Posts Tagged ‘Tel Aviv’

Old Port of Joppa and Tel Aviv – February 19

Our plan for the day was to walk 25 minutes on the tayelet promenade from Tel Aviv to the old port of Joppa.  Thinking it was cooler than it was, we soon returned to the apartment to change into summer-like wear.  The sun was very warm even with the cool sea breeze and life on the tayelet was active: runners, walkers, bikers, and swimmers.

Jonah 1:3 “But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.”

Joppa is the oldest known port in the world.  Throughout the centuries it has existed, but in recent history was built up and restored by a community of Jewish people.

It was from Joppa that Jonah hitched a ride on a boat to run away from God’s command to go to Assyria.  There was a great storm and Jonah left the boat to save the other sailors.  He spent three days and three nights asleep in the belly of a whale.

Wood for building the Temple came through Joppa from Lebanon.

Ezra 3:7 “Then they gave money to the masons and carpenters, and gave food and drink and olive oil to the people of Sidon and Tyre, so that they would bring cedar logs by sea from Lebanon to Joppa, as authorized by Cyrus king of Persia.”

Peter had his vision of the sheet in the city of Joppa.

Acts 11:5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was.

There were Messianic believers who lived in Joppa.

Acts 10:23 “Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests. [ Peter at Cornelius’s House ] The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the believers from Joppa went along.”

Acts 9:36 “In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor.”

On the tel mound excavations still continue.  Watching the men dig and dust and find another part of a Canaanite rock wall made me wish I was an archaeologist.  An Egyptian gate showed the entryway to the little village.  Around the top, the various gardens were beautiful with views everywhere of the water.  At one garden there was an arch as a memorial to Jacob’s dream, the ram caught in the thicket that became the substitute sacrifice for Isaac, and the miraculous deliverance through the Red Sea.

We decided to eat lunch overlooking the sea.  We tried to open the windows, but the breeze was very strong and cool.  After lunch my husband wanted to go down to the actual port.  Long stone stairways led us to another world by the sea.  I decided that  I was going to take a lot of ‘random’ photos on this day and that’s what I did.

We decided to rent bicycles to return to Tel Aviv.  Of course, we had issues with the machine.  Even some very kind people who tried to help us ‘unlock’ our bikes couldn’t figure out the problem.  Soon others were standing with John trying to figure out the problem.  I’m still not sure what happened, but suddenly our little bar codes worked, the locks clicked and we had our bicycles.

One of the photos that’s in my random shots is of an ambulance.  On the side of the van are the words Magen David Adom.  This is like the Red Cross of Israel since the Red Cross will not work within Israel.  The Magen David Adom is the first response team to emergencies whether it’s a car accident or the aftermath of a bomb.  We have supported the Magen David Adom for many years because we know the importance of quick and reliable medical care in an emergency.  The Magen David Adom also goes internationally to countries to set up triage units when there are tsunamis or earthquakes.  Generally, they are the first international medical teams to arrive, even before the U.S.  If you’re interested in supporting them, there’s a link on the Homepage of this website.

We had a lovely ride by the sea on the tayelet back to Tel Aviv.  We stopped many people to take our picture.  We even met some people handing out tracks for Yeshua.  We have heard from the Messianic Jews here that the hearts of Jewish people are opening to hear about their Messiah.  These street witness people were thrilled to meet us as once again, we are not Jewish, but celebrate the Biblical holidays.  I have come to realize that we are not just unique in the United States, but here in Israel, we’re even more of an anomily.  Everyone says, “You’re  just was Jewish as we are because the Messiah broke down the wall of partition that all may worship together as one people with the Jews.”  Such a simple message, but one that many do not understand especially as one of the nations.

We continued riding past our apartment street to take in all the beach scenes.  People swam, sat at cafes, rode bikes, played volleyball or soccer, and worked out on beach equipment.  Truly, a European/Brasilian experience.

My husband wanted to go into the Mediterranean so we returned our bikes to the station by our place.  He went home to change into shorts and my daughter and I went to the beach cafe owned by our host.  We played a little in the water and had cold drinks: pineapple smoothie, strawberry smoothie and a vanilla milkshake.

