May Day! May Day!
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The latest Tents of Mercy congregational men's gathering fell on "May Day" (International Workers' Day). So it was decided to use the gathering to honor working men and our role as providers for our families.

Food and fellowship
Avi shared the theme through the verse, "It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him" (Ecclesiastes 5:18).

This was a poignant theme for a few reasons:

Most of the men in the congregation are immigrants who, because of language challenges or other issues, have not succeeded in getting the kinds of jobs that could push them firmly up into the Israeli middle class. For some it has been very hard to find and keep a job, even at minimum wage. Sometimes in order to simply be employed, older congregants have had to take work with very physically demanding and difficult duties. And for a few, the problem of finding work has become acute.

Also, many of the men in our congregation grew up in Communist countries in the former Soviet Union in which May Day was a huge national holiday. In modern Israel it is a very minor event on the calendar.

So it felt right to use the irony of these factors, in the midst of challenging economic conditions, to honor working men, and to celebrate and fellowship together, thanking God - the true provider.

One brother shared about how his family and children had been praying for him to get a raise at work. Then "out of the blue" his manager called him and told him the overseers had seen his work and decided to give him a significant financial perk that is rare for a non-management worker to receive.

And lastly, by the way, that verse in Ecclesiastes did say something about it being "good and fitting ... to eat and drink". So we enjoyed a nice barbeque and had great fun preparing food together and serving one another as brothers.

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