Monthly Archives: March 2011

Triumph in the Face of Despair

On the eve of Purim, the celebration commemorating the deliverance of the Jews from Haman’s plot, it is most important that we leave the comforts of the palace and hear the cry of Mordechai and others like him who are mourning.

One week ago, this beautiful family, the Fogel Family (mother, Ruth; father, Udi, Yoav (11); Eldad (4) and Hadas (3 mos)), were brutally murdered while sleeping.  Three of their children survived (Tamar (12); Roi (8) and Yishai (2)).  More details of exactly what happened can easily be found on the web, including photos of the crime scene.
The family decided to release the crime scene photos so the world could see the brutality inflicted.  I chose not to include those, indeed I cannot bear to look at them, although I have caught glimpses, and I ask the same question I asked when I first studied the Holocaust, “How could such evil persist?”  I look at these faces and I see no difference between them and my family.  I look at Eldad (bottom center) and see my son Aaron.  I look at Hadas (bottom right) and see my daughter Naomi.  The parents could easily be me and Bruce.  The only difference is that we are here in the USA, and they lived in Itamar, a settlement in the West Bank.

But wait!  Aren’t settlements illegal?  Didn’t they put themselves at risk by living there? 

Settlements are perfectly legal and are in no way an obstacle to peace.  The main obstacle to peace is the Palestinians refusal to accept the legitimacy of Israel.

Myths & Facts about Jewish Settlements

Back to my question, “How could such evil persist?”  How could a human being pick up a three-month-old baby girl and slit her throat?  The same types of questions were repeatedly asked in the aftermath of the Holocaust, and the most consistent answer was that the perpetrators saw the victims as something less than human.  I’m sure the Palestinian who picked up Hadas did not see a precious baby, but a pig, which is in line with how they are taught to view Jews.  My prayer is that eyes would be open to the truth.  That all life would be valued.  That those who perpetrated this horrific crime would be brought to justice, and, in the spirit of Golda Meir’s* sentiment, may the Palestinian people learn to love even more than they hate, and may both the Jews and the Palestinians come to know the love of Messiah Jesus.

“I will give you peace in the land, and you will be able to sleep with no cause for fear.  I will rid the land of wild animals and keep your enemies out of your land.”  Lev 26:6

The Purim celebration begins with a fast, then the reading of the Megillah (the scroll of Esther), and then concludes with an all out party.  Interestingly, in the entire book of Esther, God is never mentioned, but it is explained that He worked behind “masks” (behind the scenes), so it is customary for children to dress in costume, but rather than going door-to-door collecting treats, they go door-to-door giving treats!  The adult celebration is quite wild, and it is actually required to get drunk! It’s really a carnival atmosphere, and it is so amazing that the Jewish people can press on and celebrate in the midst of such tragedy.  That is such a testimony of hope in the faithfulness of God to His covenant.

Let’s join them as they celebrate this weekend, and pull ourselves out of the challenges we face and triumphantly celebrate God’s mercy and enduring love.

*Golda Meir’s actual statement: “we will have peace with our neighbors when they learn to love their children as much as they hate ours.”

Safe in the Storm

Since the beginning of 2011, my family has been in one storm after another.  At least one of us has been sick with a cold or flu for over two months.  It started with me catching a cold over New Year’s weekend, and just as I was starting to feel better my 3 year old son got it, then as soon as he was recovering my husband got it, then the baby, and after that round, I got sick again with fevers and chills. 

I started feeling better and was looking forward to returning to some sense of normalcy when my son woke up with a stomach bug.  We went through four days of him not able to keep even a teaspoon of water down.  After two emergency room trips and then overnight in the hospital on IV’s because of dehydration, he started to recover.  Then the baby woke up one morning with a raging fever (the highest was 103.8) that lasted for 5 days.  She pulled through,  my son was doing better.  It seemed the storms were calming down–not quite.

I had my annual physical exam and a mandatory mammogram (which I wasn’t thrilled about).  My plan was to get it over with and get on with life; however, when I called to get my results I received the news that my scans were “incomplete.”  The radiologist saw something on my scans that required me to go back in for more.  So, I went back in for another mammogram, then an ultra-sound, then another mammogram, and back to ultra-sound with the radiologist. 

There was ten minutes of absolute silence as they were looking at the screen, and I was doing everything I could to stay in a place of peace, trusting in the Lord.  I couldn’t help but think about all the other women who had laid on this table for this same procedure, etc.  Finally, the radiologist explained that the reason they weren’t saying anything was because they weren’t seeing anything.  There was definitely something showing up on the mammogram, but they couldn’t see it on the ultra-sound, so I was scheduled for a biopsy the following day.

The procedure for the biopsy was quite unpleasant.  Laying on a table they injected me with lanocaine; however, they didn’t give me quite enough.  The needle shot into me and when they started to move it around to collect tissue I screamed and jumped off the table.  The nurse literally held me down and said, “Just scream; don’t move.”  Yeah, right!  They gave me more medication, and I made it through the rest of the procedure a bit shaken. 

The following day I was staring at my phone waiting for the call with the results.  I even called the nurse line twice during the late afternoon to see if the results came in.  It was a Friday, and I really didn’t want to go through the entire weekend not knowing.  Then at 5:15 p.m., I got the call from my doctor.  Benign.


You’d think we could get back to normal; however, my son is fighting another cold.  Fevers.  Sore throat.  Not eating.  Sigh…

As I was doing my daily Bible reading, I came across this verse, “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you His peace at all times and in every situation.  The Lord be with you all.”  2 Thess 3:16

I’m feeling pretty battered and bruised now, but I’m still standing on the Rock.  God never promised that the storms of life would pass us by, but He encouraged us to build our house on the Rock, so that when the storms hit we would continue to stand.

Bruce and I were talking last night, and he was saying that if we can’t handle this storm, how are we going to handle living in Israel and bombs exploding around us potentially.  This a recent political cartoon that was published a couple of weeks ago that describes the climate in the Middle East:

Algeria, Bahrain, Climate Change, Libya, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Middle East, Morocco, Oman, Revolution, Tunisia, Yemen : Dry Bones cartoon.

As God protects Israel, who is the apple of His eye, may we remain safe in His care.

“Guard me as you would guard your own eyes.  Hide me in the shadow of your wings.”  Ps 17:8