ISSUE #2 / March 2013
BETHLEHEM WHERE IT ALL BEGAN Steven Khoury talks about the possibilities and challenges of being a pastor in Bethlehem.
YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS ISRAEL Rachely Shalom gives us an insight into the future of the start-up nation.
Great Parallels of passover
Sin has separated us from God, but Godâ€™s gift in the resurrected Lord has brought us back near to Him.
OUR vision is to reach and influence the world’s youth by building a global movement fully committed to God by teaching the Word, encountering our Creator and encouraging young people to lead and impact in all areas of life.
Blessings from Jerusalem,
WORKING IN: USA, Canada, Germany, Finland, Norway, England, Philippines, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Australia, South Africa, Fiji, Namibia, Switzerland...
Rooted in the powerful scripture of Ephesians 5:14, Arise stands to unlimitedly glorify God: to inspire and promote Biblical truths into young people’s everyday lives. Arise devotes itself to cause a generation to arise for spiritual awakening, works of love and support for Israel.
International Director JANI SALOKANGAS Editor EMANUEL MFOUKOU Proof reading RIA MANWELL, TERESA SIMILA Internatioanl Administrator SYBILLE HOCHULI Graphics / Illustration JANI SALOKANGAS Writer’s JUHA KETOLA, EMANUEL MFOUKOU, JANI SALOKANGAS, SYBILLE HOCHULI Photography ICEJ STAFF, PER KVAMSO, SYBILLE HOCHULI, JANI SALOKANGAS. ILAN CENTER, ISRAEL MUSEUM
From its beginning in 2002 the ARISE movement has had one mission – to gather students and young people from across the globe to live a life centered in God. We believe that God has a special plan for each person and it is our responsibility to live that calling to its fullest potential. Above all we want this generation to see and discover the unique and crucial plan that God has for Israel in His epic world redemptive plan. The Arise movement is spreading worldwide. Join the movement today!
ARISENOW is published by the ICEJ Arise. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. International Christian Embassy Jerusalem www.icej.org
From the leader’s pen
ife is filled with choices; choices that affect us on a daily basis, and it’s important to remember that our “small” choices are able to move big blocks in our lives, our choices affect us and our environment in dramatic ways that we sometimes can’t see.
can still remember my grandfather cautioning me about my choices in life, in his attempts to see that that his grandson would behave himself, he used to say, “Jani, remember, you always reap what you sow … always.” And of course, he was very right. But when most of us think of the concept of reaping what we sow, I have discovered that we usually think of this in the negative sense. We think of paying the consequences for sinful actions or
unwise choices, but the laws of the harvest are not just negative. These laws are meant to be positive, and to stand for that which is good as well as a warning against what is bad. We see this in Galatians 6:7- 8.
hy do we need wisdom? So we can make wiser choices. Stop and think. All life comes from antecedent life: from the labor and sowing of others. What we reap was planted either
naturally or purposely, either by God or by man, for either positive or negative results. I have many blessings in my life because my father and my grandfather made wise choices in their lives. I have the blessing to reap what they sowed into my life without me knowing it. We reap the fruit for which we have ex tended no labor because we enter into the labor of others. In other words, this law of the harvest, We Reap Only What Has Been Sown, has both a positive and a negative side. Be sure to sow the good seed to reap a great harvest in your life. •
Jani Salokangas is the Arise International Director and he is based in Jerusalem with his family.
So teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
Living in Jerusalem requires wisdom, meeting different types of people with different ideologies can many times be challenging.
BETHLEHEM WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
Emanuel Mfoukou | Photography Jani Salokangas
During the month of February, the Arise team took the short journey from Jerusalem to the birth city of our Savior Jesus Christ, Bethlehem. This city has a rich spiritual and historical significance, and it is in the vicinities of Bethlehem that the matriarch Rachel, the mother of Joseph and Benjamin, is supposed to be buried. Bethlehem is also known for being the home town of King David. Just outside of Bethlehem one can find the remains of the Herodium, one of Herod the Great’s famous palaces, and it is also the home of the Shepherds’ Field where an angel of the Lord revealed himself and said to the shepherds according to the book of Luke, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Despite all of these sites, Bethlehem, referred to by Prophet Micah as being “too little to be among the clans of Judah,” is first and foremost known for being the birth place of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The beutiful interior of the First Baptist Church of Bethlehem
Modern day Bethlehem, which probably did not number more than 1000 inhabitants in the time of Jesus, is today home to some 25,000 people and it is estimated that of these, some 13 percent are Christians. Bethlehem is also known for its high unemployment rate. On a sunny February day, ARISE ICEJ sat down with Pastor Steven Khoury, one of the pastors of the First Baptist Church of Bethlehem, a church founded by his father Dr. Naim Khoury back in 1980. The church, with its impressive facilities, is a vibrant one, both passionate and committed to the advancement of the Kingdom of God. The church is further engaged in various outreach projects spread out throughout the Palestinian Territories, and it is also home to an active youth department with some 50 members who meet on a weekly basis to worship the Lord. We asked Pastor Khoury how it is to live and pastor a church situated in the city where Jesus was born some 2000 years ago. “There is joy in seeing people’s lives change, but there is also a lot of sorrow and a lot of suffering,” he answered. “It’s a bittersweet concept; Christ had that on the cross. He was joyful that he was going to redeem the Earth, but it was also bitter for him because he had to suffer for our sins. And I feel the same, both joy and suffering at the same time. But at the end, the bigger picture is that we are both making a difference, and that’s the most important thing.” He further stressed some of the most acute challenges facing young believers growing up in Bethlehem, and explained that one of the problems is their inability to speak and express what they feel, while yet another problem is connected to their identity and job situation. “Many have problems with identity; who to believe, what to believe and who to stand with, and those are some of the major struggles that we are sensing from the youth.” Another big issue has to do with the lack of hope for the future. “Many don’t know what to do after college or university; there is no hope for them. We have people here with Bachelor degrees, but instead of working in their profession they are carving wood.” Pastor Khoury continued by explaining that his church is doing its best to ease the struggles of the youngsters, and pointed towards a set of different programs and strategies. “From a humanitarian aspect, some of the things that we are doing right now are that we are training our youth in hands on practical things that they can do for the future, like teaching them media, and having them go to the Israeli side to learn new trades. We are also training them in different languages, so that it will be easier for them to get jobs in the future. From a spiritual
aspect we have discipleship programs, weekly meetings; as well as programs aimed towards character building. These are some of the things we are doing with the youth, to sort of teach them and show them the practical concept of being a Christian.” When we asked him how we as brothers and sisters in Christ can assist and support the believers of Bethlehem, Pastor Khoury gave us a range of different ways. “There are a couple of things that you can do to help the youth of Bethlehem. Besides praying you can come visit us, that is important. And I think that coming alongside a local ministry which already has an outreach and which already has programs is very important. That way, with the right people and the right resources the outreach that we have can become even more effective”, Khoury concluded. ARISE ICEJ is seeking to strengthen its ties with the youth in Pastor Khoury’s church, which is in line with our God given vision as a ministry, that is, to reach out to young believers across the globe. We are looking forward to assisting Pastor Khoury and his church in their work to educate and strengthen the young believers of Bethlehem, and in the meantime we encourage you to pray for the future of this upcoming generation of believers. •
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Rachely Shalom is the Jerusalem coordinator of Young Entrepreneurs Israel.
