Good reports from Zion

I like to write. And I guess the reason why I write a blog, is that I like for people to read what I write too. I want to express what I see as the truth, and I want people to read it and be influenced by it. This is meaningful to me.

However, sometimes I have the feeling that different groups of people need to hear different messages, or the same message with a different emphasis. Allow me to explain.

It is like when you are having conversations with different people. Some things seem obvious to some people, and you therefore don’t need to convince them about those things.

People who live in Israel now, have no need to be reminded of the challenges we are going through here. It is quite clear and in your face, so to speak. Spreading the threats of terror only helps spread fear, and that is the goal of the terrorists, – something we DO NOT want to help them with!

So when I think of my Israeli readers, I write posts about how the Israeli people keeps on living in spite of everything, and why I love living in Israel.

On the other hand, when I think of people in other places of the world, who continue with their regular lives, and might even just miss all that Israel is going through, I feel a real need to wake them up, so I write posts like World, – Wake up!!!

These two sides are both true. Both very real parts of our life here in Israel. Parallel realities, as I like to call them.

When I write that things are difficult, it is in case you didn’t already know that. And I imagine this is what motivates others who write those types of messages from here now too. It was when I read other people’s negative reports on life in Israel that I realized how much I didn’t like it, and it was just what I had done too!

Because really, we have plenty of reasons to send good reports out of Zion! Good things are going on! God is doing miracles here! People who were just about declared dead as they arrived at the hospital, are now being released to go home from those hospitals! Terrorists are not able to decide which bus to get on, which Jews to stab, and end up being stopped before they have carried out their attack fully! Our guards are “by chance” stopping the terrorist, without even realizing it until later! These are all huge miracles, that I for one am very, very thankful for!

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God has brought His people back here to LIVE, to THRIVE, to BUILD – and it is really happening now and in our days! It would almost be surprising if the enemy did not try to stop this type of thing! And even if this does make it difficult at times, it is very clear that God is still with His people!

I do not want to be one of the ten spies that brought back a bad report from the Land, but rather like Caleb and Joshua, who saw reality for what it really was. Yes, there are giants in the Land, but our God in whom we trust is even greater!

Od Avinu Chai! And AM YISRAEL CHAI!

The strength of continuing life in the midst of everything.

I am just going to say it as it is. I am so proud to be a Jerusalemite. I am SO proud to be Israeli. What a people this is! What strength it is showing in the midst of enormous difficulty!

My beautiful Jerusalem

My beautiful Jerusalem

Just getting up and continuing life takes an effort when there are large forces out there that are doing their best to paralyze you with fear! The fact that horrible lies about us are being spread around the world, takes away whatever would be left of energy. Yet, – we continue to go about our lives. There is a real strength in that.

It was wonderful to walk to synagogue on Shabbat morning and find that the streets were as full as they normally are at that time of the week, and we still greet each other with Shabbat shalom – in spite of everything, or maybe with even more intent than normal, because of everything!

I found that it was even more upbuilding and encouraging to pray together than it normally is, this past shabbat morning. To call out to God from the depth of our heart! To proclaim back to Him, His truths and His promises, felt really good!

Rock of Israel! Arise to the aid of Israel and redeem as You pledged Judah and Israel!

O, King, Helper, Savior, and Shield. Blessed are You LORD, Shield of Abraham!

The LORD will reign forever, your God, O Zion, from generation to generation! Halleluyah!

The LORD will give strength to His people! The LORD will bless His people with peace! 

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Sunday morning I went for a nice and enjoyable run. I will admit that I slightly changed the route because of the situation we are in, but still, it felt really good to intentionally NOT give in to the fear that would just want me to not leave home whenever I did not absolutely have to. Going out running has been very helpful for me for the last few days, actually. it energizes me and gets positive thoughts going through my system as supposed to just being drained by all the negative things one so easily could have focused on. It is an intentional choice, really, what to focus on, and for me, running has somehow helped make that choice easier.

After the run, my waffles and I were off to our women’s group meeting. Good times as always, even though conversations naturally were quite influenced by everything going on in our country. (I mean, do you normally make plans to go to self defense classes at your women’s group meetings??)

