This is our three-year-old Shih Tzu named Gumbeh that we love dearly. Incidentally, he looks a lot like Mimi did, 50 years ago.
During my first six months in Israel I lived in a house on the Mount of Olives owned by our family friend, the Keeper of the Garden Tomb. Sadly he had been killed in the Six Day War, fought just four months before I arrived in Jerusalem.
Every morning I would wake up and open the shutters of my large window, for a straight-on view of the Mosque of Omar. It was like a dream—hard to believe I was here…on the Mount of Olives—a few yards away from where Yeshua will stand when He returns.
In 1967, the Arab population was still in shock over the totally unexpected collapse of the Jordanian attacking forces. Instead of the Arab Muslim victory they were all expecting, the Israel Defense Forces defeated Jordan, Egypt and Syria and retook Israel’s ancient homeland of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, Gaza, the Golan Heights and the Sinai Desert—in just six days.
I noticed the Arabs would drive their few cars very carefully and politely—so as not to anger any Israeli driver! I could walk all over the Arab-populated Mount of Olives and felt perfectly safe. That was then.
I used to walk north towards Mount Scopus—which is really just an extension of the Mount of Olives. I would walk around the Hadassah Hospital which had laid in ruins since 1948 when Jordan conquered the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem. They had destroyed everything belonging to the Jewish population living there before 1948.
I loved to look down from the mountain towards the Dead Sea and across from there to the land of Moab. It was always a breathtaking view—Jerusalem situated on the cusp of the heights that separate the watered west side all the way to the Mediterranean Sea, from the desolate and barren Judean Desert to the east.
Believe it or not, I had brought my dog Mimi with me from the U.S. He was such a cutie that the pilot of the Alitalia flight invited me and Mimi to 1st class and insisted my dog could sit freely on the chair beside me.
So Mimi and I would roam the Mount of Olives taking pictures. At one point, I tied Mimi up to a pole of some kind, as the whole Mount was empty of anyone else as far as I could see, and I wanted to be free with both hands on my camera.
After a little while, I went back to get Mimi, but he was nowhere in sight. I ran around the whole area, but never saw a single person. My dog was just gone.
I sat down on the mountain and began to cry and cry. I said, “Lord, Mimi is the only “person” I have. He is all I have in this new land. I hardly know anyone here, and my dog is so important to me. Lord, someone has stolen my dog…” I was heartbroken.
Suddenly I got to my feet and said to myself, “I’m going to believe God to find my dog.” I started praying in the Spirit, and saying, “In the Name of Jesus (back in 1967, Israelis had not yet gone back to using Yeshua’s original name!) I ask you Lord to find my dog. I know you know where he is, and I proclaim in your Name that You will lead me to my dog!”
I looked around and still didn’t see a human being. I just started ambling down the hill in the direction of the Old City, praying my heart out and proclaiming in faith that God would restore my dog to me.
I hadn’t gone far when I saw a youth walking a half block ahead of me. I yelled at him and he turned around. When I walked up to him, I wanted to ask him if he had seen my dog. But I didn’t know a word of Arabic, or Hebrew, for that matter.
So I just waved my hands like I had lost something and I started saying “Erf Erf Erf.” I didn’t think that “Bow Wow” would be a word that an Arab could figure out.
He looked at me for a minute. And then he waved with his hand for me to follow him. Still on the mountain, he began to take me through alleys this way and that, winding around a crowded neighborhood of housing I didn’t know existed. I was proclaiming victory with every fiber of my being. Finally he pointed at a door and left.
I knocked. No answer. More knocking, until finally a woman dressed in a traditional Arab garment opened the door. I said, “Erf Erf Erf!” I made my hands like I was carrying a small animal. The woman shook her head as if she didn’t understand. I continued, “Erf Erf Erf!” Now my faith was working, and I had no intention of leaving the place without my answer to prayer.
Finally she disappeared for a minute and voilà! Out came Mimi! I smiled at the lady and without waiting for a response, took off with my dog.
At that moment, I felt the Lord clearly taught me a lesson I have never forgotten. I heard Him speak to my heart: “If you had just sat down on the mountain and cried your eyes out, sobbing and wailing, you would not have gotten your dog back. When you stood up, spoke out your request in faith, and then just started moving, I guided you back to Mimi.”
