Getting children into a healthy sleep routine
As educators, we often hear complaints both by parents and children that their children are not getting enough sleep at night. Either they go to bed too late or are unable to fall asleep. This often results in children arriving school feeling tired, sometimes sick and also with diminished energy which impacts their academic performance.
Therefore, we’d like to pass on some tips which we felt could be useful to you in helping your children to create good and healthy sleep habits which will enable them to succeed in school.
According to http://www.sleepforkids.org/html/practices.html
Children age 5-12 require an average of 10-11 hours of sleep. The benefits include the establishment of lifetime sleep and health habits, yet there are many impediments to developing those habits and some of them could be related to the use of electronic devices, television viewing, the wrong food and drink or even an undetected medical problem.
Here are some important tips which are listed on the site:
- Introduce healthy sleep habits, disease prevention and health promotion
- Continue to emphasize the need for a regular and consistent sleep schedule and bedtime routine
- The child’s bedroom should be conducive to sleep: dark, cool and quiet. TV’s and computers should be off and out of the bedroom
- Set limits
- Avoid caffeine
- Watch for signs of chronic difficulty sleeping, loud snoring, difficulty breathing, unusual nighttime awakenings and frequent daytime sleepiness.
Talk to your doctor if you observe any of the following symptoms:
- A child is having problems breathing or breathing is noisy
- A child snores, especially if the snoring is loud
- Unusual nighttime awakenings
- Difficulty falling asleep and maintaining sleep, especially if you see daytime sleepiness and/or behavioral problems
A sleep deprived child is also more likely to exhibit behavioral problems, and this can impact their academic studies overall. Certainly a child who is tired has less of an attention span, and this is often noticed by the teacher.
Setting a regular, nightly schedule is one of the most important things a parent can do to help their child. Sticking to it is paramount. Here are some ways to begin this process per https://www.webmd.com/parenting/raising-fit-kids/recharge/bedtime-routine-tips#1
1. Make sleep a family priority
Set regular go-to-bed and wake-up times for the entire family and be sure to follow them — even on weekends. You can tell that children are getting enough sleep when they fall asleep within 15 to 30 minutes of going to bed, wake up easily in the morning, and don’t nod off during the day.
2. Deal with sleep troubles
Signs of sleep struggles include trouble falling asleep, waking up at night, snoring, stalling and resisting going to bed, having trouble breathing during sleep, and loud or heavy breathing while sleeping. You might notice problems in daytime behavior, as well. If your child seems overtired, sleepy, or cranky during the day, tell their doctor.
3. Work as a team
It’s important to discuss and agree on a sleep strategy for your child with your spouse beforehand and work together as a team to carry it out consistently. Otherwise, you can’t expect your child to learn or change her behavior.
If you are starting a new sleep routine for your child, make them part of the team by explaining the new plan to them if they are old enough to understand. For a young child, try using a picture chart to help your child learn the new routine, showing actions like changing clothes, brushing teeth, and reading a book.
4. Routine, routine, routine.
Kids love it, they thrive on it, and it works. One study found that a consistent nighttime routine improved sleep in children who had mild to moderate sleep problems. It helps your child learn to be sleepy, just like reading in bed often puts adults to sleep. It can also make bedtime a special time. That will help your child associate the bedroom with good feelings and give them a sense of security and control. There is no single routine that’s right for everyone, but in general, yours should include all the things that your child needs to do before going to sleep, including brushing teeth, washing up, putting on PJs, and having a snack or drink of water. Your child may want to read a book with you, talk about the day, or hear a story. Whatever you choose to do, keep the routine short (30 minutes or less, not including a bath) and be firm about ending it when it’s time to sleep.
5. Bedtime snacks
Children may need more than three meals a day to keep them going, so a small snack before bedtime can help their bodies stay fueled through the night. Healthy options include whole-grain cereal with milk, graham crackers, or a piece of fruit. Avoid large snacks too close to bed, especially with older kids, because a full stomach can interfere with sleep.
6. Dress and room temperature
Everyone sleeps better in a room that is cool but not cold. A rule of thumb is to dress your child basically as you dress yourself, keeping in mind that very young children often kick off the covers at night and can’t cover themselves.
