When God created His perfect world, His plan was to lavish mankind with blessings beyond imagining and enjoy fellowship with His creation. After the chasm between God and man formed, there were only flashes of connections between men and God (Enoch, Noah, etc.).
As is His nature, God responded to those relationships with blessings. But it was when Abraham came on the scene that God decided He had found a man through whom He could bless others. “Through you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3)
Ever since then, the children of Abraham’s grandson (later renamed “Israel” by God) became the nation through whom God chose to channel blessings to the world. At no time, however, have those blessings been as numerous as when Israel is in her own land.
In honor of Israel’s 70 years of existence in the modern world, we present seven areas in which Israel has impacted your world.
My mother-in-law, who has a strong prophetic gift, once told me she had recently prayed for a sick man. She gave him an unusual word about his illness, “I feel God will provide healing for your sickness through Israel.” Sure enough, a week later, it was announced on the news that an Israeli company had had a medical breakthrough for this man’s very condition.
It may rarely become international news, but in Israel it seems almost weekly we hear about a new invention from an Israeli company being welcomed into the medical world. From a laser that can shatter kidney stones without surgery, to a wearable exoskeleton that allows the paralyzed to walk again, to bones that can be grown from a patient’s fat cells, the accomplishments are both lifesaving and jaw-dropping. Israeli ingenuity has been proven in fighting everything from the common cold to cancer.
For years babies have benefited from the close care of the non-radiation cordless baby sensor that monitors their movement and breathing. And, just this week the Israeli news showcased a handheld ultrasound machine that nervous mothers-to-be can use with their smartphones at home.
Life-saving products such as WoundClot bandages help compress and clot large wounds, allowing more time to get the patient to a hospital. And with the recent accolades Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem has received for its da Vinci Robot—which is so precise it can perform brain and spinal surgery with minimally invasive procedures—it is evident that science fiction is just where our scientists go to get ideas for their next invention.
With awareness of autism rising, one of Israel’s neatest new inventions is a non-invasive sensor that can test newborns for autism. As some know, autism is managed best the earlier it is discovered, but sadly, it is usually not diagnosed until the child is several years old. This new testing ability will not only give the child a better shot at thriving, but it also allows the medical field to learn more about early stages of the condition.
The da Vinci Robot is so precise it is now used internationally to perform the most intricate surgeries.
While Israel may be known for her tech companies, one of her lesser-known qualities is her heart for the less fortunate. Israelis are often the first ones on scene when a natural disaster strikes around the world. But even without an emergency, you’ll find them in various third world countries using their creativity and training local citizens so they can break out of their devastating environments.
When it comes to helping people, providing edible food and clean water are at the top of the list. To protect food resources, Israelis created GrainPro bags that resist destructive forces such as mildew and insects.
To conserve water, Israel’s drip system, invented in 1965 and now used globally, consumes a fraction of the water that traditional watering methods use.
Our population has doubled in the past 20 years. And since much of Israel is desert with the Sea of Galilee as our only large water source, necessity has pushed Israel to pursue a variety of solutions. Today, most of Israel’s water supply is drawn from the Mediterranean Sea, desalinized and offered on our dinner tables.
While the water processing plants in Israel are massive and complex, Israel has a mobile version that can be used to purify water from the filthiest swamps with a hand pump.
And, if you are nowhere near any kind of water source or electricity, Israel has created an appliance that can quite literally pull water out of thin air.
Teams of Israeli experts are working in third world countries like South Sudan, one of the most dangerous countries in the world, where they built an entire model farming village to train the locals in the ways of Israeli agriculture. Israel has provided humanitarian aid to over 140 countries!
Israeli doctors are also recognized around the world for their willingness to treat patients from enemy countries. Syrians caught in their bloody civil war continually bring their wounded clandestinely over the border to Israel where several thousand Syrians have been given medical aid. Israel doesn’t require information as to who they are or which rebel group they are from. Many have spent months in Israeli hospitals.
In the West Bank and Gaza, Palestinians shun the shame from their neighbors and bring their children to Israeli hospitals for treatment they cannot get from their own doctors. Also, Israel is the only nation that permanently accepts and treats victims of radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. Almost 3000 children have been resettled in Israel for ongoing treatment due to radiation.
A model village built by Israelis in South Sudan to train locals to grow their own food.
