Israel’s educational tradition drives economic growth
Ever since ancient times, Israeli culture has valued education as a primary pillar in the establishment of the nation. The Babylonian Talmud, compiled in the 4th century CE states, “The very world rests on the breath of a child in the schoolhouse” (Shabbat Tractate, 119b), exemplifying the importance of study and education to the Jewish people thousands of years ago already. Even during the centuries spent in the diaspora, Jewish people excelled and distinguished themselves in education and academia despite frequent hardships and limitations placed on them due to antisemitism and discrimination.
Maintaining this tradition, modern day Israel has a comprehensive and robust educational system, ranging from primary schools to leading higher education institutions that offer undergraduate, graduate and post graduate students multidisciplinary study programs and often supply the world with breakthrough research in science, medicine and technology. Israel’s educational system is considered innovative in and of itself, as can be seen in a recent OECD “Innovation in Education” study that ranked Israel 8th overall in this category in the OECD between 2000-2011.
Israeli universities rank among the top 100 universities in the world in science and engineering subjects such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science, engineering and life sciences. Israel ranks 2nd in the OECD nations for the percentage of 25-64 year-olds that have higher education diplomas (undergraduate and above), standing at approximately 45% and is a global leader in the number of scientific articles published per capita. Israel also boasts the largest concentration of engineers in the world with 140 scientists and technicians and 135 engineers per 10,000 employees. In comparison, the U.S.A. has a ratio of 85 engineers per 10,000 employees while Japan’s ratio shows 83 engineers per 10,000 employees.
Furthermore, it is intriguing to note the disproportionate percentage of Noble prize laureates who are of Jewish descent in comparison to the percentage of the Jewish people in the world’s population. Jewish people make up approximately 0.2% of the world’s total population, however one in every five Noble prize laureates is of Jewish descent (20%). Whether laureates were awarded their prize before the state of Israel came into existence in 1948 or after, these figures still point to the importance of education in innovation and it’s clear that the Jewish people as a whole have a much larger innovative footprint than should be expected of them based on their percentage of world population. Equally interesting is the breakdown of each of the six Noble prize categories: Jewish laureates in the categories of Economics, Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, Literature and Peace make up 41%, 28%, 26%, 19%, 13% and 9% of all laureates respectively.
Higher education is known to play a pivotal role in the economic and social development of a country, thus Israel’s educational tradition has greatly contributed to its economic advancement. Given the strong tradition of education that Israel holds, along with the educational innovation and ingenuity that are part of the system, it is not surprising that Israel spends a higher percentage of its GDP on research and development than any other nation in the world and has one of the highest rates in the world for patents filed. The end result is a robust, highly educated and innovative Israeli workforce that fills the ranks of both local and international companies that are on the cutting edge to develop breakthrough technologies in a wide spectrum of industries.
There is no doubt that Israel’s education has been a considerable factor in the success of the nation’s economy and has allowed it to grow from a desert swampland to a leading and fully developed nation with a booming and resilient economy. As Israel continues to invest resources into its education it will reap the benefits for many years to comes, as will the rest of the world.
Sources: State of Israel – MFA, State of Israel – MOF (investinisrael.org), OECD.org, Wikipedia, Jerusalem Post
This article originally appeared on Wise Money Israel, May 3, 2017, and reposted with permission.
Being passionate about both ministry and business, Stefan serves as the Executive Pastor at the vibrant Messianic-Israeli congregation Kerem-El in Haifa along with his wife Keren, an Israeli worship leader and songwriter. He serves as a Director at Wise Money Israel, the first Jewish believer-run Investment Portfolio Management firm in Israel working with individuals, ministries and organizations around the globe to invest in Israel.
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Do all religions lead to God?
Isn’t it prideful of us to claim that there is only one way to God?
Don’t all paths lead to Him?
While we acknowledge the fact that there are ancient traditions and valuable studies regarding morality and integrity in every religion around the world, we believe that only through the Messiah who is promised to us in the biblical prophecies – that same Messiah whose life is described in the New Testament – can we truly know God.
It stands to reason that, if there is one God who has created one creation, He, Himself, will be the one to tell humanity what is that one way through which we can know and serve Him.
