Hey there you fancy readers! Just wanted to let you know that I have moved domains.
If you want to follow my posting about living life Yehovah’s way while residing in the US of A then click on the link below to my new blog:
Hope you enjoy!
Hey there you fancy readers! Just wanted to let you know that I have moved domains.
If you want to follow my posting about living life Yehovah’s way while residing in the US of A then click on the link below to my new blog:
Hope you enjoy!
“And we know that all matters work together for good to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 ISR1998
Well I wanted to get to 20 posts, so I guess this is my chance.
Right now I am sitting on the floor next to gate D8 at Ben Gurion Airport 12 hours after my plane was suppose to leave. No I didn’t miss my flight, and neither did all of the other passengers who have been waiting to leave for quite some time.
I’ll back up to the beginning of the story to explain what happened…
As I waited giddily yesterday evening for 9 o’clock to roll around to leave for my 12:45am flight I received some disheartening news. My flight was delayed 8 hours and would not leave until 8:30am the next morning. Ok, I was certainly bummed and maybe teared up just a little when I called my mom to tell her the news.
But ultimately all was ok, I was definitely glad that I had not left the dorms yet so at least I had a place to stay the night. I was going to get home just a few hours later than I expected and all troubles would be forgotten.
5am this morning. Yay! It’s finally time to head to the airport! I get to go home today and all is well.
Checked bags. Passed security. Breakfast eaten. Flight canceled.
My 8:30am flight was canceled 15 minutes before we were suppose to board…with no alternative solution. Reason being? “Shortage of crew”, interpreted as you may think. What the heck.
How in the world am I going to get home?
Number 1 rule in international crisis: Call mom and dad.
So after some searching around for maybe this flight, or maybe that one, maybe fly to London and then to the US…I am now scheduled to leave at 6:15pm tonight to finally reach my family at 7:00am tomorrow morning.
I’ll admit, I wasn’t happy, I wanted to cry like the little girl in the stroller, because all I want to do is get home.
Even though I am still here in the airport waiting to go home, even though I have no idea if my 6:15pm will also be canceled, and even though I miss my family so much I physically hurt…I still trust in Yehovah that there is a plan in this.
I am still so thankful that even though things are not working out the way they were planned He is still whispering to me that He loves me and He is taking care of me. I didn’t hear the whispers at first over the sound of self-pity and not-so-justified extreme annoyance, but realizing that we have a choice in how to respond in a given situation is so powerful that it makes you want to choose to do the right thing.
There are so many others just like me who are missing flights to get back to their loved ones, and maybe all they need to brighten their day is a friendly and sincere smile from someone else in their same situation.
However I am still longing to be home, I can rest and have peace in the fact that everything works out for the good of those who love Him…even though we may not understand.
And with that I am signing off with my 20th blog post!
And hopefully with my last eventful adventure here until I return again to the land of Israel.
“Do not let this Book of the Torah depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you guard to do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and act wisely.” Joshua 1:8 ISR2009
I am so full right now. Full of thankfulness, gratitude, excitement, sadness…all mixed together, creating a plethora of emotions. It is hard to believe that I am leaving this adventure that began 5 months ago on a hot Israeli day in July. I have learned so much, grown so much, and loved so much.
The time I have spent here has changed my life and will continue to do so as I pull from experiences I have had and lessons I have learned while being here.
I could not have asked for a better last few days here in Israel. I didn’t try to see as many sites as I could, I didn’t try to play the tourist and cram in everything that I hadn’t done, but I spent the last few days being with the people that has made this experience so memorable, and for that I am truly grateful.
Goodbyes are hard, they are never fun and they leave an ache inside after you turn away. But that is when you know that you made something special, that you made a true friend. And I have had quite a few hard goodbyes…some now very close friends and some I now consider my family.
But there is a sweetness to the bitter side of leaving this country and leaving these people who I have grown to love; and that is running into the arms of those who hold my heart, I am so excited to see my family I almost can’t stand it. And that is what makes saying “see you later” a bit more bearable.
