Seven years of teacher’s training in Haifa
The Caspari Center began organizing seminars in Haifa for Russian-speaking teachers in 2011. Our primary goal was to offer training to teachers from the north of Israel, and the Russian language was initially chosen due to the abundance of Russian-speaking congregations in the region. What do we see seven years later? First, the number of congregations that send their teachers to be trained has doubled. Second, the number of participants keeps growing. Third, and in my opinion, the most interesting observation, is that for the third consecutive year, the Haifa seminar has been attracting teachers from as far away as the center of Israel. It’s safe to say that if we had been able to organize transportation to and from the event, we would have had even more participants.
Our 8th seminar took place on February 16, and this time we invited not only teachers, but also parents. Part of the planning of a seminar involves taking a short survey of the teachers to help us determine their most urgent needs and how we can meet them. This year, after reviewing the surveys, we decided upon the seminar’s theme of working with teenagers. Those of us with teens in our families, or who work with teens, are aware of the particular issues and challenges related to this age group which arise during teaching, or even simply during fellowship with them. It seems there can’t be too many seminars on working with teenagers!
We give praise to the Lord for the fact that in Israel’s small Messianic community, there is a growing number of professionals from a variety of fields who are willing to share their wisdom and experience. Our main speaker for this year’s seminar was both a family counselor and pastor of a local Messianic congregation. He taught about the reasons for a lack of good communication between parents and teenagers, about sources of conflict, and about ways to avoid and resolve them. Role-playing games were a very good practical way to illustrate the real-life situations we face, and to apply the principles he taught. It was interesting to listen to him – an experienced congregational minister who often encounters believers struggling with life’s problems – state the correct way of approaching conflict situations. The Scripture says: “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrines. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” (1 Tim. 4:16). Sort out your own life first, apply Scripture to it, and make this your habit – then you will see good results in ministering to others, too. That was a very useful reminder to us all.
Speaking with participants at the conclusion of the seminar and looking through the written feedback, the response was overwhelmingly positive: “It was a very practical seminar! We really worked through all the topics! That is the way we would like to study other topics as well!”
It is always a great joy for me when our ministry blesses people. And I know that we can’t take all the credit for that. Our Haifa seminars would have been impossible without the Shavei Tzion Congregation, the local Messianic congregation which hosts and helps organize the seminars, and provides lunch. We feel very much at home there, and are very grateful to them. Such partnership of congregations and ministries tremendously strengthens the believing Israeli community.
This article originally appeared on Caspari Center, April 23, 2018, and reposted with permission.
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Convict’s demands welcomed by father of Messianic boy injured in bombing
Jack Teitel, a 39-year-old settler, is seen at the Jerusalem's district court on January 16, 2013. (Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
The father of a Messianic terrorism victim said he welcomes the news that his son’s attacker is demanding to be released from prison because it presents another opportunity for the name of Yeshua to make headlines in Israel.
David Ortiz, a pastor and evangelist in Ariel, said that every time the prisoner does something that makes headlines, reporters flock to interview victims of his prior attacks, one of which is the Ortiz family – targeted by the Jewish terrorist for their beliefs. Basically, “he’s opening up the door to share the gospel,” Ortiz said.
“It was interesting he wanted to do the hunger strike now because what he actually did was put the spotlight on Jews who believe in Yeshua,” Ortiz told KNI. “The main thing is that the name of Yeshua, and Jews believing in Yeshua, is always being projected to the public.”
Yaakov (Jack) Teitel, who planted the bomb that nearly killed Amiel Ortiz, a Messianic teenager, is one of two Israeli prisoners currently on a hunger strike demanding to be released from jail, Israeli news reported.
Teitel was convicted in 2013 of murdering two Palestinians and perpetrating several terror attacks against other Jews. He is serving two life sentences. Teitel planted a pipe bomb, disguised as a Purim gift, at the Ortiz home in Ariel in 2008. Amiel was 15. The bomb exploded in his hands severing two of his toes, damaging his hearing and left him fighting for his life. He underwent multiple operations over the last 10 years. The bomb was intended for David and Leah Ortiz, Amiel’s parents and prominent Messianic leaders in Israel.