While the term “western nation” has become more synonymous with a technologically advanced nation, a western nation is largely so because of the Christian—and by default, Jewish—influence on its social structure.
Classic examples of this culture are the Judeo-Christian values of caring for orphans, widows, and the poor in general. While other fundamentally godless social structures such as dictatorships or communism would choose to rid society of its weaker members, western nations (both on a governmental and individual level) give countless financial aid and man-hours feeding, clothing and giving medical care to the “least of these.
If you’ve ever researched “Jews in the Arts” you are probably aware of the many well-known actors/singers/painters who were, and are, Jewish. However, while the Jewish people have been blessed with creative genes, as with everything in Jewish history, I can’t say we have always used our giftings to make the world more, shall we say, holy. But a deal is a deal, and God does not repossess his blessings. And so, Jews have, even in their lost state, left a mark on the world.
Ageless songs like, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” were written by Jews, and the latter is rumored to have been written about Israel. Irving Berlin wrote scores of songs—so many of them incredibly famous—like “God Bless America” and yes, “White Christmas.”
Then there is Bob Dylan, known to be a Messianic Jew, who won a Nobel Prize for his music and lyrics. In fact the list of musicians is a mile long: Judy Garland, Paul Simon, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein for a start. From the smooth vocals of Lenny Kravitz, to the crass persona of the band Kiss, to the modern sounds of rapper Drake, the Jewish influence on music spans across every genre. The percentage of comedians and entertainers is way over the top compared to the total number of Jews in the world. Even in the complex world of filmmaking, tons of Jews have thrived in creating both entertaining and thought-provoking movies from “Indiana Jones” to “Schindler’s List.”
Research “Jews in the Arts” and you’ll soon become aware of the many well-known actors/singers/painters who are Jewish.
Israel’s most extensive list of accomplishments is likely in the field of hi-tech. There’s a running joke among Israelis who scoff at the impossible mission anti-Israel activists take on when they commit to boycotting Israel—since many of today’s common tech devices such as computers, cellphones and a good amount of the software that runs them were either invented by or are currently run by Israeli companies.
Even with a population of only 6.5 million Jews (and 1.7 million Arabs),where a large percentage of the Jewish community immigrated to the land and speak Hebrew as a second or third language, Israelis pop out more new tech inventions per capita than almost any other nation.
Among Israel’s more popular inventions that have made it to your neighborhood are the thumb drive (USB key), the MobileEye camera on the back of your car and Waze, the world’s largest community-based traffic and GPS navigation software. Our family has used it in China, Thailand, Europe and North and South America.
But hi-tech isn’t just about the latest and greatest. Some Israeli inventions have been around long enough to be worthy of the Hi-tech Hall of Fame. The original text messaging ICQ software invented in the 90’s was the brainchild of an Israeli.
The 70’s yielded the 8088 chip that served as the core building block of the IBM personal computer. Even the transformation of the print machine into the modern office printer that sits on your desk is at your service thanks to the minds of Israelis.
Incidentally, out of 892 Nobel Prizes awarded, 201 or 22.5% were presented to Jews, a mere 0.2% of the world’s population. How do you account for that?
Among Israel’s more popular inventions that have made it to your neighborhood is the thumb drive (USB key).
Without a doubt, Israel is a nation with a great need for self-defense, and original and creative weaponry is high on the priority list. When my family and I sat in our sealed rooms during the Gulf War in 1991, Israel used America’s Patriot missiles to defend against Saddam Hussein’s barrage of Scud missiles. The Patriots were only partially effective and needed several minutes pre-alert to hit their target.
With Hamas rockets landing on Israeli soil in as few as 15 seconds from the moment of launch, new technology was needed. The Iron Dome’s 90% success rate in taking down Hamas’ rockets is one of the reasons Israelis and visitors can continue with their daily lives even in times of high tension with bordering enemy lands. In fact, the Iron Dome is now taking down mortar shells seconds after they are launched.
Israel’s contribution to security is not just for war. If you’ve ever used a firewall to protect your emails or website, you can thank Israel. Their security companies, both online and in the real world are second to none. Israeli security firms like the world-famous Black Cube and Checkpoint (or at least world famous to those who require such services) are often contracted for large events and by dignitaries when traveling abroad.
The Iron Dome’s 90% success rate in taking down Hamas’ rockets is one of the reasons Israelis and visitors can continue with their daily lives.