As for the many adventures I had and everything here that is connected to living a Torah filled life that is pleasing to Him…that will never stop. Like Joshua said, it is something I take back with me and will never let go of. There are so many connections to be made in regular day to day life anywhere we are, its just all about living the lives we have been given as best we can according to His truth.
This post is being kept short because I am still processing everything that has happened over what feels like a life time in Israel. Thank you so much for going on this journey with me and I pray we continue to strive to live a truth filled life. All I can say is that I am so completely blessed to have gone on this adventure with the Torah.
“Completely destoy all the places where the nations which you are dispossessing served their mighty ones, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. And you shall break down their slaughter-places, and smash their pillars, and burn their Asherim with fire. And you shall cut down the carved images of their mighty ones and shall destroy their name out of that place, Do not do so to יהוה your Elohim…for every abomination which יהוה hates they have done to their mighty ones, for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their mighty ones. All the words I am commanding you guard to do it – do not add to it nor take away from it.” Deuteronomy 12:2-4; 31-32 ISR2009
“If you love Me, you shall guard My commands.” John 14:15 ISR2009
Let me tell you a story.
Once upon a time a long time ago in the city of Rome there lived an emperor, a powerful emperor who ruled over all of the people under his dominion. This emperor was bent on gaining as much control over his subjects as possible. Two main groups were under his power, the Nazarenes (aka Christians) and the Pagans. The Nazarenes followed the Truth passed down to them from Yeshua and his apostles, while the Pagans worshiped the sun gods and did horrid things in the sight of Yehovah. Up until this point wide spread persecution against those who followed the Way (Nazarenes) was rampant. In order to gain control over his empire this emperor used this persecution to his advantage. Instead of attempting a mass genocide this emperor, named Constantine, made Christianity the religion of Rome, but with a few stipulations which ultimately resulted in the blending of paganism mixed with the real truth which left a big tangled mess.
Those who once followed truth were now forced to abandon what they knew to be right to now live in a “half-truth” society. It was here that Roman churches were built according to the pattern of the pagan basilicas, it was here that all of the covenant festivals were abandoned and were replaced by the dates of foreign god celebrations, and it was here that the pure truth of Yehovah was permeated with darkness that has blinded those whom He loves so dear.
Fast Forward a bit to the traditions and practices that are observed today that we did not even realize makes Yehovah unhappy.
Yes my friends, I mean Christmas.
In our hearts we are celebrating this festival time in warmth and love and family and celebrating the birth of the Savior. But this is not how our dear heavenly Father sees it.
You see, long ago in the blending of religions and when Yehovah’s festivals (which are laid out in Leviticus 23) were deemed forbidden His festival days were replaced by the holidays of the foreign gods which the pagans worshiped. December 25th, which used to be known as Saturnalia, was changed to Christmas. With the merging of the religions Yeshua’s “birthday” was moved to this day to create a false sense of harmony and unity in the Roman empire.
And until today this tradition still stands.
But why does this make Yehovah unhappy?
It makes Him unhappy because it reminds him of the cruelty that was inflicted upon his dear little ones who were sacrificed to pagan gods. It makes Him unhappy because He knows the wool has been pulled over our eyes when he so desires for us to see His truth.
But, it makes His face radiate in unabandoned joy when we finally understand the truth and choose to follow Him no matter our personal cost.
The most popular question posed right about now is “but that is not what it means to me…” “When I celebrate that way and do those things I am remembering the birth of Jesus.”
The best answer to these questions are that it does not matter what it means to us, it only matter what it means to our Abba. And if we are truly following after His heart than what breaks His heart will break our hearts. Even if we do not perform the same acts as those long ago, it is the symbols embedded in our traditions that is a reminder to Abba of the harm inflicted upon his children and His jealousy of other gods being worshiped.
