Anti-Semitism Still A Problem?

JVT_MarchApril_coverThe answer is yes!

Anti-Semitism is still prevalent, though today it may take on different forms.

Find out more in our latest March/April Jewish Voice Today magazine.

March/April JVT 2013 magazine

Jewish Voice Ministries International

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What’s Up With the Dreidel?

chanukah-dreidelHistory reveals that there was a time when the Syrians forbid study of the Torah. Those Jewish People who were serious about continuing to study the Hebrew Scriptures despite their difficult circumstances studied in secret. They kept spinning tops called dreidels handy. This way if Jews were found studying, they could quickly pretend that had only been playing.

Outside of Israel, a dreidel contains the Hebrew letters “nun,” “gimel,” “hay,” and “shin” on  its four sides. These letters stand for “Nes gadol haya sham,” which means, “A great miracle happened there,” referring to Israel.

The letters also stand for the gifts you get depending on which letter lands face up after the dreidel has been spun. To play the dreidel game, each player starts with the same amount of tokens, typically chocolate coins called gelt. Each player puts one token in the pot. Players take turns spinning the dreidel. Then each player follows the directions of what to do next depending on what Hebrew letter lands face up:

Nun = “nisht,” which means you don’t do anything

Gimel = “gants,” which means take the whole pot of chocolate coins, or gelt

Hay = “halb,” which means to take half the chocolate coins

Shin = “shtel,” which means you have to add chocolate coins to the pot

The game ends when a single player wins all the chocolate coins.

Happy Chanukah!

Jewish Voice Ministries International

Chanukah: The Rekindling of Righteousness

GIFTWhat if Chanukah is more than just candles and presents? What if it isn’t really the memorial of a miracle? What if the real Chanukah story is actually a rallying cry for the Jewish People, and a graphic exhortation to all who have dedicated their lives to serve the Messiah Yeshua?

Today, the occasional, passing homage to the real story of Chanukah is too often lost in the buzz of wintertime festivities. As a result, what many do not remember about Chanukah is its unsettling, unsanitized, and all-too-important origins.

The real story of Chanukah is a story of turmoil and upheaval for the nation of Israel. It is a story about the attempted assimilation of the Jewish People, and the anti-Semitic spirit set against them. It is a story of sin and corruption; oppression and persecution; liberty and—ultimately—victory.

The real story of Chanukah begins approximately 200 years before Yeshua, with the latest of Israel’s foreign dictators, Antiochus Epiphanes, slaughtering many of the people of Israel, plundering the city of Jerusalem, and taking women, children, and livestock captive. He then enforced the widespread adoption of his very own one-world religion that could seal the fate not only of Israel, but of all the surrounding nations.

With so many Jews having already willingly subjected themselves to Antiochus’ rule, the next step in securing Israeli acceptance of his religion was to make the keeping of Torah and the continuation of the Temple service crimes against the state. By the abolition or abrogation of anything related to the Torah and the Temple service, everything that defined and distinguished Israel from the nations would be eliminated. The king’s scheme was ingenious, the goal astonishingly self-evident: Cause the Jews to “forget” who they are, and one can rule the world. (more…)

Remembering Yom Kippur 2011

Celebrate Yom Kippur 2011From several minutes before sunset on October 7, until just after nightfall on October 8, the Day of Atonement, known as Yom Kippur in Hebrew, is observed by the Jewish People around the world. The holiest and most somber day on the biblical calendar, even non-religious Jews often attend synagogue services and consider the meaning of Yom Kippur. The more observant will fast to fulfill the commandment to “deny himself.”

Yom Kippur is the climax of the Yamim Noraim, the ten Days of Awe that began with Rosh Hashanah, the Feast of Trumpets. These days are considered a time for introspection and teshuvah—repentance, turning from sin, and making restitution—preparation for the Day of Atonement.

