Stories? Me? Write stories? That was my gut response when the scientific adviser for my book, “Teach it to Your Children: How Kids Lived in Bible Days,” made one of his first suggestions to me, because until then, my specialty was non-fiction—informing readers how people lived in Bible times.
We are now in the middle of Passover week and one frequently hears the question, “And where did you go for the Seder [the special home service on the first night of Passover]?” Answers are varied: “To my family’s home.” “To friends.” “To a hotel in Eilat.”
Awareness of even the simplest Hebrew grammatical structure can bring to life a vague, or difficult-to-understand, saying of Jesus. Since potential Hebrew idioms are so dense in the Greek texts of Matthew, Mark and Luke, one has to ask, Could these apparent Hebrew idioms be evidence that the synoptic Gospels are descendants of an ancient translation of a Hebrew “Life of Jesus,” the gospel that the church father Papias spoke of when he wrote: “Matthew…arranged the sayings [of Jesus] in the Hebrew language”?
Day by day, modern Hebrew is enriched by the vocabulary of many languages, but particularly by English, the world’s “international language.” Hebrew picks up hundreds of English words each year. Such borrowings from English, written in Hebrew letters, feel Hebrew to most Israelis. Usually, Hebrew speakers are not aware that such loan words did not originate in Hebrew.
Israel is having a Sirocco this week, typical of April and May, with temperatures in Jerusalem soaring to 37 degrees (98 Fahrenheit) and over 40 degrees (104) in most of the rest of the country. Jesus said: “And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens” (Luke 12:55).
One of the many exciting advantages of living in Israel is access to biblical sites. Nothing beats reading a biblical story at the place where it happened
You may have received a letter from her. Or maybe you met her at a conference or workshop. In one way or another, she has had a part in your connection with Jerusalem Perspective. Her name is Barbara Chambers and she has been our office administrator since the end of 1994.
Spring is changing into summer. More correctly, the rainy season is becoming the dry season. We are commanded in Scripture to be thankful (Eph. 5:4; Phil. 4:6; Col. 2:7; 4:2), and even, to express our thankfulness publicly: “I will remember the deeds of the LORD…I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds” (Ps. 77:11-12; NIV). Therefore, I want to publicly thank God for his mercy in bringing down rain upon the land of Israel during this rainy season. We have witnessed a miracle of immense proportions!
One of the most amazing and unusual experiences we have living in Israel is to see people who are avowed enemies nationally and historically come together in harmony and peace. A number of Israeli organizations bring together Arabs and Jews who have mutual interests (for example, in the area of the arts). Often harboring strong religious and political differences, these people get to know and understand each other on a personal level.
April here in Israel was a month of mixed emotions, a mixture of joy and sorrow. There were two major commemorations: Holocaust Remembrance Day (April 19) and Memorial Day (April 25); and two major joyous celebrations: Pesach, or Passover (April 8-14), and Independence Day (April 26).
A visitor to Israel last night might have been puzzled by seeing the streets heavy with traffic, especially since it was already one o’clock in the morning. The reason was that last night was the first night of the annual week-long Passover festival celebrating the Jewish exodus from Egypt thousands of years ago, and people were returning home after taking part in a Passover Seder (the ceremonial meal on the first night of Passover).
Those of us who live in the Middle East often find ourselves in the middle of the conflicts that arise here. I recently attended a conference of Christian Jewish and Arab women held in Jerusalem. The conference was organized by Musalaha, a ministry of reconciliation directed by Salim Munayer.
A few years ago when we were in California for one of David’s seminars, many of my local friends were shocked when I told them I’d ridden the RTD (Rapid Transit District) into Los Angeles. They considered it dangerous to ride the RTD. I hadn’t been at all worried because I take Egged.
I feel I deserve a reward after agonizing in the dentist’s chair, so I arrange to meet my friend Ragna, to celebrate her birthday with a cup of tea. Anyway, it has been ages since I’ve been to the midrahov, the pedestrian mall on Ben Yehudah Street in downtown Jerusalem, with its outdoor cafes and restaurants.
The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah (literally, “the head of the year”), is the first of three major biblical holidays that are rapidly approaching. This year Rosh Hashanah falls on September 11; Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, on September 20; and Sukkot, the week-long Feast of Tabernacles, is from the 25th of September to the 1st of October.
A lively group of children are grinding wheat kernels between two stones, in preparation for baking their own pita-bread. In a nearby grainfield, visitors are searching for tares among the wheat. Another group are tasting ripe sycamore figs and learning why it was a sycamore tree that Zacchaeus climbed in Jericho. This is Neot Kedumim, 625 acres of reconstructed biblical landscapes in Israel’s Modi’in region (2,000 years ago home to the Maccabees, today ten minutes from Ben-Gurion Airport).
This year the festival of Sukkot, or Tabernacles, takes place on October 9—16. JERUSALEM PERSPECTIVE has asked the famous biblical landscape reserve, Neot Kedumim, to provide our readers with some of the reserve’s wonderful insights into this festival, and Neot Kedumim staff member Beth Uval has contributed the following.
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