Christ Church
Old City Ramparts
Never Forget...Auschvitz Birkenau
En Avedat Canyon
Christ Church courtyard
Image of Masada
Masada
Jerusalem
Tower of David Museum
Rabbi and his Disciples
Temple Mount
4th Century Burial Cave
Mount of the Beatitudes
Investing in the spiritual rebirth of the Jewish people

Soldiers from Down Under come up trumps for Israel

Having charted the role played by Britain – and especially its Christians – in the restoration of the Jewish people to their ancient land, I think it’s only fair to record for posterity the vital contribution made by our Antipodean friends from Down Under.
 
You may recall me saying how UK evangelicals, and in particular the now international society CMJ (Church’s Ministry among Jewish people), were at the forefront of efforts to persuade the British Government to facilitate the establishment of a Jewish homeland in the Middle East. This resulted in the so-called Balfour Declaration of 1917 and became a practical possibility just nine days later when General Allenby’s forces took Jerusalem from the Turks.
 
But without the brave ANZAC (Australia and New Zealand) forces this could surely not have happened, and the Jewish people remain forever in their debt.
 
Against all odds, the legendary charge of the ANZAC light horse brigade completed a victory in the Battle of Beersheba that might not otherwise have been possible and paved the way for the subsequent capture of Jerusalem, bringing the centuries-old Ottoman Empire to an ignominious end in the process.
 
As it happens, April 25 is ANZAC Day which this year marks the centenary of the landing on Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsula of Australian and New Zealand forces, who subsequently conducted a brave eight-month long campaign against fierce opposition, losing 8,000 of their men, and has since been marked as a day of remembrance for all 60,000 ANZACs who fell during World War I.
 

The Wonderful Blessing of Passover

 
I have just had the immense privilege of sharing, with hundreds of school children in my home town, the story of how Jesus, a Jewish rabbi, celebrated Passover with his disciples shortly before his trial after booking a large Upper Room in Jerusalem’s Old City for the occasion.
 
I had to re-tell the story dozens of times to a total of more than a thousand pupils aged six to eleven over seven days as part of engaging the kids with Christian teaching about Easter – that we see it as the fulfilment of Passover and which also happens to coincide with the Jewish festival this year.
 
They sat in rapt attention as I explained how, at this ‘Last Supper,’ Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew) instituted what has become known to Christians as Holy Communion. But it was a Passover meal much like that celebrated by Jews today, except that when it came to the third of the traditional four cups of wine poured out (known as the ‘cup of redemption’), he made the startling declaration: “This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the remission of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
 
We believe he was about to be sacrificed as the ultimate Passover Lamb, of which all previous feasts were only a foretaste. And he added that he would not drink again of the fruit of the vine “until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God” (Mark 14.24 New Testament).

Anti-Semitism on Campus

Anti-semitism is on the rise. We have reported on it here (see Anti-Semitism on the Rise) and in a recent newsletter. If you are not yet convinced, Google "anti-semitism" under their "News" tab, and count the number of postings within the last day.
 
And here is another shocking example of how close to home--or our universities--the ugly truth lies. Read the article here:
News from the Jewish Daily Forward: Student Quizzed About Jewishness
Forward.com, February 28, 2015
 

France, Charlie Hebdo and Anti-Semitism

by Dr. Theresa Newell, Chairman of CMJ-USA Board of Directors
 
Among the 12 who were murdered this week at the satirist magazine office in Paris was  Jewish caricaturist Georges Wolinski, 80. Wolinski came to France from Tunisia as a teen. The editor of the magazine and many on his staff were also killed in the attack by masked men yelling Islamist slogans.
 
According to Le Monde, the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices is the bloodiest to have taken place in France since 1835. It was also noted in a Wall Street Journal op-ed article (“France and the New Charismatic Jihad,” January 8, 2015, A11) that France has “more policemen and security officers per capita than any other Western country.” Can they contain, monitor and check Islamic activity in their own country? (the writer asks).
 