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Monday morning I went on a work-trip to Haifa. A wonderful trip through our beautiful country! After buying two cooking stoves, one washing machine and three fridges for different needy immigrant families in the area, I got to go to the beach for a little while before heading back home to Jerusalem. I even got to meet up with a sweet friend who used to live in Jerusalem. She is one of the most positive people I know, and it was great to go for a walk on the beach with her and talk up a lot of positive energy! 🙂

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And look at the “Dove of Peace” that I found in the sand:

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Yes, life is continuing in spite of everything! Back in Jerusalem, I found out that Israeli flags to hang on our cars (the ones we usually buy for Israeli independence day) are being given out for free, – because of everything going on right now!

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This is our answer! i hope you are listening well, world, because this is our message: We are not giving in and we are not giving up. We are living and we are going to continue going on living! AM YISRAEL CHAI!!!

Why I love living in Israel.

In spite of everything that is happening in our country these days, I could not imagine living anywhere else. Here is a list of what I love about living in Israel. ❤

  • Our togetherness, the feeling of all of us being family, the care that people show for perfect strangers.
  • Being part of building something way bigger than myself or my family. Anyone who reads this blog, knows that I care deeply for my home, my husband, my children and my family. They are my life, really! My dream come true. But then, at the same time, – our family gets to be part of a community, of a people, of a country, that we all build together! Now, THAT, is way bigger than I knew to dream about!
  • Watching prophecy being fulfilled in front of my eyes! The God of our forefathers is bringing His people back to the Land that He promised them and planting them here, – and we get to be a part of it! It is HUGE! (When starting to think of things like this, I feel so thankful that I get to be alive NOW, and certainly would not want to live anywhere else than right HERE!)
  • Living in a place with a future and a hope. Ok, so we are facing difficulties! Life is extremely intense at times, but we have promises that we get to hold on to together! We know that HE who has brought us through sooo much in the past, will bring us through this too, – and HE has good plans for a future full of hope!

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  • Our weather! Well, except for the summer. Even then, the evenings are beautiful, dark and warm, great for sitting outside with candles and a glass of wine. And fall, winter and spring are just perfect. You can always go out for a run or a walk, or have lunch outside just about any time. And gardening is a total joy, – no lack of sun, that’s for sure!
  • The fact that we greet each other with the word Shalom – Peace! And when we raise our glasses, instead of cheers, we say Le chaim! – To life!

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  • Living in a place where there are real values, and a basic agreement on what is good and what is evil. When morality is falling apart, truth is getting increasing relative, and people are being lead astray by their own leaders, I am incredibly thankful to be right HERE, where I trust our leaders to make right decisions, and our army to really defend us when there is a need to do that!
  • Our food! Lots and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables available, locally grown and you get to enjoy them in their season. (Oh, and if you have tried looking for kosher food or restaurants other places, you will love Israel!)
  • Our people! Yes, people can seem nosy at first, but at least they care! And, yes, the lines at the supermarket can be slow because of all the conversations between everyone, but at least we treat each other as fellow human beings!
  • The feeling of connection between the past, the present and the future that I feel is really unique for life in Israel. The history (and such meaningful history!) really speaks to us from the stones we are walking on, and we get to live that history and build it for future generations!
  • Our ability to keep on living, and celebrating life, in spite of so many enemies all around trying to crush us down. It is a conscious choice not to give up, really. This is a strength that has been built up from just those types of experiences, and the knowledge that we are NOT alone, we stand together, and our God is with us in the midst of everything! Last night, shortly after another terror-attack here in Jerusalem, people gathered to sing our national anthem, HaTikvah, right where the attack had happened! What a powerful message! We have hope! We are going to live as a free people in our country, the Land of Zion, Jerusalem!
  • Our faith! And the fact that the faith in the God of Israel is such a central part of everything! On national radio broadcasts you get encouraged to read the psalms and pray for our people. Faith is something that is right there on the table being talked about naturally, it is not tabu like in so many other places.
  • To get to live in the city where the Torah, the Living Word, is coming out from, now nothing can compare to that, can it?

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  • This is the people that is called to be a light to the nations, to be a blessing to all! Wow, – to get to live in the midst of that! Wow!
  • And when God chose a home for himself on this earth, – this is where He chose for it to be! (Sometimes I have to ask myself how come I get to be so blessed as to live my life and raise my kids right here!)