Initially, that may sound prideful and condescending. It may even seem intolerant on our part to declare that only through Yeshua the Messiah can we reach God. After all, it’s easy to find honest, moral people who do not follow Yeshua or God at all. Truth be told, many religious people take the Lord’s name in vain throughout their depraved lives.
Many have developed various religious traditions in order to try to please God in different ways, whether through wearing round pieces of cloth on their heads, or shaving their heads and making an eternal vow of silence. However, if God exists, it’s reasonable to assume that the traditions developed by us as human beings aren’t all that impressive in His eyes.
If God DOES exist, it would stand to reason that He would be the one to decide on the path to reach Him, rather than we – or the traditions passed down to us from one generation to the next.
If a man from Tel Aviv gets on a train to Haifa, while whole-heartedly believing he is headed to Jerusalem, will the man end up in Jerusalem or in Haifa?
Will his innermost intentions change the fact that he is going the wrong way and will not be arriving at his desired destination?
This is also relevant to the spiritual world.
The fact that people believe with all their hearts that their religion or tradition is the right way, doesn’t make their way the right one.
Additionally, the various paths contradict one another. The Catholics claim that only those who follow the pope can please God. Whereas we claim that only those who follow Yeshua the Messiah can discover God. And the Orthodox Jews claim that only those who follow the rabbis please God, whereas the Muslims claim that only those who accept Muhammad can win over God.
It would be a contradiction to believe that they are all simultaneously correct.
The Old Testament and the New Testament repeatedly emphasize that only through acceptance of the Messiah can we truly know God, and not through traditions.
The Messiah, who came here 2000 years ago, claimed that one cannot please or know God by inventing commandments, preserving rules, or belonging to a certain gender, race or nation. Nor can it be achieved through the way we dress or by avoiding specific foods. Rather, by recognizing that all people are equal in the Lord’s eyes; understanding we all are imperfect people and that our loving God revealed Himself to us in our image in order to take away our sins. He came here to cover our imperfection by suffering death in our place.
If faith in the Messiah, which originated in the Old Testament and is expressed in the New Testament, is that path to God, as determined by Him, then no way other than through Yeshua can lead us to God.
“Not so fast,” you say. You’re right, there is an obvious question here:
What is the basis of our claim that faith in Yeshua the Messiah is the only way to reach the kingdom of God?
The answer to that is that only the Messiah’s actions in our lives can provide the solution and the cure to the faulty heart that beats within each and every one of us. External rules lack the ability
to cure our hearts within us. Secondly, any human religion or tradition suggests that the way to gain God’s forgiveness is through human effort, which is reflected through an external lifestyle: how we dress, what we eat, etc.
However, Yeshua the Messiah taught us that imperfect people cannot be the solution to their own imperfections.
Only a perfect God, who has revealed Himself to us through the perfect Messiah, can forgive us our sins, dwell in our hearts and change us from within. We are either right or wrong regarding the way by which God revealed Himself to the world. If we are right, it means there is really no other way to reach God other than through Yeshua the Messiah. And if we are wrong, it means that the Messianic faith is a lie.
Therefore, the main question is: what is the truth?
We all know one fact for sure – a fact which we all try to avoid thinking about. We are all going to die. We are all here, on Earth, for a very short time – perhaps 20 years, perhaps 70 years… with a little luck, we might even reach 120 years. That is a very short amount of time. Could it be that the reason for that is that we are all being tested?
Think about it for a moment: If there is NO God, if everything came to be in a coincidental and random way, out of nothingness, then not only do these questions have no meaning, but there is also no meaning to anything we do or think. And there is definitely no meaning to the very short lives we all live.
We would like to challenge you: claiming that all roads lead to God is the same as claiming there is no God.
When purchasing a new vehicle, if we set aside time for research in order to find the car best suited for us. We should take the question of God’s existence seriously and invest our utmost in answering it.
The next question after that is, “How can we get to know Him personally?”
We need to keep an open mind, and not to let our university professor, the rabbi from our bar mitzvah, or our Aunt Shula think for us. After all, they will not be up there to hold our hand as we leave this world. And Yeshua. Yeshua cannot merely be a good man, a guru or a healer. A good man doesn’t declare that he is the incarnation of God, and then go on to heal the sick, restore sight to the blind and raise people from the dead.
