Showing posts from December, 2016

Ending well: Repeat performance

Back in 2014, I was the chaplain on the Moscow summer campaign and each day brought a new message from the Bible, specifically from the Book of Joshua in the Tenach, and found life lessons for the teams. Here in Sydney yesterday we finished our 2-week campaign and I found these words that I gave in Russia to be something perhaps the campaigners can appreciate. So I reissue them in full at the bottom or you can simply click the following link:
Here's the link: (just click on the underlined "link")

Campaigns like the one in Sydney, where over 45,000 people individually received a flyer inviting response, where over 50 Jewish and 60 Gentiles who don't yet believe gave us their information for further follow-up information, where the weather and the weatherman cooperated... well, they are a highlight for many. Our youngest member in his 20s and our oldest in her 70s all gave so well that it was a joy to work together. We bannered and read Psalms, and handed out leafle…

Overlap: Christmas/ Hanukkah WHAT is the big deal?

It's not every year these two holidays which have nothing to do with each other occur on the same date. The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah (or Chanukkah, or Channukah or however you want to spell it) starts on the lunar calendar date of 25 Kislev. The Christmas celebration is celebrated on the solar calendar on 25 December. And this year, 2016, those two dates collide and help us to have some great fun with the joys of the season.

Of course this Jewish holiday was not a major festival, that is, not until the late 19th century, when Christmas (which also was not a major holiday of the year) grew in epic capitalistic proportions. As the holiday became the reason for shopping, the shop owners drove it more and more into what it is today, which is barely recognizable as the birthday of the leader of the religion. And Hanukkah which celebrates a military victory is merely an excuse for many for a "Jewish Christmas."

These two Canadian actors and Yiddish specialists perform a…

When you do this or that

Last night I went to a shiur. That's a Bible lesson taught by a rabbi, and he was speaking about the parsha (the weekly portion of Torah read in the synagogue in this case, in the upcoming Saturday). He referenced Jewish law (halacha) and specifically rules applying to men and not to women. The rule, if I understood him correctly, is that laws related to time (building a sukkah, praying at certain times of day, etc) are specifically for men to obey, and not required of women. It was not the rabbi's main point, but it caught my ear.

This morning I pondered Yeshua's words recorded in the beginning of the Brit Hadasha. He was speaking about religion and religious activities when he said, "when you fast... when you pray... when you give charity..." And he was speaking to a crowd at the time. (This is recorded in Matthew chapter 6). He didn't say, "This is for the gents. Ladies, I'll get to you later." He didn't say, "This is for those of …