“For you do not bow yourselves to another mighty one, for יהוה, whose Name is jealous, is a jealous El (God)” Exodus 34:14
I understand completely that it can be hard to step away from what had seemed right, from what once was joyous, and what used to be ingrained in our lives. But…
…I trust in my Yehovah, my dear Elohim, that whatever he asks us to give up for his name sake he will give it back to us ten times over.
I completely understand that this is a sensitive topic, especially today. But I challenge you to set aside our wants and our desires so we can truly seek and find what pleases our Abba’s heart, and then do our absolute best to live our lives to make Him smile.
“And you shall seek Me, and shall find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 ISR 2009
Seek out the scriptures to test these words and search for yourself what is our Yehovah’s truth.
“All Scripture is breathed out by Elohim and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for setting straight, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of Elohim might be fitted, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ISR2009
“He made the moon for appointed times; The sun knows its going down.” Psalms 104:19 ISR1998
I’m coming up on my days of lasts…last MDA shift, last Study Abroad trip, and last sighting of the new moon in Israel…for now.
On December 23rd at 4:45pm I got to view this beauty high in the sky, marking the 10th new moon and signaling the 10th Hebrew month.
I have come around full circle from that first sighting on August 27 at 7:19pm from the vantage point of the Israeli consulate in Jerusalem, and what made this last viewing so special was that I saw this jewel in the sky at the same spot where it all started months ago at the beginning of this life changing journey in Israel.
How it came about that I was in Jerusalem on the day of this last new moon sighting was nothing short of a heartfelt hug and kiss from my dear Abba.
So here is how it happened…
Part of the Voyage to Medicine program includes a “History of Medicine” course which consists of going on tours to different “medical” sites around Israel. So far we have been to the Immigrant Camp at Atlit, to Kibbutz Lochamai HaGitaot where we studied medicine in the Holocaust, and to…Migdal David in none other than Jerusalem.
I had originally thought that I would not be able to be in Jerusalem again before I flew back to the states. But low and behold when we were sent our scheduled tours for the “History of Medicine” requirements, what was smiling back at me but the date that marked the trip to Jerusalem on December 23rd. It would have been enough to just be in Jerusalem again, but after I realized that it was the same day as the 10th new moon I was thoroughly overjoyed.
Everything lined up perfectly.
We started the day at the Migdal David museum located right inside of the Old City (this place put the plagues and illness found throughout scripture into a whole new perspective), then we walked around the Old City and stopped by one of the oldest hospitals in Jerusalem (which is now a yisheva where Orthodox Jews study), and we ended our tour at a delicious Israeli restaurant and a mini stroll around the Machane Yehuda Market (where I got a few souvenirs to take back to the loved ones…but shh, don’t tell them 😉 )
The place where I needed to meet up with my viewing crew was just a few blocks away from the market, which gave me enough time to walk the streets of Jerusalem.
At sunset, watching the sun go down and anticipating the second when we could see the new moon was just as beautiful as the first time.
Not much else to say other than…
Loved every second of it, and I’m very happy that I got to share this experience with you!
“For יהוה your Elohim has blessed you in all the work of your hand. He has known your wandering through this great wilderness. These forty years יהוה your Elohim has been with you, you have not lacked any matter. And we passed beyond our brothers, the descendants of Esaw who dwell in Se’ir, away from Eylath and Etsyon Geber, we turned and passed over by way of the Wilderness of Mo’ab.” Deuteronomy 2:7-8 ISR2009
Eylath (or in modern times known as Eilat) is the southern most city in Israel and at the northern tip of the Red Sea. Today Eilat has a thriving port and the city is smack dab next to Jordanian city Aqaba, Egyptian village Taba, and in spitting distance of Saudi Arabia…but might not wanna do that, I hear that they are not on the best of terms…
In biblical times Eilat was a stop along the way in the wilderness travels of the Israelites. (Deut. 2:8)
Eilat is all these things and more! And it is also the hot spot where I explored this last weekend with the International Study Abroad group at TAU. Last big trip of the semester and we went out with a bang.
