Health update on Israeli evangelist Jacob Damkani
The following is a health update posted by Jacob’s wife, Elisheva, on Facebook, January 13, 2019.
A new week of shalom to you, precious friends.
We are enjoying a wonderful time here, the sun gives us a glimpse of the grace of God. He is good!
We are home. And we are so glad we are.
Jacob has become much more quiet, content, happy, the struggles became less, and he is much more part of the life around him since the day we came home. We are thankful for his stable condition, for his body to be strong and his mind to learn more and more of the things that seemed forgotten.
Most mornings he wakes up with a smile and in spite of the helpless state he is in he seems to be thankful, happy, smiling a lot and often laughing. He still communicates only with his eyes, his vocal chords won’t work with the canula still in.
Jacob is fighting bravely; but yes, he also has serious struggles and I would like to ask you for prayer.
Lying in bed for so long and not being able to move much, he does have a lot of pain. We do physiotherapy daily but still… Please pray for wisdom that we can help him better.
Also, in rehab he seemed to have suffered more than we knew. He has a serious trauma from being hurt (nurses never have enough time and obviously hurt him) and he is now scared when someone comes close or touches him. Before rehab he could not get enough hugs. Please pray with us for that trauma to be healed. In His stripes we are healed
Traditional medicine tries to be careful, not to take risks, and it is a struggle to get the canula out. I so much want it out especially since Jacob does not need any oxygen for a long time, he is breathing all on his own and this hole in his neck does disturb him. Pray with me to find a doctor that is willing to help us to get this thing out.
And please pray for the family, for everyone involved, to receive the love, strength and wisdom from the Lord to deal with Jacob’s situation and with his/her own pain. It has not been easy for some, for all of us. Seing this strong man in bed and in a wheelchair, totally depending on people to help him with everything, is not easy to handle and we all need the grace of God to strengthen us.
It has been six months now since that surgery. Honestly I didn’t expect it to take so long for Jacob to wake up and come back to full life. Nevertheless I am still convinced that the Lord knows exactly what He is doin, and that what He does in His love is the very best – for us and for the Kingdom.
May we all be drawn closer to Him this week, may the Spirit of God reveal to us what still stands in the way for God to reign in our lives, to really reign, to take over and for us to say “Hineni, here I am, Lord, take me, mold me, make use of me for your glory.”
With much love and a thankful heart for you all, faithfully and lovingly standing with us in this challenging time, Elisheva
“O LORD, the God of Israel,
there is no god like You
in heaven or on earth,
keeping covenant and showing lovingkindness to Your servants
who walk before You with all their heart…
2 Chronicles 6:14, NASB
The Kehila News Staff is a team of Israeli believers in Yeshua.
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Prayer conference to focus on Israel’s security, elections
A conference being held in Jerusalem this month is calling on intercessors to come to Israel to invest in the nation with their prayers and strategic spiritual warfare.
Some 120 participants from up to 20 countries are expected to attend the 35th annual Intercessors for Israel’s International prayer conference scheduled for Jan. 21-28.
“The purpose of our conference is to actively and corporately pray for Israel, primarily the government and security issues,” Colin Ross of IFI told KNI. “This is not a conference about prayer. Rather it is a conference for prayer.”
IFI’s mandate is to pray for Israel’s physical security and protection. The annual conference is based on the scripture that believers are called to be watchmen on the walls. Hence, the morning sessions will focus mainly on praying while evening sessions will focus on teaching. There will also be an optional post-conference prayer tour from Jan. 28 to Feb. 2, which will include praying at certain points in the Golan Heights, where, just over the border from Israel a civil war is being waged.
“The situation in Syria has become ever more complicated. Our burden is to return to the Golan Heights for our tour again this year to continue our prayers for Israel’s protection,” according to conference literature.
Also on the prayer agenda this year are security issues as Israel faces a very real threat from Hezbollah, based in southern Lebanon. the terrorist organization has built cross-border tunnels into Israel which have recently been discovered and destroyed by Israel. Another threat is from another terror group, Hamas. The organization which controls the Gaza Strip has has an arsenal of rockets that it launches at southern Israel.