7. Sleep environment
Make sure the bedroom is dark and quiet and the noise level in the house is low. If your child does not like a totally dark room, turn on a small night light, or leave the hall light on and the door to the bedroom open.
8. Security object
Bedtime means separation, and that can be easier for kids with a personal object, like a doll, teddy bear, or blanket. It can provide a sense of security and control that comforts and reassures your child before she falls asleep.
9. One last thing.
Kids will always ask for that one last thing — hugs, a drink of water, a trip to the bathroom, just one more book. Do your best to head off these requests by making them part of the bedtime routine. And let your child know that once they are in bed, they have to stay in bed.
If these tips are exercised with regularity, the problem of sleep deprivation should subside unless there is a medical issue present, in which case, you are recommended to see a doctor and explore what problems may exist and how to best deal with them.
We hope that this has been helpful in getting your child the needed sleep they require so that they can function at their best and feel good each day.
This article originally appeared on Makor HaTikvah, and reposted with permission.
Cookie is the former managing director of Makor HaTikvah Messianic School in Jerusalem.
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Urgent global prayer for Lebanon
For the nation and kingdom which will not serve you shall perish, and those nations shall be utterly ruined. “The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, the cypress, the pine and the box tree together, to beautify the place of My sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious. – Isaiah 60:12-13
In the game pick-up-sticks, spiked sticks of different colours are thrown into the air and fall randomly. The winner extracts the most sticks without disturbing the pile. However, care must be taken because the sticks are sharp and misuse can cause injury. Likewise, the vying spiritual and political influences in Lebanon – Shia, Sunni and Christian – this month have been thrown in the air and now is the time to pray that they fall in such a way that the Kingdom of God will advance forcefully in the Middle East. The catalyst for throwing these sticks into the air was Saad Hariri’s 4th Nov. controversial resignation as Lebanese Prime Minister.
Lebanon has been described as a ‘playground for foreign powers’ since its borders were drawn by the French-British 1916 Sykes-Picot axis agreement. Internally, the country’s delicately balanced 1926 constitution determines that the president is Christian (at least culturally), the prime minister Sunni Muslim and the parliament speaker Shiite Muslim. Initially this worked well, and as with Jesus parable of the wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24-30) good seed was sown and the Christian influence held sway for a season. Later, apparently ‘moderate’ Sunni Muslim influence grew up in the form of the Hariri family, backed externally by oil rich Sunni Saudi Arabia. However, in 2005 PM Rafiq Hariri was brutally murdered – clearly the Enemy had long since sown bad seed! Both Shiite (Alawite) President Assad of Syria (see map) and the Iran backed powerful Lebanese Shiite terrorist militia army Hezbollah, were inconclusively blamed. Jump to 2016 and Maronite Christian Michel Aoun was elected president to fill a political vacuum, alongside existing Prime Minister Saad Hariri – Rafiq’s son. Crucially Aoun allied himself with Hezbollah, vowing to ‘reclaim’ territory from Israel’s Mount Hermon area. Shiite influence was growing at the expense of Sunni and the delicate balance disturbed.
Saad Hariri’s resignation from within Saudi Arabia appears to be motivated by fear of an assassination plot and also encouraged, or even forced by Saudi Arabia in order to highlight Shiite dominance in Lebanon via Iran’s proxy Hezbollah. Iran is seeking regional hegemony and a land corridor between Iran and the Mediterranean, a platform to attack and wipe out Israel. It manufactures missiles in Syria and now also in Lebanon. Indeed, Hezbollah has an estimated, unprecedented 150,000 missiles pointed at Israel.
Yet within Lebanon there are 1.4 million traditional Christians and 21,000 evangelicals, 2.5 million Moslems, 1 million+ Syrian refugees struggling for rights and work. Biblically Lebanon has a history of cooperation and trade with Israel, notably in the time of King Solomon and King Hiram of Tyre (within current Lebanon). Until 2000, the mostly Christian South Lebanese army cooperated with Israel against Islamic militancy.
How to pray:
- Pray that cooperation between Israel and Lebanon would be reawakened, and the Christians in Lebanon strengthened and redeemed.