On Friday morning we began our long trek by bus from Tel Aviv to as far south as we could go in Israel, but we had a few surprises along the way…
Tomato and Pepper picking!!
This moshav (an agricultural community in Israel) is located in the Arava desert. (Arava means “dry and desolate area” in Hebrew, and it sure was that.)
The peppers were delicious, but the tomatoes were definitely the best tomatoes I have ever tasted! There were 4 different kinds of peppers and 7 different kinds of tomatoes, all organically grown. They also keep a few bees around for the pollination process.
Fun fact: Did you know that honey bees are not able to pollinate tomato flowers? Bumble bees typically pollinate tomatoes because they are able to vibrate the pollen loose, and that just isn’t a characteristic that the honey bees share…they prefer the nectar of the flowers.
But back to the produce. Each of us were given a container to take some of this deliciousness with us, and we were also able to have as much off the vines as we wanted while we were there…some of the group got back on the bus with tummy aches (pst. I wasn’t one of them, haha). I thoroughly enjoyed the 30 minute detour we spent here and it reminded me of my wwoofing time in Israel! (Oh! And this little moshav is only 20 minutes south of my little Keyma Farm goat adventure spot. We even passed it on the way.)
If you need context, wwoofing post here
After we arrived to Eilat we celebrated Shabbat dinner and lite the menorah candles signaling the 4th night of Hannukah (celebration days are sundown 12/16/2014 to sundown 12/23/2014).
The next day was anticipated to be filled with hiking, exploring, and seeing the sights, and it sure was! Our 7 hour hike left us all exhausted, spent, and proud. After a nap for most (and a facetime session with my besties for me…aka the fam 😉 ) we headed to town for a night stroll on the boardwalk…although a short coastline Eilat is a beautiful tourist destination.
Day 3 began with another hike, but a little less strenuous than the day before, kinda…I think everyone was still feeling the effects of the previous hike, so mustering up the leg strength we kept going. But we did it! And the breath taking view made it all worth it…
Following the hike was probably one of the most exciting parts of the trip. The dolphins!
One thing that Eilat is well known for is its beautiful coral reef and nature reserve, which is the perfect location destination for its dolphin inhabitants. Here we saw the beautiful creatures strut their stuff in the shining afternoon sun. Their interaction with the trainer during and after feeding time was definielty a thing to watch. The instructor told us that these dolphins are not treated on a reward based system, meaning that they give the dolphins food because they need to eat and not for any ‘tricks and flips’ purposes. Any acknowledgement the dolphins give to the trainers are completely voluntary, which made it neat to see the dolphins endearment towards the trainer.
After a quick screening and lecture of the life of a dolphin and everything it entails (no pun intended) we were on our way back to Tel Aviv to begin a week of studying and test prep. I sure did enjoy this weekend, and will continue to have adventures until the last day.
Up next…Jerusalem round 2!
“For every matter there is an appointed time, even a time for every pursuit under the heavens:” Ecclesiastes 3:1 ISR2009
As each day passes my time here in Israel is drawing closer and closer to an end. It is a sad thought thinking about everything I am going to leave behind, from friends I’ve made to places I frequent to the land of Israel itself. Yet right now I’m so grateful to Yehovah for the time I have spent here and for the time I still have left to live and learn in the Holy Land.
One thing I have noticed about Israel is that it makes an impression on anyone who sets foot on her soil…whether that be good or bad, this influential nation the size of New Jersey leaves a mark on those who experience the land for themselves. For me, there is a piece of Israel that will stay with me long after I leave. From the language, to the culture, to the people, I feel as if I’m leaving a different person because of it all.
A small recap of everything thus far and a small window into what is still to come.
Firstly, upon arrival here on July 30, 2014 we students entered into a country where many were timid (to say the least) to set foot in because of the status of the ongoing war. But this is when I saw the country at it’s best, there was a sense of unity as brothers, parents, neighbors and the like stood side by side filled with pride in defense of their country…Spending some time in the shelter and seeing the iron dome in action was pretty cool too…
The first seven weeks (which feels so long ago) in Israel were dedicated to learning the Hebrew language, familiarizing ourselves with the culture, and figuring out how in the world to work the bus system.