Another urgent prayer topic is Israel’s upcoming national elections in the spring. And, as always, Iran’s nuclear status is on the agenda. Iran has vowed to destroy Israel and as of late has been building up its arsenal of nuclear weapons. With sanctions placed on the Islamic nation by the United States, war would affect Israel.
“While there are many other things that need prayer in Israel, the Lord’s mandate for IFI is very much the physical security of the Land,” IFI says in its promotional material for the conference. “As we have said many times before, ‘For all of Israel to be saved, we need to be alive and living in our Land.’”
Last year conference goers prayed at specific places and IFI reports that these locations have remained “basically peaceful, even considering the months of Friday riots on the Gaza border.”
“Whatever the world may think or want, we have been given a holy calling – to be watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem,” IFI says.
As Jerusalem and Israel are the center of the spiritual battle in these end times IFI asks for the attendees to be covered in prayer by their community at home.
Because they want to raise up “the next generation of intercessors who understand God’s prophetic purposes and plans for Israel,” IFI is also offering financial sponsorship for younger intercessors, 30 years and under, to attend. Israeli young people will be given priority.
“We find that most of our stalwart prayers are aging, and there is a real vacuum that needs to be filled by the next generation,” Ross explained.
For more information about the conference or to register, please see the IFI website.
“I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; They shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent, And give Him no rest till He establishes And till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”
The Kehila News Staff is a team of Israeli believers in Yeshua.
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New book: “Refuting Rabbinic Objections To Christianity & Messianic Prophecies”
For us, Jews who grew up in Israel, Jesus and His word were never part of the conversation. Not in our school system, not in our synagogues, and not in our media. Nor do we have easy access to the New Testament. Jesus has been studiously avoided, and hidden from our people. Today in Israel, 99.7% of the Jewish population, reject Jesus as the Messiah. How did our country, where the gospel first took place, come to be so adamantly against it?
Within Judaism over the last two millennia, any kind of spiritual message had to go through the “gate keepers”, the Orthodox Jewish Rabbis. The Rabbinic Judaism of the Orthodox comes directly from the sect of the “Pharisees”, whom Jesus rebuked:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” (Matthew 23:13)
Ever since the days of Messiah, the Rabbis have set themselves in opposition to the gospel, blocking the message of Jesus from Israel. They deliberately prevent Jewish people from hearing about the free salvation offered to them in the death and resurrection of their own Jewish Messiah. They have gone to great lengths to conceal Jesus, and keep him the best kept secret in Judaism., keeping our people in spiritual darkness.
But now the secret is out!
After almost 2000 years, Jesus, or as we call him in Hebrew, Yeshua, can no longer be hidden from the people! Today, our ministry, ONE FOR ISRAEL, reaches Jewish and Arab Israelis exactly where they are – online. We no longer need the rabbis’ permission for anything. We can go straight into the smartphones, tablets, and computers of every Israeli, sharing the saving good news of Yeshua the Messiah!
In the past, the message of the gospel came to Israel from outside our borders, delivered by people who didn’t understand our language, our culture, our heritage or our way of thinking. Today the messengers look very different. Now it is Jewish and Arab Israelis who are bringing the gospel back to where it started – back to our own people Israel. We can explain the gospel to our people in a way that makes sense to them, in our own native tongues of Hebrew and Arabic as only Israelis can, and help our people understand who Yeshua really is.
The Orthodox rabbis in Israel operate an “anti missionary” organization called Yad L’Achim, specifically to fight against the spread of the gospel among the Jewish people. This very well-funded organization, works very closely with the Minister of Interior in the Israeli government. They seek to prevent Jewish people from leaving the confines of Rabbinic Judaism by any means necessary (not always legally), and relentlessly persecute us, the Jewish believers in Jesus in Israel. With over 90% of the names, photos and addresses of all the Messianic Jews in Israel on file, Yad L’Achim began sending a magazine called “Searching” to the homes of believers in Israel back in 2014. The magazine contains objections and refutations from Orthodox rabbis about the messiahship of Jesus, the credibility of the New Testament, and trying to ridicule and destroy the belief in Jesus. This caused several Jewish believers, even including some who had been missionaries, to deny their faith in Jesus and revert to rabbinic Judaism.
