Category Archives: House of Hope

Senses, Seasons, Silence & Stories of Holocaust Survivors

SENSES are the receptors of our surroundings, transmitted through our five senses: sound, sight, touch, smell or taste all uniquely created attributes enabling humanity the ability to experience life. “Taste and see that Adonai is good. How blessed are those who take refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:8)

SEASONS are cycles, established spiritual law, set in place by God as a way of measuring time on earth. “So long as the earth exists, sowing time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night will not cease.” (Genesis 8:22)

SILENCE is the complete absence of sound and encompasses the absence of speech. “But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.” (Habakkuk 2:20)

Jewish Holocaust Survivors experienced extreme magnitudes of barbarity. Their senses horrifically exposed to evil. The season of killing continued seemingly without end. The silence of the world became deafening as treachery continued at the hand of the German Nazi’s as they systematically extinguished Jewish men, women and children. It has been 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps. The Jews liberated from these death camps today no longer live with the sense of fear. Survivors share their STORIES and memories, what they sensed and the seasons they survived. Their stories now documented for future generations and shared internationally around the world; teach us their stories of survival from unbelievable events. Holocaust Survivors teach and share so generations to come might know, the children yet to be born, in hopes that they will arise and retell them to their children and their children’s children so the world will never forget.

Lovers of Israel we have an opportunity to help Jewish Holocaust Survivors, some who have lost their entire family and most of their friends. Our support helps remove the barrier of isolation of living alone with memories and experiences they survived. Holocaust Survivors no longer wake up every morning in the shadows of gas chambers and crematories, forced to face devastating unimaginable experiences. The survivors that are still with us today carry within their senses the true cost of survival from the atrocities of Germany’s extermination plans for the Jews of Europe. In this season of their life, Holocaust Survivors need not face life alone.

LoveIsrael.com supports the House of Hope in Israel, a home for Holocaust Survivors in their last season of life. A place where their senses can heal and silence is a prayer of devotion not an enforcement of fear, a safe place where they can share their stories with all that will listen, with all that care. Lovers of Israel will you help Holocaust survivors as they live out their last days, by helping them live in dignity, receive nourishing meals, free medical assistance and most of all social interaction with fellow survivors. House of Hope Holocaust Survivors do not live alone and never have to experience their daily needs not met.

On April 15, the March of the Living will take place in Poland as people from around the world will march in silence three kilometers from Auschwitz to Birkenau retracing the steps of those that were marched to their death by the Germans. This active demonstration supports Holocaust Survivors, and for those of you unable to join the thousands who will march, prayerfully consider helping Holocaust Survivors in LoveIsrael’s House of Hope. Together we make a difference in helping to create new senses in this season of life for Holocaust Survivors. Do not remain silent any longer, reach out and touch Holocaust Survivors, one life–one story at a time. (Genesis 12:3)

Keeping History Alive

Time has a tendency to erode as surely as the waves of the sea erode the sandy seashore.  This fact was brought home to me on a vacation trip to Hannibal, Missouri last summer.  My wife and I had a chance to tour the boyhood town of Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain.  I put a coat of whitewash on the famous fence, and we saw the bedroom window out of which Tom Sawyer saw Becky Thatcher’s house.  It was a great time.

I looked at the visitor roster, though, and was taken aback.  The last time I was in Hannibal, in 1993, over 5,000 other visitors toured the site.  Last year, fewer than 500 Mark Twain fans had arrived by the middle of the year.  It has been over 150 years since Twain wrote “Tom Sawyer.”  Political and cultural concerns mean that his books aren’t taught in schools anymore.  About one more generation and Twain’s writing may be nearly lost to antiquity.  That would be a shame.

It has been almost 70 years since Allied forces liberated the concentration camps that stained the history of mankind.  An estimated 88% of the rescued victims of the Holocaust have since taken up a blessed eternal residence in the company of the Almighty.  The voices who say that there really never was a Holocaust raise their voices in strident misguided dissent.  It feels like that waves against the sand thing, doesn’t it?