After Ulpan (Hebrew classes) ended festival time was upon us throughout the entire month of October. During this time many students took the opportunity to travel around Israel (as well as some detours to Europe). Next came the beginning of classes at the University for most of the international students, but for a few of us (9 to be exact) the medical world of shadowing doctors, volunteering on ambulances, attending surgeries, and receiving lectures from professionals in their respective fields at Asaf Harofeh Medical Center was opened with much to experience. We are nearly complete with our time at the hospital with finals and paper due dates just around the corner.
Although time is short there are still adventures left to be had before boarding the plane to fly home. A few of the upcoming events include tours of a few medical sites around Israel, the Immigrant Camps of Atlit, the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem and a tour of the Old City of Jerusalem (which I am most excited about even though I’ve already been…can’t ever get enough of it.)
If I’m certain of anything from my time being here in Israel it is that I definitely want to come back. Just as I am taking a part of Israel with me, there is a piece of me that will always remain in Israel.
But for now, there are still more adventures yet to be discovered!
“And Elohim made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night, and the stars.” Genesis 1:16 ISR2009
It was that time again! Time to site the new moon on Sunday November 23, 2014. Time to announce the 9th new month on the Hebrew calendar. Time to take a snapshot of the white crescent sliver in the sky to prove to the world that the new biblical month has come.
Only this time there was a plot twist.
There was gonna be a new moon. There was supposed to be a new moon. There was probably a new moon…only we didn’t see it. We didn’t see it because the Israeli winter decided to make it’s grand entrance, bringing in tow gray clouds and stormy skies that served to hide the new moon from specters attempting to determine the 9th Hebrew month.
At first I was a little bummed when it was clear that I was not gonna see the moon (I mean check out the lack of sky in that picture) but as I waited I become mindful of the absolute peace inside of me and the still calmness of the moment. I was able to fully accept the gift of being able to set the world aside and just gaze at the precarious yet tranquil clouds in the sky. Whenever I find myself in these moments I am reminded of what it is like to turn off all the distractions and become solely focused on Yehovah through the beauty of his creation.
Needless to say, the new month did not start on November 23 since the moon was not sighted anywhere in Israel. The first day of the new month is November 24. Here is the official link:
I’ll admit, this concept of the first day of the new month being ‘changed’ boggled my Western civilization mind. Even if the new moon was there, the fact that 2 witnesses did not see it is just as if the new moon wasn’t there at all. However, the physical sighting of the new moon was how the new month was determine in David and Yeshua’s time, so that is how it is still done today. (Nazarene Israel cite). And how cool is it to think that if Yehovah wants the month to start on a different day than He can just send in clouds to block the moon from our searching eyes! He is definitely the one in control.
On November 24th I was unfortunately unable to take a pic of the sky of where the new moon would have been (even though I think it was a bit overcast to see it then as well).
I was unable to watch the sky at sunset because of an afternoon/night shift with Magen David Adom. Definitely not unfortunate that I got to volunteer with MDA, just unfortunate that I couldn’t have my eyes to the sky and the same time!
And since it came up… a little update on daily life here in Israel…
I am really enjoying volunteering on the MDA ambulance. It has been the perfect way to get an authentic taste of Israeli life and culture. The other volunteers on the ambulance with me are generally high schoolers, which gives me a window into the pop culture side of Israel as well. One thing that I have noticed about this organization, and a lot of Israel in general, is the feeling of being a part of a family. Every time I walk into the station at the beginning of my shift I feel like I am being welcomed into a big living room where everyone talks, laughs, and enjoys each others company. I am very happy to be a part of it.
Well, as I said in the title…Happy New Month!