YO U N G E N T REPRENEURS Emanuel Mfoukou | Photography Jani Salokangas
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The nation of Israel has clearly shown that size doesn’t matter when it comes to being sucmes to being successful. To the cessful. Today Israel has a a very small one compared to most population of some 8 mild it is estimated that Israel would be lion people, and in terms of 5 in the land mass of the United States landmass it is among the the nation of China. When it comes to smallest countries in the country is currently made up of some world. Despite its size and population Israel has the ts, compared to 1,3 Chinese and 315 highest density of startup spite its size and population Israel has companies worldwide with of startup companies in the world and more companies on the ore companies on the NASDAQ than NASDAQ than the whole of ope, in addition to the world’s two Europe, and more than China us countries, China and India and India combined. It’s therened. fore no wonder that Israel in many ways has replaced the so called Asian tigers in the sense that they today are able to attract companies from all four corners of the world, including government representatives who are flocking to Israel in order to study and learn from the Israeli phenomenon. After all, the cellphone was invented in Israel, as was voice mail technology, the flash drive, Windows NT operating system and a number of Pentium processors, along with the new Cloverview processor used by many tablets operated by Windows 8, just to mention a few.
own that size doesn’t mat-
Several books have been written on the Israeli startup phenomenon. One of them, the Startup Nation, by Dan Senor and Saul Singer traces the roots behind the Israeli success story. As soon as the book was released it quickly became a best seller as well as compulsory reading for government officials in certain regions of China. Today there are around 300 multinational corporations in Israel, and companies such as Samsung, Intel, Motorola, Microsoft and Cisco are some of those that have set up one or more research and development centers in the country. Israel is also leading the way when it comes to mobile applications. Last year the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute estimated that there are 500 independent developers and some 150 companies involved in the field. Viber, Mycheck, Parko, Fring and Fooducate are some of the apps that can be attributed to Israel. During the Mobile World Congress, held www.arisegeneration.org
recently in Barcelona, Waze, an Israeli startup company, won the award for the World’s Best Mobile App for 2013. Waze is a free social GPS application which gives you the latest up to date information on traffic flow, such as traffic jams, accidents or even speed traps. During the month of February ARISENOW visited an event organized by Young Entrepreneurs Israel, taking place at the Jerusalem Venture Partner Media Quarter’s buildings. The participants were made up of 14 year old students from different high schools in the Jerusalem area. They displayed their inventions, still on the prototype level, ranging from cooking, sport, make up, and recycling, to gadgets aimed at improving dental health. ARISENOW spoke to Rachely Shalom, the Jerusalem Coordinator for Young Entrepreneurs Israel. She was excited about the exhibition and praised the young entrepreneurs for their creativity. “Today we have fourteen groups from all over the Jerusalem district,” adding that each group is responsible for their own company, based on real company structures. “During events like this the students will also receive both business and product consulting and so they are learning while they are having fun”, she explained. “Today’s event is a prototype event where each group is able to show their prototype to the public, which is mainly made up of workers from JVP Media Quarter and guests from various companies that are working with us. Each group has the opportunity to present their prototype to a consulting group which will give them valuable feedback”. One of the companies present at the event was Brush and Paste. ARISENOW talked to 14 year olds Edin and Ayan, who were spokespersons for the company made up of 12 students from the Mae Boyar High School in Jerusalem. Together they invented a special toothbrush which makes the process of teeth brushing easier and more fun. “We made a product, a combined toothbrush and tooth paste that fit onto each other. When you press the toothpaste it goes through a hole in the toothbrush up to the head of the brush,” Edin explains. “This is the first exhibition we have been to and for now we feel that our product probably is one of the most original ones, and it seems quite accomplishable. There are still some problems with our invention, but we are working on that and are looking at solutions to the problem,” the young entrepreneurs said with excitement in their eyes. 9
According to Shalom, most of the companies which Young Entrepreneurs Israel are involved with are made up of young high school students busy with their studies, and this is one of the reasons why the majority of the inventions have not been able to make it to the market. But she explained that there are a few exceptions, “last year, students from the Gvanim High School in Rosh Ha’Ayin, invented an aluminum rolling pin. The rolling pin is hollow and designed for putting flour inside of it. It is very comfortable because you don’t need to take flour in to your hand and put it on the dough in order to start baking. This company was actually representing Israel in Europe and ended up in second place out of the 35 countries which were included in the Junior Achievement Young Enterprise Europe. This invention is something that you are actually able to buy on the market.” Shalom concluded by saying that she believes that the work of Young Entrepreneurs Israel, which has been active in the country for 14 years, has motivated young people to invent and run their own companies. “I definitely think that what we are doing, exposing young people to managing a company, is contributing to the phenomenon of Israel as a startup nation.” •
Two of the students behind Brush&Paste.
DISABLED SPORTS CENTER TURNING LIVES
AROUND Emanuel Mfoukou | Photography Sybille Hochuli and Ilan Center This article was first published in the Jerusalem Post - Christian Edition, Aug 2011
For various reasons, Israel has an unusually high number of disabled citizens. Around 650,000 people, or almost 10% of the Israeli population, suffer from some degree of physical disability, according to the Israeli Sports Association for the Disabled. Some were Israeli natives born with a handicap, while others were injured during their service as IDF soldiers during the nation’s many conflicts. Some are random victims of the numerous terrorist attacks launched against innocent civilians over the decades, or of the country’s many road accidents. Still others are disabled immigrants who moved to Israel for the advanced medical treatments it has on offer. With such a large portion of the population suffering from disabilities it is crucial to have an arena for their rehabilitation. That is the purpose behind the Israel Sports Center for the Disabled in Ramat Gan. The Center was founded in 1960, but its story goes back much further and is linked directly to Ludwig Guttmann, a German-Jewish doctor who is considered the father of the modern Paralympics movement. In 1939, Dr. Guttmann fled Nazi Germany for England. While working there with patients suffering from spinal injuries, he discovered the importance of sports in the rehabilitation process. This discovery led him to set up what was known as the Stoke Mandeville Games for the Paralyzed in 1948. Over the ensuing years, these games developed into the Paralympic Games, which were first held under that name in 1960 alongside the Olympic Games in Rome. Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, learned of Guttmann’s work early on and invited him to Israel in 1949 in order to seek his advice on how to rehabilitate soldiers severely injured during the War of Independence. Guttmann’s first suggestion was to start a sports program, something that he claimed had been extremely helpful in providing motivation and lifting spirits among many of the wounded from World War II. www.arisegeneration.org
Avit Tsuva the spokesman for the Ilan Sports Center.