About twenty years ago, I received some inheritance money.  My husband and I prayed about who to give some to.  Through some miraculous events, we met a man named Avi who ran a coffee shop in Tel Aviv called Dugit Messianic Outreach Center.  Whenever I considered a trip to Israel, I knew I had to visit this place.  For us, it was another ‘divine appointment’.  We met some wonderful believers while we drank coffee and tea.  We even found out that they have a relationship with a congregation in Boulder, Colorado called Cornerstone.  We know that congregation and the leader, Gene Binder, personally.  It turns out that Dugit is his ‘family’ here in Israel.

A wonderful woman named Sarah invited us to return later that evening for their Live Dugit.  Since our apartment was only three blocks away (how divine is that in a huge city), we returned after we packed for our flight out the next morning.

Our trip to Israel ended with the music of Shaul and Yulia Ben Har.  They play electric violins together and Shaul plays the lute, the horn and even a recorder.  Their music was lively and very Israeli in sound in order to draw people to the door where they can share Yeshua.  They played a few worship songs to Adonai.  We didn’t want to leave, but knew we had an early morning.  We listened to one last set: a medley of songs from “Fiddler on the Roof.” 

As my husband said while walking back to the apartment eating chocolates we bought from a bakery, what a perfect way for the Lord to end our time in Israel.  Tomorrow we leave and we’re all wondering how different security will be from what we know in the U.S.

©2014 Tentstake Ministries

Sarit to Tel Aviv – February 18

Living without internet for one week is not as difficult as we thought, but it was not conducive to writing a blog.  Whenever we had a free moment, we skipped from internet cafes to hotel lobbies with free WiFi.  Even though Chaya tried to be as helpful as possible, she could not get any internet set up.  This created major charges on our phones because of the time difference in the U.S. when we needed to communicate with family.  Though the view of the Sea of Galilee from the apartment was beautiful, and we made the apartment home for nearly a week, there were some problems that need to be fixed.  Hopefully, for the next guests, Chaya will work on giving more information about the apartment’s nuances and supply the kitchen with some necessities like dish drying cloths, rack, spatulas for cooking and maybe even a microwave.  

We said goodbye to Tiberias and headed toward Migdal HaEmek … again.  Migdal HaEmek was where we went round and round and saw the infamous bunny suits.  Armed with a step-by-step Google map and using WAZE for short journeys only, we began our second adventure to meet another Israeli.

When I was planning this trip, I went on a Messianic group and asked for a little help with our itinerary planning.  A very kind woman responded and we chatted back and forth while she helped me with driving questions.  We decided we should meet while on our way to Megiddo, but that day was definitely not in the Lord’s plans.  So, we re-scheduled it on our way to Tel Aviv.

Of course, as we entered the town and followed her very specific directions, we passed the rabbit suits and laughed at how really close we had been to her house a week before.  The directions were perfect and we arrived at Sarit’s house only one hour after we left Tiberias.  The ‘appointed time’ to meet had arrived.

Sarit.  I hope if you read this and I mess anything up, you will correct me.  Sarit is a sabra or native Israeli Jew.  As she showed us her yard, a very beautiful yard with a nature expanse behind her house, she told us how her grandfather had planted all the fruit trees.  The lemon was full of fruit and she gave us a bag of oranges for the road (which are absolutely delicious).   We sat on her patio and drank tea.  Where ‘two or three are gathered in Yeshua’s name,’ he is there.  And, he was.

Sarit, being a Messianic Jew, has such an incredible understanding of the Scriptures and how Yeshua taught the Torah.  It was so refreshing to hear the Word spoken about in its original context with its fulfillment being realized in the Words of Messiah.

Sarit explained why there is a Shin ש on the mezzuah that is placed on the door posts of a house.  It represents “El Shaddai”.  I had always heard that meant “God Almighty”, but she explained that Shaddai means ‘my bosom’.  The Hebrew letters for Shaddai are Shin, Dalet, Yod.  Shin stands for ‘shomer’ or watchman.  Dalet stands for ‘door’.  Yod stans for “Yisrael”.  Thus, the mezzuah represents the “Watchman of the Door of Yisrael.”  Suddenly, the mezzuah with the Shema inside means more than just some tradition to touch when one enters or exits a home.  It is a reminder the Word of God watches and keeps Israel as Israel guards Torah creating a closeness to the bosom of Elohim.  

