essianic Jewish children in Israel often tend to feel as though they are part of a lonely minority in the surrounding culture. Typically they have very few friends who are believers, mainly because most congregations are small (less than 100). After hearing from the hearts of parents who went through difficult years with their children feeling lonely and confused in their identity, we are seeking to encourage a sense of belonging and camaraderie among children of Messianic families. As part of this effort, over the last year we have developed a new, Hebrew language, Messianic children's scouting program in our congregation Ahavat Yeshua in Jerusalem.

We call the scouting program Tsofei-Yah, "God's Scouts." Our elementary school children, both boys and girls, are part of the program. The children are excited and growing in their identity together. The program emphasizes internalizing the fruits of the spirit and godly behavior, Bible teaching, playing and having fun, outdoor activities, and connection with the land and the people of Israel. It is neat to be able to teach about archery in the city where Jonathan shot his arrows with David, to follow in the footsteps of our ancestors who camped out 40 years in the desert, etc.

One of our main verses is: "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. You will hear the word of my mouth, and give them warning from me." (Ezekiel 3:17) "Watchman" in the original Hebrew text is "tsofeh" - the same word for scout in modern Hebrew.

Our logo is made up of symbols which speak of some of the foundational things we want the children to internalize. On a circular green field runs the Jordan River with Mt. Gerazim and Mt. Ebal in the background. A Torah scroll is superimposed between the two mountains with a shepherd's staff and arrow crossed over the scroll. A flame of fire hovers over the Torah between the two mountains. Each element of the logo represents a key truth we desire to impart to our children:

The outer green circle represents planet earth - the Creation:

God created all things including me.

The Jordan River and the Promised Land are to remind us:

I am stepping into the promises of God in my life, individually and as a part of the people of Israel.

The two mountains, Mt. Gerazim and Mt. Ebal are from Deuteronomy 27 & 30:

I am learning the difference between good and bad, life and death. I choose good. I choose life.

The Torah reminds us:

I love the LORD. I love others. This is the foundation of the whole Bible.

The shepherd staff represents Yeshua:

Yeshua is my shepherd, and He gave Himself for me.

The arrow is a symbol of destiny:

I am a blessing from God as children are an inheritance from the Lord. Psalm 127:3 says: "As arrows in the hands of a warrior are the sons of one's youth." I have a destiny toward which I am aimed.

The flame of fire represents the Holy Spirit:

The Holy Spirit gives me strength to be a witness. The fruit and gifts of the spirit are growing in me.

Together with the young scouts, we older "scouts" are quite excited about this program as well. "Our children are the future" is more than just a slogan; it is a foundational realization about our most basic field of discipleship and mission - the generation God has given us to love, teach and nurture. This is not only true for those who live in Israel but for all of us, wherever we may live.

1. Junior scout with bow and arrow
2. Scouts watching congregational Torah reading
3. Scouts play circle game after hike
4. Scouts' weekly discussion and teaching time

 

By David Shishkoff

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Also in this issue of the newsletter:

Dan Juster: Discipleship: Embracing The Most Foundational Commandments
Eitan Shishkoff: Spirit of Adoption
Moshe Morrison: Tell Them I Just Stepped Out