And Mimi lived to a ripe old age in Jerusalem.
Just start moving! Faith and action is what we have lived by all of these years in our ministry in Israel.
Ben Yehuda and his wife Devora in 1882, soon after their arrival in Jerusalem.
When Eliezer Ben Yehuda decided to leave Europe for Jerusalem in 1881, there was not a single person in the Holy Land, or any place else in the world, who spoke Hebrew as their mother tongue. There was no such thing as everyday, spoken Hebrew—only words to be read from the Bible and rabbinical passages.
But Eliezer fell in love with the Hebrew language. Moreover, he saw it as the tool to recreate a united Jewish people who would return to their ancient homeland. Even stranger, he seems to have been the only human being in the world who grasped the connection between the language and the land.
He had plans to marry Devora Yonas, daughter of a well-to-do family, now in Russia, who had unofficially adopted him when he was a 14-year-old orphan. But then to his great dismay, at age 23, his dreams shattered when he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. He wrote Devora’s father, Solomon, telling him that he could no longer marry his daughter because the doctor said he might only have six months to live. He decided he must live in Jerusalem and finish out his days there.
To say the least, Solomon, Devora’s father, was relieved to receive Eliezer’s letter. They all loved Eliezer as part of their family, but there was no way their daughter could marry a sick man on his way to a desolate far-off land.
But when Solomon broke the news to Devora, she would not hear of it. She told her parents that she was going to marry Eliezer! She had waited for seven years to marry him and nothing was going to stop her now. Her mother, Rivka, was beside herself. How could she let her daughter go to that God-forsaken land with a dying man?
SHE LEFT WITHOUT A PASSPORT
Amazingly, her father finally acquiesced. He saw the love she had for her man, and he decided to let her go. This was indeed a remarkable family. They arranged for her to meet Eliezer who would be in Vienna a week before he left for Jerusalem, and in two days she was smuggled out of Russia without a passport.
Eliezer was delirious with joy. He wrote in his diary:
“Not my sickness, nor a life of sorrow which seem to be my lot, deterred her from her desire to share my life. Our lives had become one, and the first Hebrew family in modern times had come into being.”
When they met in Vienna, he told her about the change in direction his life had taken under the influence of Tchatchnikof, his Catholic mentor who had turned the young idealist into a political activist. Now, convinced of the truth of his vision, he was ready to write and publish his ideas—all in the Hebrew language which he was still then learning.
SPEAK ONLY HEBREW!
He told his wife-to-be, “Devora, you are going to be the first Hebrew mother in nearly two thousand years. Our child will be the first infant in all these centuries who will come into the world hearing nothing but the beauty of our ancient language!”
And then came reality. He told her there were certain conditions to the success of his life’s mission. His words to Devora went something like this:
“I must ask you, dear Devora, that from now on you shall speak only Hebrew. We must set an example for our people, for those who would come after us. Hebrew must live again! It must become more than just a language of literary exercise! We must run our home in Hebrew, bring up our children in Hebrew, make love in Hebrew—and if we fight and argue, even that we must do in Hebrew.”
She answered, “But I really don’t know any Hebrew, dear!” He insisted, “Until you do—keep quiet in Hebrew.” On the spot, while still in Europe, he began teaching her words in Hebrew. This is a “tree,” a “window,” a “street,” a “lantern.”
ON THEIR WAY TO JERUSALEM
In the fall of 1881, the new couple, accompanied by Eliezer’s Polish friend, Tchatchnikof, stopped in Egypt, and found a Rabbi to marry them.
They arrived in Jerusalem, a city of 25,000, of which more than half were Jewish. They were overwhelmed by the utter squalor and wretchedness of the city. Open sewers and a stench everywhere. And they were practically penniless. But Devora was as unique a person, as was her husband.
The zeal of the prophets became her zeal, too. She was Eliezer’s wife now, and soon she would fulfill her love’s desire. She would become the first Hebrew mother in modern times. She would have many children, and they would be the first children in nearly two millennia to speak Hebrew from birth!