In 1956, Israel was drawn into a second war in Sinai. In addition, a large number of children worldwide were born with polio during those years, including in Israel. Thus, the growing demand led to the creation of just such a sports program for the disabled. What started out as a very small initiative in 1960 has since developed into one of the largest facilities for disabled athletes in the world, currently serving more than 2,000 members. Today, between 70-to-80% of all medals that Israelis have won in the Paralympics since 1960 have been carried home by athletes connected to the Israel Sports Center for the Disabled in Ramat Gan. 11
AS MUCH AS WE ARE HAPPY TO SEE OUR MEMBERS WIN SPORT EVENTS, WE ARE EVEN HAPPIER TO SEE OUR PEOPLE SUCCEED IN SOCIETY.
Boaz Kremer, the newly appointed director of ISCD, is currently ranked number 14 on the list of the world’s best wheelchair tennis players. He also holds the silver medal in tennis doubles from the 2008 Paralympic Games. Kremer recently told The Christian Edition that the first goal of the center is to better integrate people with disabilities into Israeli society. “We have more than 60 years of experience in the field and have learned that there is a very strong link between sports participation and social integration,” he explained. “Many of us have used sports as a platform for gaining self-confidence and becoming productive members of society, instead of a burden.” Kremer is a stunning example of what the center can do for people with physical disabilities. A graduate of the medical school at Tel Aviv University, he is married and the father of a young daughter. “As much as we are happy to see our members win sport events, we are even happier to see our people succeed in society. That in itself is more important than the athletic side,” he insisted. He is especially proud of the unique model that the center has become. “It’s like nothing else in the world,” he enthused. “I know many international athletes that I have met on tours, and all of them envy us for having such a sport center.” “The Ramat Gan center is a one-stop facility for disabled athletes. People who come here don’t have to worry about equipment, training, or social or psychological support. We provide the whole package. It’s easy for them and their parents. All they have to do is show up and we do the rest.” One of the many people who have recovered from serious life blows thanks to the sports center is Asael Shabo. In 2002, when he was only eight years old, a Palestinian terrorist broke into his family’s house in the settlement of Itamar and killed his mother and three of his brothers. Asael managed to survive the attack but lost his right leg. During his time in hospital, he was invited to the center and after only a couple of swimming lessons developed a love for the sport. Ten years later, Asael is one of the best disabled swimmers in the world, currently holding the Israeli record for 50 meters freestyle. He is aiming to participate in the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janiero. A couple years ago, Asael also developed an interest in wheelchair basketball, and discipline and hard training have landed him a spot on the Israeli national basketball team. Today, Asael lives with his father in Kedumim, in the Shomron, and spends a large part of his time practicing both swimming and basketball at the center
near Tel Aviv. He also works in the mornings and spends time with his girlfriend in the evenings. When asked what the center has meant to him, Asael explained: “After the attack it was very hard for the surviving family to relate to one another. But two years ago, my father’s new wife gave birth to triplets, two boys and one girl, which brought back our smiles… In addition, the center encouraged me during those hard times and helped me become wiser, to become an adult. The sports do something good for the body and the mind, which makes you smarter. You grow both physically and mentally.” “We are like a family here. I really like this place, and the people are very good because they really do something that makes a difference.” Despite the tremendous impact the center has had on many disabled athletes in Israel, it receives no government funding and is thus struggling financially. Around half of the budget is raised within Israel and the rest from donors worldwide, especially in the United States and United Kingdom. Kramer was grateful that Christians are becoming very strong advocates of
the center, and noted in particular the sponsorship provided by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem and Christians from the state of Georgia. Today, the center is in a desperate need of refurbishment. Asael explained that the basketball court is 40 years old and in dire need of repair. “When you go on the court, it feels like you are on the moon,” he said. “The boards are broken, and there is no air condition in the entire building.” Israeli government officials are not interested in financing such a project, contending that sports do not fall under the fundamental services eligible to disabled citizens, Kremer asserted, while also noting that disabled Israelis do receive a generous assistance package from the state. “We are always trying to get the government more involved, but the support is limited and we are therefore forced to count on our fundraising success. It’s a year to year struggle.” Nonetheless, Kremer is convinced that sports are a key foundation of any rehabilitation process for the disabled. It certainly turned around his life for the better. •
THE GREAT PARALLELS OF PASSOVER Juha Ketola | Photography Jani Salokangas
This article was first published in the Jerusalem Post - Christian Edition, Apr 2013
The great theme of the Bible is the fall and sinful nature of humanity and then God’s provision of atonement and reconciliation for humankind through Christ, the Redeemer. Sin has separated us from God, but God’s gift in the resurrected Lord has brought us back near to Him.
poured out instead of the guilty man himself. When God saw the blood, it was always the sign for Him that His righteous requirements had been met, justice had been performed and the price for man’s iniquities had been paid. God was now free and just when placing His blessings and protection upon His righteous ones!
Temple sacrifices The purpose of the animal sacrifices and ordinances of service and worship to God in the Tabernacle of Moses in the desert, and later on in the Temple in Jerusalem, was to provide a way of escape for the Israelites from the wrath of God towards sin into His favour, protection, life and blessings. Again and again among the Israelites, humanity’s failures, imperfections and sins were transferred onto innocent animals to save and preserve human life. The guilty man had to bring an innocent animal to the priest, who then slaughtered it and let the man go free. The punishment for sin – death – was thus removed from upon the guilty person and transferred to the innocent animal, which by God’s command had to carry the consequences of humans breaking the holy law of God.