(And Happy Thanksgiving! 😀 )
“Before I formed you in the belly I knew you, and before you came out of the womb I did set you apart…” Jeremiah 1:5 ISR2009
CAUTION: The following post may be filled with nostalgic emotion and sap.
When I was younger I used to imagine what it would be like to be 10 years older. I think this started sometime around my 5th or 6th birthday (about the time kindergarten rolled around and I started to grasp the concept of adding numbers). I just thought it would be so cool to be able to put a 1 in front of my age! It sounded so grown up to me…but I distinctly remember when I stopped doing this, it was after my 10th birthday. In my head you couldn’t get more grown up than 20, right? Wrong…oh so very wrong…
I still consider myself a kid in so many ways. I love that I can still be fascinated by the seemingly insignificant joys in life. I love that I can still hold onto a childlike faith and trust that Yehovah is leading me every day to follow Him.
In this life I also love that I can stand in awe of how my Yehovah moves and orchestras simplistic one note symphonies every day that creates a harmonious melody of a lifetime…and my song is still just beginning.
On this 20th year of my birth I give all thanks to Him for the twists, turns, blessings, downfalls, joyous times, hard moments, tears, laughs, and subtle smiles. And more importantly I thank Him for all the people who have shared in all of these along the way.
I will not hide the small side of sadness that I cannot be with my dear family today (Dad, Mom, Andrew, Bekah Jayne, Josiah, Abigail, and Micah), but I consider myself completely blessed by all of the friends that have become like family here in Israel! And I’m very happy that I get to spend this day with them 😉
In my 20 years I have learned some things…some by experience, some by mistakes, and some by those who have poured into my life over the past 2 decades. So I am going to share with you 20 things that I have learned in my 20 years (some serious and some not so much 😉 )…
“And Elohim said, ‘Let lights come to be in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and appointed times, and for days and years’” Genesis 1:14 ISR2009
As of right now I am teetering just over half way through my time in Israel. 12 weeks have gone by leaving another 11 weeks to fill with adventure, experience, and school (finally). Classes start this next week along with volunteering on the Magen David Adom ambulances (more on that in a few).
On October 25, 2014 the new moon was spotted at various locations all over Israel signaling the 8th month on the Hebrew calendar. I was able to see the new moon at 6:14 p.m. in Tel Aviv from the vantage point right behind the Sde Dov airport. This is the 3rd time that I have had the privilege of sighting the new moon and it was just as amazing as the first time.
Official report here: http://us8.campaign-archive1.com/?u=3436769de447cbed81ad724ed&id=05c32c41ac&e=b8a07784cd
Remember as a kid playing the Hidden Picture game? Where in an otherwise normal looking setting there are random objects that blend in but just don’t belong? Ok, well do you remember the little bubble of excitement that you got when you found that hidden object? Sighting the new moon is kinda like that, but about 100 times more exciting. Every time I see the new moon I can’t help but stare, I am struck with a sense of awe that I am looking at the moon that has been sighted for centuries to determine the signs and seasons of Yehovah’s appointments. I am honored that I am able to play the part as a witness in his grand scheme of time.
There will be at least 2 more moon sightings before I go back to the states, and I’ll take every chance I can get!
Now for school and first aid training…
This last week I spent 9 hours a day learning the ins and outs of working with Magen David Adom (translated Red Shield of David) as a part of my study abroad program. Along with CPR training and practicing how to take vital signs we were also learning how to identify various tools and objects in the ambulance by its Hebrew name. This’ll just add an interesting spin when figuring out what to do on the first day…Actual volunteering begins next week with rotating 8 hour shifts (each person is on the ambulance at least one day a week.)
Rather than holding classes on the Tel Aviv University campus, the Voyage to Medicine program (our humble class of 12 people) will be taking classes at the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center. We will also be volunteering at the hospital in whatever area of practice we are interested in…how cool right!? Anyways, I’m really looking forward to it, and I’m happy to be a student again! We’ll see how long I can hold on to that feeling. 😉