We first met in 2003. I knew even then that I'd never be the
same. It took over six years to finally be united for good. Yes, ours
is a true love story - Israel and me.
I came on a tour in 2003 and then visited every year thereafter. As a Gentile involved in Messianic Judaism, Israel doesn't offer citizenship and there weren't a lot of options for me to follow my heart. Fortunately, God awoke in me a love for a beautiful Israeli girl. We married and moved to Israel just before the High Holy Days in 2008.
Those of you who have visited Israel will know that it is very different from North America. Israel has different food, different culture, a different language, and even different Jews. Americans are much more familiar with Ashkenazi Jews (Jews who had settled in Eastern Europe) but Iraqi, Persian, Moroccan, and Yemeni Jews are really different! It can be difficult to move to a foreign country.
I am reminded of the early pioneers of the 1900s - those men and women that came and set up a kibbutz in just one night so that they could defend it the next morning! They came as painters, bankers, store owners, but they all became farmers. In fact, I recently read that Ben-Gurion (the first prime minister of Israel) wrote to his sister, who earnestly desired to make aliyah, telling her not to come because she wasn't ready to handle the hardships of living in Israel. His message? Israel is not a place for the weak! This is still somewhat true today.
Israeli combat soldiers make approximately $200 per month! But wait, they are 18-21 year olds, what about proven professionals? Well I have a masters degree and was working as a business consultant making $92,000 a year in America. So what was my first job in Israel? I was a customer support person that spent over 40 hours a week on the telephone making $1,500 per month. That's a drop from $92,000 a year to $18,000 a year! Because living expenses aren't any lower, people just live with less - smaller homes, less food, cheaper furniture, older computers, etc.
So why did I move here? I moved to Israel because I want to participate in the promises that Paul described to the Romans. Romans 11 declares: "... all Israel will be saved..." and "what will their (the Jews') acceptance be but life from the dead?" I want to work toward all of Israel being saved (Israeli revival) and seeing Jews living out their role as a nation of priests. "Life from the dead" means worldwide revival. If I can be a part of that, there is no cost too high for me to pay.
So what is it like moving to Israel? Paul sums it up best: "But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Messiah. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Messiah Yeshua my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Messiah." (Philippians 3: 7-8)
If you are between the ages of 18-30 and would like to come to Israel please visit www.projectnetzer.org. A few of us with an understanding of the importance of Diaspora Messianic Jews and Gentiles have created a program that helps you come and visit. You'll be able to learn Hebrew, experience real Israeli culture, and connect into an Israeli Messianic Jewish Congregation. But watch out! You may end up living here one day. I'm here and I'm loving it!
Also in this issue of the newsletter:
|Daniel Juster: The Family Foundation|
|Eitan Shishkoff: Friendship is Forever|
|Moshe Morrison: Moshe's Messianic Musings|
|Asher Intrater: Death & Ressurection in all Things|