Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Yeshua, High Star

News segment on Messianic Jews and their situation in Israel. The outlet is as mainstream Israeli as it gets, yet the treatment was informative and reasonably sympathetic.


(Yeshua Kochav Elyon)

Opening song lyrics: "With all my heart I will praise you…"

Mom: Who wants to pray?

Girl: I will.

Mom: Good.

Girl: Our Father, Who is in heaven,
Thank you for this wonderful day that you have given us.
Thank you for the rain that came down from heaven.
Bless all the people that are traveling by car, that nothing should happen to them,
In the name of Yeshua the Messiah. Amen.

Family: Amen.

The Ronen family begins dinner in their home in moshav (settlement) Yad HaShmona.
They are Israelis, sons of Israelis, properly Jews according to the halakha (Jewish law),
that believe in Yeshu – Yeshua, as they strictly call him.

Ayelet Ronen: It is a contradiction until one starts to check …I also was brought up in it, but somehow expanded in faith. And what we believe so much is this: that Yeshua is Jewish, from our own, He is Israeli. This was settled for me – settled for me well – and I understood that this is a living and true thing.

Like the Ronen family, residents of the moshav Yad HaShmona believe in Yeshu. They call themselves hayehudim hameshichim ("the Messianic Jews"). They stressed again and again that they are not nozrim ("Christians").

Ayelet: There isn't any connection to the Christian establishment (memsad hanozrim). We are Jews in every sense. We are Israelis. This is as sure as can be. What is more, we also have no connection to our religious establishment in the land.

Daniel Ronen: "Nozri"("Christian") puts you at once in a religious box that I don't belong in. I belong to a faith in Yeshua the Messiah.

In the spirit of these words, in Yad Shmonah there are no Christian symbols – not in the private homes, nor in the prayer house.

--Hi, Tzuri


--Shall we enter the house?


But, as in the house belonging to the settlement secretary, Tzuriel bar David, so also in the other houses, obvious Jewish symbols especially stand out.

--What catches my eye…

Tzuri: Yes?

--…is that you have a mezuza.

Tzuri: Correct. In the end, it is perhaps difficult to understand, but from our point of view we are Jews in every sense. This is correct that we … among our people, there are some that dismiss this completely. But I - all of my foundation is the Tanakh, all of my foundation is God, and the prophecies, and the words. This is what I am striving for. This is what I believe. And I have no – how do you say… contradiction with these things, also with these symbols.

--As learned, all the things that are dealt with in the Tanakh…for example, brit milah, applies to you as well.

Tzuri: Of course. Of course.

--And your children – you have a son, correct?

Tzuri: Correct.

--So he is also circumcised, I am guessing.

Tzuri: Correct.

--So wait a sec, how did this happen? What, you called a mohel?

Tzuri: Yeah.


Tzuri: Yeah.

--And the mohel, this wasn't any problem for him?

Tzuri: He took a lot of money, but no, it wasn't a problem…


(family sings, "I will bless the Lord at all times…")

The Messianic Jews at once treat the Tanakh and the New Covenant as holy, and above all they believe that Yeshu is the Son of God and Messiah.

("…always I will praise him with my mouth")

For decades, congregations like these have been realized in many places in Israel, usually in secrecy, sometimes even concealment.

The environment often finds it difficult to digest them. Even the friends in school cause hostility.

Achinoam Ronen: Every time that they would pass by us, they would say to us, "Ya Nozrim!" and all sorts of things like these…

Ariel: But since we are not exactly Nozrim, they continually can come upon us, call us "sons of whores" – this name is the threatening curse in our case.

Yonaton Bar-David: I remember from spring that a company from the towns here, someone came out that was talking with me, and asked me if I believed in "Yeshu." I said, "no." But then after this I persuaded myself – I said to him: "I don't believe in Yeshu; I believe in Yeshua."

Ayelet encountered in her time additional requests. .

Ayelet: This was exactly the period of the first Gulf War, and I was in an officer's course for the last summoning, fifth officer's class, exactly as the summoning of the final stage. Correct, they took me from the field security course for trusting in the truth. And I was terribly hurt, because my father and all my aunts and uncles are officers in the IDF, and we fought in the wars, and suddenly a thing like this happens.

Since then, the establishment, in the foundation of the establishment, changed its stand.

