By Shira Sorko-Ram
Every December the children of Israel remember the miracle of Hanukkah.
Some 160 years before Messiah Yeshua was born, a tyrant king from Damascus ruled over the Jews and forced many to worship Greek gods. For three years a Jewish rebellion led by the Maccabees fought against this tyrant. They finally drove him out and then began the work of cleansing the Temple from all the abominations that had gone on there, including sacrifices of pigs to the god Zeus.
To rededicate the Temple, the Jews needed to relight the Menorah and keep it filled with oil so that the light never went out. But among the ruble, they could only find a single container of oil left - enough for one day - that had been sanctified and sealed by the High Priest. According to tradition, they lit the Menorah and it miraculously burned for eight days - long enough to have new oil pressed and sanctified.
Hanukkah is all about miracles. The very presence of the Spirit of God is represented in the anointing oil that lit the Menorah in the Holy Place of the Jewish Temple. But to take back their Temple, the Maccabees had to fight the Syrian enemy for three years. The victory of the Jewish people over this vicious enemy was a great miracle in itself.
Twenty-five miles from the ancient hometown of the Maccabees is the city of Tel Aviv. Last summer during the war with Gaza, a story was broadcast on Israeli TV and appeared in numerous newspapers and blogs with the headline, “Their God changes the path of our rockets in mid-air, said a terrorist.”
At the time, I thought the story was fascinating, but because I did not see any thing written about an eye witness account, I didn’t repeat the story. But not long ago, I was at a Messianic function where I visited with an old acquaintance. She began to tell me that her daughter - whom I shall call Shelly - was stationed in the Kiriyah military headquarters in downtown Tel Aviv - the equivalent of the Pentagon.
The Kiriyah is located a few meters next to our iconic three Azrieli towers which include a mammoth mall. My friend said that on July 17, Shelly was working in the Kiriyah when the sirens went off and every one quickly headed for the bomb shelters. The siren alerts throughout Tel Aviv had become quite common last summer. But usually, after a minute or so, the all-clear signal would sound; people would climb out of the bomb shelters and return to their work.
But this time Shelly remarked about how the sirens at the Kiriyah continued for “a very long time,” with the loud speaker repeating, “Incoming Rocket. Incoming Rocket.”
Finally, the all-clear sign was given. But the soldiers, including Shelly, didn’t know at the time what was going on.
Shortly after that a Rabbi of a yeshiva [Talmudic school - and whose name I will leave anonymous] sent this email out which was received by the father of the soldier:
“One of my students whom I haven’t heard from in many years contacted me today to ask where I teach Torah. I was surprised by his question, since I know for sure that he is not observing Torah and mitzvoth [commandments]. So, I asked him why he wanted to know, and this was his response:”
Azrieli Towers, Tel Aviv
“‘I observed the hand of G-d today with my own eyes. Now I know FOR SURE that there is a G-d!! No one told it to me...I didn’t hear it from someone else...I saw this happen with my own eyes.
“‘I am an integral part of the iron dome operation. What we do here is an exact science and I cannot give many details of what we do. The other day we knew that a missile was headed directly for Tel Aviv...aimed at one of the three big [Azrieli] towers. We sent up one missile to intercept it, and we missed. We sent a second one, and we missed. We sent a third one to intercept...and we missed.
“‘Something even remotely like this has only happened one other time ever that I am aware of. We are very exact and very good at what we do. We do not miss. So to miss three times is not possible.
“‘By this time, disaster was eminent. Their missile was only seconds from detonation. We began the procedure of sending off one final missile to try and intercept it just before it came down, but we knew that casualties would still be imminent.
“‘Now, you must understand, our calculations based on physics and aerodynamics and weather (wind, atmosphere, humidity) are complete...there is NOTHING we don’t take into account. This is how [the Iron Dome] is able to work so precisely.
“‘But all of a sudden, as we were scrambling to do anything and everything we could to save Tel Aviv, all of a sudden OUT OF NOWHERE came up a huge wind... one that was not on the radar...one that DID NOT EXIST before...and blew the missile from over Tel Aviv all the way into the sea and dropped it off exactly safely into the water where no one was injured!!!
“‘You must understand...there was NO WIND...and then there was A HUGE WIND. This is not a couple of inches of a “move” that any gentle breeze could influence...this is MILES. It was nothing other than the hand of G-d!! I saw it with my very own eyes!!! The wind was not there before and it was not there after. It didn’t come from somewhere, it came from NOWHERE.