Either Yeshua is the most successful liar in history, managing to fool millions of people into following Him, or He is who He claims He is:
The Way, the Truth and the Life we need to reach God.
This article originally appeared on One for Israel, April 28, 2017, and reposted with permission.
Eitan is ONE FOR ISRAEL’s Media & Evangelism Director.
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How has the image of Messianic Jews in Israel changed in the last 37 years?
Not a few Messianic Jews in Israel today have encountered discrimination and injustice from individuals in society, the media, or the government. For this article, Israeli newspaper articles from 1979 until 2016 were analyzed with the focus on the depiction of believers in the media. For this purpose, I read media reviews and newspaper clippings in the Caspari Center in Jerusalem. First of all, the struggle of identity needs to be mentioned. The question of “Who is a Jew?” is a reoccurring theme throughout the years regarding different issues. Congregations usually do not publish an explicit number of their members; therefore only estimated number of believers in Israel is given here. However, the enormous discrepancy indicates that different sources bear different agendas in mind: Some sources claim a higher number in order to underline the threat Messianic Jews are posing toward Orthodox Judaism, for example; others name a lower amount with the purpose to diminish the importance, and even influence in society, of this minority group in the country.
The Question of Messianic Jewish Identity
The identity struggle for Messianic Jewish believers in Israel is manifested not only in the wide spectrum of numbers, names, and backgrounds, but also in their affiliation to different faith groups. At a Messianic conference in Tel Aviv in 2002, Joseph Shulam summed up the identity crisis in one sentence: “We are often too Jewish for the Christians, and too Christian for the Jews!”  The Hebrew word for Christians, “Notzrim,” has quite a negative connotation in Israel; that is one reason why many Jewish believers in Yeshua prefer to be called Messianic Jews. So who are Messianic Jews? Messianic Jews are Jews who believe that Jesus is the Messiah. Despite this shared belief with Gentile Christians, Messianic believers are different by embracing their identity as Jews and often celebrating Jewish holidays and sometimes keeping laws from the Tanakh.
“There is no such thing as Messianic Jews.” This statement could be found not only once but twice. First, by a judge in Israel’s High Court, and then repeated by Rabbi Yosef Ganz, former director general of Yad l’Achim, in an interview with BaKehila.  In a similar notion, a reader in a letter to the editor of The Jerusalem Post exclaimed that “Messianic Jews have betrayed the faith of their fathers while even the Church Fathers concurred with the sages that one cannot be both a Jew and a Christian.” 
Several times, the practices of Messianic believers were examined in newspaper articles in order to determine the difference between them and “standard Jews.” Yochanan Stanfield explained that he considers himself and his family to be Jewish: they keep the feasts, their children frequent public schools, and the family father served in the IDF. The only difference, according to him, is that “we have found the Messiah.” 
The Bias of Language in the Articles
As can be seen in the previous examples of false accusations about Messianic believers, the language used in articles plays an important role in the formation of public opinion toward this minority group. Some articles were not reporting on Messianic Jews in a negative way as such, but the headlines at times indicated a bias. The newspaper Yediot Ahronot, for example, reported on a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews entering a private house where Messianic Jews were praying. First, the religious intruders were praying in front of the house loudly, which did not lead the Messianic believers to stop their meeting. That is when the ultra-Orthodox entered, smashed a flower pot, and a “sharp exchange of words between the two groups” happened. Neighbors had to call the police for de-escalation. The title of the article, “Clash with ‘Messianic Jews’ prevented,”  indicates the believers to be the active part of the potential clash, not the victims.
Likewise, a title in Hatsofeh praises the anti-missionary organization’s efforts without paying attention to the other side: “Yad L’Achim in Petah Tikva laboring to rescue from the mission.” 
In the same year, Yediot Ahronot used a lot of biased phrases in an article about “Jews for Jesus.” The organization “sets a trap” to “hunt souls,” they spin “webs of deceit and lies,” and they “exploit weaknesses” by offering friendships that are not genuine. Nevertheless, “Operation Enticement is crowned with success.”  Yad l’Achim boasts success in breaking up “the ranks of the enemy” and hence “saving people from the fangs of the mission.” 