- Ask the Lord to help Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
- Saudi Arabia has hands stained with blood and has long spawned terrorism – it does not love Israel, but sees us as an ally against Iran. Pray that the Lord would specifically use Saudi Arabia and its new young ruler for Kingdom purposes in relation to both Lebanon and Israel.
- Jesus said ‘a house divided cannot stand’ (Matthew 12:22-28) – pray for the divided house of Islam, Shiite and Sunni, to give way to the Kingdom of God and the Son he loves – Yeshua!
Psalm 83 describes an as yet un-transpired alliance of armies attacking Israel, one of which is ‘Tyre’ (verse 7) -synonymous with Lebanon, or perhaps Hezbollah. Included in the Psalm is a prayer for the destruction of the alliance – verses 13-18. We need to start praying for the swift and total destruction of these invaders and for consequent revelation of the Kingdom of God (verse 18).
This article originally appeared on Revive Israel, November 16, 2017, and reposted with permission.
Joni has worked in education and management and has been a writer for Kehila News Israel since 2016. He holds an MBA, as well as teaching qualifications. He lives in Israel with his family.
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Living as an outsider in the land
One of the wonderful things about reading through the Bible is that the more you read it, the more things you find within its pages. No matter how many times you read a verse or a series of verses, because the Bible is a living document, there will always be more to learn, more to see, and more to understand in ever deeper ways.
With this in mind, when I begin my daily Bible reading, I ask G-D to open my heart and my mind to the words of the text that would speak to me on that particular day. I believe that each day as we read, G-D can and will provide encouragement and instruction specific to us every day through His word.
Like most of the people reading this article, I look around the world we live in perplexed and puzzled by what I see happening. The news media is filled with stories and reports of what can only be viewed as a global effort at self-destruction. The amount of compromise of Biblical values is shocking as we read about more people accepting pop-culture’s definitions and views over the Biblical views passed down generationally. Like most people, I sit back with my head in my hands wondering how people can accept the unacceptable and allow the unallowable and still believe that they are walking in the ways of the Bible.
While reading in Genesis this morning, I came upon a verse which I had read many times, but without ever actually allowing it to speak into my soul.
Live as an outsider in this land and I will be with you and bless you—for to you and to your seed I give all these lands—and I will confirm my pledge that I swore to Abraham your father. – Genesis 26:3
In the verse, Isaac is having a conversation with G-D. The conversation is taking place because there is a famine in the land and Isaac is receiving instructions on what to do to survive the famine. He is told not to go to Egypt, but to dwell where G-D tells him to dwell.
Amos 8:11-12 tells us about a time which I believe describes the days we live in.
“Behold, days are coming” —declares my Lord Adonai— “when I will send a famine on the land —not a famine of bread nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of Adonai. So people will wander from sea to sea and roam from north to east, searching for the word of Adonai, but they will not find it.
I believe that G-D’s instructions to Isaac provided so long ago speak directly to us in the days we live. I believe the key to living a blessed life in the middle of the turmoil and swirl of sin in our world is found in the first seven words spoken in Genesis 26:3, “Live as an outsider in this land.”
If we want G-D to be with us and to bless us, then we must live our lives as outsiders in the land. It is only when our hearts change and we forget that this world is not our home that we end up making excuses for sin so that we will fit in and be accepted. When we listen to the voices of justification providing excuses for the acceptance of sinful lifestyles, every one of those voices is spoken from a position of one who no longer dwells as an outsider in this land.
Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, #ManWisdom, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, Jesus is to Christianity as Pasta is to Italians, and his most recent book God Has No Plan "B".
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‘Christian Jihad’ proposed at ‘Love Your Neighbor’ conference
Last month, Christian activist Stephen Sizer adopted Islam’s favorite term for violent struggle to describe his peaceful assault on Zionism: jihad. His double-talk caps a career of anti-Semitic comments and libels against Israel, which haven’t changed. What has changed: Sizer’s underdogs pursued by the Zionist demon are no longer the Palestinian Christians, but the Iranian Shi’ites.
For decades British Anglican vicar Stephen Sizer has made headlines with his efforts to save the Christian community from the “heresy” of Zionism. His mission often seems to take priority over the integrity standards expected of a clergyman. Correction: ex-clergyman. Last March, only weeks before retirement, he was unofficially defrocked for violating his written commitment to his bishop, Rev. Andrew Watson, to “refrain from writing or speaking on any theme that relates, directly or indirectly, to the current situation in the Middle East or to its historical backdrop.”