Teitel has been on a hunger strike since Wednesday last week. Another Jewish prisoner, who kidnapped and murdered a Palestinian boy in 2014, has also been on a hunger strike. The Israel Prison Service claims that the two are unrelated.
The Ortiz family is known for their direct approach to sharing their beliefs. When they moved into a new apartment recently, they invited their neighbors to a hanukah bayit (housewarming party).
“Up front, we told our neighbors we believe in Yeshua,” Ortiz said. “Some of them are now coming to our meetings.”
Some time after the bomb that injured Amiel, another bomb was found in front of the Ortiz home. Police evacuated Ortiz, his wife and a guest and brought a robot to destroy the package only to find it was filled with food – a fake bomb likely placed by associates of Teitel to cause fear, Ortiz said.
“After that all the major Israeli media outlets came to our house for interviews,” Ortiz said. “So what they meant for wrong God used for good.”
Ortiz stays up to date on the agenda of the anti-missionary organization Yad L’achim so he can understand what they think about believers. One woman once wrote a letter to the organization’s magazine pleading with antagonists to “please stop bothering this family.”
“Every time we do something, it ends up in their favor and they publicize Christianity,” Ortiz said she wrote.
Ortiz said when he hears things like this he praises God.
“They’re not against us, they’re against Yeshua himself,” Ortiz said. “I feel it is God’s responsibility to honor his name and to protect us. When the time comes it comes, but the main thing is that the name of Yeshua be lifted up in this country.”
Originally from Florida, Teitel is an Orthodox Jew who moved to Israel in 1999. In the past several years, Teitel has been allowed to leave prison to attend the brit (circumcision) of two of his sons, both born while he was imprisoned.
Amiel has graduated university in the United States and works as a psychologist helping war veterans and troubled youth.
Israeli believer Hananya Naftali is hired by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office
This is great news, and a major breakthrough, for an Israeli follower of Yeshua to be part of the Prime Minister’s staff. However, it is also a prayer request. Please pray for favor and protection for Hananya and blessings upon his work as he advocates for the truth about Israel in the online battle for truth.
This new appointment is a dramatic rise for Hananya Naftali who started sharing videos on social media several years ago while he was an IDF solider and now has over 22,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel. Kehila News has reposted many of his videos.
The JPost article primarily focuses on the question of identity of whether Hananya Naftali is a “Christian” or a “Messianic Jew”. This issue has been debated for years since the term “Messianic Jew” started to be used in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Previous to the 1960’s, Jewish believers in Yeshua were called Hebrew Christians, Jewish Christians, or Judeo-Christians. The debate about titles and labels will continue, but the important issue is that a young Israeli Jewish man who openly professes faith in Yeshua (Jesus) is now working in a key position representing the Israeli government.
Please pray for favor and protection for Hananya and blessings upon his work as he advocates for the truth about Israel in the online battle for truth.
Below is a video of Hananya Naftali interviewing PM Netanyahu on July 28, 2017.
KNI Israel Prayer Corner :: April 24, 2018
Prayer for Israel News
In the six weeks between Passover and the Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks this year, some major events unfold in Israel. Last week the official observance of Israel’s Independence Declaration which is according to the Hebrew lunar calendar. According to the Gregorian calendar, Israel’s Independence was declared seventy years ago on May 14, 1948. On May 14, 2018, approximately 250 representatives of the U.S. government will fly to Israel to be in the official opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. This is indicative of spiritual expectations of major impact to unfold in this 70th year of Israel’s re-birth. With the bold move of U.S. President Trump, the door has been opened for other nations to follow suit. Guatemala and Romania are two who have made official announcement they will also make the move. Of course, this stirs up all the enemies of God’s promises to the nation of Israel. Please pray over the coming festivities on May 14th, for God’s blessing to be upon the event and that His hand will stay any schemes to mar the ceremonies with violence. Thank God for the nations who seek to bless Israel, and woe to those who seek to harm her, for “whoever touches you touches the apple of His eye” Zechariah 2:8
Continue to pray for the extremely important legal petition by the Jerusalem Institute of Justice on behalf of a Holocaust Survivor’s Child who was refused citizen status on religious grounds. The Israeli Interior Ministry is aggressive in trying to identify and deny citizenship and essential rights of Jews who believe in Yeshua. This case was filed on Holocaust Remembrance Day. Pray that Israel’s High Courts will uphold true justice against the illegal actions against Israeli Jews who follow Yeshua. As God spoke through the prophet Isaiah, “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed.” (Isaiah 1:17) Those who seek justice, must be just themselves.