Over the past five years, I decided to go over all of their magazines, books and videos, in order to answer their arguments and prove their objections false. Since 2015 we have released about 150 short videos where we share the gospel and directly refute these rabbinic objections to Jesus, New Testament and Christianity. This book is a compilation of transcripts from these videos, all in one place for your consideration. While the content of this book is based on five years of academic research, I did my best to write it in a simplistic, easy-to-read way, in order to keep this book as short as possible.
This article originally appeared on One For Israel and is reposted with permission.
Eitan is ONE FOR ISRAEL’s Media & Evangelism Director.
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Amazing news from Israel to start the New Year
2019 kicked off with a lot of incredibly good news from Israel! A new dawn – even a new era – is breaking.
A very interesting season in the Israeli media
“Jesus was a classic Jew… the greatest Jew of all time… The very least he deserves from Israel is a city square named after him” wrote one impassioned Israeli journalist.1 There have been a plethora of articles and videos in the Israeli media, looking very favorably on the subject of Jesus and his story. It’s a new era of much more positive attitudes towards Jesus in Israel. An entire documentary was devoted to exploring “Christianity in Israel”. A secular Jewish man and a religious Jewish woman interviewed believers from different backgrounds, including a priest who was born in a Jewish family and insisted that he is still Jewish. They found it bewildering but intriguing. At the end, they called Jesus their brother, and called for more appreciation of the Christian community living in the Holy Land.
I’ll be honest with you, we’re all a bit shocked by all this positivity!
Another article talked of “yet another sign that the centuries of bad blood between Jews and Christians is finally giving way to warmer relations.”2 Still another wrote at length about the virtues of Jesus as an important but overlooked Jewish historical figure, saying, “This land is the cradle of Christianity, and… Jesus was our flesh and blood, a Jewish superstar, the most influential Jew of all time.” Whether it’s in the main stream media or in personal conversations, we are noticing a significant shift in attitudes towards Jesus. This is fantastic news!
Onwards and upwards – Israel is booming
As we enter 2019, the nation continues to grow in numbers and success, with many Jewish people coming to the land, high life expectancy, and high birth rates. According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, the population grew by 2% to almost 9 million in total (74.3% of whom are Jewish and 20.9% Arab). 185,000 babies were born last year, and 28,000 came back to the land of their forefathers, making aliyah from all over the world.
Also in the news, the world has been blessed by Israeli innovations in conservation, medicine, agriculture and technology. Israelis have offered their expertise in crisis areas around the world, such as when Thai children got trapped in a cave, assisting with processing trauma after shootings and terror attacks, and also providing medical care for Syrian victims of the war over the border. The Israeli army has been working in partnership with believers in the “Good Neighbor” initiative to take care of the injured fleeing Syrian violence. A representative from the IDF has been profoundly impacted by these believers who are ready to lay down their lives to help the Syrians, just as the Israeli soldiers have been doing each night. But the believers had no weapons – only their Bibles.
And at last, after many years of campaigning, a law was finally passed to prohibit paying for prostitution. There are many flaws in Israeli society, but we are seeing great breakthroughs and victories like this one. We praise God with the Jerusalem Institute of Justice who have been fighting on behalf of those trapped in sexual exploitation, and pray that it will lead to liberation for many.
The number of people visiting Israel in 2018 has broken all all tourism records
Since 2006, the number of tourists has more than doubled from 1.8 million to 4 million according to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The top five nationalities of the tourists who came were British, German, Russian, French, and over one million came from the US. I’m sure our guests had a great time, and it’s also very good news for us. Israel is often portrayed in a bad light in the international media, either as terrifyingly dangerous (it’s not) or as an evil, genocidal apartheid state (definitely not!). The more people who come to see the truth for themselves, the better.
And by the way, if you’ve never been, do come! It’s an amazing and rich country, as many are discovering. ONE FOR ISRAEL offers tours where you can focus either on studying the Bible or serving the people; either way, you’ll see the sights and have a wonderful experience.