That restriction was imposed in 2015 after Sizer posted someone’s claim that the Israelis (and/or American Jews) were behind the Sept. 11 terror attack in New York. While withholding outright agreement, he implied that the idea had merit: “It raises so many questions.”
Under fire, Sizer zigzagged, protesting that the British Board of Jewish Deputies was making a crisis out of “one little link,” but later apologizing for his “insensitive” endorsement of the conspiracy theory as worthy of discussion. In mainstream U.K. media he pleaded neutrality: “I was neither saying Israel did it or that they didn’t.” To Jewish media, however, he coolly issued a challenge to produce proof that “Israel didn’t.” He never went on record demanding proof from anyone that “Israel did.”
Years earlier, a similar complaint was sent to his spiritual overseers, triggered by Sizer’s link to a different anti-Semitic site. The tension was defused in 2013 by a joint reconciliation statement between Sizer and the Board of Deputies. Here too he denied any anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment: “I care passionately about the safety of the Jewish people and the right of Israel to exist within internationally agreed borders.” Here he also pledged to be more “sensitive.”
The resolve proved hollow. In 2014 Sizer spoke at a Tehran conference where “the Zionists” were openly accused of perpetrating 9/11. Equal time was devoted to accusing Israel of sabotaging Iran’s nuclear-deal negotiations with the West, and of forming a “terror alliance” with Saudi Arabia. These are pretexts for repeated declarations that Iran must erase Israel from the world; subtly reinforced by the conference name, “New Horizons” (somewhat more discreet than “World Without Zionism”). On Day One of this Shi’ite confab, Sizer presented the same “Christian Jihad” concept that he would later offer to the 2017 Christian peace gathering. More on that later.
When criticized for his participation in the 2014 Iran “hate fest,” Sizer claimed to be promoting “reconciliation.” His meaning was explained in his warning that Western criticism of Tehran’s anti-Israel rants could have “consequences” for Iranian Jews and Christians. This is characteristic of the dhimmi mindset, in which non-Muslims are conditioned to blame themselves for any Muslim violence or injustice committed against them or their friends. Under those conditions, “reconciliation” means siding with the Muslim viewpoint at the expense of truth, covenant and self-respect, in the hopes of securing a temporary truce.
The dhimmi brand of reconciliation was also seen in the October 2016 campaign to have Britain apologize for the Balfour Declaration, sponsored by Brits and Palestinians, warmly supported by Iran, and attended by Sizer. But when he went on to publicly endorse the project, he violated his 2015 commitment to abstain from Middle East commentary. Until then, it wasn’t clear that the vicar would value “reconciliation” with Muslim ambitions to erase Israel above “reconciliation” with his church. Even his own bishop had assured the U.K. Church Times that “the publicity surrounding [his commitment] would ensure that Dr. Sizer kept his word.” Regardless, Sizer again evaded punishment by being “hugely remorseful” to his supervisor on the one hand, and claiming to have misunderstood the terms of his commitment on the other. He was granted one more chance.
Last March, Bishop Watson confronted Sizer over yet another violation of his 2015 promise: anti-Zionist statements posted on his Facebook page (spotted by Daphne Anson). He was ordered to stop teaching, preaching and leading services. Some Christian commentators observed that this church discipline should have come years ago, given Sizer’s history of apologizing for anti-Semitic comments without evidence of repentance.
Stephen Sizer retired in April, using his freedom from church supervision to renew his attacks on Israel and his fellow Christians who support Israel. He also continued a personal tradition dating back to 2008: defending Iran from its enemies. That brings us to his “Christian jihad” jingle, first applauded at Tehran’s 2014 death-to-Israel conference and recently recycled for peacemaking purposes.
Sizer’s speech at the “Justice Conference Asia 2017” in Hong Kong last month, as a representative of a new organization called Peacemaker Mediators, was under the theme, “Love Thy Neighbor.” His priority for peacemaking and showing love is revealed in the photo he chose to represent his contribution to the conference. Behind him is a projected text describing a potential U.S.-Israel strike on Iran in the near future, made possible by America’s strong Christian Zionist community. To the latter he attributed the motivation of fulfilling end-time prophecy and triggering the second coming of Christ.