The Jewish People seek forgiveness from God for their sins and to have their names written in the Book of Life for another year on Yom Kippur. Some Orthodox Jews, understanding that according to Leviticus 17:11, a blood sacrifice is needed for atonement, add a kaparot service, in which a chicken is sacrificed while asking forgiveness. This is similar to the biblical Scapegoat: “on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the LORD, you will be clean from all your sins” (Leviticus 16:30).

In the days when the Temple stood in Jerusalem, the High Priest would pronounce the Divine Name of God, which was otherwise never heard, and the people would prostrate themselves. He would then enter the Holy of Holies. This was the only day when the High Priest could enter this most sacred place to offer sacrifice for the entire community of Israel.

Although Messianic Jews have received the eternal atonement through the death and resurrection of Yeshua, and we know our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, we generally fast along with all Israel and find this to be an extremely important time of intercession. Jewish hearts are turned toward God, seeking and contrite during this day as no other time during the year.

This is a very pivotal and critical year for Israel. There is much unrest within—anti-government demonstrations, strikes, and civil division. Threats from without surround Israel also. Both the final status of Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital and Israel’s right to defensible borders are being challenged by nearly all world powers. Israel has lost nearly all key allies in the Middle East as radical Islamic regimes take hold and virulent anti-Semitism rises throughout the world.

Yom Kippur is a very vulnerable time for Israel as the entire country shuts down for a high Sabbath. On Yom Kippur in 1973, Egypt and Syria led a massive surprise attack on Israel, nearly devastating this tiny nation. Israel is once again surrounded by hostile enemies during this holiest of Sabbaths.

How You Can Pray During Yom Kippur:

  • Pray for God to draw Jewish hearts to Himself during Yom Kippur, and to reveal Himself to those who are seeking Him. The Bible promises, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13) and “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me” (Proverbs 8:17).
  • Pray for Jewish People to develop a “divine discontent”—to cry out to God for more than a yearly covering of sin, that He would grant true atonement that only Messiah can bring.
  • Pray for opportunities to share the Messiah with Jewish People who are hurting or have open hearts during this time.
  • Pray for divine protection over Israel through Yom Kippur.
  • Pray for Israel’s leaders to stand strong against world pressure to divide Jerusalem and the Land of Israel.

Ethiopians Remember Jerusalem Day

Israel flagToday, June 1, 2011, is Jerusalem Day, an Israeli national holiday commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City in June 1967. (more…)

Three Troubling Theologies

In a recent vision meeting for the staff of Jewish Voice, President and CEO Jonathan Bernis offered these three challenges to Messianic Jewish ministry. Each of these theological stances hinders the introduction of Jewish People to their Messiah Yeshua, and each of these has found prevalence in the Christian church at some point in history. We list these to make you aware of some philosophies that may be creeping into your places of worship that should cause concern.

Replacement Theology—This is the doctrine that Jews have been replaced by the Church—that God no longer is interested in saving Jewish People, nor does He have a plan for them—because of the idea that Jews originally rejected Jesus. While the majority of the first century church was composed of Jews, it was the Jewish leadership that rejected Jesus. Because of this, replacement theology says that the promises originally meant for Israel have now been transferred to the Church. References to Israel are simply spiritual, and no longer refer to a people or a Land. To believe in replacement theology makes God out to be a liar and unfaithful. Simply put, He is not! (more…)

How to Share Yeshua

 

Jewish Voice Today, Nov/Dec 2010

Jewish Voice Today, Nov/Dec 2010

By Rabbi Jonathan Bernis,
President of Jewish Voice

When non-Jews ask me how to speak with a Jewish Person about the Gospel, I respond with another question: How do you talk to anybody about the Gospel? The simple answer is that you begin by caring enough to listen and see what’s going on in his or her life.

You can usually tell when someone doesn’t believe in God, so it’s probably not a good idea to jump right in about Jesus being the Anointed One. For someone who doesn’t believe in sin, you might want to avoid talking about Jesus bearing the sins of all mankind.

Where do you start witnessing to Jewish People? Pray for them. Show through your actions that you care for them. Let your light shine so they know that you have a special relationship with God that clearly comes through with genuine love for them and concern for where they will spend eternity. (more…)