Unfortunately, references to the Holocaust are also not rare when speaking of Messianic believers. Shas MK Yitzak Saban said about the congregation in Beersheba: “Hitler murdered our bodies for us and they murder our souls for us.”  A Gur Hasidim member shouted at a Messianic woman that Messianic Jews “are responsible for the murder of six million in the Holocaust.”  Even worse, Daniel Asor, a former converted Christian who became Orthodox and a fierce anti- missionary, believes that:
Missionary activity cannot be tolerated, just as everyone knows that we wouldn’t allow the “Hitler youth” to hold a campaign for the destruction of the State of Israel here… Many more Jews were killed over the generations in the name of “that man” than in the name of Hitler! 
In 2011, Rabbi Yosef Sheinin of Ashdod compared Messianic Jews to Hitler, saying that both wanted a final solution, yet the believers today do not have the instruments of destruction—“so they are using those of apostasy.”  The rabbi warns that if Messianic Jews are not “finished off,” the city will be harmed in the most dangerous way. 
In 2012, members of the religious community in Netanya declared the activity of Israel College of the Bible to be worse than the Holocaust.  Likewise, a Holocaust survivor agreed that Messianic Jews want to destroy Judaism, and so the rabbi did not see a difference between “people who want to convert Jews to a belief in Jesus and what the Nazis did.” 
In the wake of a Messianic conference in 2015, the rabbi of the Old City, Rabbi Avigdor Liventzel, and Daniel Asor, a former Christian, allied in the fight against the “Messianic cults” and called their actions a “modern crusade” and a “Final Solution” for people’s souls. The anti- missionaries hope that the public will realize the “hate beneath the love.” 
In the same manner, comparisons to terrorist groups are not rare. Rabbi Lipschitz from Yad l’Achim compared the believers of the King of Kings Pavilion in Jerusalem to Hamas, and appealed to end the indifference toward “missionaries.”  In a report on the “danger of Jews for Jesus” in The Jerusalem Post in 2010, the evangelical organization was called insidious and anti-Semitic, and furthermore was compared to the Ku Klux Klan or the Muslim Brotherhood. 
Lehava is a far-right organization that prevents assimilation between Jews and non-Jews in Israel. Additionally, any Christian presence is condemned and to be averted. The head of Lehava, Bentzi Gopstein, was questioned by the police for his controversial remarks, inter alia for calling believers in Yeshua “vampires.” The organization has been under surveillance by the police since 2014, when Lehava activists were arrested for an arson attack at a bilingual school in Jerusalem. 
The Perspective of Journalists and the General Public
There is no unanimous perspective on Messianic Jews in Israel: some journalists write in favor, or at least are unbiased, about believers; some write in a rather inflammatory style. The opinions of neighbors, police officers, and members of the Knesset have varied over the years and always depend on the case.
In one case, the attack on the Beersheba congregation in November 1998, neighbors spoke rather supportively of the members of the Messianic congregation. The believers only “sing and pray” and no one in the area had ever complained about them: “we all have good relationships with them.” A professor of Ben Gurion University witnessed the incident and calls it a riot, not a demonstration. On the other hand, the chief rabbi and members of Yad l’Achim insisted that it was a peaceful manifestation of their disapproval, and they portrayed the believers as the real threat, a danger that needs to be stopped. The spokesman for the police’s Southern District described the scene as “a few dozen people praying, dancing and singing. . . . There were over 500 people there.” 
Similarly, in Arad in 2004, busloads of Orthodox Jews arrived outside the homes of 15 Messianic families to protest. The police and local authorities permitted it and did not intervene. Again, the neighbors, who were likewise besieged, contested the validity of the anti-missionaries’ claims that the Messianic believers “hunt souls” and “kill and steal children.”  Surprisingly, a Haredi newspaper quoted a Messianic believer who allegedly said, “The orthodox spill our blood and no one does anything.”  Two weeks later, though, the same paper accused the coverage by secular Israeli outlets as “driven crazy by self-hatred” for slandering the ultra-Orthodox community, accusing them of disrupting the peaceful Messianic community by their declaration of war.  Another source quoted the chief rabbi of Arad: “Get out of our city, you liars, who . . . want to snatch our children and convert them to Christianity. . . . They should hang a chain and cross around their necks so we can recognize them as Christians and not mistake them for Jews.”  As the Orthodox opposition continued, more and more people took a stand on the matter. A citizen of Arad vouched for the believers as they are not “missionaries, nor anything of the sort” but a “valuable group.” He even mentioned two Messianic Jewish paramedics who have saved many lives in the city. The frustration lies in the fact that “if people behaved like this toward Jews abroad we would be outraged.” 