The ultimate sacrifice The purpose of Temple service and the constant reading of the Holy Writings among the Israelites were also to teach and raise the expectancy in the hearts and minds of His holy people for the ultimate sacrifice to come. This ultimate sacrifice would be more than a blood covering for their sins, more than a reminder of their sins – it would take their sins away and their sin-consciousness would be changed into a consciousness of righteousness (Psalm 40:6-8, Hebrews 10:1-22)!
There is a great Saviour and Redeemer, a Mediator between God and man – the man Christ Jesus
The blood of the innocent animals was constantly covering the altar, for the Lord had said: “I have given it (the blood of the animal sacrifices) to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” (Leviticus 17:11) The great warning of God had been: “If you sin, you will surely die.” However, men did sin, and death did have to take place – but it was the death of an innocent animal whose blood was
This ultimate and final sacrifice would be the fulfilment of all the sacrifices in the Law of Moses, would be a once and for all sacrifice performed just once, and the place for it would be in the holy mountain of the Lord – in Jerusalem (Luke 13:33)!
The Lamb of God The true Lamb of God would arrive upon the scene and His name would be “Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”. He would be called “Jesus” (Yeshua or “salvation” in Hebrew), for He would save His people from their sins (Isaiah 9:6, Matthew 1:21)! And Jesus, our Lord and Messiah, truly did come and gave himself as the ultimate sacrifice for his own people during the celebration of Passover. And not only for his own Jewish people but for the whole world…
“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)
Passover The story in the whole Bible where the God of Israel has portrayed the power of the blood of Jesus in a narrative form – and concealed it from the notice of hardened hearts – is the historical exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. Every family in all Israel had to take a lamb – a lamb without blemish for each household – and then kill it at twilight (Exodus 12). The shed blood of the innocent lamb was then to be taken and put on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses. For the Lord had proclaimed: “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.” (Exodus 12:13) Every family living in the land of Egypt – both among the Egyptians and the Israelites alike – was in danger of having death enter into their household to rob their first-born sons. The judgment of God was about to fall on the land of Egypt because of their idol worship. We can read in the book of Ezekiel that the Israelites in Egypt also had fallen into the same snare and temptation of idol worship and thus death was about to fall upon their families alike (Ezekiel 20:7-10). But God provided a way of escape for His own people! The penalty of death and the judgment of God could be transferred from their families onto an innocent lamb slaughtered 16 AriseNow
on their behalf. Someone had to die as the consequence of their sins. But this someone was not one of their own family – not the firstborn, not the father nor the mother – but a male lamb. The sins and resulting death of each Israelite family were transferred and laid upon the lamb, and the life and innocence of the lamb was transferred upon the family. The lamb died – and the family, including the firstborn, lived! When the angel of death was then passing through the land of Egypt destroying life among the Egyptian families, whenever he saw the lamb’s blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts of the Israelite families, he passed over. Death had already come! The destroyer then did not come into these houses to strike them a second time and the families inside were in complete safety! Only the Israelites had been told to act in this manner. The instructions for saving their lives had come through the mouth of Moses and they had heeded the word of the Lord – and they lived! The punishment for their idol worship and sins had been laid on the lamb and the families were forgiven because of the blood. This proved to be life-saving knowledge from God spoken through the mouth of Moses, who faithfully had delivered the word of God to them (Exodus 12:21). Then the elders and each family in turn had just as faithfully passed on the word from one family to another – and so the whole nation of Israel
had been warned, instructed and as a result had been saved! Remember: “Indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.” Our death and hell was transferred onto him on the cross, and his life and righteousness was transferred upon us through his resurrection. When we believe, his life is in us and the life we live is his and we will never die! (Galatians 2:20, John 11:26)
The Good News The message of the Passover lamb from Moses’ mouth spread among the hundreds of thousands of Israelites in two weeks’ time. The message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ who died on the cross as our Passover lamb has also been taken to millions of people and to the four corners of the earth in two thousand years! The truth about His death, burial and resurrection from the grave has been preached and believed on in the nations! Whoever believes and heeds this life-saving knowledge which was in the mouth of Jesus our Lord, surely shall be saved from eternal death, hell and destruction! Jesus says: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:54)
Life for your family There is a great Saviour and Redeemer, a Mediator between God and man – the man Christ Jesus! There is life, protection and blessing for your whole family – it is in his blood! •
CORNER I guess each of us has to sacrifice something when Jesus sends us on a mission. For some it is a financial sacrifice, living as a volunteer and having to live off little money. You have to trust Jesus that He will meet your financial needs. I know the Lord will provide for what I need and this position at Arise being my first job after university I am accustomed to live on little money. For others it is adapting to a new culture, food, people, or rules. For me the big struggle is being away from my family, my mom, my dad, my sisters, my granny, my friends and my extended family. I was fine for the first five to six months. Although it’s a beautiful one, I don’t miss my country so much (if you ever have the chance to visit Switzerland I highly recommend it!). It’s the people that I miss the most. Don’t’ get me wrong, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else than right here in Israel, working for Arise, serving the Lord, enjoying the time with my new friends. Because I know this is the place that God wants me to be. And I love it. However, my calling doesn’t change the fact that I do miss my family back home very much. Going through this ‘being homesick’ period I remembered what Jesus told his disciples: “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.” Mark 10:29-30 This verse helps me to know that leaving home wasn’t in vain. But, to be honest, it only helps intellectually. It doesn’t really ease the feeling of missing them and the sadness that enters my heart at times. Well, Jesus never promised us that it would be easy to follow him and this is my sacrifice. I now have the opportunity to see and experience that his promise in Mark 10 is true. He has already given me some great new friends in Israel, brothers and sisters whom I can trust in, pray with, and who love to go on adventures with me. So, life is good. God is good. •
British-Israeli research teams to fight world’s worst diseases The British Embassy in Israel recently announced the launching of a state-of-the-art medical research program providing fellowships for research designed to find cures for the world’s worst diseases. The multimillion-pound bilateral research program is part of the Britain-Israel Research and Academic Exchange (BIRAX) Partnership that supports research visits by UK and Israel researchers to laboratories in both countries. UK Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould said, “the launch of this fellowship program represents a major stepping up of scientific collaboration between Britain and Israel. We’re offering our most talented young scientists in both countries the chance to work with each other. The potential for this cooperation is huge – both our countries are scientific superpowers, with world class laboratories doing cutting-edge research.”
Water is essential for living. Without water there is no life. Israel has four big bodies of water: the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee. You will see and swim in three of them! One thing to remember: It’s going to be HOT, so don’t forget to drink plenty of water!