And how does such terrorist activity affect the European Jewish community? Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, writes in the op-ed cited above that there is a clear connection between the two. He contends that the rise of European anti-Semitism has been allowed to continue unchecked and “is practiced by both Muslim and non-Muslim Europeans...  Western anti-Semitism, traditional Islamic suspicion of Jews, and anti-Zionism have congealed.” 
 
As a proof of Gerecht’s contention, a news report on the same day stated that the Palestinians had been granted membership to the International Criminal Court (ICC) of the United Nations –- even though Palestine is not a sovereign state! Neither the US nor Israel –- both sovereign states and full members of the UN -- are members of the ICC. Palestinian membership on the ICC would begin April 1, but the court’s registrar said on January 7 that jurisdiction would date back to June 13, 2014. Palestinians have stated that they plan to bring criminal charges against Israel for its actions during the Hamas/Israeli fighting last summer once they are members of the ICC. 
 
Editorial cartoons indicated that this assassination of the editors of Charlie Hebdo magazine was an assassination of a free press, a principal value of any democracy and of western civilization. The WSJ shows a coffin with a writing pen inside, draped with the blue, white and red flag of France.  
 
Cartoon by David Gothard, Wall Street Journal, 7 January 2015
 
A Pittsburgh, PA paper’s editorial cartoon expressed a similar theme:
Cartoon by Randy Bish of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 7 January 2015
 
The people of France are outraged. Will they make the connection between this barbaric assassination at Charlie Hebdo headquarters in Paris and the unchecked rise of anti-Semitism and violence against European Jews? 
 
And will we pray and raise our voices at such a time as this to stand with the Jewish people? 
 
 

Near CMJ's Christ Church Compound:

Archaeologists find possible site of Jesus's trial in Jerusalem.

David Pileggi and Israeli archaeologist Shimon Gibson are quoted in a recent Washington Post article about the opening of that archaeological site at the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem's Old City.
 
The Rev. David Pileggi, minister of Christ Church, an Anglican congregation whose complex includes a guesthouse and heritage center near the museum, said the discovery... confirmed "what everyone expected all along, that the trial took place near the Tower of David." (Washington Post, 4 January 2015)
 
Read the article here:
 
 
 
"Part of Herod's Palace sits underneath a section of the Christ Church compound. Wouldn't it be interesting if Jesus actually stood where we are!" said a member of CMJ Israel's staff.
 
 

Mary, the Jewish Mother of Jesus in Art

Vittore Carpaccio, Marriage of the Virgin (Sposalizio della Vergine), 
also called Miracle of the Flowering Staff (Miracolo della Verga Fiorita), 
1502–05; Oil on canvas, 56 3/4 × 60 in.; Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan 
 

The reality that Mary, the mother of Jesus, is Jewish, that Jesus is Jewish and that the early church was Jewish has become better understood in recent years. CMJ regularly teaches on “the Jewish roots of the Christian faith,” however, both the Church’s and the synagogue’s errant views have blurred or obliterated this connection over the years.

Now an exhibit at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, through April 12, 2015, titled “Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea,” has brought the discussion of Mary, the Jewish mother of Jesus to the fore. The article below appeared in The Forward (26 Dec 2014), the oldest Jewish newspaper in the USA. Pay particular attention to the painting by Italian painter Vittore Carpaccio (c. 1455 - c. 1525) showing Mary being married in the Temple in Jerusalem!
 
Please click below to access the article, “Picturing Mary: History's Best-Known Jewish Woman”:
 

Christmas Eve: Report from Jerusalem

by LC, CMJ Israel
 
Christ Church Jerusalem had a wonderful evening on Christmas Eve. The weather was perfect--cold and clear, but not freezing! Our guides spoke with innumerable groups of local people about the meaning of Christmas. The hospitality of our evening included gallons mulled wine, vegetable soup and thousands of Christmas cookies. Staff and volunteers sang Christmas Carols at the front gate all evening long inviting folks to come inside for more festivities.  Everyone had meaningful conversations about the holiday and our motivation for what we do. 
 