Prayer for Community News
Pray for the whole Messianic Jewish community in Israel who are currently only 0.2% to 0.3% of all Jews living in Israel. That may not seem like many, but consider the rate of growth in the Israeli community of faith. Pastor Howard Bass estimates that there were approximately 200 Israeli believers in 1981, and now in 2018 estimates are between 14,000 to 20,000 Israeli believers (these figures are difficult to verify). It is as Yeshua said in Matthew 24:32-33, “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its branches become tender and sprout leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that He is near, right at the door.…” Pray for all those who are planting the seeds of the Gospel in the hearts of their relatives, friends and neighbours in the highways and byways of Israel.
Pray for the continued increase of Christians worldwide who recognize God’s love and promises to His people and are committed to stand with Israel . Pray for record setting numbers of Christian tourists during this 70th anniversary year for Israel. Many Israelis have turned around their thinking about Christians as they have witnessed Christians being Israel’s most loyal allies. Let’s pray for this to continue to grow and deepen relationships.
There are surprises happening in Israel among the congregations and those ministering in their everyday lives. The surprises are in who are coming to them to hear about the faith of Yeshua. It doesn’t really matter what motivates someone to learn why an Israeli Jew would believe in Yeshua, because God has His own purposes in stirring up these often surprising opportunities to witness. Pray for Divine appointments set up by the Holy Spirit of God – even surprising opportunities to plant the seed of the good news in the hearts of those who are open and seeking the answer for their lives.
Man convicted of bombing Israeli Messianic Pastor’s home demands release from prison
Jack (Ya'acov) Teitel Flashes Victory Sign at his Trial, Photo, CBN News
JERUSALEM, Israel – The man responsible for leaving a bomb outside an Israeli Messianic pastor’s apartment, which almost killed his son 10 years ago, is demanding to be released from prison.
Less than a week ago, Jack (Ya’akov) Teitel, serving two life terms for murder, plus 30 years for other attacks, began a hunger strike demanding his release.
One of the attacks took place on March 20, 2008. Then 15-year-old Ami Ortiz, the youngest son of Messianic Pastor David Ortiz, had stayed home from school that day. It was Purim.
Messianic Pastor David Ortiz
On Purim, Israelis typically exchange large gift baskets full of candy and fruit and other edibles.
The Ortiz family’s housekeeper had found such a bundle at the door and brought it inside. But when Ami tried to open the package, the shrapnel-laden bomb hidden inside exploded in his arms, gutting the apartment and shattering windows on the street below.
Ami suffered extensive injuries to his whole body.
Israeli paper reports on the terror attack
Security camera footage caught the attacker, later identified as Teitel, escaping down the staircase.
Five years later, following a lengthy and well-publicized trial, an Israeli court convicted Teitel of murdering two Arabs – a taxi driver and a shepherd – years earlier, along with a series of attempted murders spanning more than a decade.
On October 7, 2009, police finally arrested Teitel, who was originally from Florida. During the investigation, he confessed to many of the attacks, including the one that almost killed Ami. He was indicted on November 12 of that year and sentenced on January 16, 2010.
During the trial, Teitel insisted that the court had no power over him. For three years, he underwent extensive psychological testing, with his attorneys claiming he was mentally unfit to stand trial. In the end, the court indicted him on 10 charges, including two first-degree murder and two attempted murder charges.
Ami back on the court
Over the years, Ami underwent many surgeries and medical procedures. He publicly forgave his attacker and eventually went to college in the States, where he returned to his favorite sport: basketball.
This article originally appeared on CBN News, April 24, 2018, and reposted with permission.
Tzippe Barrow is the CBN News Internet Producer - Jerusalem. She and her husband made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) nearly two decades ago. Barrow hopes that providing a biblical perspective of today’s events in Israel will help people in the nations to better understand the centrality of this state and the Jewish people to God’s unfolding plan of redemption for all mankind.