Revelation 4:4-5 “Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and on the thrones sat twenty-four elders dressed in white clothing and wearing gold crowns on their heads. From the throne came forth lightnings, voices and thunderings; and before the throne were seven flaming torches, which are the sevenfold Spirit of God.”

Revelation 5:8-9 “When he (Yeshua) took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down in front of the Lamb. Each one held a harp and gold bowls filled with pieces of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people; and they sang a new song, “You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals; because you were slaughtered; at the cost of blood you ransomed for God persons from every tribe, language, people and nation.”

Another topic of conversation included the 24 elders in Revelation and how they are representative of the 24 families of Aaron that grew into the Levitical High Priesthood.  It is important to remember two truths.   The Levitical priesthood will be reinstated when the Third Temple is built.  The covenant made with Aaron and the priesthood was eternal.   The representatives of  the family heads of this priesthood will be the 24 elders in Revelation that are around the Throne of God.  When you read the Scriptures in Revelation, you will see that the 24 elders are dressed as priests and are doing the work of a priesthood.  As Sarit pointed out so profoundly, the work of the priesthood was long days with hard work with morning sacrifices, washings, cleanings, taking care of the menorah which burnt 24 hours a day, offering prayers on another altar, evening sacrifices and being the representatives of the people.

We also talked about the neshema or the ‘inner breath of God’ that lives inside of man.  It is this spirit that the enemy tries to steal for his own purposes while God desires that our neshema be reconciled to Him.   We touched on how everything in this world is spiritual and that heaven is not someplace we will go, but just above our feet.  With a little more explanation, we are all spiritual people and the only part of us that touches the dust of the earth is our feet.    This is why we ‘wipe the dust off our feet’ when the message of Yeshua is rejected, and why Yeshua ‘washed his disciples’ feet’.  It was symbolic of leaving this world and entering into the Kingdom of Heaven in the here and now.

Matthew 4:17 “From that time on, Yeshua began proclaiming, “Turn from your sins to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near!”

Washing of feet was what the priests had to do after a sacrifice before entering the Holy Place.  It was the reason for the bronze laver.  Sarit pointed out that the priests only washed their hands and feet.    How did their priestly garments stay white?  Why weren’t they stained with the blood of the sacrifices?  Selah

Luke 10:11 “Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off as a sign against you! But understand this: the Kingdom of God is near!’”

John 13:12-15  “After he had washed their feet, taken back his clothes and returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me ‘Rabbi’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because I am. Now if I, the Lord and Rabbi, have washed your feet, you also should wash each other’s feet. For I have set you an example, so that you may do as I have done to you.” 

I actually don’t have time to write everything that Sarit shared with our family and vice versa, but it was definitely meat for our spiritual bones and a time of great fellowship.  We all needed the refreshment in this desert world especially from a sister of Yeshua who understands the fullness of the Scriptures through faith in Yeshua.

I asked Sarit how she came to know Yeshua.  Simply, she was invited three times to a house of a co-worker and finally, the third time, she relented and went.  She had no idea why they were inviting her, but the second she stepped into the door and looked at the husband sitting on the couch reading his Bible, she heard the Spirit speak to her in her ears.  She looked at the husband, and before he could even say a word, she said, “You want to talk to me about Yeshua.”  From that moment on she craved the Word – all of it.

She struggles with those who take Yeshua out of his Jewish life and lifestyle.  For her growing up, Jesus was an abomination to the God of Israel.  She explained that in many ways he still is because those who follow him celebrate Christmas, Easter and go to church on Sunday.  They eat things that are an abomination to him like pork.  Jesus would not have been the Messiah she was looking for and she still would not want him.  She loves the Messiah of Israel who loved Torah and explained the prophets  and the instructions found in the New Testament.   I shared with her that we have actually met people who believe that the Jews don’t need Yeshua because they have Torah. She responded that it’s the enemy who uses the traditions of Jews and the false doctrines of Christianity to keep Yeshua from his people, the lost sheep of the House of Israel.

After an incredible two hours of non-stop fellowship about Yeshua and the Scriptures, we went to lunch.  The little place we went to didn’t have any menus in English so Sarit translated everything and we ordered.  We’re not very creative sometimes and we all ordered schwarma over rice that was absolutely delicious.  My wonderful husband surprised us all with a deep-fried chocolate stick.

