Hark! Your watchmen raise their voices, As one they shout for joy; For every eye shall behold Hashem‘s return to Tzion. Isaiah 52:8 (The Israel Bible™
Koolulam participants gather at Jerusalem’s Tower of David. (Credit: Ricky Rachman)
A Canadian pastor is seeing prophecy materialize in the simplest way possible; by bringing Jews and Christians together in song. A simple as it seems, the idea is gathering momentum and is now becoming a global phenomenon in ways no one could have anticipated.
Pastor Dean Bye of Return Ministries was inspired by the words of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who called on people from all races and religions to join together in song for Israel’s 70th anniversary.
“Let’s sing together!” President Rivlin declared last May. “Religious, secular, Arabs, Jews, soldiers, women, men, children… let’s put aside everything that divides us and do together what connects us and brings us together – it’ll be fun!”
Rivlin’s idea blossomed into reality in April 2018. Koolulam, an Israeli social singing phenomenon that brings together crowds to sing together, answered the call. 12,000 people gathered in Menorah Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv to practice and then record Naomi Shemer’s “Al Kol Eleh” (Over All of These).
When Pastor Bye saw this, he realized it was prophecy materializing in front of his eyes.
“President Rivlin carries the authority of God, so when he said this, it wasn’t just to initiate a social gathering,” Pastor Bye said. “All through the scriptures it says that the nations will sing. Prophecy is happening so when I heard the call to sing and saw that it was in prophecy, I took it is as a commandment to live by. Imagine stadiums filled with with Jews and Christians singing together, eye to eye.”
An opportunity to bring this vision into reality immediately presented itself. Return Ministry operates an aliyah center for the Jewish Agency serving new immigrants to Israel in Kibbutz Beit Zera on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. The kibbutzniks, self-proclaimed atheistic socialists, approached Pastor Bye. They had been carefully observing the ministry’s work and it presented them with an unfamiliar side of Christianity. They told the pastor that they wanted to connect with the ministry. But the connection they had in mind was not a simple meeting of minds or a discussion group.
For kibbutzniks, song necessarily accompanies work and is central to their social structure. Return Ministries hosted a Sing Together event on May 14, 2018, Israel’s Independence Day, in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. It drew Israelis from the surrounding region as well as Christian representatives from 37 nations. Together they learned the classic Israeli song, “Kol Ha’Olam Kulo”(All the world is a narrow bridge). Apropo to the words, they sang the song on a bridge spanning the Jordan River.
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.
Oct 25, 2019 0People arrive at a polling station to vote in the federal election in Beauce, Quebec, Canada, Oct. 21, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Mathieu Belanger. A top Jewish advocacy group said on Friday it...
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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.