holland and the Israeli man had originally come from America. At first I thought that perhaps the young man was a Christian and was sharing Yeshua with the older man and that excited me, so my ears opened to their conversation. (Encase you haven’t understood from my letters over the years, ‘eavesdropping’ is NOT considered rude here at all. Almost every public discussion can quickly become an ‘all in the family’ discussion and no one bats an eye) Alas, it was not about Life…not about things eternal. It sounded to me as if the young man were a vegetarian perhaps, or an animal rights activist and the discussion focused on philosophies. The young man, who was strong and tanned and sported two backpacks, was very sure of himself. There was a proudly critical tone in his voice. I heard the older man answer the last statement, surprisingly gently and humbly ‘After what our people experienced at the hands of the Europeans, I am not sure that the Europeans have a moral right to tell us what is morally right and wrong.” I began to listen more closely and could hear the young man visitor begin to complain about Israel and criticize everything from the weather to the culture. The older man verified my suspicion that the young man was from the Netherlands by saying ‘Well I was in the Netherlands recently and found your prices extremely high.’ I began to suspect that the young man had come to join in with our ‘social revolution’. Our new ‘tent cities’ have become very popular communes for the young people with free food and nightly concerts…very much like a street party. ‘I don’t agree with you.’ The Younger man countered; ‘I smoke cigarettes and the price of cigarettes here is DOUBLE what I pay at home!’ I wondered how the older man would answer; ‘Well…we don’t grow tobacco here and I’m afraid that the import tax is very high.’ I was struck by the fact that he made no moral judgment. He did not add that there is also a health tax on cigarettes since the actions of smokers impact the health system so profoundly. He continued ‘Something WILL have to be done about the price of housing though. None of us can afford a million shekels to buy an apartment. Anyway…, I have been here more then 50 years and I love my country’.

I didn’t catch much more of the conversation as the bus filled up, but I found myself pondering the fact that I had just witnessed a rather brazen ‘confrontation’ that would have made me, personally uncomfortable to initiate…and that brought me to lift my wimpy witness before The Lord again.

“Lord! Please give me Your Spirit to share LIFE with my people! Give me Your courage…make me brave in the face of adversity and even anger and hatred! Teach me, Lord!’ The discussion I had witnessed was ‘passionate’. Why wasn’t the young man ‘embarrassed’ to speak to a stranger in a strange land, in a third language, this way when I can’t speak of the issues of Life and death with such boldness?

I looked around me. I was on bus number 20. I’ve explained in the past how the personality of each bus is impacted by the neighborhoods that it serves…I sort of take a ‘world tour’ daily; The 20 brings me along with many fellow riders from Morocco, Ethiopia and other African countries. On the 13 the main language spoken (and yelled) is Russian. The 21 sets me with our Haradi (‘black and white’ religious) citizens. The 26 finds me listening to more Arabic. But coming home from work there is more of a mixture of cultures before reaching the outlying neighborhoods. Across from me on this #20 bus was a young girl decked in tattoos…Unlike the immigrants from Ethiopia, these were occult and new age tattoos. On the back of her neck she had ‘hand’ symbol called the ‘hampsa’. It is a superstitious symbol representing ‘the hand of God’ and is sort of a ‘good luck’ symbol to ‘keep away the evil eye’. In the center of the hand was a ‘yin yang’ symbol (the modern sense of the term largely stems from Buddhist adaptations of Taoist philosophy which denies the existence of good and evil but claims that dark and light are all part of ‘the balance of the whole’.) A chill went through me; “Lord! She does not KNOW YOU!” My eyes shifted to another girl reading a book in Hebrew and then another Chinese woman reviewing notes for studying English. I flashed to a young man, obviously on drugs, and another young man, a soldier in his fatigues, with his machine gun strapped over his back.

‘Lord! Give me your tongue! Your heart! Your Spirit! Give me Your anointing to speak the words of Life to my people!’ I took my small Bible and opened at random. My eyes fell on Micah 3:8 “But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of The Lord, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.” WHOA!

As I read on concerning the judgment of Jerusalem, my heart broke, but it was those first words that jumped out at me.
No. I can’t go in my own strength, nor in my own timing, nor in my own will…but I am asking Him to renew my courage and to open doors that for my first 17 years have just been cracked a bit.

