“Many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.’ The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 2:3)
The Zion Gate is one of eight gates built into the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. It was built for Suleiman the Magnificent in 1540. Located in the south of the Old City, facing Mount Zion and Hebron, the Zion Gate leads into the Armenian and Jewish Quarters. Zion Gate is also known as David’s Gate (Arabic: Bab el-Daoud; Hebrew: Shaar David), because the tomb of King David is believed to be on Mt. Zion. (Photo: Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Last Wednesday, Israel365’s Rabbi Tuly Weisz met with a group of American college students visiting Israel with the Christian organization Eagles’ Wings on Mt. Zion in Jerusalem.
Eagles’ Wings is a pro-Israel Christian ministry which runs an educational program called the Israel Experience for Christian students interested in learning more about Israel advocacy. The program brings groups of students on trips to Israel every year, where they travel the land and learn more about Israel’s Biblical origins as well as its present realities.
The students toured all over Israel to various significant sites including the Sea of Galilee, Mt. Bental, the Dead Sea and Ein Gedi. They came to Jerusalem to explore the wonders of the ancient holy city, visiting Jewish as well as Christian religious sites.
Rabbi Tuly Weisz addressing a group of Christian American college students on Mt. Zion. (Photo: Breaking Israel News)
Rabbi Weisz spoke to the group at the historical building of the Diaspora Yeshiva, established on Mt. Zion in 1966 by Rabbi Mordechai Goldstein, who came to Jerusalem from America with 200 of his students. His son, Rabbi Yitzchak Goldstein, who is deeply involved in running the yeshiva, also addressed the group.
“Mt. Zion is the only place in the world that accepts all three religions – Jews, Muslims and Christians,” said Rabbi Goldstein. “On this one hill, there’s a synagogue, a church and a mosque. Everyone is welcome.”
Rabbi Goldstein told a parable about the founding of Jerusalem involving two brothers, one rich and one poor. The unmarried and childless rich brother, concerned about his brother’s large family and poverty, decided to give his brother a gift. At the same time, the poor brother, feeling enriched by his loving family, decided to give his wealthy but lonely brother a gift as well. The place where the paths of the two brothers crossed, Rabbi Goldstein taught, was the place where God decided to build his holy city of Jerusalem.
“He wants to build his house in a place where people share, which is built on a foundation of people giving,” he said.
Joining the group was prominent Christian Zionist Donna Jollay, who shared a teaching from Isaiah Chapter 2:
“The mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established and the top of the mountain shall be exalted above the hills. And all nations shall flow to it.”
She related it to the present time. “This scripture just crystallizes this moment that is happening right now,” she said.
In a traditional close reading of Psalm 126, Weisz explained to the students, “The Jews have been preserving and safeguarding the Torah for thousands of years in Hebrew. When you’re reading the Bible in English, you’re reading a translation. They say that reading the Bible in Hebrew is like getting it directly from God.”
He distributed copies of the Israel Bible’s book of Psalms to each of the participants. This version of the Bible includes side-by-side Hebrew and English translations of each verse, plus transliteration of key verses, enabling people unfamiliar with Hebrew to partake in the singular experience of reading the Bible in its original language.
Rabbi Tuly Weisz with American Christian college students on Mount Zion. (Photo: Kaniel Bramnick)
The group read out the first verse of Psalm 126 together in Hebrew, using the transliteration provided in the Israel Bible, which in English reads: “A Song of Ascents. When the Lord brought back those that returned to Tzion, we were like unto them that dream.”
Rabbi Weisz explained that traditionally when Jews learn a Biblical text, they deeply analyze each word for multiple meanings, and he gave an example using the word meaning dreamers, “cholmim”.
When the Hebrew letters of the word “cholem”, dreamer, are rearranged, they spell “lochem”, meaning warrior. The word dreamer, therefore, also means fighter. “That meaning is woven into the DNA of the Hebrew word,” explained Rabbi Weisz. “A dreamer is somebody who is in conflict.”
Rabbi Weisz expanded on this idea when discussing with the students the intricate connection between the ideological roots of the Israeli state and the need for conflict which arose after its establishment.
The group then discussed the meaning of verses two and three of Psalm 126, which relate directly to the relationship between the Jews and the Nations (non-Jews).
(2) “Then was our mouth full with laughter, and our tongue with singing.
Then said they among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things with these.’ ”
(3) ‘The Lord hath done great things with us. We are rejoiced.’ ”
Rabbi Weisz clarified: “Who are the first to recognize great things happening in Israel? The Nations. And who are the ones who are sleeping? The Jews.”
The verse has clear ties to contemporary events. “What’s happening today is exactly this,” said Rabbi Weisz. “The non-Jews are saying, and have been saying, that God is going to bring back the Jewish people to the land of Israel. And when he does that, it will be amazing, and also difficult and conflict-ridden at the same time. And then the Gentiles are going to say to each other, the Lord is doing great things for them in Israel, and then Israel will recognize that the Lord is doing great things for us.”
He related the psalm to the current moment, saying, “Sometimes it takes outside validation for us to wake up, and that’s what’s happening today. Eagles’ Wings is a Christian ministry teaching Christians about Israel, but it’s having a big impact on how Jewish people see ourselves. If Christians throughout the United States and the world are saying that what’s happening in Israel is a miracle, then the Jews will start saying, maybe it is a miracle.”
Donna Jollay delivering a lecture to the group. (Photo: Breaking Israel News)
One of the greatest conflicts Israel faces today is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). Rabbi Weisz called on the student to make a difference when they return to their universities and, like warriors, confront anti-Israel movements.