ANOTHER MIRACULOUS MEETING
Because several of his Hebrew articles written in Europe had been published in a Jerusalem journal, the publisher, Dov Frumkin and his family, were awaiting the arrival of Eliezer and his wife. In one of those “chance” happenings, Frumkin told Eliezer he was leaving for six months to sell subscriptions to his newspaper in Russia and offered him a job on the spot as assistant editor. He would have a salary equivalent to $5.00 a month.
In one stroke of fortune, Eliezer believed he could provide a livelihood for himself and his wife, and launch a journalistic career. “The trumpet,” he said, “was put to his lips to sound the blast of liberation.” He announced, “I have called for a war to recapture Israel’s land and language.” This would be his life’s work.
He immediately perceived that the greatest blockage to his goals was the extreme alienation among the tiny groups of religious Jews in Jerusalem. He decided he would take it upon himself to bring them together in unity so that these great goals could be achieved. He would become religious himself!
ELIEZER AND DEVORA BECOME ORTHODOX
While privately admitting that many of the Jewish traditions were old-fashioned, and others had nothing to do with the Torah or Judaism, he and Devora both took on the yoke of the Torah, keeping a kosher home, the Sabbath and the Holidays, going to synagogue and observing the traditions of Judaism. He grew ear locks and a long beard. He prayed every morning with his prayer shawl and phylacteries. He thought religious discipline would be a binding agent for Jews everywhere. Anything to bring the Jews of Jerusalem together!
But alas! The Orthodox saw Ben Yehuda as a pagan and an enemy of the Jewish people because he was defiling the holy language of the Bible and using it in everyday language. They could not imagine using this language to say, “Take out the garbage!” And they became Eliezer’s fierce and violent enemies throughout his life.
The Ben Yehuda family moved into their first rented house. It faced the “Wailing Wall,” but they had to cross through seven dirty courtyards ankle-deep in debris to reach it. And to reach their rooms it was necessary to climb a rope ladder.
ALONE IN JERUSALEM
Even more depressing, he and Devora had few friends in Jerusalem. There was a couple heading a Jewish charity from England, Michael Pines and his wife, who befriended Eliezer and Devora. Because of a religious (but not extreme) upbringing, they knew enough Hebrew to communicate. The four made a pact to only speak Hebrew to each other. For Ben Yehuda, ever the visionary, “that evening was the beginning of the revival of Hebrew as a common spoken tongue in the Land of the Fathers!”
He should have known, however. His Hassidic employer, Dov Frumkin, hated the Pines because they were part of the anti-Hassidic stream. And for Devora, because she was absolutely forbidden to speak in any other language, she found herself alone most of the time. Instead, she spent time practicing words and sentences that Eliezer wrote down for her. She would wait for him to come home after work at night for another Hebrew lesson.
The community of 16,000 Jews in Jerusalem was a “generation of separation.” Each little group spoke in the tongue of the land from which it came, isolated from one another. Their various Ashkenazi Rabbis (from Europe) had the utmost disdain for the Sephardic Jews (from Islamic lands). And each little community spoke their own language.
ROTHSCHILD INSISTS ON FRENCH IN HIS SCHOOLS
Baron Edmond Rothschild was the greatest philanthropist of Israel’s pre-state days. Through his charity, Alliance Israelite Universelle, he purchased property for settlers near the Jaffa area, gave farmers vineyards and wineries from French grapes, and built a school in every new settlement.
But for him, the national revival of Hebrew as the national tongue was a pipe dream! In fact, the whole idea of multitudes of Jews making aliyah to Israel was pure fantasy. Yes, he would help the poor in the Holy Land, but the French Baron demanded that French be taught as the main language in all his schools! He simply saw Hebrew as a dead language.
Eliezer wrote a stinging article, a call to war against Rothschild’s Alliance, in which he saw him as a dangerous enemy to the whole concept of a national revival in the land of Israel. Yes, the Alliance was practical. Rothschild wanted to prepare these students to be able to function anywhere in the world.
But Ben Yehuda’s vision was completely different: the resurrection of the land and the language of the Jewish people. Years later, he wrote,
It would seem that in the history of nations there are times when the realists cannot lead properly, and only the dreamers, those who do not take facts into account can cross the impregnable boundary of reality and create a better reality for the nation!