So, away from the bus and back to making dinner! May all that we do, you and I, be for His glory and by His Spirit. God bless you all. Lovingly, your sis

ani b’derek

Inside Israel – A View From The Midst

Hi everyone! Thank you for coming by today for a look inside Israel. Much is happening quickly there and J of Jerusalem is so gracious to share her perspective as a Jewish believer. Praying that you be blessed and led to pray as you read. And that you have a blessed Memorial Day as well. Now here’s J . . .

I have missed writing. It is odd, but when I write I feel ‘connected’ with each of you and I end up being edified, as if I have had fellowship. I was meditating in John 17:21 this morning where Yeshua prayed that we would be one as He and Father are one. The unity of the body is a great and wonderful mystery, and I do love each of you. My computer has been giving me problems and my time and strength have been stretched beyond even my normal, but I am thankful for this slot of time, and pray that what I share will be of some value for the glory of the kingdom and the edification of the body…and…yes…some takes place ‘on the bus’!

In the midst of this VERY high powered couple of weeks, I feel that I am NOT to share much about ‘what I think concerning the speeches’ and actions that have stormed the world. There has been more then enough commentary to keep everyone puzzled and full of opinions. I will share just 3 things that might be a bit unique simply from the perspective of a believer in this land; we have news channels in English from different countries; Sky News and BBC from England, a French news station, American Fox news and the international version of CNN. I find it fascinating to first listen to the speeches themselves and then go immediately to these stations to hear their initial responses. They are generally predictable, and it does give me a taste of why the views from your respective countries differ so tremendously.

The other thing that I want to share is the VIEW FROM THE BUS J Following Mr. Obama’s speech; the bus was grim…and angry. Oh what yelling took place on that 6am bus the ‘morning after’! Mixed with the anger was fear, and a sense of defeat; fear that our Prime Minister (who was set to arrive in the US very shortly) would crumble and not be able to hold firm against such pressure. This was a real fear since he did just that during his first term in office when he shocked the nation by returning from the Wye meetings having given Bet Lechem and Hevron to Arafat…for ‘peace’. Now…how do I paint this for you? The entire nation was glued to radio or television for these speeches. The morning after our Prime Minister’s speech, the bus was ‘still’. Now I do NOT mean ‘still’ as in ‘silent’ or ‘not noisy’ (that is NOT an Israeli bus!)…but ‘still’. You know what I mean; when someone walks into a room agitated, or angry, or grieved…you feel it. It changes the atmosphere in the room. But when someone is ‘satisfied’ and their heart is ‘quieted’, there is a peaceful ‘stillness’. THAT’S what I mean! And it was odd, simply because I have NOT felt that on the bus in Lord knows how long! At least not since the last intifada. There was a ‘still’ STRENGTH in the determined look on people’s faces, and in their talk. The most beloved statement that our Prime Minister had made seems to have been that ‘the people living in Judea and Samaria (and he DIDN’T say ‘the west bank’!) are not ‘occupiers’ but are legitimate owners of their ancestral land’ that The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob gave. The world has been saying loudly that we are illegitimate…and that our God is illegitimate. Strength came back into the people as our Prime Minister stood against the forces of the world (albeit, in a receptive congress) and declared these things unashamedly.

The last, but most important thing that I want to confirm (rather then ‘report’) is that GOD ANSWERED PRAYER CONCERNING OUR PRIME MINISTER, AND WE GIVE THANKS TO GOD, THROUGH YESHUA! Thank you for your prayers…the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth MUCH!

And that is all that I plan to say concerning the MANY events before our eyes. If you didn’t hear some of the speeches and would like a copy of a transcript, or a comment, or comments concerning the upcoming Gaza ‘flotilla’, the opening of the border between Egypt and Gaza, the so called Arab spring, the hypocritical bombing of Libya by nato, the horrific storms etc, etc, ETC…please write and ask. It IS all whirling around us! There are so many good commentators and I am not an ‘expert’…just someone ‘passing through’. J
BUT…in the midst of all of that…The Lord continues to prepare us for what ONLY HE KNOWS lays ahead. I am more and more convinced that He really is lovingly teaching us at an accelerated speed…in our closets…in hidden and quiet ways, less and less in the ‘flashy’ and ‘big’ ways.