Sarit had to go to work so our time was cut short.  We drove her to her job and said our ‘shaloms’.  We were incredibly blessed by our time with Sarit and new personal relationships were formed – all from social media!   The next time we come to Israel, we want to celebrate Shabbat with our new sister in Yeshua.

From Sarit’s house we drove to Tel Aviv.  Strangely enough, we traveled the same route as we took to Tel Megiddo.  It was beginning to seem as if we were having constant deja vu’s.  The countryside was beautiful.  We passed vineyards and fields with with workers either picking or pruning something that formed long rows of green.

Tel Aviv is a huge city, a metropolitan area.   The traffic into it was like traveling to any big city with numerous lanes of traffic and jams caused by fender benders.   WAZE directed our path,  winding and weaving our way toward the Mediterranean Sea.  When we finally turned onto the last street before the Sea, The beach scene and the sea was breathtaking.  It felt  like we were back in Rio de Janeiro. There were lanes of traffic flowing along the beach with bike and walking lanes.  Wind surfers and regular board surfers were floating on the waves.  People were walking dogs or riding bicycles.   I almost expected to hear people speaking Portuguese.

We turned down our little street and drove one block from the beach.  I texted the host for this apartment and he arrived within two minutes.  He took us inside to a very classy apartment decorated in red and black with a huge fish tank.  He explained the locks and keys, the amenities in the apartment, AND THE INTERNET!    He even told us that he owned a restaurant on the beach and if we ate there, we would receive a discount as his guests.

Since the beach was so close, we went there to watch the sun set.  It was breezy and the waves were breaking high.  One wind surfer stayed on the waves until the final rays of the sun settled on the horizon.  Feeling a little hungry, we went to our host’s restaurant and had pizza, pita and humus and shakshuka.  Yeah, I really love that egg dish that reminds me of Huevos Rancheros.

Just in case you’re wondering about the rabbit suits.  They are costumes for the upcoming holiday of Purim.  Purim is the celebration of the Jews’ victory over Haman found in the book of Esther.  The holiday is celebrated with melodrama plays and costumes making it one of the most joyous and fun holidays of the year.  This year Purim begins on Saturday, March 15.  Make a costume, give to the poor, and remember Queen Esther who was used by God to save the Jewish people from destruction.

©2014 Tentstake Ministries

Jerusalem – February 6

We have arrived in the Promised Land.   The sun is shining and we’re feeling rather warm after being in blistering cold for the past several days.  We leave the plane and walk through a beautiful international terminal in Tel Aviv.  There’s virtually no Customs and we receive our Visas with our Passport.

Israel is doing new type of Visa that is not an actual stamp in the Passport.  This is for people who would like to travel to Israel and then one of the neighboring Arab countries.  Since the neighboring countries do not acknowledge Israel as a sovereign country, they do not allow you to enter if you have an Israeli Visa stamp.

We cruise through the airport to pick up our rental car.  It is brand new and very small.  We can barely fit our suitcases and carry-ons in it, but we’re used to squishy and it makes for an adventure.  The drive from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is short and nearly all uphill.  After all, the tribes ‘go up to Jerusalem’ because it is on a mountain.

Isaiah 2:3 “Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of theLord, 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.”

We had no difficulty at all finding our apartment, Ariel gave excellent directions even though the route was full of cars and skinny roads.  We have a lovely place to call home for a few days.

Soon after ‘unpacked’, we headed for the Old City of Jerusalem.  The walk is about 20 minutes to the Jaffa Gate, however, instead of walking on the rock walkway, we followed traffic and came to the gate from the road.  There is a mezuzah on the side of the gate that many Jewish people touch before entering the city.  This comes from the Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 where the Israelites are commanded to write the words of the covenant on their doorposts.  Of course, as we entered the city, we touched the mezuzah as is the custom.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one (echad) Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

From the inside of the gate, we decided to do a walk of the ramparts or around the top of the south wall of the city.  This walk would take us to the Western Wall of the Temple.  We were not prepared for the cold and wind after the warmth of Tel Aviv and so the walk was rather chilly.

The views of the city of Jerusalem from the ramparts were spectacular.  Trying to imagine standing let alone running on these ramparts while in the heat of battles was overwhelming.  There are very nice iron railings that weren’t there hundreds or thousands of years ago.  The rocks were difficult to walk on and the stairs were steep and scary.