We love to enjoy life so get ready to ride camels, sleep in a Bedouin style tent, cover yourself in mud and float in the Dead Sea. Prepare yourselves to relax and have fun at the beaches of Tel Aviv. And last, but no least, we will try out the longest zip line in Israel, which is 400m long and 120m above ground!
Encounter Jesus in the places where He ministered when He was on this earth and let the bible come alive. Together we will worship God, pray for each other, and discuss important topics touching our daily lives. Our goal is that you will grow in your relationship with Jesus.
Join us in sharing God’s love by serving different parts of the Israeli society. We have set up several outreach projects: We will help poor families in various ways, spend a day with young Arab Christians and serve the city of Beit She’an. “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James 2:15-17 19
Sybille Hochuli| Photography Jani Salokangas
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:10-11 Each of us has received gifts from God, not for ourselves but in order to be able to serve others. By using these gifts we do God’s will. The Kingdom of God is all about people; it’s about sharing life together, the good times and the hard times. And ultimately it’s about serving God by serving others. That is what Jesus did when He walked this earth; He gave himself for those He loved. Everywhere He went He served the people by giving them love, healing, comfort, forgiveness and teaching. And in the end He gave His life on the cross so that we can be reconciled with God. He did this because He loves us so much. And, He calls us to pick up our cross and to follow Him and to do what He does.
affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1:22-27 God asks us to share with others what He has given us. We are not made to keep His riches to ourselves. In the letter of James we find one example of what this looks like:“...to visit orphans and widows in their affliction”. We are not meant to go to church and consume, but to go out and do. Like Jesus said in John 15:12-13: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” And this is what we want to do on the Arise Summer Tour. We want to share the love and gifts which God has given us with the people in Israel. Last year we were able to harvest one ton of tomatoes which is the biweekly share for about 300 families. We will spend a day in Bethlehem painting church buildings and spending time with young Arab Christians, showing them that we care. We will also go to Beit Shean and show our love by engaging in practical work in the city.
Each of us has received a gift from God, not for ourselves but in order to be able to serve others.
When we speak, we speak the Word of God for the benefit of those who listen, when we serve, we show God’s love in a practical way, because that is what He did. We don’t have to do it in our own strength, but through Jesus who gives us everything we need to do what He called us to. And what is the goal of our actions? That God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. Every work that is not done to give God the glory is in vain. We are made to glorify Him in everything we do. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. […] Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their
This is your call to serve God by serving others, no matter if it’s your brothers and sisters, your neighbours, your city, your country or the people of Israel. So, come and join us this summer for an exciting and unforgettable tour through Israel which combines everything your heart desires: serving God, fellowship with young believers from all around the world, sound teaching, getting to know the people and land of Israel, adventures (we go zip lining on the longest zip-line in Israel!), stunning landscapes, and lots of fun! •
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Jani Salokangas | Photography Per Kvamso
Our lives are marked more or less with the biblical principle of sowing and reaping. This principle is true in all areas of life and it even has an effect on our heavenly rewards. What we sow is what we reap. If we plant a good seed and we take care of it we’ll harvest a good fruit. However there is also the bad seed and the terrible harvest out of it. If we would understand how important this principle is, our Christian fruit would be sweet and our harvest would be plentiful. Still many times we fail to see the harvest in the most obvious areas. When is the harvest ready? That is a difficult question but the Bible gives us very straightforward advice in this area. In John 4:35 (ESV) “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. ” The harvest is waiting but for some reason many times we fail to see that it is ready to harvest. We need to stop looking inwardly at ourselves and lift our eyes to be able to see the fields. In the same way that the farmer sees the corn ready to be harvested, is the same way that we should see people when they are ready to be harvested for the Kingdom of God. We often hear talking in our churches about the topic of harvest. We technically know what harvest means but many of us fail to put this practise in to our daily lives.. Even the Bible says that Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” (Matthew 9:37 ESV). The scripture is stating that there is a harvest out there waiting for the laborers to take the fruit. These laborers are you and me. Here are three points that we should not miss when we talk about harvest.
1. Start where you are. The farmer does not trample the closest crops in order to get some further away. Many times we look at the fields and we look into the horizon feeling overwhelmed or very excited. But we tend to forget that we need to start from where we are standing. The closest crops might be your neighbors, school friends and even church friends.
2. Cutting the crop doesn’t end the job or the process. When the crop is cut it is taken from where it used to be. In the same way, when we accept Jesus as our saviour, He separates us for further “processing”. We are separated but we need to go through a process. I would call this process discipleship. When the farmer harvests the grapes from the field he doesn’t think that the job is now done and here we stop. No, the work has just begun. The grape needs to go through a meticulous process in order to fulfill its meaning. The farm owner, God, saw the end result even before the grape was harvested, but the fruit picker did not see it. In the same way God places people into different positions in order to bring the grape into its full potential. We who have been picked already have to go through this process in order that one day we will see our final selves.
3. The farm owner owns the fruit and the work. God is our farm owner. As a matter of fact he invented the whole farm and its fruit. By His grace He has let us work on His farm. We as workers get our payment according to our diligence, carefulness and result of our work. But these factors did not get us these jobs. His mercy bought our ticket to work in God’s fields. All honor from whatever fruit or labor goes to the farm owner, God. He is the only one who sees our full potential as laborers and fruits. •
We technically know what harvest means but many of us fail to put this practise in to our daily lives.