“‘And after it moved the missile to the sea, the wind disappeared! So, after seeing this, I can no longer deny the existence of G-d. I took upon myself to keep Shabbat. Yesterday was my first Shabbat to keep and it was the best Shabbat of my life.’”
So that’s the story. Such a hit would have been catastrophic beyond imagination for the state of Israel.
Shelly’s father wrote me the following: “I didn’t know that our daughter was in the area that the missile was heading toward! I began to share the Rabbi’s email at our family Shabbat dinner. Since our daughter was at the table (I hadn’t a chance to talk to her much since she arrived home that afternoon from the army), I asked her if she knew about this and did it really happen. It was at that point that she said, “Yes, it did happen.” But she hadn’t heard how the missile was deflected. She only knew that she was in the safe area of the building, waiting for the sirens to stop. It lasted a long time, and then ended. Our daughter never heard what happened until then at our dinner.”
The father continued, “I was so thrilled to hear how God was protecting our daughter, even when I didn’t know about it. (I was also glad I didn’t know about it until after it was over!) When I was back in the U.S. this summer I met with a lot of groups that love Israel and pray for Israel and our family. I know many people were excited to hear how their prayers are making a difference here on the ground in Israel. It really was a great miracle; that event could have been the Israeli equivalent to 9/11 in the U.S. We can say with grateful hearts, the famous Hanukkah blessing: ‘A Great Miracle Happened Here!’”
I spoke with Shelly who affirmed the story of the unusually long sirens in the Kiriyah beside the towers. Because as a Messianic believer she is still serving in a responsible position, and because of the sensitivity of the Iron Dome system, she must remain an anonymous source. But from all the information I have received, this is a true story and a true miracle. The God of Israel has not forgotten His chosen people.
I truly believe that as Israelis become increasingly aware of the mortal danger facing the Jewish state, they will call out to the God of Israel. And since the Scriptures foretell that as Israelis open their hearts to God, they will meet “Him whom they pierced.” The day is near when the Scripture will be fulfilled: “It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will answer.” (Isaiah 65:24)
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FINANCIAL HELP TOGETHER WITH
CAN CHANGE LIVES!
By Veronica Paz
I have been working with IstandwithIsrael on a pilot project, choosing five families who have had great difficulty managing their finances under their present circumstances and with their skill sets.
Clearly, finding a way to successfully manage a financial budget brings joy and relief as few other achievements do.
Here is one family’s story…
Adina is an Ethiopian woman in her thirties, a single mother of four living in an Ethiopian neighborhood in Netanya. Until three years ago she was married to a man whom she married when she was very young. He was (is) an alcoholic and a gambler but she stayed with him until he became abusive towards her and she feared for the safety of her children and herself. The last months with him were very difficult and one very traumatic episode caused the neighbors to call the police, which ultimately resulted in his arrest and their divorce. Today she has a restraining order and he cannot even enter the city where they live.
Adina was not a believer throughout all this and knew almost nothing about Yeshua. But a figure began to appear in her dreams when she was going through those last months of her marriage. Her daughter’s kindergarten teacher was a believer who introduced her to an Ethiopian congregation in Netanya where she learned the identity of the Man who appeared to her and she received Yeshua as her Savior.
Regarding her finances, Adina had two major problems; the first is that because of her ex-husband’s gambling, she was left with part of the debt and is paying it back on a monthly basis. The second is that even though she is an extremely hard worker and is working more than full-time (3 part-time jobs) it is still very hard for her to cover her expenses for the household.
I have been working with her for a few months and she is highly motivated to learn to manage her finances and to be responsible before God. Although she has no higher education she is very intelligent and a fast learner. She is aware of her situation but still she trusts God and believes that He will provide for her and her children.
She is very grateful for the help she received from IstandwithIsrael which helped her to pay back part of her debts. She said that the whole process has given her security in assessing her financial reality and how she can make wise choices managing her available funds.
I pray she will continue this amazing journey and that she will soon find herself debt free and maybe even able to save up something for the future of her children.
Veronica Paz is a financial counselor. She is married to Gil, a financial coach and securities trader. They have two children.
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IstandwithIsrael DISTRIBUTED $516,000
IN HUMANITARIAN AID IN 2014
"Beit Hayeshua" Rehab Center
Dear friends of “I Stand With Israel,”
I wish to thank you on behalf of the “Beit HaYeshua” rehabilitation center for the generous donation of NIS35,000 for the purchase of a much needed van. Our previous vehicle had broken down many times, and finally we were forced to “part ways.” We did not have the money to purchase another vehicle. This donation from “I Stand With Israel” has enabled us to purchase a used Volkswagen van in good condition for the use of the various activities of the rehab center. Many, many thanks to you and the supporters who have made this possible.