However, despite their widely known success in the field of entertainment, perhaps nowhere have Jews had more influence on the world than in the realm of worship. True, today when you think of worship music, few think of Israel as the source of a groundbreaking worship experience. But, in fact, everything you know about worshipping the one true God, originated in Israel. The Psalms, written thousands of years ago before musical notations were invented, are still sung by Jews and Christians today. Even the variety in our worship songs—such as songs of prayer, repentance, adoration and even songs of unspeakable gratitude and joy are modeled after the ones written and recorded in the Bible—from Moses to Jeremiah.
While Messianic Jewish music today is widely considered merely a genre of music that invites circle dancing with long swirly skirts and banners, the truth is that Messianic music from today’s state of Israel embodies an incredible variety of sounds from the many nations in which Jews have dwelt for the past two thousand years. From the complex rhythms of South America to the symphonic sounds of Eastern Europe to the fluid strings of the Middle East, Israeli worship embraces the sounds of many tribes and tongues.
When Job was in his deepest despair his heart declared, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, Blessed be the name of the Lord.” This is where the Jewish heart of worship begins. No matter what has happened or will happen, the Lord is to be blessed. You will find this mentality over and over throughout Jewish culture. Jews don’t bless the food they eat; they bless the Maker of food! And at a funeral, the traditional prayer doesn’t mention the deceased at all—it only blesses the Maker of Life.
Israel has long been a resource for spiritual revelation for the Church. The existence of the Bible itself is a precious gift to man penned almost entirely by Jews. But as centuries of division between the Church and the Jewish people have separated Christians from their roots, some spiritual jewels God has given the Jewish people to share with the world lay yet untouched.
We who have accepted redemption through Yeshua have direct access to God. But even that access was foretold to the world by Jews. Some people may be offended to think that God would only send some blessings through a specific people group. But they are not offended when they are told that to enjoy the benefit of running water they must go to a faucet, and to enjoy the blessing of electricity they must search for the switch on the wall.
We all know that God’s promises are eternal and His desire is for Abraham’s descendants to be a blessing to all the families of the earth. What other blessings is the worldwide Church missing out on because as a whole, they have not recognized Israel in her calling?
The variety in our worship songs—such as songs of prayer, repentance, adoration and even songs of unspeakable gratitude and joy are modelled after the ones written and recorded in the Bible.
Shani Sorko-Ram Ferguson is the Israeli born daughter of Ari and Shira, and co-founder of Yeshua Israel ministries in Jerusalem. Kobi and Shani live near Jerusalem with their five children. Visit their ministry website
We love to partner with other Israeli ministries!
Because our organization has been here in the land for over 40 years, we have had the privilege of reaching out and working with many established ministries which were able to take leaps forward in developing their vision and mission with the financial help from our Maoz partners.
But Maoz also has many unique programs and projects of our own that fulfill the vision God has given to us as a pioneer Messianic Jewish ministry in Israel. Yes, we love to launch projects and programs that fill a particular need that few or even no one else is tackling. Through the years we have been able to initiate programs and continued with them until other Messianic ministries took up the banner, and went much farther than we could have by ourselves.
But until “all Israel is saved” God continually shows us areas of service yet to be developed that can help fulfill the Great Commission. This month we are featuring our outreach through humorous renditions of Torah portions, our worship program for talented children, our audio and video recordings, and finally, our book publishing—all in Hebrew.
Our goal is to reach the lost and disciple the believers. It’s that simple! Here is one of our latest projects—called Shavua, Shavua (Week after Week). We have created 54 videos of 4-5 minutes each, filled with Hebrew-language humor, telling stories from a specific portion of the Five Books of Moses, traditionally read in synagogues each week.
Ari and Shira Sorko-Ram hold the cake exhibiting Pharaoh’s daughter who raised Moses as we celebrated the completion of a series of 54 short videos featuring stories from the Torah (Five books of Moses).
Our office staff celebrating with the team from Silueta Production Company who, together with the Maoz media team, created the Hebrew comic version of the Torah’s Weekly Portion.
In Jewish tradition, the Five Books of Moses are divided into weekly portions for every week of the year.
Maoz employed a professional comic writer, Tal Guines—himself a Messianic Jew—who wrote a wonderfully funny script for each week’s 4-5 minute video. An animation company put all of Tal’s ideas on whiteboard. A great success! All generations love it—particularly the young people! Some Messianic congregations are presenting it in their meetings each week. Omri, co-owner of Silueta Productions, gives us his impressions of meeting and working with Messianic Jews for the first time.