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  • Our language. And everything that is hidden within that language. I learn new depths all the time! Think for example of the word for truth in Hebrew, EMET – אמת. The first letter in the word, is the first in the alphabet, the last letter in the word is the last in the alphabet and the middle letter in the word is the middle letter of the alphabet. “All-consuming truth” built into the one word “truth”. And the fact that the letters have numerical values, that add meaning to numbers too! 🙂
  • Shabbat! ❤ It is definitely what I miss the most whenever we are abroad. The walking to service or back home from having shared a meal with friends, and wishing everyone shabbat shalom. Living in a community that is Jewish, where the Jewish way of life comes naturally. The fact that you can just about feel it in the air that it is shabbat!
  • Such a meaningful life! To be honest, I more and more realize how this is where I found what I had always been looking for, without even being aware of it! This is where things are happening in our time! And not only do I get to live in Israel! I get to live in the heart of Israel, – in Jerusalem! #sothankful!

This is just what came to mind first when I spontaneously sat down to write this, and I am sure I will think of many more things later. And now when I count it, it by chance ended up being 18! The numerical value of the Hebrew word LIFE – חי!

Feel free to add more points in the comment-section!  🙂

The spreading of horrible lies.

It is really sickening to watch the lies that are being spread around the world about what is going on in Israel these days! For us who live here it is almost unbelievable, but there seems to be real confusion about who are the attackers and who are the victims! And why is this? This is because the ones who report about the incidents, distort the facts before they report them. There is no question about it, – they must be aware that they are not reporting the truth!

Ever since I was a little girl, it has always been important to me that things be right and just and true, so when I witness the lies that are being spread these days, it literally makes me shake.

What do they mean when they say that the Palestinian Arabs were “allegedly” attacking with knives? What?! Was there any doubt? Do we not have the videos showing them hacking away at random Jews with butcher knives and axes??

When the terrorist is portrayed as the victim, there is no wonder why people get confused as to who attacked who!

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What do international media mean when they talk about all this horrible terror against the Jewish people as “violent clashes where Palestinian youth is killed”? I thought a “clash” had two sides meeting in a sort of collision or crash. Not so in these cases. Innocent elderly Jewish men on their way home from prayer were cut down with a knife by a young Muslim terrorist. Random civilians waiting for the bus were driven down by a car running fast into them, and the terrorist driver (an Israeli Arab employed by the Israeli phone company) came out and started to hack them down with an axe! This happened just about the same time as two other young terrorists entered a bus close to our home and started stabbing and shooting the passengers! These are not clashes between two armies!!! Whoever says that is blatantly lying! He is misguiding the masses!

While people have an easier time relating to mourning for what happened to the twin trade towers in New York 9/11, most of them seem to be unable to understand that Israel lives under this type of situation just about 24/7.

Why would people want to hide the truth here? What is their interest? If you are a journalist, why don’t you just say it as it is? I guess they want to portray a picture that fits with people’s expectations and their previous understanding of reality, based on what they have been presented in the past. This is a vicious cycle, that we should all do what we can to put an end to! Today I did see a couple of examples of media coverage that portrayed the reality here relatively well, and that encouraged me very much. May we see more of this!

World, – wake up!!!

People say we have come through harder periods in the past, but I am not sure if I am able to remember worse days than these…

When fifteen year old girls pick a knife out of their backpacks to stab Israeli police officers with! Or when thirteen and fifteen year old brothers leave their house with knives and go out and stab a 13 year old over and over again! When terrorists drive people down only to run out and stab them afterwards! It is pure horror! We have several attacks like these every day, and it turns into a very strange reality where you end up going around waiting for what will happen next…

And at the same time we try to live as normal lives as we just can. We send our kids to school. Today the school administration even locked the building, and did not let the children out before the end of the day, when parents had to come to a locked and guarded gate to pick them up. We do our errands, I was downtown today, but as I walked through the beautiful outdoor mall of Mamilla, I heard all the sirens going by, the helicopters above and noticed how abnormally empty the area was. And what song was played over the loudspeakers? Louis Armstrong’s And I think to myself, what a wonderful world! I started crying! Such contrasts! The world could be so wonderful if it was not for all the evil being let loose right now!!