 
The church was packed from 6 pm onward. A worshipful atmosphere permeated the church with music all evening long, ending with a "Lessons and Carols" service at 10:30 pm. We all felt God’s presence and pleasure with us the whole evening.
 
Merry Christmas to all friends!
 
 

Christmas Eve at Christ Church, Jerusalem

Each Christmas Eve, CMJ’s Christ Church, just inside the Jaffa Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem, throws a big birthday party for Jesus. It opens its gates and invites the entire city to come and celebrate. At the center of the celebration is a Christmas Eve service--a blend of traditional and contemporary music and readings from Scripture that tell the highlights of God’s work in the world. It’s a story that begins with the creation of the world, tells of the appointment of the Jewish people to be his representatives and concludes with the arrival of the Jewish Messiah. Each reading is accompanied by a carol or song. Most years more than 1,500 Israeli guests attend.
 
In addition to the service, the entire compound is open and filled with music and the special foods that make Christmas memorable. Our Heritage Center Museum is usually packed for a couple of hours as Jerusalem residents, Gentile and Jewish alike, accept our invitation for fellowship and friendship. The CMJ staff make Christmas cookies, prepare mulled cider and speak with guests in Hebrew, English, Russian and other languages. The Israel Bible Society supplies portions of the Gospels in Hebrew for free to those who would like copies.
 
It’s a wonderful celebration. Perhaps you should join us next year!

Hanukkah 2014 / 5775: December 17 +

by Dr. Theresa Newell, Chairman of CMJ-USA Board of DirectorsHappy Chanukah greeting
 
Did you know that Hanukkah is only mentioned in the New Testament and not in the Hebrew Scriptures? Where?
 
In John 10:22, 23 we read: "Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon's Colonnade."  This was the Feast of Hanukkah, also referred to as the Feast of Dedication or the Festival of Light. Hanukkah is an eight-day feast beginning on the 25th day of the month of Kislev in the Jewish calendar (December 17).
 
Why this name?
...because the Feast being celebrated was due to the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem after its desecration by the Seleucid rulers in the 2nd century BC. The rebellion against the pagan rulers was led by a Jewish priestly family who took the name Maccabee (meaning "the hammer" in Hebrew). Their ragged band of guerrilla warriors defeated the powerful occupying army and ruled Israel for about 100 years, ending with the conquest by Rome in 63 BC. It was the last time that Israel was under Jewish rule until AD 1948, when Israel declared statehood!
 
How is Hanukkah celebrated? 
On each of the eight evenings of Hanukkah a menorah with nine arms (called a hanukiah), each bearing a candle, is lit--one on the first night, two on the second, etc. A traditional game is played with a four-sided spinning top, called a dreidel. On each side of the top is a Hebrew letter: N, G, H, S (standing for the Hebrew words, Nes gadol haya sham--meaning "A great miracle happened there," referring to the miracle story of the oil lamp in the re-dedicated Temple burning eight days when there was consecrated oil from only one day). Children spin the top and play for candy pieces.

Jerusalem Focus on General Who Stopped the War!

by Charles Gardner
 
The World War I British officer who gave the order to lay down arms in 1918 is the subject of a year-long exhibition in Jerusalem opening this week. On the 50th anniversary of his death, Lt. Gen. Sir William Dobbie’s life is being celebrated at Christ Church, an Anglican community with strong links to the family and located within the ancient walls of the Old City.
 
Soldier of Christ:  General Dobbie pictured with his wife and daughter
When in 1929 riots broke out in what was then part of the British Mandate of Palestine as Arabs became anxious about growing Jewish immigration, the then Brigadier Dobbie – a distant cousin of T. E. Lawrence (of Arabia fame) – successfully brought calm to the situation as he sought God’s guidance!
 
With very few troops and widespread disorder throughout the country, the career army officer and devout Christian was faced with a dilemma. Rejecting outright such suggestions as placing the country under martial law or requesting RAF bombing raids on Arab villages, Dobbie turned to prayer. It was hardly a textbook tactic but, when reinforcements arrived, he spread his men very thinly to cover as wide an area as possible, and the violence ceased in the early stages before things got out of hand.

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