Editor’s Note: This entry is excerpts from an article published in Mishkan Journal, issue 76, 2016, by Caspari Center for Biblical and Jewish Studies. Click here to purchase a subscription to Mishkan in order to read the rest of the article and several others.
 Aviel Schneider, “To Be Or Not To Be: Israeli Believers Search for Jewish Identity and Expression,” Israel Today, (December, 2002): 21.
 “The ABC of Yosef Ganz,” BaKehila, (March 17, 2005): 18.
 Sha’i Ben-Tekoa , “Don’t Call them ‘Messianic’. . .,” The Jerusalem Post, (May 13, 2005).
 Oren Kaminski, “Your Salvation,” Modi’in News Plus, (October 2, 2014): 12.
 “Clash with ‘Messianic Jews’ prevented,” Yediot Ahronot (June 18, 1978).
 “Yad L’Achim in Petah Tikva Laboring to Rescue From the Mission,” Hatsofeh (November 9, 1979).
 “Jews for Jesus Going Out To Hunt Souls,” Yediot Ahronot (February 17, 1980).
 “Holy War,” Maariv (February 23, 1990).
 “Hitler Murdered Our Bodies For Us and They Murder Our Souls for us,” Kol HaNegev (November 26, 1999).
 Asher Kesher, “Jewish Crusade,” Kol HaZman (June 15, 2007): 54.
 David Graus, “The Mission Also Threatens,” Yated Ne’eman (January 9, 2009).
 Yair Harosh, “‘This is a Blood Libel’,” Yediot Ashdod (February 25, 2011): 34.
 Aharon Pakser, “A Mass Protest Rally Against the Mission in Ashdod,” HaMevaser (February 22, 2011): 1.
 Guy Fishkin & Elinor Barak, “Yeshu and I: The Friends of Yeshu,” Zman Netanya (May 25, 2012): 30.
 Guy Fishkin, “The Friends of Yeshu,” Zman Netanya (September 21, 2012): 34.
 Yehuda Yakovi, “Secrets From the Conversion Room,” Yated Ne’eman (May 22, 2015): 22.
 “Yad l’Achim Demonstrates, Calls to Close New Missionary Center in the Heart of Jerusalem,” Hamodia (November 5, 2004).
 Stewart Weiss, “On a Mission From God,” The Jerusalem Post (June 4, 2010, 4): 12.
 Sharon Polver, “Chairman of LEHAVA Questioned After Calling Christian Missionaries ‘Vampires’ In Article,” Haaretz (February 22): 6.
 “Protests in Beersheba,” The Jerusalem Post (December 4, 1998).
 Sara Leibowitz-Dar, “In the Role of the Jews: Christians,” Haaretz (April 30, 2004): 26.
 “The ‘Messianics’ Complain About the Incitement Against Them,” HaMahane HaHaredi (April 22, 2004).
 “The ‘Messianics’ Complain About the Incitement Against Them,” HaMahane HaHaredi (April 22, 2004).
 “Unrest in Arad,” Israel Today (June 2004): 23.
 Moshe Regev, “Haredi / Nationalist City in Tel Arad,” HaTzvi (March 8, 2007).
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Dream: Affections of this world
I had a dream recently in which I was going through a series of spiritual tests over and over again. I was totally dismayed and tired of having to go through so many tests. I knew the goal was to get to total and perfect obedience, but…
In the dream there was an angel who was smiling at me, just as it seemed that I had failed and given up. The angel explained that the last test is to beat “the affections of this world.” He told me to my embarrassment I had a lot of “affections for this world.”