Sizer’s portrayal of Israel and the U.S. (more precisely, the Jews and Zionist Christians) plotting to provoke Middle East wars echoes a long-running Iranian fantasy. The Shi’ite leaders are positively paranoid about the Jews (not just the Israelis) conquering the world through “sorcery” with the Americans as the sorcerers’ apprentices. Not to be outdone, Iran has been tattooing their missiles with spells for wiping out Israel… reportedly in Hebrew.
In truth, however, Iranian leaders dream of igniting a global conflict themselves — exterminating Israel in the process — thereby fulfilling Shi’ite prophecy and enabling their messiah, the Mahdi, to reign over a worldwide Islamic empire. Shi’ite imams believe the time is already here for the Mahdi’s warriors to rise up. In short, the wolf is pointing at the sheepdog and crying, “A wolf in the flock! Get him!”
Sizer, who shows no awareness of Shi’ite eschatology, has nevertheless internalized their strategy to project their own ambitions onto their enemies. It was the focus of his 2004 book, whose title (like his 9/11 post) framed the libelous stereotype as a question: Christian Zionism, Roadmap to Armageddon? His 2008 sequel, which insinuated that Christian Zionists blindly obey Israeli orders, also ended the title in a question mark: Zion’s Christian Soldiers?
Sizer’s solution to avert this made-in-Tehran disaster scenario is a peaceful offensive against Christian Zionism, yet it’s identified by a term more often associated with bloodshed. His website displays the text of his Hong Kong talk, entitled “Christian Jihad, A Biblical Basis for Proactive Peacemaking.” His only reference to Palestinians was an unlabeled photo of the Bethlehem security barrier.
Tellingly, he used the same text in Tehran, changing only the title, introduction and photo (this one depicting Crusaders). The 2014 version introduced “Christian Jihad” as the answer to ISIS, which he said is driven by the same “spiritual forces” as American Christian Zionism. How does Christian Zionism work as “a pawn of Satan”? Besides encouraging a long list of evils attributed to Israel (“racial superiority, land expropriation, home demolitions, population transfer, colonial settlements, the denial of international law and fundamental human rights”), Christian Zionism also “wages a jihad against Muslims and indirectly against Jews…. It not only fuels Islamophobia but also anti-Semitism and imperils the existence of the indigenous Christian community in the Middle East.”
A “Christian jihad” that labels the activity of its opponents “Christian jihad” is an example of the logical gaffes in Sizer’s thinking. But his claim that Christian Zionism hurts the ones it loves is a different matter: “It incites and exacerbates Islamist retaliation against both Jews and Christians.” Sizer was again expressing the dhimmi viewpoint: all Islamic violence is “retaliation incited” by unacceptable non-Muslim behavior. Incitement is not Iran’s continual threat to annihilate Israel, but rather (as claimed in the 2014 text) Sen. Joseph Lieberman and Pastor John Hagee suggesting a military response to that threat before it’s carried out. ISIS was wiping out Christian civilization in the Middle East not for its own reasons, but in “retaliation” for American “incitement”, mostly support of Israel. As for Jewish support of Israel, Sizer confidently asserted (2014) that “ISIS is no more representative of Islam than Zionism is of Judaism.” This Iranian-approved distinction turns Jewish faith into a stateless religion, and obvious terrorism into “retaliation” for all sorts of fabricated wrongs; it was most recently applied to Israel’s destruction of Hamas terror tunnels.
Recognizing that Islam views even criticism as “incitement,” Sizer’s introduction to his 2014 “Christian Jihad” included a disclaimer: “What follows is not a critique of Islamic Jihad, nor Christian Zionism.” The 2017 version reads, “not a critique of Islamic Jihad, nor Jewish Zionism, nor Christian fundamentalism.” Yet both versions concluded with the same harsh critique of Christian Zionism; and with the same rebuke that “Jesus continues to weep” over Jerusalem because of its “theology of war and conquest” (a slam against Jewish Zionism). A final sentence mildly denounced “the ISIS perversion of Islam,” which is certainly in the “Islamic Jihad” camp (although ISIS is not a “perversion” but a return to classical Islam).
