Big moon makes appearance on Jewish holiday Tu Bishvat

This week is a minor holiday in the Jewish calendar, Tu Bishvat (New Year of Trees) and again there is talk on the internet about the Blood Red Moons and End Times.

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Here is the moon in Jerusalem, I’ve taken this from a reliable source of someone I know out there at the moment.

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Here is the moon from the camera of my phone (1/2/2018) Thursday of this week, its the thing in the middle, it looked not red at the time, but very big and clear.

Note I’m an average Christian, saved by grace and not law, of non-Jewish descent, and not a Hebrew Roots guy but worked with Jewish people for a number of years and prefer to have a non-ambiguous approach to my faith.)    I like to use Jewish holidays to meet up with Jewish friends, but I don’t fully observe them and definitely don’t force them on Christian or secular friend.

In the past, the whole Blood Red Moons thing got a bit ridiculous amongst hysteria online but I think God could be trying to get our attention, by coinciding events in the Jewish holiday with the movement of planets in the sky. 

I see it as this, to get right with God, seek Christ alone, and pray for our nation and communities.

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Talitha Kumi, popular street in Jerusalem shows Jesus’ command resurrecting dead child

In the four years I volunteered in Israel, I’ve been down this street several times a week.   Its King George Street at the top of the famous Ben Yehuda Street precinct.

I’ve always wondered what this monument by the bus stop actually is, but never properly looked it up.

This year I’ve been learning the gospels, the book of Mark.   Now I know where this phrase “Talitha Kumi” comes from.

Mark 5 : 35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

36 Overhearing[c] what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 But they laughed at him.

After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

talitaטליתא קומ / Talitha Koum is Aramaic, where as טליתא קומי / Talitha Kumi is Hebrew, which mean arise.

I’d love to know who built this wall with a clock and what was its purpose.   Its not that common to see phrases by Jesus himself to be actually at the sides of streets in Jerusalem.

 

My dinner with Canon Andrew White in Jerusalem

I met up with a friend of mine who asked me if I wanted to meet with her as she was off to see the legendary Canon Andrew White, the vicar of Baghdad.  So it was a pleasure to do this one one evening, and met with a few other British and American people involved with various different types of ministry in the middle east.

canon andrewAndrew has a knack for building relationships with Jews, Muslims and Christians from all over.   He spends a lot of time in Jordan these days with Arab Christians escaping with their lives from Iraq and Syria which are getting taken over by Islamic State.

A quick van ride with his Aramaic Christian driver, and we were on the Mount of Olives in the Seven Arches Hotel with its original 1970s interior 🙂

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This piece of rock is very very very hot……

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This was a type of cooking I have never seen before.   I don’t know if this is a middle east idea.   The Arab staff of this hotel brought out these dense concrete blocks with a piece of steak on it.    The block is baked in an oven and get so extremely hot, it aids cooking the steak, so you finish it off be rotating your piece of meat to the desired cooking time.

This was a really nice unexpected surprise during my two week trip in July 2015.

Bats in Jerusalem

After a day of cycling past workman set up decorations and security arrangements for the US President visit, go to work, read in a coffee shop (normally do this from 5pm to 7pm on certain days)  then go to a bible study, then head to a bar and have a beer with some friends afterwards, I grab my bike and head back past David HaMelech Street, I see a bat fly in the street in big circle, quite different from a bird.

I then saw it disappear into a small tree, thinking to myself there was no way I can ever spot this creature in the branches, I walk my bike underneath it, I quickly grab my camera and shoot directly up above me, as I am right under the tree, thinking it would probably get spooked by the flash.

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Can you see him?

There is plenty of old buildings they can roost in as well as a trees.  I have seen them hover around palm trees, not sure if they are attracted to palm dates or insects there.

bat

 

Obama’s first visit to Israel

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This week, there is a lot of buzz around Jerusalem as US President Barack Obama comes to visit.

The logistics in handling a guest like this seems mind boggling.  The above big poster was torn a short time after this was taken.

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On Monday, I go past the famous King David hotel to go to work on my bicycle.   There are rows of tents with air conditioning set up, as Obama is staying here.

Large chunks of the centre part of town are cut off as Obama and 500 of his staff are here, requiring a mammoth security set up with police and military people all over, closed roads (at one point Highway 1 – the 35 mile motorway that goes from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was shut) I don’t think at any given time in modern Israel’s history has anything has to be planned quite like this.

This is what the King David normally looks like:-

On Tuesday, I go to a bible study a few hundred yards from here.

Today I heard on the news that during talks, Obama can call Netanyahu ‘Bibi’  – seems that the US Pres ought to be a bit more savvy with being formal than this.    Wonder if its ok from Binyamin Netanyahu to called Obama ‘Barry’ or ‘Bazza’ or something.  😉  although I pray that the Lord would speak to him and reveal to him to continue to stand alongside this nation.

For me, I’m looking forward to when another great leader comes to town to visit; our Messiah Yeshua, or Jesus is more familiar to the English speaking world, Jerusalem is due for a return from the Messiah of the world one day soon.

shopping at my local Arab corner shop

As I mentioned previously, where I live is in between a Jewish community and an Arab Palestinian community, there is a local Arab corner shop you can buy supplies when most shops are shut on Shabbat.   As I dislike boycotts and think small businesses of all types are important, I sometimes go out and get stuff if I run out of anything at the weekend.