Omri Roth, co-owner of Silueta, a creative agency production company.
The first time Maoz came to us and said, “Let’s make an animation series of all the Torah Portions,” I thought this was a very ambitious project, and that the chance of it coming to fruition was not very high. I saw many potential difficulties and obstacles along the way.
The project did have intensive labor pains, and it took a long time to produce the final product, but, from the moment we turned the engine on, the process was amazing. This project was very special for our entire team—myself as a manager and producer, a director and an illustrator.
Each of us enjoyed working on this project. The illustrator had a lot to draw! The director and I were exposed to a different aspect of the Bible stories. There was also a great dynamic between us and the Maoz team. We told them what was important as far as the execution and the way to tell a story, and they told us what was important in the content and visual aspect.
This integration created an amazing series—people who experience different moments in their lives would relate to a certain Biblical story. Or when they get to a certain Torah Portion they receive a new point of view…
I knew of the name “Messianic Jews”; it was something I knew existed, but I had no idea where they lived, who they were, or what they believe. Were there any in Israel or are they just American? I really knew nothing about them. So this project, for me, was also an opportunity to meet people from another faith, and see a different angle to the stories I’ve known since my childhood. And it was really fun.
Omri Roth met Messianic Jews for the first time.
I think the main thing I understood about the Messianic Jews is that we have more things in common than things that are different. In the end, this small and narrow exposure showed me that our background is the same.
There wasn’t really something very dramatic that I had trouble dealing with. For example, I remember the first video where Yeshua appeared, and I told myself, “Hold on, this is something that I don’t know.” I didn’t understand how Yeshua related to what we were doing. These are stories I know from the first grade, and suddenly they are adding a new character. However, after I saw several chapters like this, I understood how these things fit into one another, and it wasn’t weird. It was part of the story.
From my somewhat superficial understanding, the Messianic Jews believe what the Jews believe, and there’s another layer of Yeshua and the New Testament. So in the end, the essence of what we’ve done in this project and the focus on the Old Testament (Tanach) are the things I also believe.
That’s why I’m really proud of, and connected to, what we did. The fact is, today there are not many comprehensive projects like this one, which span the story of the Torah (Five Books of Moses) from its beginning to the end. Personally, this is also the biggest project I have worked on—an entire year alongside a professional team and a content team. And the end product is beautiful.
One of the most watched episodes of Shavua Shavua – Parashat Vayera Translated says: “Oy vey, why is Mom in Freeze Mode?”
Preparing for the future harvest of the Lord
Maoz has been publishing books in Hebrew for over 35 years. In the beginning it was only a couple each year as per our budget—plus the fact that there were only a very small number of born-again Hebrew readers in the whole land!
We knew we were starting at close to zero for readership. Yet why were we so determined to print Hebrew books? The vision burned in our heart: One day there would be hundreds of readers, then thousands and after that many multitudes. We said to ourselves, “We must prepare not only for the believers today, but for the future harvest of the Lord!
All in all, we have now published 170 books, manuals, teaching workbooks, etc. for conferences and courses—all in Hebrew. Today, we have 70 of our best books in our www.maozstore.co.il. We also have our books with two large Israeli Internet publishing companies—Mendele and Yediot Aharonot (which publishes Israel’s largest newspaper). Mendele also sells our books as eBooks. We are continually adding Hebrew books on Amazon. And we have Maoz books on display in 19 Messianic Congregations and Bookstores throughout the country.
This year we are in the process of translating, editing, and proofing another seven books. We yet need $66,300 to publish these seven. And this is not counting the three-year project of translating The Narrated Chronological Bible.
We have never “broken even” by selling any of our books. The cost of translation and publishing each book in Israel is many thousands of dollars as we print only a few hundred at a time. This may surprise you, but for us, publishing biblically rooted, and culturally relevant books in Hebrew is a way to build up new and veteran believers in the Israeli Body of Messiah that will have life-changing eternal results.
Just think for a moment. What if you had never had access to a single Gospel English-language book in your life?
We believe in the power of the printed page! And we are so very thankful to God and to our partners who have enabled us to print these books which we are certain will help raise up the “Tabernacle of David” until our Messiah returns!