Yours in Messiah’s service,
Director, Beit Hayeshua
Pastor, congregation Yeshuat Yisrael
Stefan is studying for his M.A. in Business
Management and works as a project manager
Dear “I Stand With Israel” staff,
I want to thank you for the tremendous support that you have given towards my MBA studies. Living life in Israel is not easy for young families and the expenses are many and great. When considering whether to continue pursuing a graduate degree or not, the financial issue was definitely one of the challenging aspects that I brought before the Lord in prayer, telling Him that if this is His will for me that I will need some assistance in this.
Your financial aid has been a real answer to prayer and one of the cases where God “winked” at me affirming to me that this is His will for me as I further my education in a field that interests me and one where I can use the giftings and talents that God has given me.
I hope that God will continue to use this initiative to bless and assist many others, and that we will see more and more Messianic believers filling the ranks and positions in the workplaces and academies in Israel, giving God the glory.
December 8, 2014
Dear Brothers and Sisters at Maoz,Thank you very much for supporting two of our families in need. We greatly appreciate your help in easing their financial burdens. You are such an example to the body of believers in Israel as you diligently meet their growing needs with a tender and genuine heart. Please know that we will continue your attitude of support, as the funds go directly to the people we specified. I believe our partnership will bring forth much fruit for the kingdom as lives are being changed through prayer and service. Please find attached two thank you letters from the families themselves. May God pour out a refreshing upon each of you and may all the work of your hands prosper as God’s will is carried forth. We bless and honor each of you.
Shalom in Messiah,
Congregational Leader & Humanitarian Aid Director
September 10, 2014
Dear Ari and Shira and Friends of Maoz Israel: Please accept our deepest thanks for the help given to our studying teachers through the fund of “I stand with Israel.”
Zoya, one of the teachers who has received
a scholarship to finish her degree
for teaching at Makor HaTikvah
These four teachers are the last ones to finish their degrees and teaching certificates, and two of them will do so by next year. This will help us to comply with the standards of the Israeli Ministry of Education so that our school can be considered for State recognition.
Of course, a teacher’s salary does not provide for the high costs of studying so this is a tremendous help to these teachers. Thank you so much for investing in them and also in the future of Makor HaTikvah.
Many blessings to you and your supporters,
Managing Director of Makor HaTikvah Messianic Day School
Along with all of the Staff
Dear I stand with Israel, We at Dugit Center and Adonai Roi Messianic Congregation, would like to
thank you so much for your overwhelming assistance to our congregations over the years. Your foundation has been truly faithful in helping these families and widows in need. We cannot begin to thank you and your supporters enough for these generous gifts. They have been extremely beneficial in aiding Israeli Believers through an often difficult season in their lives.
May the Fruits of your service continue to bring Glory and Honor to our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, and may He continue to touch the hearts of all those that you reach.
God Bless You!
In our Messiah,
Director, Dugit Outreach Center
Senior Pastor, Adonai Roi Messianic Congregation
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Two Israeli ministers - a Jew and an Arab travel to Kurdistan
THERE’S FREEDOM TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO SYRIAN, KURDISH AND IRAQI REFUGEES!
Iraqi refugees come to the courtyard of an Iraqi church to receive humanitarian aid from
the israelis who distributed aid from the gifts of IstandwithIsrael contributors.
The Israelis were able to connect with a foreign
charitable organization, which had a large supply
of shoes. The joy on this little boy's face says
it all! It's easy to see how much the Messiah
loves the little children. May the Gospel bring
him the joy of his salvation, as the few Christian
laborers bring the Good News to Iraqi refugees.
God is using Israeli Christian Arabs and Messianic Jews to warm, feed and preach the Good News to Syrian and Iraqi refugees. For the first time these Muslim people are hearing that Yeshua (Yesua in Arabic) came to bring them hope in this life and the way to Eternal Life.
These are doors that only God could have opened. Over 1,500,000 Syrian refugees have fled to Jordan. Their world is turned upside down and their future hopeless.
Evangelical Jordanian Christians are doing an amazing job to reach out to the refugees who need help - body, soul and spirit.
So you can imagine their joy when Israeli Arabs and Jews arrived to help these churches with our funds from IstandwithIsrael to help them buy warm jackets for the winter, mattresses and blankets and many other goods like small heaters.