Here is some Marmalade, actually its called ‘orange jam’ and its made in 6th of October city (strangely a real city!) in Egypt.  Jam seems to vary a lot in quality, some is excellent, and some is fruit flavoured liquid sugar.   This particular stuff is really nice actually.

I wanted to make some couscous for lunch using Chicken I had left over from yesterday, but then I realised as I was cutting up vegetables I had run out of couscous, so off to the store, I had to ask the man there (they usually speak a small amount of English) if they had any, he grabbed me a bag, and I gave him 12 shekels.

 

When I got home, I was kind of surprised at the very political (Dome of the rock) packaging!   actually its not really couscous its a similar wheat type product which is I think popular in Africa, however it came out quite nice anyway.

I got some non alcoholic beer, I am not driving or on medication, its just they didn’t have any proper beer.   This stuff was actually quite pleasant really.  Please don’t hate me, real ale clubs!

The previous week I got some of this fruit flavoured malt drink with the branding of a popular beer manufacturer, kind of odd, as was just malt and mango soda to be honest.   A good way of using beer brand names to a mostly Islamic audience I suppose.   Don’t remember now where this stuff was made.

This was a surprise, this box which presumably contains boxes of noodles, is made in Saudi Arabia!   I would of thought the wealthiest Arab state in the world would be exporting food more exciting than this! 🙂

Please “slicha” (excuse) the poor quality of the pictures, I took them discretely on my phone in the shop, don’t think they would of been pleased with me using a camera in their shop!

In all honesty I think there is a lot of similarities between Jewish and Arabic food, especially with humous, pita and falafel being massively popular throughout the middle east, no one can agree who invented it, like politics here in general, but at least the tastes are the same 🙂

Of course the shop has nuts, Turkish delight and other Arabic made candy and usual other things I see, as well as a bakery making their own bread on a ancient squeaking conveyor belt oven behind the counter too!!

It sad and pathetic that the anti-Israel and BDS bandwagon are quick to boycott different food products here, I will write an article on food manufacturing soon and destroy some common myths the west has been force fed.

Antiwar Israelis protest in the streets

Few days ago, before the first rocket went in Jerusalem, I was walking along King George Street after visiting a friend to see people with banners and posters being waved and beating a drum.    These Israelis are anti-war protesters that don’t want a ground invasion of Gaza.    Almost everyone here doesn’t want a war.  Those called for duty in the army having a willingness to defend their nation though.

However most people don’t want to be a doormat to terrorists so making sure all traces of terrorist infrastructure are gone from Gaza seems the right idea.

I am not sure how these people propose to fix the issues of rockets coming 20, 40 or 75Km away from Gaza into your own communities though.

Maybe they could protest through the streets of Beer Sheva or Ashdod which is Hamas’s favourite target practice at the moment.

I tell you the truth

Early this year I went to see my Dad at a prayer conference at a hotel by Mount Scopus.

As I was cycling back, I went through the Ultra Orthodox area of Meir Shereem, which looks a bit like this, except it was about 11pm:

Without asking for a directions, an older Hassidic gent with usual black hat, garb and bushy grey beard came up to me and asked me something, when I asked him if he spoke English, he asked me if I was lost, I said I was just looking to get back to the town centre and despite riding through this street a couple of times before I had lost my bearings.

The man was helpful and also seemed kind as I didn’t ask for assistance he approached me.   He wasn’t a native Sabra Israeli, he had a strong Eastern European accent, perhaps Hungarian.

It was only as he gave me the last part of the route he said I needed, he exclaimed “I tell you the truth….”

This shocked me quite a bit.   Probably I know its maybe the most common phrase spoken by Jesus.  Its in Matthew 18:3,  24:40, 25:45, Luke 9:27, 12:44,  21:3, John 6:26, 32, 45, 53.  13:21. 16: 7,  20, 23. 21:18.

Not sure how you would say this in Hebrew, but anyway its just very interesting to see some of the things I imagined from Jesus’ time would be said today.   Actually if you are curious you can try this Google search:

This is in all through the first bits of Gospels but I don’t see it in Mark.   I guess as Matthew, Mark and Luke report on parallel parts of Jesus’s life, but from different viewpoints from the perspective of three men who observed Jesus’s life, a taxman, a teacher and a doctor, maybe explains it.

Holocaust remembrance day

At work, we were asked to stop for a few minutes when the siren goes off to remember the six million who perished in the holocaust, so me and some colleagues walked about 200 yards into the centre of town.

Just 10 minutes from my office is Zion Square, a junction between Ben Yehuda Street and Jaffa Street, which more recently is now completely car free, just an electric rail system passes through.

People just stop what they are doing, when the siren goes off.

In other parts of the country, people stopped their cars in the middle of the highway and stood on the road with doors open.

The noise is a chilling drone, probably coming from two directions, aimed mainly at alerting the public if a threat of war necessitates people needing to get into a bunker.   Its an awful noise, but serves as a reminder of the worse tragedy in history.

 

 

 

Beggars with pets

I often see a lot of beggars by the Shuk (The Mehane Yehuda fruit and vegetable market)  its sad to see people struggling, and poverty is at 23% here in Israel.

This time something is a little different about this man on thursday.

If you look carefully this man has a small box…

of a couple of baby rabbits eating cabbage!   Very small and fluffy they looked like a fancy type of breed!