Ben Yehuda had a dream and a passion. That’s all he had.
To be continued next month.
Fulfilment of Prophecy, Eliezer Ben Yehuda, by Eliezer Ben Yehuda (grandson) 2008; Tongue of the Prophets, The Life Story of Eliezer Ben Yehuda by Robert St. John 1952; https://goo.gl/MVmMUK; https://goo.gl/8r29uN
Ministerio Internacional da Restauracao, Manaus, Apostle Pastor Renee Terra Nova.
As I came out of the arrivals door of the Sao Paulo, Brazil International Airport, I was greeted by our faithful and longtime friend Luis who has been with Maoz for many years. Even though he is the director of a school and has many other responsibilities, he gives freely of his time to bless Israel through Maoz Israel Ministries. It was a great time of fellowship as he expressed to me the excitement there was in many congregations throughout Brazil who were waiting for my visit.
We were later joined by Anderson Barreto, our extraordinary Brazil national director, and discussed some goals of our trip. Then Anderson and I got on a plane to the city of Salvador.
As we went from city to city and congregation to congregation, there was one thing in common in each city and group. They all had a positive view of Israel and they were grateful that someone from Israel came to give them a biblical reason to stand with Israel. I was impressed by how many young people were present at each meeting.
Another blessed event happened at two different meetings. When I finished sharing and teaching, many people came forward for salvation at the altar call. If only for that purpose I came, it was worth it.
Two of the congregations where I spoke had tens of thousands of members. It was a great encouragement to see them embracing Israel with newly received information and a renewed excitement.
Our last stop was the city of Manaus. This is a city of 2,500,000 people in the middle of the Amazon Jungle.
The Apostle Pastor Renee Terra Nova received us as family and opened up his congregation to us. We were able to bring God’s heart for Israel to them through the teaching of the Word and the grace and moving of the Holy Spirit.
The response was very positive and the meetings were broadcast throughout Brazil “live.” We were able to impact hundreds of thousands of people at one time though the media of Internet.
As Anderson and I sat together waiting for our last flight to return home; each to his own city, it became clear to both of us that the Brazilian people were opening their hearts to Israel and that we would begin to see many new opportunities for our two countries to work together to further God’s plans for Israel and Brazil.
God has given amazing musical gifts and fortitude to the children of the Messianic Jewish community in Israel. When we began the Music Making for Kids program, we never dreamed we would see the talent and skills of our children that are now literally bursting in our congregations across the nation. It is truly a Sign from God that a whole new generation of believing children are rising up to worship God with all kinds of instruments and beautiful voices! And it is our Maoz partners who have made this whole phenomenon possible! We now have 60 children enrolled in Music Making for Kids. Thank YOU!
Total Cost: $38,500.
Yet needed: $25,500
My name is Yair, I am 11 years old, and I play the violin, the piano and I also sing.
At our congregation, I lead the children’s worship team, and I am also part of the youth worship team, where I play the piano and sing. Our children’s worship team has four members — drums, bass, piano and vocalists. Our youth team has seven members — drums, bass, guitar, piano, violin, flute, saxophone and vocals. My sister sings and plays the violin.
I think God gave me this gift because he wants me to lead people in worship and also help bring non-believers to faith. I think that when people who don’t believe in God hear praise and worship, the Holy Spirit can fill them and they start believing.
I want to praise and worship God just as King David did. My other dream is to become a pilot, and I also want to be an inventor — who makes things better.
I have been part of Music Making For Kids for four years now. The program helps me progress in my studies. When I grow up, I will most certainly use music as a tool for God.
My name is Elichen, I am 14, I live in Haifa and I’ve been playing the violin for 8 years.
I play in my Conservatory Orchestra, on the youth worship team at the congregation and sometimes on the main worship team when I stand in for my oldest sister. I also play in a national youth orchestra for children 10 to 15. (After that is the Philharmonic orchestra.)
In the future I would like to teach children music, and also serve on the worship team. I want to be everywhere where I can worship, help, and add anointing with my talent.
When we perform in MMFK recitals, the audience is believers — all like me. And each one is learning music and maybe thinking about the same future I think about. It encourages me and reminds me that I’m not the only one who believes in Yeshua and plays an instrument — there are others like me who like it and want to play.