Ten-year-old Yair Mazen may appear young, but his talent is UNDENIABLE!
The son of a pastor with a fast-growing congregation in the Haifa area, he is one of five children—all of whom show incredible talent. His older brother and sister are already accomplished musicians, leading worship and playing professionally. Yair and his younger sister are students in our Music Making for Kids program.
Last year Maoz provided music scholarships for over 40 children. Starting the new school year in September, we hope to enroll 60 believing children who show talent and dedication to become accomplished musicians and singers. These children, from 21 different Messianic Jewish congregations, are studying in conservatories around the country.
We are investing in a new generation of praisers and worshipers—who will bring glory to God and testimony to those who will be captured by the peace and beauty of true worship. Many Israeli believers will tell you they were first attracted to faith in Yeshua the Messiah by the songs and music they heard in Messianic congregations. Cost of this program for the coming year: $40,500* for 60 children. (£29,800; €33,950; CAD51,635)
Recording Israeli Worship:
You Are Special–stories out of the Old Testament is to be followed by a second children’s CD about Yeshua and His life
Tanya Kadin, Music Making for Kids Director, rehearsing in preparation for recording their first Kids Worship CD, You Are Special.
One of our greatest passions is to produce music glorifying God and His Son Yeshua the Messiah. But what sets our music apart? The anointing! We love music that is anointed. And we love music that is done with excellence. And when we hear music that is both anointed and beautifully sung and played—that’s Heavenly! For us there is nothing else that compares! This is what we long to see all over Israel!
Maoz team members, Tanya and Roman Kadin, are leading our Music Making for Kidsprogram and working with the finest of Messianic lyricists and composers for a second CD of children’s songs. The first—You are Special—contains stories from the Old Testament. This second children’s CD will be songs about Yeshua and His life. All in Hebrew, of course! Our first children’s album is one of the most popular discs we have ever recorded! We can’t wait until this next one is ready! Our Hebrew-speaking children will LOVE IT!
Dear Maoz Partner,
This month we want to show you just a few of the long-term Maoz Israel programs that we believe give us important opportunities to get the Good News out to our Israeli people!
- Our program for children across our nation to receive a top music education from an early age has already shown beautiful results. Children who have been vetted for talent and focus can begin our program at six years old and continue until they graduate from high school. The higher their level of skill and motivation, the larger the percentage of their music costs that are covered. This program is already producing incredibly wonderful worshipers in their teens who are already playing and singing in a number of the worship teams in different congregations. Cost of this program which starts in the September school year is $40,500 for 60 students.
- Furthermore, our Maoz music team of husband and wife, Roman and Tanya, have produced a number of Messianic worship CDs over the last decade. These songs are sung throughout the country. Tanya has put together a choral group of young children from several congregations in central Israel. The children have sung at many holiday presentations, and are preparing to record their second album of songs which tell stories about Yeshua.
- Our Maoz publishing company started many years ago–despite high prices for publishing in Israel, and other challenges–especially in the beginning when many printers turned down our business because of our faith. Not long ago one of our faithful printing companies had to use an ultra-Orthodox company to print a certain cover. Our contractor ended up taking his crew into the printing plant only in the wee hours of the morning for several days so the religious authorities wouldn’t launch a protest. But we got our covers! This year we plan to publish another seven books. Cost yet to pay $66,300.
- Our wonderful Narrated Chronological Bible is one of the most important projects we have ever undertaken. We believe you, our partner, understand the critical importance of the Israeli people having a Bible they can and will read. This is a project that will make this Bible easier for Israelis to read and understand than any other that exists in Hebrew. It has been amazing for us to see that during the last 11 months, our partners have donated $330,000—almost two-thirds of the needed $500,000 total cost!
We could go on and on. Our www.viewthis.com website has been created to reach the non-believer. Our white-board comic renditions of the Torah portion of the week is reaching thousands who perhaps have never before shown interest in the Bible. The cost for 54 series to cover the year has been fully paid for.
These are just some of our programs. We do not have words to thank you, our Maoz partners, because we know that we are simply channels of your gifts to the God of Israel for the salvation of the people of Israel.
For our faithful Savior, Yeshua,
Ari & Shira Sorko-Ram
P.S. Your gift this month will empower Maoz to continue the programs and projects that we have found bring results. Our outreach is your outreach to Israel.