Isaiah 62:6-7 I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night.  You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.”

Psalm 48:12-14 “Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation. For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.”

Psalm 122:7 “May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.”

At the end of the rampart walk is the Kotel or the Western Wall of the Temple.  Many people milled around taking group photos or just watching the prayers at the wall.  We each went to our separate sides – my daughter and me to the women’s side; my husband to the men’s.

It was a quiet and awe-inspiring moment to stand at the Wall and pray with women from all over the world.  I leaned my head on one of the ancient rocks and prayed many of the prayer requests people had given us.    The most important one was “Do not forget your people, Israel.”  Yes, Lord, don’t forget all of these women who prayed and cried at what remains of Your Temple.

When I had finished praying,  I stood next to the ‘dividing wall’ and listened to a young boy of about 12 (his voice had not changed yet) pray the afternoon Hebrew prayers from the Sidur – prayer book.  Old and young men joined him in responses.  While listening to him, I thought about how he is the next generation of thousands to pray the ancient prayers and cry out to the God of Israel.    I recognized many of the Hebrew words, but the one that he spoke twice penetrated my ears as he prayed for Yerushalayim: yeshua.  He prayed for yeshua, salvation of Jerusalem.

Isaiah 38:2-3 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord,  “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and withwholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.”

My husband seemed to have disappeared, but he went into a room for men next to the Wall.  Inside were ancient scrolls and more men praying and blessing the Lord.  Though these men and women do not know Yeshua personally, they do know how to reverence Him, call on Him, and desire Him in ways that most people do not.

My daughter and I watched many women go to the wall, scantily dressed and uncovered, even though there were many signs that requested ‘proper dress and heat attire’.  The lack of respect for the people who have guarded our Scriptures for millennia and who birthed the Messiah, saddens me.   Even more so, the lack of understanding of how important the Western Wall is to the Jewish people and prophecies waiting to be fulfilled.

We will be returning to the Wall tomorrow evening to join Yeshua’s brothers and sisters; and our family in the commonwealth of Israel to bring in the Sabbath at sunset.  No cameras or cell phones will be allowed on the Shabbat so this time will be very special to us as we meet Yahweh on His Appointed Time in the place where Yeshua will return someday soon.

From the Kotel we walked back toward the Jaffa Gate.  It is such a blessing to see young families with children walking on the streets – obvious residents.  I was reminded how Scripture says the ‘voice of the bridegroom and the bride’ will be heard in the streets again.  These little children are the evidence of that promise and yet, there are greater promises to come.

We spent a few moments around  Zion Gate.   Two young men in gym shorts bouncing basketballs entered the Old City through the gate.   I wonder what it must be like to live in the Old City and go to and from Zion’s gate.  A gate where battles were fought and now cars try to squeeze through. The walls of this particular gate has a lot of damage, but is just as impressive as Jaffa Gate.    We stood for a few minutes and listened to a tour guide explain the bullet holes in the wall from the wars for Independence.

From there we walked through the Armenian Quarter.  We laughed and talked about our son’s Armenian college roommate from last year.  For Nicolay, we said,  and took photos of the Armenian words and ceramic pottery.   For those unfamiliar with the country of Armenia, they were the first country to accept the message of Messiah fully and completely.

As the sun set, the colder it became.   We weren’t completely prepared for the colder weather (we foolishly left our jackets at the apartment)  so we stopped in at Christ Church Cafe near the Jaffa Gate to get something hot to drink.   The coffees were delicious!

We left the Old City through Jaffa Gate that we had entered several hours earlier and walked back along the rock walkway to King David Street.  The beauty of the lights on the exterior walls makes Jerusalem look golden.  We walked down King David Street and passed the King David Hotel.  A beautiful old stone building that is beautifully lit and a treasure to this city.    We passed King Solomon Street along with George Washington St. and Lincoln Street until we came to Keren Hayesod.

We had a wonderful dinner with a very special waiter who allowed us to practice our Hebrew.  We did a quick shopping trip to the grocery store for breakfast items and finally ended this long day.  As my daughter said, “It feels like we’ve been up 24 hours.”  In many ways we have been and tomorrow is another day.

©2014 Tentstake Ministries