I came from a very small family. My Father had one sister who also had one daughter…and they are all gone. My Mother had one sister who never married. They are gone. I have one sister who has one daughter. My sister is married to a rabbi and lives in Ohio, USA. I have not seen her in the 16 years since we came here. We love each other dearly, but I am still the only one in my family to ever know Jesus…HOWEVER! He isn’t done yet! MY SISTER HAS TICKETS TO COME AND VISIT ME BETWEEN 8-18TH OF JULY!! I am SOOO excited and I do ask (no…’beg’) for prayer, that this time will have eternal value! But an interesting thing happened. Right after I got saved, I shared with my whole family, and continued to share. My sister and I have had some serious talks and I have prayed. For a long while now I have been able to share no more. We speak every Sunday and this last Sunday she told me sarcastically; ‘Well…the world didn’t end, but everyone is sure nervous!’ I thought a minute…’HUH?’ I eloquently replied, ‘What are you talking about!?’ I KNEW that the speeches were weighty, but we usually don’t discuss ‘politics’. ‘You know! The prophecy of the end of the world and the rapture!’ What WAS she talking about! Was she finally reading the New Testament or what was going on? I stuttered. ‘Harold Camping’s prophecy of course!’ she sputtered! ‘Who is Harold Camping?’ I said. (I remember when I also thought that whatever happened in America everyone else knew) She went on to tell me about him setting a date for ‘the rapture’ (I was SHOCKED to hear my sister say this word and quote N.T. scripture!) and how it made headlines in Wash DC (where my niece lives) and Ohio and other states and how ‘everyone was in a panic’…’hum’…I listened quietly. No, we hadn’t heard of it. She became smug, but I was still amazed to hear such talk coming out of my sister! He works all things to the good… can He use even this to stir her heart and the heart of the family to Him rather then harden it further? I know He can and that is what I’m asking for. Please pray for my sister’s upcoming trip. She is a University professor. Please pray for their salvation (Charlotte, Bob and Rachel). Thank you so much!

It is shabat today and we have had a refreshing rain this morning…part of the ‘latter rains’ which are delighting the eye-dazzling flowers, flowering trees, fruits and foliage of all kinds that clothe Jerusalem in a shocking beauty. I so wish that you could see this city right now! The colors dazzle my eyes and the sweet fragrance of jasmine fills the air and all I can do is worship and praise God, Who, in His expression of love, created such beauty for His children! How could I have denied His existence for so many years, but I did! I was so blind and I am so thankful that He had mercy on me, of all people, and that now I can love His fingerprints everywhere I look! And we are thankful for the rain, although it has had little affect on our water levels which remain in drought. It is the first time in a number of years now that we have been blessed with the ‘latter rains’ of spring. They just didn’t arrive for several years. Our ‘early rains’ are from Sukkot through Jan-Feb and our ‘latter rains’ from March-April through Passover. This year they are happily surprising us.

He woke me up, startled me in fact, the morning of the 26th. I awoke from a deep sleep at about 2:30am distinctly hearing the words “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me.” Uh oh! Was I in the midst of trouble again? What was wrong? ‘That is not the point…the point is that I WILL REVIVE YOU! Keep your focus on Me, not on what surrounds you. Walk in the kingdom, NOT in the flesh!’ None the less, I couldn’t shake the ‘fear’ that MORE ‘trouble’ was about to hit. I slept fitfully until my regular time to get up and have devotions. The verse was still ringing in my heart and I knew that it was NOT a verse I had read lately, so I had to go to my concordance to search for it. I don’t remember the last time that He woke me up in this way. There it was in Psalm 138:7. It wasn’t one that I memorized, nor had I read it in about a year. As I sought Him concerning it, I thought of the time when Jesus raised the ‘little girl’ from the dead. She WAS dead and the parents were distraught. He told them; “Do not be afraid, only believe” Wow. That is NOT easy! It says to me ‘There is the daughter that you love and she is dead. DO NOT LOOK AT DEATH! Turn your eyes away from your daughter and look at ME…at LIFE! LET GO!’ Now I felt that He was saying to me ‘Do not fear the ‘trouble’ for I will revive you.’ By nature, you can not revive something that wasn’t alive and then became dead
I looked at His faithfulness in our lives thus far. The past few years have been nothing short of traumatic, but GOD has carried us THROUGH deep waters, floods, and fires. Yes, I do still ask prayer for our health, which has not been great. For our older daughter, still going through post partum instability that can be frightening and exhausting at times (and for their whole family); for our younger daughter who is nearly 30 and terribly depressed as she so longs for a future and a hope…and a husband …and struggles with fibromyalgia. I went with her this past Wed to the hospital to have the stitches taken out of her eye finally (many of you prayed as she had her cornea replaced a year ago and we are HOPING that it is successful!) and after waiting for hours we found out the doctor is on reserve army duty…it was quite a let down for her. All of us struggle with financial challenges (since our landlords have passed away our rental is also in doubt again) and there is no possibility of ‘retirement’ for us…and at 65, we are tired. NONE of the challenges are unique to us. I am sure that many of you share these and others. I am so thankful for the body and that we can pray one for another. I am sharing these because several of you have been asking and I have not been answering. Now that I KNOW that HE has promised to ‘revive’, I can share them without ‘worry’. My main prayer request for my family is that each one will be walking in the center of His will, looking to Him. Thank you
This has become a long, chatty letter. I truly have missed you. I am thankful that my computer opened today, but I am mostly thankful for each one of you. May you be blessed, and may The Lord be glorified! Lovingly, your sis here.