My music right now is the best way I can thank God for this talent. If I continue investing in this gift, I will be able to give Him a greater offering of thanksgiving by being better and tell Him thank you in a way I haven’t told him yet. He gave me something not everyone receives. My desire is to bring joy and anointing to people who hear me play — that they will know He is always near, and that He exists.
FATHER OF YAIR AND ELICHEN
We have six children, and most of them play instruments, including two professionally.
Many years ago, when our oldest son was 17 (today he is 22), our congregational worship team leaders moved away, and we were left almost without a team. We asked our son, “Rami, would you be willing to help us? We have no one else to ask.” He said he would try.
We saw how hard it was for him, but he really poured himself into it. The other four-five people who were already on the worship team were much older than our son. But we saw God helping, and they listened to Rami, and today, we have an excellent team.
Today we see the next generation growing up, and among them there are many talented young people who are now joining the worship team.
When children hear that they will receive a scholarship because they are excelling in something, it already gives them an inner push to try. When Music Making For Kids came and said they were willing to help, that was such a huge blessing! We are full of gratitude. It is a blessing after a blessing, after a blessing.
My name is Neta, I am 8 years old, and I play the cello.
My dream is to believe in God and play for Him as much as possible, because that is the greatest feeling there is. I want to be a part of a worship team.
I think God gave me this talent because when I play, I hear God speaking to me in my heart. I have perfect pitch. This allows me to hear a song and play it without seeing the chords or sheet music.
I think that music is a good way to worship because it reaches God’s heart. It makes Him glad to see and hear His children fellowshipping with Him.
Being part of the Music Making for Kids program will help me meet other children who believe in Yeshua and enjoy playing and worshipping together.
MOM OF NETA
Neta started talking very late, and was very closed in herself as a child. But she really loved to draw and paint — both at home and also during worship. In her drawings, I saw something very spiritual — as if she was experiencing the Holy Spirit. She would paint wind, flows of water, rain… Today, when she plays, she does the same — it’s like she is playing what the Holy Spirit is showing her within her and it flows out.
When Neta plays worship music, I see a spark light up in her. It’s as if she’s settling in the right place for her.
Dear Maoz Partner,
We live for the day that revival will hit this land! Multitudes upon multitudes will receive Yeshua, the Sacrificed Lamb, and will learn how to worship and pray to Israel’s Ancient of Days.
God is preparing for that day. And to us it is so clear that “suddenly” we are seeing these incredibly talented children yearning to worship and praise the Lord in a way that magnifies the God of Israel.
What’s more, they are willing to make the sacrifice of long daily hours practicing their voices and instruments to bring glory to Yeshua, King of the Jews!
As of this writing we have reached our goal of 60 children enrolled in the Music Making for Kids program—ages seven to 18!
These children are carefully vetted. They must have taken lessons for at least one year to prove their ability and diligence to seriously study music. Then they receive anywhere from 40% to 70% of the cost of their lessons, depending on their abilities. A few of our top musicians receive 90% of the cost of their lessons.
This year we have committed to invest $38,500 in our Music Making for Kids program. So far we have received $13,000 from our family of partners—leaving $25,500* yet needed for these musicians.
In Israel, students study music in what are called a conservatory. The prices are pretty much set throughout the country. When the children enroll in these conservatories, Maoz is required to make a year‘s financial commitment to the music schools.
The great immigration of Russian Jews over the last two decades has definitely increased the quality of musicians in Israel. In fact, many of the children enrolled in MMFK are from believing families who came from the former Soviet Union.
They have a culture of music. And we can provide the finances to give these children the opportunity to become what God had in mind when they were created!
This is exactly the time to invest in our children to see their gifts and talents develop for the Glory of Yeshua and to bless the Messianic Jewish community of believers throughout our nation!
For the salvation of Israel!
Ari & Shira Sorko-Ram
P.S. The average cost per child is $65* for one month, and $650* for ten months. We invite you to support one of these talented young musicians for a month or possibly a whole school year! Whatever you can give will count for eternity.
*$25,000 = £19,420, €21,530, CAD32,695
*$65 = £47, €53, CAD84
*$650 = £470, €530, CAD840