So, what was the point of Sizer’s disclaimer? It was to keep Iran-sponsored “Islamic Jihad” groups targeting Israel — like Hezbollah, PFLP, Hamas and (literally) Islamic Jihad — from taking his comparison personally and “retaliating” against him as he mingles with Palestinians. (Iran also opposes ISIS because its Sunni goal of a worldwide Caliphate clashes with Iran’s Shi’ite end-time goal mentioned above.)
While some might view Sizer as an unwitting victim of Iranian brainwashing, his conduct over time suggests that he has consciously made Iran’s mission his own, along with their MO. Like the Ayatollahs in Tehran, Sizer doesn’t let trivial concerns like loyalty and truth get in the way.
It’s significant that Tehran’s calls earlier this year for a new bloody Palestinian “uprising” in exchange for massive payments failed to get much response; the open secret is that most Palestinians mistrust Iran’s sincerity. It’s time for Palestinian Christians, along with Christ at the Checkpoint supporters, to also reassess whether Iran’s mouthpiece Stephen Sizer has been fighting for Palestinian interests after all.
Hannah Weiss lives in Israel with her husband Hillel, their three children and two grandchildren. Besides writing on issues relevant for followers of Yeshua, she also works as an English writer, editor and translator for Israeli exporters and academics. Hannah is part of a small home fellowship, Restorers of Zion, which serves the Body of Messiah by focusing on neglected or dysfunctional areas of Scriptural teaching and practice.
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Praying for government leaders
Prayer changes things. It can even “move mountains” (Mark 11:23-24).
Prayer changes us. It changes our will: “Not my will but Yours” (Matthew 26:39). It removes our sin (“forgive us our sins”), our un-forgiveness (“as we forgive others”), our tendency to sin (“lead us not into temptation”), and attacks against us (“deliver us from evil”) – Matthew 6:12-13.
Prayer changes the world around us. It moves the will of heaven down into the earth (Matthew 6:10). It moves angelic powers to change history (Daniel 9:20-23; Revelation 8:2-5). It can even stop the sun from moving (Joshua 10:11-13).
We are called to pray for all people, but particularly for government leaders and those in positions of authority. “First of all I urge you to lift up prayers and supplications and requests and thanksgiving for all men; for kings and the heads of authority…” – I Timothy 2:1-2. This is an issue of strategic priorities.
You can’t just pray one by one for every single person in the world. So obviously we would want to pray for those who have the largest amount of influence over other people. When we pray for government leaders, we in effect pray for all the people living in their nation or serving in their organization.
Who has the most influence and authority in the world today? Donald Trump probably is the foremost. What about US Vice-President Pence? – Or Guterres, the Portuguese UN General Secretary? – Or Pope Francis? – Or Russia’s Putin, China’s Xi Jinping, Germany’s Merkel? – Or the leader of whatever country you live in? In Israel we have Prime Minister Netanyahu, key government leaders like Bennet and Lapid, as well as Jerusalem Mayor Barkat.
Imagine how you could change the whole word by even such a small investment of fifteen minutes of daily, concentrated, faith-filled prayer for key people in government, business, religion and media! Pray for those who shape others’ opinions.
Our prayers can influence their decisions. Here is one key how to pray for them: Proverbs 21:1 – “The heart of the king is streams of water in the hand of YHVH; He will turn them wherever He desires.” Along with our prayers, God can influence government leaders, who will in turn influence those around them.
I encourage you to choose a small number of key leaders, and pray for them daily in a focused way. God will tilt them, turn them, bend them, cause them to make right decisions, and have them act according to His will even if they didn’t understand why. This is a very effective tactic to change our world for the better.
This article originally appeared on Revive Israel, November 9, 2017, and reposted with permission.
Asher Intrater is the founder and apostolic leader of Revive Israel Ministries, and oversees Ahavat Yeshua Congregation in Jerusalem, and Tiferet Yeshua Congregation in Tel Aviv. Asher was one of the founders of Tikkun International with Dan Juster and Eitan Shishkoff, and serves on the board of the Messianic Alliance of Israel and Aglow International.