Inside Israel – The Shuk . . .the Bus . . and More

Hi everyone! God bless you and thank you for taking a look inside Israel with me. Today I have an older letter from J of Jerusalem, in which she shares some of the lighter side of life there. Praying your day is blessed and now here’s J . . .

Some days bring more humor and smiles then others. Some days are full of time to make observations and to ‘think’. Today’s mammoth 3 and a half hours stuck in stand-still traffic on the bus lent itself to just that. In the midst of the horrific situations that we all see around us and so many of us are also in, I thought I would pass along ‘a moment’ with the hope of bringing a smile and warming a heart.

I decided to write this when, tired and hungry and waiting at the shuk for the last bus that I needed to wait for today, a woman with many packages pushed her way to a spot that wasn’t quite empty, beside me, and planted her very heavy bag squarely on my foot. ‘Ow!’ I turned to her. She looked at me and said ‘There is room for both of us’. True…there is now that she wedged in…’ But your package is on my foot and it hurts!’ I told her. ‘Oh no! I’m so sorry! I didn’t see! Will you forgive me??’ Her response was so warm and sincere and her face so round and animated that I almost burst out laughing. I told her ‘With a face like that, I could also kiss you! Of course I forgive you!’ (yes, this is how we Israelis talk to each other. Really!) It was the beginning of a (short but) lovely relationship, and it began me thinking of all of the poignant, little things that take place in the course of my day here simply between the buses, my work, and the shuk.

I decided, against my better judgment, to stop at the shuk on the way home from work. With the (Esther) fast day ending and tomorrow being Friday, I needed to make up some Purim baskets for some children. The shuk was jammed with people doing just as I was. The stands selling nuts and dried fruit, candy, fruits, baskets and goodies, had crowds 5 deep and I joined the throngs. It was a mild day and the beggars were out in full force. I met several people that I knew; ‘Hi! Nice to see you! How is the family? I tried to call the Doc today but the phone was busy…could you please have my prescriptions ready for me in the morning? I’ll come by around 7:30’. I made a mental note and decided that I wouldn’t remember, so I noted it on my cell phone and set the alarm for 7:20. I filled my ‘agala’ (shopping cart) and knew that I would also have to stop at the super market, like it or not…I just couldn’t get all that I needed to in one trip.

The supermarket has changed dramatically since we immigrated 16 years ago. It was just renovated again (the renovations are done ‘around you’ while you shop. There is no thought of, maybe, doing the construction during slow hours, so, after taking my life in my hands to go shopping for the past 3 months, it was now delightful to enter this very modern, updated store.) We shoppers felt somewhat like tourists being introduced to all of the the new additions, polished and smiling…very nice indeed! Being so tired, I began musing about the ‘good old days’ and chuckled to myself…wondering if you remembered some of the stories, like…. when I bought a turkey and no one could figure out what ANYONE would do with so much meat and… how in the world I would cook it…probably outside on a fire? Then there was the time I bought popcorn and everyone in line wanted to know how to cook it and how do you eat it. Perhaps one of my favorites was, well… ‘celery’. When we arrived, you could either buy a celery root…or celery leaves… but the stalks, the part of the food that I was used to using… that was considered inedible I think…and just wasn’t sold. Several years ago I found my first celery. It had practically a full TREE of leaves on the top, and since the vegetable man was there I asked him if he would mind cutting it off (that was a full half of the celery!). There were two other women there and one about grabbed me physically and said ‘What are you doing???!? Are you crazy??? That is the part you eat!’ ‘No!’ I said emphatically…THIS is the part that I eat!’ Horrified she said ‘you ARE crazy! That isn’t healthy! It’s the leaves that are good!’ The other woman piped up and said ‘I like cosbara leaves better myself.’ Recipe time had arrived! ‘Cosbara I like too’ I said, ‘but celery leaves I don’t’. hum. ‘What do you DO with ‘that’ part of the celery then?’ she asked (lady number one was fed up, so I gave her my leaves and shared celery recipes with lady number two). Times have really changed! People are so sophisticated now, buying all sorts of food besides celery, popcorn and turkey…everything from sushi to…well…zucchini!