ARISE PARTICIPATES IN THE GOOD WHEEL 2013
On March 5, the Israel Sports Center for the Disabled, ISCD, located in Ramat Gan, a suburb of Tel Aviv, organized their yearly fundraising bike ride the “Good Wheel.” The event dates back to 2006 and throughout the years has brought thousands of cyclists from Israel and around the world to come and burn tyres on the desert roads of the Negev, or bike along the green fields of the Galilee. By participating in the ride they are supporting handicapped Israelis, Jews and Arabs alike, as well as standing with ISCD and their tremendous activities carried out at the center. This year’s ride took place from the fourth to the seventh of March, and had in all some 600 riders participating from various countries such as Israel, US, England and the Netherlands, with the youngest rider being 10 years old and the oldest over 80. ARISE ICEJ had the opportunity to participate on the second day of the event, biking a distance of 92km from Tsofar, a Kibbutz situated along route 90 about 120km north of Eilat, northwards to Ein Bokek sitting on the shores of the Dead Sea. The first few kilometers of the ride started on route 90, and later deviated onto the so-called Peace Road, a quiet and idyllic stretch located on the border between Israel and the Kingdom of Jordan. Along this stretch one is able to see the Edom Mountains in Jordan, as well as the Arava stream bed. The ride continued on to route 90 until it finally reached the finish line in Ein Bokek. The participants were from various backgrounds, and among them were people from all walks of life; from brokers, lawyers and engineers to students. Some of the participants were blind and so they rode on tandem bikes, while others made use of adaptive bikes customized for their specific handicaps. ARISENOW spoke to Bruce Rosenzweig, a boat broker and boat yard owner from Chicago, who participated in the Good Wheel bike ride for the sixth time. “This bike ride is very unique as it has disabled and able bodied athletes riding together, that happens almost never on rides that I have been on, and I have been on rides in Israel and America for 15 years. The Good
Wheel is a very important fundraising and awareness raising ride, and to be on a ride with hand cyclists, and blind riders on tandems with sighted riders, is a very unique situation,” Rosensweig explained during one of the pit stops. ARISENOW also had the opportunity to talk to Boaz Kremer, the director of ISCD, who said that he was very satisfied with this year’s edition of the Good Wheel. “The Good Wheel bike ride is becoming one of the most important combined disabled and abled sporting events in the country, and I’m very happy about it. For us it’s also one of the best ways to raise awareness about disabled athletes as well as about the Israel Sport Center for Disabled. It has become such a big event and we are very happy that we are getting more recognition and more participants every year”, Boaz said. He also called upon bikers from around the world to do their best to participate in Good Wheel 2014, whose plans are already underway. “This is a very special and unique experience which gives you the opportunity firstly to see the country and secondly to ride side by side with disabled riders, which is something that most people don’t get a chance to do. It’s a very special experience and I urge everyone to register for 2014,” Boaz concluded. For ARISE, the Good Wheel was sort of a warm up for the second edition of the upcoming 477 Quest, organized by ARISE ICEJ, and scheduled to take place from the second to the seventh of April 2014. The 477 Quest will run from Metulla, the most northern city of Israel, all the way down to Eilat, a distance of 477km. The money raised from the Quest will be given directly to the Israel Sport Center for the Disabled, and help its athletes to prepare for the Paralympic games in Rio 2016. If you are interested in supporting the 477 Quest, you can do so by visiting our website where you can send us your love gift. •
KING HEROD Emanuel Mfoukou | Photography Jani Salokangas & Israel Museum This article was first published in the Jerusalem Post - Christian Edition, Apr 2013
King Solomon, Zerubbabel and Herod the Great share a unique distinction in history â€“ they each had the privilege of building the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Yet while the Bible tells us much about King Solomon and Zerubbabel and their respective roles in the constructing the House of the Lord, little is said about King Herod. And what does appear about him in the New Testament is not very flattering. Herod the Great is a towering figure in the regionâ€™s history, but he remains elusive. Who exactly was this ruler who tried to bridge the wide chasm between the Jewish and Roman cultures? Why was he so driven to create some of the most monumental building projects of antiquity? And was he really as ruthless as he is portrayed in the New Testament, even to the point of ordering the massacre of innocent babes? In February, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem opened a grand exhibition fitting for the larger-
than-life figure of King Herod the Great, entitled “The Kings Final Journey.” “This is the most ambitious archaeology exhibition that we ever have undertaken,” boasted James Schneider, director of the Israel Museum, at a preview tour for the media. Describing it as the first museum exhibition anywhere to focus on King Herod as a subject, he said it includes some 250 artifacts from around the world as well as 30 tons of display material from Herodium, where his tomb was finally discovered only six years ago. Schneider was quick to pay tribute to Prof. Ehud Netzer, the “very eminent archaeologist who spent nearly 40 years exploring and excavating Herodium.” After decades of searching, Netzer at last uncovered Herod’s sarcophagus in 2007 and almost immediately came to the Israel Museum to say he wanted to arrange an exhibition focusing on Herod. But in 2010, Netzer fell to his death while working at the site. He was called “Herod the Great” because he was a great builder, but Netzer claimed that what set him apart was that he “not only showed interest in the field of construction but also had a profound understanding of planning and architecture, and therefore took an active and important part in the erection of many of his buildings.” His legacy starts with Herodium, the peculiar shaved-off mountain peak located some 15 kilometers south of Jerusalem. Here, Herod carved out of bedrock the largest palatial complex of its day in the entire Roman Empire. Serving as a summer palace as well as his eventual resting place, Herodium contained fabulous gardens, large Roman baths and its own 700-seat theatre. Herod also built the formidable mountain fortress at Masada, and the impressive port city of Ceasarea, complete with a hippodrome and amphitheater, which served as the gateway for Rome to the eastern half of its realm. In addition, Herod built fortresses in Antonia, Threx and Cyprus, as well as palaces and other classic Roman buildings in both Jericho and Sebaste. Herod also re-fortified existing fortresses at Alexandrium and at Machareus, where John the Baptist is believed to have been imprisoned and executed by one of his sons.