It was about 11 in the morning, and our country had already been rocked by 4 horrible terror attacks, two of them in Jerusalem. One was on a bus quite close to our house, where two terrorists came on board with a knife and a gun and just started stabbing people! In Jerusalem we have three killed and twenty injured from the attacks this morning. The hospital staff is working like crazy! As are our guards, police and soldiers! We all end up being defenders of Zion!

One of my friends was on that same bus line in the same area, but in the opposite direction. Another friend lost a friend in the attack on that bus today.

Arab terrorists are going out knifing Jews down one by one. And the world is silent!! It is unbelievable! It is as if it is the holocaust all over again! Then the nazis were pointing guns at us and the world was silent! Now the Arab terrorists are cutting their knives into us, and the world is silent! And those who are not silent, are asking Israel why we cannot restore quiet and peace in our region?! If anyone is blamed, it is us, the “occupiers”! But wait, the attacks are happening all over pre-67 Israel, – these are not occupied territories by any definitions!! But who is interested in facts?!

It seems the only time you hear about the attack in mainstream media outside of Israel, is when the terrorist is killed in the process, and then that is the first thing said in the headline, like “Palestinian killed by Israeli forces after Jerusalem attack kills two.” Who is the victim here? This is a world upside down!

People are asking where the God of Israel is in all of this, but I am confident that He is right here with us! And He, – Shomer Yisrael neither slumbers not sleeps! We hear about more and more terrorists who are stopped before they are able to injure anyone! The female suicide bomber blew her bomb up at the checkpoint and not at a crowded area in Jerusalem. There is protection! And the fact that we have been able to save the lives of so many of the ones who have been attacked is also a miracle!

These are very serious times, and it is important for each of us to take a stand. Because, when you think about it, not taking a stand is also a stand, and what can I say, – I would rather stand for something than fall for everything. And also, – I would rather die standing than bowing to Islam! So I challenge you out there, – get informed! Find out what is happening! Search for truth! The lies are trying to take over, but we will not let them! We will NEVER give up, and the TRUTH WILL WIN IN THE END!

Intense times and such different “sides”!

Seldom have I experienced such contrasting feelings as I have during the last few days. Wonderful joyous moments of love and laughter coupled with deep sorrow and a feeling of hopelessness. We have been in our time of rejoicing in the Jewish fall holidays and very much enjoyed time together with family, at the same time as tears have filled my eyes and sorrow my heart as I hear about terror attack after terror attack coming against our people in our country.

Take just today for example. You get the children ready for their first day of school after the holidays, send them off and go to work. Then midmorning, the news alert ticks in on your phone about another Palestinian terrorist with a knife attacking more Jews in the same street as the horrible terror attack we are still shocked by that took place Saturday night. While you are still in the first wave of shock and sorrow for the victims in this attack, you receive the news that the terrorist was an 18 year old girl! The one on Saturday was 19, and then there have been a couple that were 15, and even a 12-year-old!! What has the world come to? How can we go on hoping for any type of coexistence with people who are bringing up this type of next generation?! What hope can we still hold on to for the future??

The day moves on, and we keep hearing about more and more terror attacks. One count says five serious attacks during this one day only, and that is of course in addition to all the ones that were stopped before they were able to do any damage. It is so sickening! The details, the videos, the survivor’s firsthand witnesses. We are dealing with people who wish to kill us all, and are willing to die in the process! It makes me sick to my stomach to think of what can bring a person to that type of situation. The lies, the indoctrination, the twisted realities.

And let me tell you what angers me the very most! – Hearing the international leaders around the world call upon “both sides to show restraint”! Achgh!!! Those two sides should not be mentioned together in the same sentence without pointing out how extremely different they are! In fact I think it would be hard to make them any more contrasting! Here we have people who run after us to murder us! And we, what do we do, – we take the injured terrorist in an ambulance to be treated at the same hospital as the ones he or she tried to murder!! I am ok with that, we want to be the way we are, living lives of good values and integrity. But for anyone to then dare to talk about “both sides” as though they actually have any type of resemblance one to another, – that is totally unacceptable!

When we find ourselves in such difficult realities, the important question will be; – How are we to cope with this? On Saturday night when I first heard about the horrible attack where a young Palestinian terrorist murdered a young Jewish father, injured the mother and child, and murdered another Jewish man who came to help the ones being attacked, and how Palestinians called for a third intifada, I must admit that one of my first thoughts was that I wanted to just lock myself and my dear ones up at home and stay there. Who needs to go anywhere when these types of things are happening?!