And finally…although I’m too tired to write more, this ‘Israel story’ is too ‘funny’ not to share. My husband’s brother sent him a gift (we are again allowed to receive packages without paying the ‘package tax’ that was placed on packages for awhile…you just have to be WISE when you declare what is in the package…creative!) His brother made a mistake and WROTE on the declarations slip: ‘contents’ “SMOKED ALASKA SALMON, value $200” NOT smart! what followed? Here is an ‘only in Israel’ story: My husband’s brother called us more then 2 weeks ago and said that he had sent a package of smoked king salmon strips for us, second day air express. We waited. We waited. We waited. FINALLY, we got the notice (apparently they thought it said ‘second WEEK air express’)…but the notice said ‘come to Tel Aviv to pick this up, and to pay the taxes, and we are open from 8am-noon 5 days a week…you will pay [through the nose, I might add] for every day that you don’t come’. Well….THINKING that they MIGHT have a ‘heart’ [forever an optimist] I CALLED the number given and said ‘I am a little old lady and we live in Jerusalem, I work and don’t drive, and my husband just had a heart attack which is why his brother sent him this gift….a get well gift. If I send you the tax and fees, could you mail it to Jerusalem PLEASE?’ Now, I thought this was, just perhaps, reasonable. She asked me for the tracking number of the package (she also thought it was a reasonable request), which I had right at hand – because I had EVERYTHING they could possibly need at hand, including my birth certificate – and she looked the number up and began fighting with a man in the background. I waited patiently. She calmly came back to me and said, “It’s fish! You can’t bring fish into the country! Period!” “WHAT??” said I…”We have been getting fish in the country without a problem for 16 years. (this is true. They just don’t write ‘FISH’ on the package!) My husband is an Israeli Eskimo and it’s his traditional food [like my mother used to send me gefilte fish] [but you NEVER write ‘fish’ on the package…you write something like ‘personal family items, no commercial value’, which is basically true…] NOPE! THERE WAS NO WAY AROUND THIS! IT IS FISH AND FISH IT IS AND IT CAN’T COME IN THE COUNTRY…”SO” she continued calmly “When do you want to come in and pay for the package?” I missed something here…”So if I come in and pay you, can I get our package?” She is smarter then I am, so was exasperated that I had not understood. “NO! It’s FISH! It CAN’T come in!” Obviously stupid me then asked “ok…they WHY then would I come there and PAY you???” At her wits end with me she explained that then either “I could sign to have it sent back [at who’s expense I wasn’t sure] OR I could have it to throw out there in front of their eyes” Now, I was thinking…hum… I could EAT it there…but, after 2 weeks I would probably end up in the HOSPITAL with botulism or worse, if there could be, SOOO I said, “You want me to come there and throw it out or send it back? HA!! BYE!” [I’m Israeli too].

Now, I KNOW that this was a silly letter…but sometimes…well…I need comic relief, and I do thank The Lord of life for walking with me through laughter too!

ani b’derek

Inside Israel – Reflections

Hi and thank you for stopping by for a look inside Israel. J. and I really appreciate your prayers for Israel and for her and her family. I always forward the comments on to her and she is so blessed. Thanks again and now, here’s J. . .

I do greet you in The Name above all names, Yeshua h’meshiach – Jesus Christ. May He be blessed and glorified, and may you be blessed!

Just when I didn’t think life could get much more intense…it does. ‘Just keep walking’…’Yes, Lord!’

But ASIDE from that…I will share a ‘bus story’.

Thursday morning, as I got on the bus, the bus driver was smiling. This is no longer a common occurrence.
‘Boker tov’ (good morning) I said. ‘hofshi hodshi b’vakasha? vatika.’ (monthly bus pass please? senior citizen). I gave him the money and he gave me the change.
‘Count your change’ he told me. ‘I trust you’ (I did but I was also tired and didn’t feel like counting yet). ‘No no!’ he protested. ‘Count your change!’ Authority! I obeyed. Obviously not responding the way he expected me to he said joyously ‘THEY LOWERED THE PRICE!!! You are saving 13 shekels and a regular fare saves 26 shekels! Isn’t that great?’ I definitely had to agree! ‘Toda l’El!’ I said (sort of like ‘Praise The Lord!’) and smiled back at him.