Besides his obsession with Roman architecture, Herod’s works also evidence a desire to appeal to the Jews. For instance, he built the rectangular Machpela in Hebron over the burial cave of Abraham and the other early Hebrew patriarchs and matriarchs – the only fully surviving Herodian structure left today. Yet the Tomb of Machpela is merely a small-scale replica of Herod’s masterpiece – his reconstruction and expansion of the Second Temple. The retaining walls of his rebuilt Temple rest on massive stones that would challenge even modern machinery to cut and move into place. He extended the Temple confines southward to include a lavish shopping mall and the colonnaded underground chambers of the Hulda Gates. The pinnacle of Herod’s refurbished Temple was said to rise some 137 meters above the adjacent Kidron Valley. Beyond the physical remains of his many building projects, the other main source for our knowledge of Herod is the writings of noted Jewish historian Josephus Flavius, who is believed to have had access to Herod’s autobiography compiled by Nicolaus of Damascus, himself an historian, philosopher and close friend of Herod. According to scholars, Herod is believed to have been born in 73 BC, during the reign of Queen Alexandra of the Hasmonean dynasty. His birthplace was probably in Idumea, the area southeast of the Dead Sea also known as Edom, where Isaac’s first-born son Esau once settled. The Edomites were one of Israel’s fiercest enemies and, according to Josephus, the Hasmoneans under the leadership of John Hyrcanus conquered their territory and forced the Edomites to convert to Judaism. In his work Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus explains that “Hyrcanus took also Dora and Marissa, cities of Idumea, and subdued all the Idumeans; and permitted them to stay in that country; if they would circumcise their genitals, and make use of the laws of the Jews; and they were so desirous of living in the land of their forefathers, that they submitted to the use of circumcision, and of the rest of the Jewish ways of living; at which time this therefore befell them, that they were hereafter no other than Jews.” Hyrcanus chose Herod’s grandfather Antipas, one of the most influential leaders of Idumea, to act as governor of the region. His son Antipater then married Kufra, also known as Cyprus, the daughter of a leading Nabataean family. Together, they had five children, one of which was Herod. Julius Caesar would later appoint Antipater to be the Roman
procurator of Judea, and Herod and his brother Phasael quickly assumed the offices of governor of Galilee and Jerusalem respectively. Around 37 BC, the Roman Senate elected Herod the Great as its vassal ruler of Judea, a move aided by his close friendship with Rome’s first emperor, Augustus Caesar. Herod would end up with ten different wives, and sired 15 children in all. His first wife was Doris, with whom he had Antipater, mentioned in the Gospels. With his second wife, the legendary beauty Mariamne, he married into the Hasmonean dynasty in Jerusalem. The couple had two sons, Alexander and Aristobulus. Herod’s relationship with Mariamne proved rocky. Obsessed with her loveliness, he appointed a special attendant to always watch over her in his absence, knife at the ready in case anyone else were to ever touch her. He once instructed his brother Joseph to also strike her down if he were to die while away traveling. Upon his return, Herod suspected Joseph of cheating with Miriamne and had him executed. Eventually, Herod had her killed as well, urged on by his sister Salmon’s accusation that she was planning to poison him. In his rage, Herod also murdered several of Mariamne’s close relatives, along with the two sons they had birthed together. Thus, Herod’s lust for power and notorious cruelty became widely known. Josephus describes a mix of despicable traits in Herod the Great and records the words of Emperor Augustus: “I’d rather be Herod’s pig than his son.”
Herod kept the Romans at a distance and defended the rights and safety of Jewish communities throughout the growing empire.
In a later marriage with Mariamne II, daughter of the Hasmonean High Priest Simon, he fathered a son named Herod Philip. With Cleopatra of Jerusalem, he had Philip the tetrarch. With Malthace, a Samaritan woman, he sired Herod Archelaus and Herod Antipas – who would behead John the Baptist for disapproving of his marriage to Herodias. For Christians, Herod is best remembered for slaying the infants of Bethlehem in a rage of jealousy over a report by wise men from the East that the “king of the Jews” had been born in the small village. Some scholars have questioned this account from the book of Matthew, arguing that no one could truly be that cruel. However, the fact that he eliminated his own wife
and sons out of a similar fit of jealousy lends credence to the New Testament’s dark depiction of Herod the Great. Reuven Rosenfelder, a senior guide at the Israel Museum, explained to The Christian Edition that Herod was seen in a similar cruel light by most Jews back then – and even now. “Herod’s relationship with the Jews is a complicated subject,” said Rosenfelder. “We never call him ‘Herod the Great’ because actually we view him in Jewish tradition very negatively. The title ‘great’ is only relevant in the sense that he was probably the greatest builder in the history of this country.” “He certainly stands out in a most prominent way and Masada, built by Herod, is by far the most popular tourist site in Israel. Plus the Talmud states that whoever has not seen Herod’s rebuilt Temple has not seen a beautiful building in his life.” But Rosenfelder insisted that the Jews never really accepted Herod as a Jew, despite his grandfather’s conversion to Judaism. He was rather seen as a protégé of the Roman overlords, and Talmudic and rabbinical literature refer to him as an Edomite slave and a servant of Rome. Yet despite Herod’s warped personality, intense insecurities and huge edifice complex, there appears to have been another side of the great builder – that of a king who sold his gold in order to save the people of Judea from starvation. According to Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of “Jerusalem the Biography,” the Judea of the first century had never been as populated, prosperous and awe-inspiring as it was in the wake of Herod’s building spree. Indeed, it would be twenty centuries before Jerusalem would begin to recapture her glorious peak under Herod the Great. The late British diplomat and historian Stewart Perowne also credits Herod with doing great things for the Jewish subjects of Judea. During his reign the country was at peace, trade flourished and cities were crowned with magnificent buildings. He even maintains that Herod kept the Romans at a distance and defended the rights and safety of Jewish communities throughout the growing empire. Still, Herod also bent over backwards to please the Roman elite. He named cities and major building projects after the caesars, and inaugurated new buildings and cities in conjunction with dates important to the Roman emperors. For instance, the Herodian city of Sebaste, near
View from the top of Masada. One of Herod the greats impressive fortresses.
modern-day Nablus, was founded in 27 BC, the same year that Caesar Augustus became Emperor, while Caesarea is believed to have been dedicated in 13 BC to mark his 50th birthday. The last years of Herod’s life were marked by disease, envy and murder. In the period leading up to his death, he killed three of his sons believing they were threatening his power. Alexander and Aristobulus were slain in 7 BC, while Antipater was killed in 4 BC. After their deaths, an ailing Herod appointed Archelaus, Antipas and Philip as his new heirs and successors. While on his death bed, Herod worried that no one would mourn his death, and so he ordered the arrest of some 1,000 Judeans who were to be executed on the same day he died. Shortly thereafter, Herod died in his winter palace in Jericho from what is believed to have been arteriosclerosis. From there, his overweight body was carried to his final resting place in Herodium. Upon his death, the 1,000 detained Judeans were released unharmed. The date of Herod’s death in generally accepted as 4 BC, which creates a discrepancy in relation to the birth of Jesus and thus Herod’s role in the “slaughter of the innocents” if Christ was born in the year 0. This subject has been robustly debated by historians and scholars for centuries, with some questioning the accuracy of the Gospel accounts and others responding that Herod’s successor was likely behind the massacre. However, most Christian scholars of the Bible place the birth of Jesus around 4 to 6 BC and attribute the discrepancy to human error in calculating dates made when the Gregorian calendar was established. Interestingly, one leading member of this school of thought today is the retiring pontiff and theologian, Pope Benedict XVI. In his newly released book, Jesus of Nazareth, the Pope cites a 6th century monk as the father of the Anno Domino dating system, and claims that he made a mistake when calculating the timing of the Incarnation. “The calculation of Jesus’ date of birth goes back to the monk Dionysius Exiguus, who evidently miscalculated by a few years. The historical date of the birth of Jesus is therefore to be placed a few years earlier,” the former pope writes, gauging that it even could have been as early as 7 BC, thereby preceding Herod’s death by several years. Meanwhile, the quest for a more accurate picture of the historic figure of Herod the Great continues. Idumean by birth, Jewish by religion and Roman by culture, was he a cruel madman, an architectural genius, a benevolent monarch, or perhaps a little of each? Two thousand years later, the search for the real Herod goes on. •
The Story of Coffee Aroma the most popular coffee house in Israel
Emanuel Mfoukou | Photography Jani Salokangas
Depending on where in the world you were born, coffee has in some way or another had an impact on your daily life. It might be the first thing you drink when you wake up in the morning, or the aroma of coffee beans might accompany you on your commute to work or school. It might be coffee that helps keep you awake as you study for an upcoming exam, or it might be what you drink while discussing the Bible with your youth group. Whatever your experiences, coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in the world, and its popularity is growing by the day.
coffee would come to erupt, with some Islamic sages putting coffee in the same category as alcohol. Khair Beg, the Governor of Mecca even instituted laws forbidding the consumption of coffee in the city. This move would later lead to his death, as the Sultan of Cairo decided to execute him for not consulting with his superior and for banning a drink which was enjoyed all over Egypt.