LoveIsrael.com is committed to the concept that the memory of the Holocaust must never die. Through our partnership with “Survivor’s Hope,” LoveIsrael.com offers support and comfort to all who were touched by such senseless tragedy, as well as making sure that their stories aren’t lost to antiquity.

Last week I blogged on the topic of “Sometimes it really is for the children.”  As a society of Christian believers, indeed as human beings with a heart for justice and mercy, we must never forget these tragic statistics:

1.)   Six million Jews were murdered in the various concentration camps.

2.)   One and a half million of those victims were children.

3.)   Of the surviving children, 91% lost at least one parent during the war.

“Survivor’s Hope” is the light and love of Jesus Christ reaching out to those whose lives were so grievously changed by the power of hate.  It is a partnership that we at LoveIsrael.com hold in our hearts with an especially tight grip.  That’s because it is our way of expressing compassion for those who suffer so much.

“Suffer.”  Not “suffered.”  That’s a key distinction.  The blows, and worse, that were rained down upon our Jewish brothers and sisters didn’t end with the Allied liberation.  The scars, both literal and figurative, have never gone away.  Nor will they go away, until God takes His suffering children home.

Join with LoveIsrael.com and support the timeless work of “Survivor’s Hope.”  Shine a Christ-like beam of light into hearts that believed there would never be light again.

“Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”  Psalm 82:4

Christmas in Jerusalem

There is no place on Earth that would make your Christmas experience more special than the holy city of Jerusalem. How much more spiritual to be in the place where Christianity itself was born, to visit a city which is approximately a seventeen-minute drive from the birthplace of the Messiah, the town of Bethlehem!

Jerusalem is the place to be to celebrate Christmas. In fact, Christmas is celebrated three different times in Jerusalem: Catholics and Protestants celebrate Christmas on December 25th, the Russian Orthodox on January 7, and the Armenian Christians observe January 19 (using the Julian Calendar) as the day Jesus was born. Picking one of those alternative dates can be a money saver if you want to celebrate Christmas but skip out on the overpriced airfare and hotels during the regular holiday affairs.

As ideal as celebrating Christmas in Jerusalem sounds, it is not as decorated and hyped up as we are used to seeing in the west, especially compared to the suburban neighborhoods all decked out in lights, reindeer, and Santa Claus parading in the front lawns. There are no Christmas carolers going door to door singing, Christmas music blaring from cars and homes, or reindeer on top of roofs. There are ancient churches to visit where you can attend a midnight Christmas mass, like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Notre Dame of Jerusalem. There are plenty of Christmas concerts that take place in areas of Jerusalem, and one can also partake in a tour to Bethlehem for midnight mass at the Church of the Nativity on Christmas Eve. You will find that most Christmas activities take part in the Christian quarter of Jerusalem and in other cities like Bethlehem or Nazareth.

Visiting Jerusalem during Christmas is also a great opportunity to visit other historic landmarks like the Via Dolorosa (better known as The Way of the Suffering), the Garden of Gethsemane, the Grotto of the Apostles and Mary’s Tomb. All of these historical landmarks are visited by Christians traveling to Jerusalem from every corner of the earth. Being the city of the world’s three leading religions, Jerusalem welcomes anyone with peace.

Israel is a modern Jewish country and religious expression is everywhere. There are many Christians who live in Jerusalem and celebrate Christmas as locals, giving extra flavor to those wishing to experience this special holiday in the Holy land. To the wise traveler wishing to spend their next holiday season in a monumental and spiritual city, Jerusalem is the place to choose. Don’t forget to book early and secure the services of a reliable and trustworthy tour guide!

Christmas in Israel

Electricity bills go up in December. Christmas lights and giant snowmen pop up next to every house, if they haven’t already appeared before Thanksgiving. Christmas in America is a huge holiday, and not only for Christians, but secular individuals as well. Even a small number of Jewish families attend the occasional Christmas party in the office and at the neighbors’ home. However, a vast majority of religious Jews keep their distance from Christmas.