The Body of Messiah is growing in numbers and maturity
As our study found a couple of years ago, there are at least 30,000 Messianic believers that we know of attending congregations, but we know that there are many more besides under the radar. Our estimate is that there might be another 20,000 or so who do not attend any congregation, either because there isn’t one in their area, or as a result of the profound family and social implications that come with declaring faith in Jesus. Many are teenagers who are not allowed to attend a congregation, and might not even dare to ask permission.
Numbers that we do know for certain are how many times our evangelistic videos have been viewed (some 90 million times!) and even our Hebrew language videos have been seen over 25 million times – that’s more than three times the population of Israel! Many have come to faith through them, having been persuaded by the truth and seeing through the false arguments of the Rabbis against Jesus. The pressing need now is for good discipleship.
This year we are building a 30 session discipleship course that can be used all around the country, and continuing to train Jewish and Arab Israeli believers in their faith here at our Bible College. We are praising God for the increase in numbers, but we also want to see growth in maturity in the body of Messiah, and deeper knowledge of God and his word.
Don’t curse the darkness, light a match!
We are very much looking forward to what’s in store in 2019. Instead of trying to guess what the future holds and how good or bad this year might be, we are determined to shine as much light as we can!
There’s so much to praise God for and we want to be thankful at all times, noticing the good all around us each day. It’s also up to each one of us to do what we can, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to build the kingdom of God – no matter what others around us might be doing. The darkness is certainly getting darker in many respects around the world, but that just makes the light shine all the more clearly. We are preparing the way for the coming King.
Arise, shine, for your light has come!
The glory of Adonai has risen on you.
For behold, darkness covers the earth,
and deep darkness the peoples.
But Adonai will arise upon you,
and His glory will appear over you.
- Haaretz, Jesus, the Disavowed Jew, Rogel Alpher, 31/1/2019
- Israel Today, Christmas fair in Haifa, 23/12/2018
This article originally appeared on One For Israel and is reposted with permission.
ONE FOR ISRAEL strives to be the leading organization in sharing the Gospel of Yeshua the Messiah with Israeli Jews and Arabs in the Hebrew language. Our staff is comprised of both Jewish and Arab Israelis, with the shared belief that true peace in the Middle East can only come into existence under Yeshua.
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Seminar to raise awareness, give hope to families facing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
When Laura Seton and her husband started encountering behavioral issues with their adopted boys they sought out specialist after specialist in Israel to find a proper diagnosis and support for their specific needs.
Until this summer when they got a diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, they had only a series of wrong determinations and no answers on how to help their sons, who are biological brothers. With little treatment available here, the Setons traveled to Chicago in the fall to learn about treatment options there. At that time they became aware of Dr. Ira Chasnoff, a Chicago-based world-renowned researcher in the field of FASD.
The diagnosis and subsequent treatment has changed life for the Setons who were spinning their wheels by only considering developmental and behavioral approaches to dealing with their sons’ challenges.
“My reaction used to be, he’s just being nasty, but that is not the case: It is literally an inability for two parts of his brain to communicate with each other,” Seton explained. “The part that says, ‘you may not hurt someone’ doesn’t speak with the part that is acting out.”
And now thanks to their discovery and this new connection, Chasnoff will be leading a seminar in Israel next week to educate and bring awareness of the issue of FASD— an under-diagnosed and misunderstood challenge that can be common in adopted or fostered children. Israelis from both Messianic and non-Messianic backgrounds have seamlessly worked together to put this seminar together in a short time.
HaTikva Families, which is financially sponsoring the seminar, is working with Sharona Duchne who runs a wide-reaching online portal, Adoptive Wisdom, for any Israeli parents grappling with the challenges of adoption.
Rebecca Rikhi, manager of HaTikva Families, of the Messianic organization HaTikva Project, said the goals of the seminar match the department’s own mission of recruiting, equipping, and then supporting families who adopt or foster children in Israel.
“I did months of research before we launched HaTikva Families and what I saw is that post-adoption support just does not exist,” Rikhi said. “And these children have experienced immense trauma. FASD is something you don’t know before and then all of a sudden your child has behavioral issues and you don’t know how to deal with it. You go to the professionals and they say, oh its ADHD. But you have to approach FASD differently. It is so important that people are aware of that.”