James 4:4 – Friendship with the world is enmity toward God
I John 2:15 – Do not love the world, nor the things in the world
This is not just repentance of sin. In general we as dedicated followers of Yeshua don’t sin and don’t want to sin. And yet there can be an inward affection for the things of the world, even though we don’t sin. For this reason Yeshua also told us to pray:
Matthew 6:12 – Lead us not into temptation
It is our affections for the things of this world that lead to temptation, which leads to sin, which leads to destruction. To beat the affections for the world is the last test; it roots out of our hearts the place of potential temptation.
Luke 9:23 – Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily
The first step to following after Yeshua is to “deny” oneself. As we say “No” to the affections of this world our heart is free and pure to follow after the Lord.
This article originally appeared on Revive Israel, May 4, 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.
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Blessings of Siferat HaOmer to you
“Then [after Passover] you are to count from the morrow after the Shabbat, from the day that you brought the omer of the wave offering, seven complete Shabbat[s]. Until the morrow after the seventh Shabbat you are to count fifty days, and then present a grain offering to Adonai.” (Leviticus 23:15-16, Tree of Life Version)
The current season of Levitical spring feasts includes one lesser known holiday called Siferat HaOmer. Siferat HaOmer is translated “Counting the Omer.” In ancient Israel an omer was a sheaf of grain, a unit of dry measure. To observe this agriculture related holiday, the Torah tells us simply to count fifty days from Passover until Shavuot. (See Leviticus 23:15-16 above.) Today (April 21, 2017) is Day 11 of the omer count, 5777.
The official start date of the omer count is a bit ambiguous, as different interpretations exist regarding when the “morrow [day] after the Shabbat” occurs. Most believe that since Passover is treated as a Shabbat, the omer count starts the day after Passover begins. Others say the words, “the Shabbat” refer specifically to the first Saturday-Sabbath following Passover. In any case, virtually all agree that Siferat HaOmer serves as a period of preparation for greater revelation of YHVH, culminating with the Feast of Shavuot. Shavuot means “Weeks.”
According to rabbinic tradition, God gave Israel the treasured gift of Torah on Shavuot. It is taught that on Passover we were delivered, and during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, purified. Weeks later on Shavuot, we were sanctified by God’s Holy Word, the Law of Moses. On that day we became more intimately His through an exchange of covenant vows similar to those of marriage. Siferat HaOmer reminds us — and should revive in us — the reality of holy covenant relationship with the Divine.
It was on Shavuot many years later, after Yeshua ascended to heaven, that God gave us yet another incomparable gift — His indwelling Spirit. This heaven and earth shattering event is more commonly known as Pentecost. On Pentecost, YHVH sanctified us anew in Spirit as well as Truth. He expanded and extended covenant relationship with Israel, and salvation by grace through Messiah, for all who believe. By this New Covenant, Pentecost is considered the birth date of the Church, God’s called out ones. Through the New Covenant Jews and Gentiles could gloriously become one new humanity in Messiah.
It was during Siferat HaOmer, after His resurrection, that Yeshua revealed Himself several times to the disciples and 500 others. (1 Corinthians 15:7) He gave Bible studies and prophecy updates — no doubt, truly amazingly fresh revelation! He revealed further evidence of His messiahship and God’s ways. Then, on the 40th day of the omer count, Yeshua ascended to heaven. (Luke 24:50; Acts 1:9-12)
A traditional blessing is recited each day of Siferat HaOmer: “Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to count the omer. Today is day (1, 2, 3, etc.) of the omer count.”
Most Messianic believers amplify the traditional blessing to include the blood atonement of Yeshua and ongoing ministry of Holy Spirit as essential for our sanctification. We thank and praise God for His past, present, and future agricultural and other provision. In that sense, you could say we count our blessings as omer. And because God is so gracious, we believe for increasing revelation of His glory, even an Emmaus Road encounter, in the weeks ahead.
If Siferat HaOmer stirs your spirit, then you might consider counting the omer — and making it count!
This article originally appeared on Light of Zion, April 21, 2017, and reposted with permission.
Sandra is co-founder and director, along with her husband Kerry, of Light of Zion Ministries. Light of Zion is an Israeli Messianic Jewish, prophetic intercessory prayer ministry in Jerusalem with humanitarian outreach. Sandra is a prayer mobilizer and network leader, international speaker, prophetic liaison, professionally published author, Bible teacher, and retired attorney.