Many people would think that these religious views would cause the Jewish State of Israel to be restrictive of Christmas. But in reality, anyone can enjoy Christmas in the Holy Land. Israel is probably the only state in the Middle East that provides full religious freedom to their citizens. A special place is reserved for Christian locals and visitors. Christians do not need to hide their beliefs or customs for fear of being rejected. Many Israelis, traditional and secular, enjoy the lights, singing, and festive treats that come to the streets of Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel-Aviv with the holiday. To commemorate the celebrated events, many pilgrims come and add to the festive mood as the winter tourist season brings visitors from every corner of the world.

Christians only make up about two percent of Israel’s population. Eighty percent of those are Arab Christians, mainly residing in the north of the country or in Jerusalem. Christians are given the same freedoms and rights as other ethnicities, and most Christians living in Israel are thankful for the protection and religious freedoms that the State of Israel allows them. Some Christian Arabs even serve in the IDF and many volunteer in other ways to give back to the state. For Arab Christians, the Christmas tradition is slightly different than what we are familiar with here in the US. First, it is customary that one family visits friends and neighbors, while the other family hosts a gathering at their house. Traditional food includes cookies called “mamoul,” a butter cookie with a date paste in the middle and ghraybeh, made from semolina (also known as cream of wheat), butter, sugar, pistachio nuts, and orange blossom. Chocolate shaped in the form of Santa Claus is often served with a high quality sweet liquor. If you decide to visit Israel during this time, make sure you get a taste of the local Christmas spirit!

The stories we read in the New Testament talk about familiar places like Bethlehem, Nazareth and Jerusalem. We read about the magi visiting from the east, shepherds in the fields and a traveling family who finds themselves in the barn instead of a cozy hotel room. Here in America, we’re used to looking at this story from a distance of time and culture. Today, we can overcome the distance and re-connect to the reality of that time and place. Millions of people will be traveling this year to celebrate the holidays in Israel. They will visit the churches that have been built over the centuries to remember the exact places where these biblical events took place. These pilgrims will be able to see the land for themselves and meet the people who carry in their DNA the connection to the story. The lights on our trees at home and outside remind us of the light that came into this world, but Christmas in Israel will remind you that this story was real and it continues today in Israel.

You can watch the 2012 video by Benjamin Netanyahu congratulating Christians around the world:

LoveIsrael.com invites you to experience this season to the fullest by planning a visit to Israel. We also offer you the chance to reconnect with your faith and grow in your relationship with God through a number of enriching projects. Our website provides opportunities to get and stay connected to this special land and its people.

Snow in Jerusalem – Time to Extend Warm Blessings for Others

Winter time in Israel is definitely not the first choice when planning a vacation to a wintry resort just in time to celebrate the holiday season. Most people would plan their vacations to a place like Colorado, New York, Switzerland…any place that would give their holiday season that wintry wonderland feeling! Israel, however, would be the last place most people would think to book a trip. Israel may be in the Middle East, but did you know that from time to time it snows in Jerusalem, Haifa, and in the Golan Heights? Last year during winter time, Israel received more snow than it had in twenty years!

The winter time in Israel is sometimes the most dreaded part of the year due to the cold and wetness of the season. One would think that after having such a humid and hot summer, the winters would be a blessing, but this is simply not the case. In Israel, most houses are made from concrete with very little insulation. Heating usually consists of portable heaters that an individual can move and plug in wherever he goes. It gives off heat within a radius of about three feet, so if you want to move from the couch to your bedroom it isn’t that convenient. Most people have installed window units that work as both heaters and air conditioners, but with the high cost of electricity in Israel heaters (or air conditioning for that matter) these are rarely turned on.