(pointing to photo) Tzuriel: This is in fact Yonaton's reserve training…and, I don't know…this is a troop…

Yonaton: Yes, my troop…

Tzuriel: If you consider the people here from the moshav, our family, everyone: they are all combat soldiers, if not reconnaissance. So everyone always will try to give what he can get where he can. And also you examined from Tanakh itself and our writings, the New Covenant and everything. We are required to be faithful to the state, and to serve her.

Tzuri serves in a special unit; Yonaton is a deputy commander of a paratrooper division. The two of them participated in the most difficult combat in the second Lebanon war.

But of course, this does not all convince groups of Haredim that fight them in a war of annihilation.

Man: This way they pass small children to Christianity! They give them pretty clothes, and bread, and food, and after this say to them: "Come, bow down to Yoshke, the bastard!"

This is the commonality that Gur Chassidim in Arad organized against the local congregation.

Man: Here Rebecca Prei came from a Haredi family, they kidnapped her, made her Christian…
2nd man: They kidnap children and change them to Christianity. Stay far away from them!

But when the faith blazes, there isn't anything that will stop the phenomenon. In the latest years there is rumored growth about the numbers of congregations of the Messianic Jews. They speak of at least about 15 congregations in Jerusalem alone. Even in this region, bordering the haredi neighborhood, several congregations of Messianic Jews are active.

Leader: Come, I will ask you again: who came…ready to praise the Lord?

(song: "My eyes see your salvation, the banner of your people Israel, my eyes see your salvation, Yeshua!")

This congregation "Shemen Sason," one active in the center of Jerusalem, in contrast to all the other congregations that face them, agreed to be exposed on film. This congregation has grown in two years from 60 believers to about 200. Many of the new members are youth, children of the land, a part of them from traditional homes.

--Your mother's family do not know…grandfather and grandmother? Are they in contact with you or…

Dana: Grandmother, yes, despite it being very very hard for her. My grandfather does not know.

--He does not know.

Dana: My mom does not want him to know.

Yaron: My mom said to me: "Maybe do not try to stand out in the pictures" and so on, "They know me; they know who I am." (smiling wide)

The perplexity of the parents is not considered to be against the faith, which blazes on its own.

Person praying: – Lord, we thank you that you are a great God.

Person 2: Amen.

Person 1: That you are a living God and true God, Lord.

person 3: You are so beautiful, my beloved, most wonderful. We love you so much, Lord,

Person 1: Amen.

Praise is a central foundation in the place of the Meshichim. Everyone prays as he feels or does not feel. There is no prayer text required.

We request from you Lord, that you give wisdom and not partiality, that you will give to our leaders wisdom. Fill the sea of Galilee, we ask.

(singing: in morning and in evening, in joy and in sadness, I will praise you Lord continually...)

It is important for them not to be accused of "missionary activity," but it is also important that their truth is made known.

Tzuri: I say, if I know this, and I believe in this, why don't other people at least hear about this, in order to be competent to choose? The choice is theirs. I am not… my responsibility is that they hear.

(praise song)

They want us to know that their faith makes them fit for this land, that there isn't a contradiction according to their faith between the New Covenant and the Tanakh; to the contrary, that it is possible to pray to Yeshu (Yeshua, in their tongue), and in parallel, to receive the Shabbat as they have received her in millions of Jewish homes, in the wide spaces of the world.

(Song: Shalom Aleichem)

Writer: Shlomo Raz

Friday, February 02, 2007

Daniel Pipes at UC-Irvine

The following presentation by Daniel Pipes is worth watching for two reasons. First, it gives excellent insight into the topic of Israel's threatened existence. Second, the events of the talk itself manage to illustrate how those threats are supported in the university.

Here is the 54 minute talk, from beginning to end. The disruption begins at 15:09, and the talk resumes at 17:25.

This shorter video gives a different perspective of the night. First, there is 5:42 minutes of Pipes, then the disruption, and then the videotaper follows the disrupters outside as they continue. At 12:00, we hear the leader say, "it's just a matter of time before the State of Israel will be wiped off the face of the map," in response to which the crowd - which as Pipes noted was "self-exiled, standing in the dark and the cold" - yells "Allahu akhbar."
Meanwhile, those who remained in the auditorium chanted "Am Yisrael Chai." Most definitely.