Showing posts from September, 2010

Blunder on Live TV

Shock and horror. Not the stuff you see on television. Certainly not in the era of delay and drawn-out histrionics. Every reality show from So you think you can dance to Survivor to America's Next Top Model wearies most of us. When the producers get the show and the contestants down to the final four or final three or... as last night in Australia, you would expect a point man, a particular person who has the responsibility to hand the envelope to the right person to get to the announcer. That didn't happen last night.

Sarah Murdoch, herself a model and a warm Aussie host of the Australia's Next Top Model, was being given the information about the winner of the season. The final two were Amanda Ware(pictured) and Kelsey Martinovich.

The Sydney Morning Herald this morning printed, "As the announced runnerup Amanda Ware – the show's eventual winner – made her polite second place thank-yous, a look of sheer panic hit Murdoch's face. Someone in her ear-piece was de…

If they build it, they won't come

Israel. Palestine. Settlements. Peace talks. This hours ago from Reuters and the UK press, "UK Foreign Secretary William Hague will urge Israel to renew a moratorium on settlement building in the West Bank amid fears the expiry of the 10-month ban could scupper Middle East peace efforts. Mr Hague said there is "widespread international concern" that the issue could derail the latest direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Shortly after the ban expired at midnight [today], Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the Palestinians not to walk away from the negotiations, saying in a statement that his "intention to achieve peace is genuine".

There was no Palestinian announcement about the future of the talks although they asked for a meeting of an Arab League body on October 4 to discuss the situation." (

It's very likely Israelis will build more settle…


Learning to dance
Originally uploaded by bobmendo Sukkot is the Festival of the Ingathering, it's the Season of our Rejoicing. It's the 7th of 7 festivals in the Jewish calendar and we are in it, right now. A ministry named "Heart of David" flew me up to the Gold Coast/ Brisbane to preach and teach during this time. I know they videotaped and audiotaped all the lessons. But as you can see, they also did some singing and dancing.

That makes sense this is a festive holiday. It's a time to rejoice.

Why? God preserved our people through the wilderness wandering in the days of Moses and the Exodus. Not because we were deserving either. We grumbled and complained. Our lives were well tended by the Almighty, but we didn't have certain things we had in Egypt. Certain foods like leeks, onions, garlic, none available. But then we also didn't have these other Egyptian things: slavery, taskmasters.

The Bible describes our people, the Hebrews, as testing God in the wilder…

One new man: An end of racism

Given at St Andrews Anglican Church, Lane Cove
19 September 2010
Based on the Bible: Ephesians 2

For those who don’t know, this is my home congregation, and although I’m often away speaking and teaching throughout the country and throughout the world, I sense a real support from so many here, and as a missionary to the Jewish people, let me say thanks for that support. It is so needed. And I don’t take this lightly.

Tonight Peter has asked me to speak to the subject of the end of racism. This is a tough one, as I see racism in so many places, even here in Australia. Usually it is mixed with a bit of humour and lightness. Calling someone a wog or a Leb or using other defining terms may be socially acceptable in some situations, but not in my house. Not around my kids. Anyone who has had to wear such a badge will be sensitive to the issues surrounding it. At Joondalup Golf Course where I visited last week, the function rooms carry titles of flowers and trees that are on the grounds. So one…

Fear not sin... is there hope?

A Yom Kippur Message:
God gave me opportunity to meet up with people of all kinds in Perth while I was out there the last week. Their responses helped frame what I’m about to tell you. I hope you see what God said in these texts above and what others are saying and note the stark contrast, or the similarities, and that you will appropriate all that the Almighty has for us on this most sacred night.

I will use first names, but not real names. Each person and each conversation however really happened. And if you wonder how I remember the details so clearly and specifically enough to use quotation marks in this letter, then you should know I took massive notes and am quoting from several emails of follow up that ensued.

Brianna is a 40-something Jewish woman who grew up in Mt Lawley, the definitive Jewish area of town, and still lives there with her partner. She is the daughter of Israeli-born parents and does advertising work for radio. We encountered each other within two hours of my arri…

iTunes sermons and classes

Now we are putting up more and more of our sermons and lessons on iTunes. Find them all here on iTunes

Up in smoke... Book burning, smoking the Bible

An Australian lawyer is courting controversy after posting a video of himself on YouTube burning the Bible and the Koran.

The Brisbane Courier-Mail reports that in the video, Alex Stewart from Brisbane tears pages from both books and rolls them up like a marijuana joint, to smoke them.

Mr Stewart says they're just books, and if people are getting so upset over a book then they're taking life way too seriously.

According to ABC News, "The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane has confirmed one of its legal staff has posted on the internet a clip of himself burning pages from the Koran and Bible. Alex Stewart, 29, is seen in the 12-minute clip using the pages of the Koran and the Bible to roll and smoke a cigarette.

Mr Stewart says he conducted the so-called 'scientific experiment' amid the international debate over book-burning in the US and the impact on freedom of speech.

The controversy comes after international outrage over the planned burning of cop…

Starting Over... a Rosh Hashanah message

A sermon given in Sydney Australia
Rosh Hashanah 5771
9 September 2010
By Bob Mendelsohn

So many global situations cause us to ache. And to worry. And to wonder. And to wish we could start over.
For instance, each week the last 2 years our ears have been hoping to hear the words, “The Global Financial Crisis is over.” But the pundits and our wallets remind us, the crisis is not over and won’t be over for a long time.
BP would probably want to do it all over again with their spot-checking on the Caribbean blow-out preventer in their oil drilling rigs.
Nine years ago, on September 11 the ugliness of terrorism hit the West, in a harsh airplane-cum-torpedo crash against the towers of the World Trade Center and the US Pentagon. And arguments persist to this day about the use of the area for a mosque or a memorial to the 2900 who died.
Every week since maybe forever, we Jewish people and so many others hope for peace in the Middle East and so far, even if Presidents Bush or Obama so declare the mi…

Radio, 24/7

It should come as no surprise that there would be some internet radio stations broadcasting all day, every day, with Christian music and teaching. I've seen/ heard those for decades on regular radio stations, both FM and AM, in Australia and around the world. And there were a couple Jewish stations I've found over the years, as well. Wonderful and ethnically comforting to be sure.

But today I found a station of Messianic Jewish music which self-identifies as having both messianic and non-messianic Jewish music. I hope this one really goes, makes a go of it, that is. I enjoyed the 30 minutes or so of music I heard this afternoon. Give a listen, if you can,

Their promo says, "Messianic Jewish songs praise and worship Yeshua (Jesus)...evoking glimpses of a biblical Israel...fragrance of roses blooming in the desert...joyfulness before God!" I'm not sure about roses blooming in the desert, but it certainly blessed me today. I'm equally not …

Logos tell a story

A group named the North American Renewal Services Committee, NARSC, used a similar symbol to this for its logo back in the 1980s and I laid the dove over the Jewish star for our logo during a series of conferences they oversaw and over which I presided. Fun times.

This logo never quite caught on as a historic or popular design, although I wanted it to do so. But I'm no artist.

I am however keen on communicating and I find the layers of the design rich in meaning. The star is of course the Star of David, Magen David, which represents the Jewish people today. We are saying we are Jews. Although some will still try to shame us into thinking otherwise, our being Jews is not up for discussion. We were born Jews; we will die Jews.

The shin, the 21st Hebrew letter, is also clearly seen. It's a three-in-one symbol in its own way. Three prongs upward, and one horizontal bar to connect them. Many believers see the Trinity as so represented. Others use the Shin as the first letter of the w…