Happy New Year 5784! Jackie Santoro
Honey and pomegranates, dried fruit and all kinds of presents for the kitchen are flooding the stores as Israel enters into the Feasts of Tishri which began two Friday nights ago with Rosh Hashanah. Traditionally, the nation celebrates this day as the start of the New Year, 5784. It is a very happy few days as families gather, give presents and enjoy the time off from work and school.
Biblically, this holiday is the Day of Trumpets; a day dedicated to the sounding of the shofar which ushers in the 10 Days of Awe, a time of introspection before the solemn Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur. On this day, the nation stops completely and fasts and prays that their names will be written in the Book of Life for yet another year.
This is followed three days later by Succot or the Feast of Tabernacles which a very festive week long holiday. Families build their succahs and eat and sometimes sleep in them remembering the harvest and the exodus from Egypt. Tourists come by the thousands particularly during this week and fill the streets of Jerusalem with joy and love for this Land. It is quite a month!
Sadly, this festive season is marred this year by the ongoing political division and controversary which is an ominous, swirling black cloud hovering over this nation. The Knesset is not in session until November so things are a bit calmer for the holidays but the protests and demonstrations are without break. Dissension is following PM Nertanyahu as he travels to the UN to meet with President Biden. He is confronted with protesters wherever he goes and it illuminates the severe crisis Israel is experiencing.
This reform bill which was introduced a week following the start of the new government in the early part of the year has totally dominated the national political scene since then. The depth of the division and conflict it has caused has not been previously experienced here and has touched every segment of Israeli society. The opposition is saying it will be the end of democracy and the coalition is saying it will enhance democracy. The true issues are very complicated, politically charged and highly contentious. The only thing there is agreement on is that this is a dire conflict and the end is not in sight.
In a historic meeting last week, the Supreme Court convened with all 15 Judges for the first time in Israeli history. They heard all the arguments concerning the legality of the government’s bill that was passed this summer. This bill which is only one part of the Overhaul Reform bill dramatically curbs the court’s ability to make determinations on certain government actions. This is causing even greater division as the government is saying that the Supreme Court has no right to even hear the bill and is threatening to not abide by the decision – something which has never happened before. Other members have even suggested abolishing the current Supreme Court system and establishing a new one.
Please pray with us for wisdom from above to flow into our government and especially PM Netanyahu. Pray for a supernatural political breakthrough. Netanyahu is endeavoring to come up with a compromise and avoid the Supreme Court showdown but there is such a total lack of trust between the politicians that any compromise proposal is suspect.
In addition to all this, there is a spirit of violence which has been unleashed and is permeating the society. For almost a year, there has been an ongoing wave of murders by rival Arab criminal families with at least one or two people killed almost every day. There has been ongoing terror attacks in Israel with precious people killed and injured and revenge terror attacks by settlers causing great damage and injury to the Palestinian population. Currently there are riots on the Gazan border, as they throw explosives and incendiary devises towards the Israeli soldiers. There is an increasing amount of violent acts among Israeli youth which has been shocking to watch.
The atmosphere is tense throughout the nation during this Holiday season and the police are on the highest alert for attacks. Please pray for an unusual time of peace and that all terror attacks would be thwarted. Let us take our stand against the devil’s strategy to destroy this nation with such severe internal conflict and violence.
The good news is that while these things are happening and our world is teetering, we stand firmly on the rock and rejoice in our salvation. Last Shabbat, we had a wonderful congregational meeting as everyone had returned from summer break. It was great to be together and worship together and it was a very joyful time in the Lord. It is especially wonderful to see all the children – from youngest to oldest join in and come up front and dance and rejoice in worship. What a gift to see that next generation feeling free and happy in the presence of the Lord! We could all feel God’s smile as He watched us enjoying Him!
It is a season of increase and we have been blessed with more young couples attending our meetings. There is definitely a sense of excitement and anticipation as we learn to move forward in the presence of the Lord. Please pray with us that we would see healings and salvations and his love would overflow from our meetings to the streets of Jerusalem. This is the time!
There is a lot happening in Jerusalem during the Feast with many different conferences, worship events, parades and special congregational meetings. The name of Yeshua is being proclaimed loudly in every event. No doubt the enemy recoils and has his own plan. Based on what has been happening recently, we can expect demonstrations against these events.
Pray against any violence and that all events would proceed without interruption and even be a witness to those religious Jews who would come to disrupt. Pray against any spirit of intimidation as we boldly declare Yeshua to be Lord and King, the God of Israel.
Pray on this Yom Kippur as Israelis fast and ask for forgiveness that they will see the One who gave himself for them. Pray that Yeshua would enter their hearts and minds in dreams and visions. May we be surprised by joy and see these miracles in the spirit. Come Lord Yeshua and visit your people!
Thank you for your love and faithfulness in this season of great uncertainty. We are being strengthened by your unconditional support and prayers. May you be blessed with joy and peace as we enter this traditional Jewish New Year. May 5784 be a year of abundance in the spirit as we grow in His love, drawing Yeshua ever closer to the great day of His return.
With love from Zion,