“We have to give them strategies to deal with this challenging behavior,” she said.
Attendees will run the gamut of Israeli society from pediatric medical professionals and social workers to parents. Chasnoff will be teaching on what happens to a fetus whose mother drinks alcohol and how it affects brain development and the child’s behavior and cognitive abilities. He will advise on how to diagnose and treat FASD.
FASD is the package of conditions that can arise in a child if a mother had been drinking alcohol during pregnancy. The effects can range from physical and neurological problems to serious birth defects. Symptoms may look similar to traits of ADHD or autism, but are not treated the same. Chasnoff emphasizes that FASD cannot be considered in isolation as many children likely suffered other traumas and neglect before adoption.
Duchne, a self made expert in the issue of adoption and its unforeseen challenges, is herself an adoptive parent. She found that the country’s professionals lack expertise regarding children who suffered trauma and neglect.
“The FASD children have this too, but more extreme; their brain is underdeveloped,” she noted. “But if you don’t know this and you assume this child can do this and that, you will be frustrated. Only when you understand that his brain functions a different way, you can cope. When you understand the issue, you will receive the right toolbox to deal with it.”
And this is why the seminar is so important, she emphasized.
“No one can tell you the number of FASD children in Israel because most of the children haven’t been diagnosed,” Duchne said. “The general assumption is, maybe 300 were diagnosed with FASD from the adoptive community.”
“The problem now is raising awareness that there are many children with FASD that haven’t been diagnosed with it, but instead maybe with autism or ADHD,” she said.
Duchne just celebrated her 12-year “family holiday” as she calls it. Duchne adopted Osher when he was 6 years old.
“The first two weeks were sweet like honey, then it got sweet and sour, then it got sour,” she recalled.
While her son doesn’t have FASD she found he had other issues such as post-trauma and an inability to regulate his emotions. Duchne did her own research and found resources, most of which were in English, and started translating into Hebrew. She started blogging and eventually expanded into an online portal for adoptive and foster parents in Israel, providing training and tons of information. Her site is appropriately called Adoptive Wisdom.
Some 16,000 Israelis have been adopted since the founding of the state. Adopted children ages 18 and under number 3,300. Some 360,000 children are considered at risk in Israel and many are living in government institutions.
“The research shows it is better to have children in a family, for their development and livelihood,” Rikhi said. “Israel will say we don’t have a crisis because the kids are not on the streets. We say it is a crisis because they are not in families — it is an orphan and vulnerable children crisis.”
So coming alongside this FASD initiative is a way of supporting the families who have taken children into their homes already and HaTikva Families approaches the issue proactively.
“More and more we are learning you can rewire the brain and you can bring healing even though there was trauma in the past,” Rikhi said. “If you really connect to the heart of the child and understand their loss then you can bring healing.”
The diagnosis has changed life for the Setons.
“I would say that one of the main things that has helped us and continues to help us is when you look at your child’s behavior, you’re always interpreting it. And if you understand that he can’t help it, that his brain is damaged, you will react differently than if he’s just acting out,” Seton said. “And when your reaction changes, then his reaction changes.”
Though there is currently no cure, only treatment, Seton sees this as a tool God has given her to lean on Him more.
“No one has come up with a cure, but certainly love and nurture are a big help,” she said. “And God is our great healer and He’s the one we need to be attached to.”
For more information and to register, see this webpage in Hebrew.
FASD: There is Something we can do!
Sunday, Jan. 6, 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
The Anglican School in Jerusalem, 82 Prophets Street
The seminar will be given in English with Hebrew translation
Dr. Ira Chasnoff is a professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago and a leading researcher in the field of child development and the effects of maternal alcohol and drug use on newborns and children. He has written “The Mystery of Risk: Drugs, Alcohol, Pregnancy, and the Vulnerable Child” and produced the documentary, Moment to Moment: Teens Growing Up With FASDs.
N.J. Schiavi has lived in Israel for over 15 years and is a freelance writer for Kehila News Israel.