This creates a major problem. First of all, diseases and sickness, like the flu, run rampant during this season, it seems like everyone tends to get sick. Not only is sickness a problem, but caring for the elderly and trying to keep them warm and healthy, has become a recurring issue. During the winter time in Israel, many elderly suffer from the cold and wet conditions. Their apartments are not compatible and heating is expensive. One of the most troubling situations is when Holocaust survivors that often times don’t have family to care for them are left in cold apartments for the winter. With tight pensions and difficult pasts, these people deserve a helping hand for the holiday season.

It is crucial that we, as Christians, seek the opportunity to come together and play a part in resolving this issue. The Bible states in Acts 20:35 that, “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” What more of a blessing would it be to play a part in Jewish history by assisting those that have witnessed the Holocaust just by extending a warm blessing during a cold winter? Our giving towards improving the lives of these precious Jewish people is a seed sown to help tear down walls of division between Christians and Jews and is a genuine demonstration of our loving care for them. True compassion is when we open our heart towards others and open our hands to give; this is the power of God’s Love.

LoveIsrael.com is an organization that was established with the vision of providing these unique opportunities to Christians around the world. We have partnered with Daystar to establish a Holocaust survivor House of Hope where these elderly receive help and care. We want to do more this winter and we invite every one of you to participate. Your donation will help us reach more people and show love to those who do not have a family or are struggling to make it through this season.

Visit http://www.loveisrael.com/holocaust/ and join us today!

Let us Give Hope to the Remaining Holocaust Survivors

The Holocaust – a tragedy that will never be forgotten. A tragedy that brought death upon 6,000,000 Jewish men, women, and children. A tragedy that wiped out over 5,000 Jewish communities. But a tragedy that eventually led to the creation of the modern state of Israel. How is this even possible, that something so profound and beautiful could come out of one of the worst manifestations of human nature?

Israel’s rebirth was a direct result of the holocaust. It was the brutality and the common responsibility that made so much sense to vote for a Jewish state, a state that would take in all of those who survived the tragedies that had wiped out their families, homes, and entire communities. The modern state of Israel serves as THE God-ordained homeland for all Jewish people. It is also the place where the Holocaust survivors came to start their lives over, as a promise that the genocide would NEVER AGAIN happen, because they would be protected by the Jewish state.

Today, the Christian visitor needs to understand the responsibility Christians have as partners of the Jewish covenant with God. Responsibility to act to protect the chosen people, to stand up to the world that seeks to destroy this God – chosen nation. It is the Christian responsibility to pray for the State of Israel, as Isaiah 57:17 states, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.” Israel is the heritage of the Jewish people, and also as a refuge to those who have survived the holocaust and moved to Israel in order to start over and feel protected.

How can the everyday Christian even relate to what happened to the Jewish people in Israel? For instance, have we not noticed the amount of religious persecution that is going on in the Middle East today? The region where Christianity started is under attack by Muslims slaughtering Christians for their religious beliefs, and what have any of the governments in that region, not to mention our own government, done in order to help protect these innocent people? In a way, Christians too are being persecuted for their beliefs, and are being “wiped out” in areas such as Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and parts of Africa.

holocaust-survivors-israel

Holocaust as a historic event is over, the only connection we have is the modern state of Israel. Especially, those that lived through the horrors and are a living reminder of what humanity can be like. But also a reminder of God’s faithfulness. How can we allow these people to fade from our memory living in poverty and loneliness? LoveIsrael.com invites you to take a historic opportunity to be a part of what God is doing – restoring a nation from the ashes of holocaust to a vibrant modern country that values life and peace above all else. A place where those last remaining holocaust survivors can live a free, peaceful, and a comfortable life.

By partnering with us to stand with Holocaust Survivors, you are celebrating God’s everlasting covenant and a victory of light over darkness. The tragedy of human nature that is brutal, hateful and also just as tragically forgetful. The survivors experienced the death camps for being who they are, let them not experience being forgotten and what they have been through. Stand with us as we support and give hope to the remaining survivors in Israel today by taking part in Israel’s restoration: http://www.loveisrael.com/holocaust/