But then our friends heard of the situation in Iraq - after ISIS (Islamic State) massacred masses of Kurds and Iraqis. Hundreds of thousands then fled to the Kurdish city of Erbil.
The child of this Syrian refugee was sick with a serious disease. The Child was miraculousle healed thorugh the prayers of the Christians. Let us pray for her a she has now come face to face with the truth.
$106,000 DESIGNATED TO THE REFUGEES HAS BEEN RECEIVED THROUGH ISTANDWITHISRAEL AND EVERY PENNY IS BEING SPENT TO HELP SYRIAN AND IRAQI REFUGEES.
In fact, 3,000,000 Iraqis have fled their homes. Carrying contributions from Maoz, the Israeli believers - Jew and Arab - again distributed needed goods including simple medical supplies to these desperate Iraqis. The Israeli believers found that many Iraqi refugees and displaced persons are educated people with good professions who lost everything. Even though they may not yet know God personally, when asked why they didn’t convert to Islam under ISIS, they said, “We will not betray Jesus.”
The Lord’s “Israeli ambassadors” to Iraq preached in a church together. They learned there are only about 1,000 Evangelicals in Kurdistan and another 1,000 Evangelicals in the rest of the country, as many Christians have already fled the country.
A view of a tent refugee camp in Erbil, Kurdistan.
Families living anywhere they can find a space - such as in this school.
A tent church in Erbil where the Good News is preached and
the Christians help the refugees with whatever they have.
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FINDING A WAY TO STAND WITH ISRAEL!
DID THEY MEET AN ANGEL?
Our dear partners from Britain decided to take a 14-mile walk for Maoz and Israel. They began at 9:45a.m. and finished at 7:00p.m.
About 12 miles into the walk, they realized they had missed their route. They saw someone coming towards them and asked him to direct them to Langdon. He put them on track again and asked if he could walk with them. He told them he walked this route regularly and had never seen anyone else use it.
Well, was this an angel? He not only bought refreshments for the whole party, but then took them to the railway station, where he organized ramps for the wheel chairs at both ends of the trip.
Having heard the reason for the walk, he thrust some money in their hands, which turned out to be an unbelievable £90. ($145)!
A DIVINE APPOINTMENT
Our Maoz representatives in Germany, Juergen and Ulrike Herrmann, attended a large demonstration against anti-Semitism in Berlin in front of the Brandenburg Gate.
It was organized by the Central Council of Jews in Germany. Many church and political officials spoke, including Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Before the demonstration, Juergen and Ulrike were seriously praying about the event - praying that Germany/Europe would turn back to the Bible, their Judeo-Christian roots, and to stand boldly, strongly with their Jewish citizens and wake up to the Islamic threat in Europe.
As soon as the Herrmanns arrived at the Brandenburg Gate, a German TV crew spotted Juergen and interviewed him for some time. Juergen let them have it! Even challenging the journalists with the responsibility they have to report the truth about Israel! Ulrike (with the Israeli flag) and her friend stood together praying while Juergen spoke.
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Dear Maoz Partner,
We wish you a joyful Happy Hanukkah, and we bless you as you celebrate the birth of the King of the Jews, Yeshua the Messiah.
The condition of the world is beyond anything we could have imagined even 50 years ago. But this is what the Lord says:
“Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Luke 21:28
Yeshua is saying two things: Be anxious for nothing. Secondly, the time is short!
We ask ourselves daily, “How can we bring the Good News to more of our people?”
Today, God has given believers around the world fabulous ways to reach untold millions through the Internet. And we feel a great desire to do all in our power to bring the Good News - in Hebrew - through the Internet to our people, Israel.
We can put our Hebrew-language life-changing books online. We can reach the youth with contemporary Messianic music and artistry in their language. We can put courses for discipleship - on the Internet! We can build an audience of seekers through seeker-friendly Bible studies. And we can...well, the possibilities to reach our people with the Gospel on Internet are unlimited!!
We will continue to bless the poor, the needy and those who need help to realize their calling and their dreams - through IstandwithIsrael. We will help Israeli Messianic Jews and Christian Arabs - and partner with others to reach our nation with youth camps, leadership conferences, music lessons, and other special projects throughout the year for the people of Israel.
The laborers are few. But we are committed to gathering the most gifted, creative, and hard-working believing Israelis possible for the work at hand.
You are vital to this plan. As you help us do all we can do, you are part of God’s plan to bring salvation to the people in darkness.
For the lost...until He comes!
Ari & Shira Sorko-Ram
P.S. Your gift makes a tremendous difference.
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