Coffee wouldn’t reach the Western world until the 17th century and it is believed that it entered Europe through Venetian traders around 1615. As it reached Rome and the Vatican The history of coffee started in the highlands of Ethiopia, and church a debate, similar to the one which occurred in Mecca as it spread along the trade centuries earlier, arose with routes of Africa and the Midsome clerics referring to dle East it quickly became coffee as “the devil’s drink.” Annual world consumption of coffee in known by the region it origiIt was thanks to Pope Cle2008 was 1.3kg per person, with the Nordic nated from, the Kaffa provinment VIII that coffee was ficountries including the Netherlands holding the six leading positions of the world’s ce South West of Addis Abanally considered a legal drink, coffee consumption, with Finland in the ba, the capital of Ethiopia. some years thereafter; in first place consuming some 12 kg per per1683 Europe got its first cofson, compared to Israel’s 3.8kg per year. Nobody can be fully sure of feehouse as it opened up its how coffee was discovered, doors in Venice. but one of the legends holds that an Ethiopian goat herder named Kaldi came across his Today coffee is a universal drink consumed in all four corners goats behaving in a strange manner. When he tried to find of the world, and coffee shops are no longer a phenomenon out why, he discovered that they had been eating the red cof- confined to Mecca, Italy or Victorian England, as multinationals fee berries from a bush growing in the land. He tried a couple are serving coffee throughout the entire globe. for himself and was immediately filled with energy, so he took some of the berries to the Monks in a monastery nearby. The monks refuted his discovery and declared that they must be from the Devil and tossed them into the fire. Minutes later the savor of the coffee beans spread in the monastery. The monks came to put the beans in hot water and began to consume the beverage using it in order to stay awake during their studies. While this story might have been a legend, many believe that the monks used to chew on the coffee beans several centuries before it became a drink. Another story holds that the coffee reached the Arabian Peninsula through Sudanese slaves, taken from Africa and brought to Arabia. The slaves made use of the coffee berries in order to gain strength and survive their journey. With time coffee would make it to Mecca, and it was in this religious Muslim center that the first coffee houses were established. It was also here that fierce religious debates regarding
Aroma Coffee shop in Jeruslem with all kind of customers from children to adults.
Today Israel is known for being the land of the Bible, but besides the Biblical aspects of the land, Israel has so much more to offer and excellent wines and cheeses are only a few of these goodies. If you have not yet been to Israel or are planning to visit, you cannot afford to miss tasting the different kinds of coffee served in the land. Arab coffee, often served by Palestinians in the Old City at various vendors and restaurants, is something that you should try. While another option is to try one of the more modern coffeehouses Israel has to offer, with Aroma Israel being the country’s leading coffee house. The journey from the cradle of the coffee on the hillsides of Ethiopia, to the creation of Israel’s first Espresso bar, Aroma, on Jerusalem’s Hillel Street in 1994 has been a long one. The idea to create Aroma was the brainchild of two brothers, Yariv and Sa’ar Shefa. They set out with the objective to create an espresso bar, which could compete and serve coffee with an international quality. But after some five years in business the brothers parted ways, and two completely separate companies were created, with Yariv establishing Aroma Israel, while Sa’ar founded Aroma Tel Aviv. Today Yariv’s company, Aroma Israel, is the most popular of the two, which not only serves coffee but a whole range of delicious products, from pastries and salads to high quality sand36 AriseNow
wiches. Their products come from their own factory in the Valley of Elah, known from the bible as being the place where the Israelites stayed at the time when David fought Goliath, as outlined in the first book of Samuel 17:2-19. At this factory the coffee beans are roasted, the fruits and salads are arranged, and the dough used for baking the bread is prepared. Aroma’s coffee beans hail from the four corners of the world, such as Brazil, Colombia and Ethiopia just to mention a few. Today Aroma Israel is the largest coffee chain in Israel and has some 118 coffee shops throughout the country, with 13 branches in Jerusalem alone. It is estimated that close to 100,000 customers enter through the doors of Aroma on a daily basis. But besides being an Israeli company, Aroma has also tried the international scene, and today the company can boast of several branches in both Canada and the US. In order to find out more about the ingredients which have made the Israeli coffee chain so special, ARISENOW contacted Aroma Israel’s Marketing and Communication manager Elad Keren. Keren explained that Aroma Israel is a franchise company, and confirmed that outside of Israel there are branches to be found in both the US and Canada, but also in Ukraine. He continued by saying that the concept of Aroma is pretty unique for Israel and that the company uses a business model called fast casual dining, which can be explained as: a food establishment, that refrains from offering the normal type of full table service,
yet the quality of the food is above that which is served in a fast food restaurant. “You come in, you get what you want pretty quickly, everything is fresh, everything is ready to order. We bake our own bread, our own pastries, and we have our own baking facilities that prepare the dough, but the bread is being baked on the premises. We have our own roasting facility and that way we can decide what blend we would like to create and which fits the Israeli taste.
Aroma Cafe, one of the most popular order’s in Aroma’s.
He continued by describing why Aroma Israel has managed to become so popular, “Aroma started as a small branch and it grew bigger and bigger because Israelis wanted it next to their home, their malls or on the road. So it grew up in Israel among Israelis and that is what makes Aroma so popular, they feel at home when they go to Aroma. Every Aroma you visit has the same coffee, you know what to expect and you feel comfortable, and that is what Israelis like.” He concluded by encouraging tourists visiting the country to stop by Aroma for a coffee and a bite, “Aroma offers the best coffee in Israel, everything is fresh and it has got the Israeli taste which you cannot get any anywhere else.” •