That was Thursday. Friday was different;

I had noticed that there was a sign on our bus stop saying that the #17 bus was going to ‘be canceled’ the next day. ‘Huh’, I thought. ‘That is a vital line…wonder what will happen’. I was soon to find out (although I am sure that this is NOT the end of the story).

Friday morning the bus driver was livid with rage! So were the riders.
There was a big discussion in progress when I got on the bus. Ok…the 17 bus was now replaced by the 28… but… not along the same route! ‘It will take me FOUR BUSES to get to work today and there is the wait for each one!’ one distraught rider cried. The bus driver topped him; ‘It took me SIX BUSES’ to get to work!!! WHAT ARE THEY DOING?!?’ On and on the obvious was being re-stated, it is a belagan. I taught you that (great) word a long time ago, but in case you forgot, it means…hum…total confusion, mess, even chaotic, upside down, disaster. Yes…9 years the city has been working on the ‘lite rail system’ to ‘make traveling around the city easier… and at this point…it remains a total mess! Since my husband has been taking the 28 across town to the hospital 4 mornings a week for heart rehabilitation, I was concerned. ‘Does the 28 still go to har h’tsofim?’ I asked the driver; ‘No. He has to take the 26’. I told him ‘That won’t work. The 26 begins at 9am and he has to be there at 7.’ I fell silent. A few minutes later he turned to me; ’68! The 28 to har h’tsofim is now the 68. They re-named the route!’ Everyone on the bus chuckled…they are used to such craziness, but I remembered a time when I wasn’t.

It was my first week in my new country…I was as green as they came.
Fresh off the boat, so to speak, I knew nothing but that He Who is faithful would see me through. AND HE HAS! But that day in the scorching heat of July, I knew no Hebrew, no people in my new homeland, and I didn’t even know the name of the street that I was living on because the spelling was so alien to me that I couldn’t figure it out. I DID know that I was to take the number 8 bus down town…and I knew where to get off and where to get on.
All went quite well UNTIL I was to go home. I waited at the bus stop…and waited…and WAITED…for over an hour.
Then I burst out crying. ‘Mah k’rah??’ people ran to me. ‘I DON’T SPEAK HEBREW!’ I blubbered through my tears. One kind person struggled with English to try to figure out why I was crying while others tried to pour water down my throat. (overheating is a common problem in hot areas… perhaps that was my problem, they thought) ‘I have to take the number 8 bus back home and it isn’t coming and I don’t know where I live!’ (that is the nightmare of children but I was nearly 50 years old at the time.) The kind person translated and they all began smiling and patted me. Easy to solve! ‘Don’t you know? Last night the number 8 became a number 6! Just take the 6. There is no more number 8…it has a new name!’

And THAT, my dear sisters and brothers, is the middle eastern logic that I have finally become accustomed to!

I did suffer from some culture shock during the first few years. I didn’t think that I would, but I did.
I want to share something about that. The sister, Mary Gardner, who was killed in the bombing downtown last week, has touched so many lives, as I shared before. To my surprise, I knew a number of people who knew her and or the ministry that she was serving with. One old friend had roomed with her at one point and I wrote this to her personally (I hope she won’t mind me sharing it)…I would like to share it with you:

…but it really IS amazing how deeply her death/ life seemed to touch people here…and apparently in England as well, according to a friend of mine from there. The scripture came to mind ‘except a corn of wheat fall to the ground and die, it abideth alone…’. It is interesting because she is certainly NOT the first believer to die in attacks of this sort…indeed recently two believers (one Israeli and one a tourist) were knifed and the tourist died… but apparently there was ‘something special’ in Mary’s life that, like the alabaster flask, when broken… out came the sweet fragrance of Yeshua Himself. That is my longing…that I would be able to make a difference in life, but also in death. It was Campbell McAlpine who challenged us so many years ago: why do we all seem to want to live for Him but die comfortably in bed? What about also dying for Him? That stayed with me…and I see it happened that way in Mary’s life somehow…and I am certain that the two (living and dying) MUST be ‘one’…you can’t have one without the other

Culture shock… my home is not of this world. I so want to walk through this world as a pilgrim. I have too much dust on my feet…the dust of this world. I suspect we will never know until our ‘alabaster boxes’ are broken…and then we won’t know either…and so we keep pressing in to Yeshua, and (hopefully) washing each others’ feet, and asking Him to make us more and more like Him and less like this world.
God Bless you! Thank you for keeping my family in prayer. There are some serious issues that I ask for help in praying about. LOVINGLY, your sis!

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