A man stood holding this flag by the Old City of Jerusalem when I walked by there Sunday morning

A man stood holding this flag by the Old City of Jerusalem when I walked by there Sunday morning

But then, when you start thinking about it, – that would be giving victory to the terrorists! They want to spread fear, they want to paralyze us all, they want us to change our plans and limit our lives. But you know what, – we are not going to let them!!! Later that Saturday night I went to an overflowing concert where we sang prayers together to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the one who has brought us through so much all the way to where we are today. We are not about to give up hope, because we know where hope is found! We know the promises and we know who is going to bring us through to a future full of hope!

Times of joy and times of sorrow.

As soon as Yom Kippur was over, we entered what is known as “our time of joy”, – and joyful it is! Building sukkot, decorating them, inviting friends and family to come join us in them, and then as the holiday of Sukkot starts, we enter into out Sukkah to live there for a week!

Waving the Lulav after waking up the Sukkah every morning. :-)

Waving the Lulav after waking up the Sukkah every morning. 🙂

We have my two brothers from Norway visiting with their families, and that certainly adds to the joy around here, both for the younger ones and the older ones! 🙂 Also, when you have family who are on vacation here, you end up vacationing with them, and we enjoy Israel and Jerusalem from that side too!

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A special highlight during Sukkot this year, was being part of the Hakel, which takes place only once every 7 years. In Deuteronomy 31, 9-13, we can read about how after a Shmita, the Sabbatical year, we are to gather together the whole people, and hear the Torah read to us. It was such a unique experience! Tens of thousands of people had gathered together, and what stood out to me was how PEACEFUL it all was! The whole area of the Kotel (Western Wall) was very crowded, but there was absolutely NO pushing or anything as people were coming in and going out from the narrow exits and entrances.

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It certainly was special to stand there together and hear a portion of the Torah read out loud. In addition there were blessings and prayers said by many important people both among the more Hassidic group and the ones more connected to the State of Israel, such as the president. I LOVED the strong feeling of UNITY that could be felt very tangibly throughout the program.

When you start thinking about it, – it is so exciting to just take in that this i happening in our days! What was written about thousands of years ago, what was commanded us as a people, we are able to put into practice today, if not at the Temple, so at the place closest to that! I was filled with excitement for what God is doing, and with a strong feeling of thankfulness for getting to be a part of this!

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Another highlight, was our Sukkah party when our community gathers in our Sukkah and we have a big barbecue together, the children play and do crafts and the adults get to sit around and enjoy good conversation over another glas of wine. And the best part was when someone brought out a guitar and we sat there and sang joyful songs of prayer together. It doesn’t get much better than that, -sitting there singing with dear friends, looking around at our decorated Sukkah! Times of great joy!

We had many wonderful people at our Sukkah-party, but here is one of my favorite ones! ;-)

We had many wonderful people at our Sukkah-party, but here is one of my favorite ones! 😉

Then later that same evening we received the tragic news that another family that were on their way home from another Sukkah-party, were attacked by terrorists shooting the parents in the front of the car and leaving the four young children in the back seat to watch their parents die in front of their eyes… In a sense my heart has not stopped crying ever since I heard about this. It is so horrible, we are not even able to fathom it. It is so sickening, we don’t have words to quite describe it.

And yet, we are still in the midst of our time of joy. As a matter of fact, I am sitting in our joyfully decorated Sukkah as I am writing this. And we ask ourselves, – how can we continue celebrating when our hearts are overwhelmed with sadness?! The smells of food-preparations are most definitely filling the air here in Jerusalem. Tonight is Shabbat. Guests are invited. How can we smile and laugh and celebrate together when such evil just hit our people??

This Shabbat we will read through the book of Ecclesiastes, and how fitting it is! To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven… – … A time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance… 

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My new favorite tea-towel, given to me as a gift at the party last night.

And the truth is, so often in life those times get mixed together, just like they do now. We are rejoicing over God’s faithfulness to us, for what He has brought us through, for what He has done and continues to do. And at the same time we are weeping together with the new orphans in our people, with the family that will feel this loss for ages to come, with the community that lost their dear ones, with our whole people who is being attacked just for being Jews in a Jewish Land.

Shabbat shalom and Chag Sameach to you all from Jerusalem!