“You actually are on the ground,” he pointed out. “I would imagine that the BDS movement is pretty vocal in your universities, and you guys are those campus warriors who need to keep your eye on the dream, and remember if you turn the word lochem, warrior, around, then you have the word dreamer.”
This trip to Israel was the first time most of the group participants visited the Land. For Shannon, a University of Michigan student, coming to Israel was an opportunity to see how the national and religious issues affecting Israel, often discussed in the foreign press, played out in reality. She described being particularly moved by seeing the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism.
“I’ve heard that there is a mosque right in the middle of the Temple Mount, but I’ve never seen it in person,” she told Breaking Israel News. “So when I came to see it and actually heard the Muslim call for prayer, it just hit my spirit really hard for that place, for the Temple Mount, and I started crying. That’s His area, His land, and it’s being oppressed. And it was right in front of my eyes, literally good against evil. It became very real.”
The seminar was the first session of a program which Rabbi Weisz is working to establish called “Yeshiva of the Nations.” Working with Christian activists and organizations like Eagles’ Wings, the Yeshiva of the Nations will offer opportunities in Israel for Christians who want to learn more about their religion and how it connects to the Holy Land.
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A 2018 demonstration against antisemitism in Berlin. Photo: Reuters / Fabrizio Bensch.
A slight drop in the number of antisemitic incidents in Berlin during the first half of this year is no excuse for complacency, the city’s antisemitism commissioner emphasized on Thursday following the publication of statistics for hate crimes targeting Jews in the German capital from January-June 2019.
“Antisemitism remains a serious problem that we cannot tolerate in Berlin,” Lorenz Korgel — the city’s commissioner for combating antisemitism — told local news outlet Berliner Morgenpost. “The number of antisemitic incidents remains at a high level. ”
People wear kippas at a demonstration in front of a Jewish synagogue denouncing an antisemitic attack on a young man wearing a kippa, in Berlin, Germany, April 25, 2018. (photo credit: FABRIZIO BENSCH / REUTERS)
The population of the State of Israel has increased 2.1% since last year, according to a report released in time for Rosh Hashanah by the Central Bureau of Statistics.
Today, there are 9.1 million citizens of Israel, of which some 6.7 million (74%) are Jewish, the report shows. The country’s citizens also include 1.9 million Arabs (21%) and 0.4% of “others,” including Christians and those of other minority groups.
A women holds up a sign against anti-Semitism at a rally in New York City on Sept. 22, 2019. Photo: Rhonda Hodas Hack.
JNS.org – Hundreds of demonstrators rallied in front of City Hall in New York on Sunday, calling on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and other municipal leaders, as well as those on the national level, to act against antisemitism and the wave of antisemitic hate crimes taking place against the Orthodox Jewish community.
The beach in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 17, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad.
On the eve of the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, ushering in the Jewish year of 5780, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics released its traditional end-of-the-year findings.
Israel’s population now stands at 9.092 million people — 6.744 million (74.2 percent) of whom are Jews, with 1.907 million (21 percent) Arabs and 441,000 (4.8 percent) listed as “other.”
Drew Seigla and Stephanie Lynne Mason. Photo: Instagram.
Drew Seigla and Stephanie Lynne Mason play Pertshik and Hodl, whose love story takes them all the way to Siberia in the award-winning show by the National Yiddish Theatre.
Sep 30, 2019 0Jeremy Hunt, the British Foreign secretary, has recently commissioned a report on the persecution of Christians, most acutely occurring in the Muslim World, and especially in the Arab/Muslim...
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“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.” — Sherlock Holmes, The Boscombe Valley Mystery
“Israel must, in the most blunt and clear way possible, illustrate to Washington that the prosperity of Jordan is a first-rate Israeli security and strategic interest.” — Former head of Mossad Ephraim Halevy at “Between Jerusalem and Amman: 25 Years Since the Signing of the Peace Agreement Between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,” Institute for National Security Studies, Sept. 25, 2019.
A thought came to mind the other day.
For all the bluster about Judaism and anti-Semitism in America, I am not convinced that far-out-left and liberal young Jews, who have been very strident and even threatening on Israel-related issues and local American political battles, have done much on the ground to confront and quash, one way or another, attacks on Jews. They have portrayed themselves as gliding along a moral highway but have permitted immoral actions to exist quite close to home, far from Gaza (did any of them recite a public Kaddish in the town square for murdered and injured Jews, or their damaged and desecrated property)?
One of the hallmark features of Yom Kippur are the communal sins which we need to repent for. Most Jews focus on what we have done personally towards G-d and towards others. Little thought is given to how we could be better as a community. Or the sins we bear as a community.
However, the communal recitation of the Al Chet, repeated over and over on Yom Kippur is to drive the point home that we are responsible for one another
Incoming freshman Member of Knesset from the leftist, Democratic Union list, Yair Golan, did it again. Golan’s constant delegitimization of his political opponents on the right, smacks of the same delegitimization that tyrants, dictators, demagogues and assorted totalitarians always use, just before the Putsch.
In that regard, he’s right when he said recently, “I’m reminding people that the Nazis came to power democratically, so we have to be careful, very careful, so that radicals with a messianic view won’t exploit Israeli democracy to replace the system of government.” Think “
As Israeli frustration mounts about violence coming out of Gaza, the idea of a ground invasion, and once and for all to finish with Hamas aggression, becomes more appealing. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has endorsed this approach, saying, “There probably won’t be a choice but to topple the Hamas regime.” While sympathetic to this impulse, I worry that too much attention is paid to tactics and not enough to goals. The result could be harmful to Israel.