Saturday, March 26, 2011

Purim this year

This year, the synagogue put on a play about Esther.  Sheila, one of our members, found the play online.  We loved it because no rehearsals were needed, costumes and props were up to our discretion, and it was just so easy to do.

Never has there been so much HAM in a Jewish synagogue.  Who knew we had actors lurking stealthily in our midst???  Needless to say, we were delighted to find out who they were.  The biggest ham (I just can't resist using that word) was, of course, Rabbi Jem, who played the narrator.

Next in line came Jeff, who played King Ahasuerus .  Such drama you've never seen!!!  Such voice projection!

All of the other cast members were great, ad-libbing, dying laughing, and being silly as children.  How we got through it, I'll never know.  I think the fact that we didn't rehearse made it much funnier!

Oh, I was part of the two-member choir.  We sang great, silly song like Hang Down Your Head Old Hamaan, to the tune of the old song about Tom Dooley.  (If you're not as old as many of us in the congregation, you'll have to look it up on YouTube.)

We had tons of food and hours of fun, and games for the children.  Everyone agreed it was a great celebration.

The blessing of the children.

The oldest living rabbi (aka Rabbi Jem)

The cast (left to right):  Bonnie, Abby, Mallory, Jeff, Deb, Rabbi Jem, Gail, Sheila, Glen & Rich.

Food!!!  My grandson doesn't look happy with his hotdog.

Hamantaschen cookies are shaped like a three-cornered hat and filled with apricot, prune or poppy seed filling.

Musical chairs

More musical chairs - Rabbi Jem loves to play!!

Jonathan loved playing toss the golf balls in the buckets...of course he had to taste them.

A lonely hotdog left at the bowling alley.

Did you know that the movie One Night With the King is the story of Purim?  To learn more about Purim, check out my previous post For Such A Time As This.  Also, this link has in-depth information   -

Thursday, March 10, 2011

For Such a Time as This

Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “for such a time as this” and wondered where it came from.   The saying is from the Biblical book of Esther, and is associated with the Jewish holiday of Purim.  Esther 9:21 tells us this festival is to be observed yearly.  Each year, we remember that G-d placed Hadassah (Esther) in place to save her people from destruction.   She was willing to take the risk and follow what G-d laid on her heart to say and do.  The book of Esther says she was born “for such a time as this”. 

Each year, we celebrate Purim with family and friends at Ma’gen Da’vid Messianic Synagogue.  Purim is also called the holiday of joy and it is traditional to dress up, and be merry while remembering how the Jews of Persia narrowly escaped annihilation thanks to the bravery of Queen Esther.  

Last year, my husband, Rabbi Jem, dressed up as “the oldest rabbi of Israel” complete with a long, grey beard, and read the story of Esther. He was a BIG hit with the children.

Queen Esther aka Amanda
The children in our congregation also dressed in costumes and thoroughly enjoyed making lots of noise while the book was read.  It is traditional to "boo" when the villain’s name, Haman, is read, and to cheer loudly when the hero’s names, Esther and her uncle, Mordechai, are mentioned.  One of our talented Ma'gen Da'vid family painted this wonderful depiction of Queen Esther that the children could put their faces through and have a picture made.  (My daughter, Amanda, had to join the fun!)

Like Esther, each year I am reminded that G-d wants to use me, too, and that we are all born for a purpose: G-d’s purpose.  Personally, this holiday inspires me to stand up and speak for G-d when He gives me the opportunity.

I had just such an opportunity within a few days after Purim last year, when I met a Jewish man at a local fundraiser.  The young man related a story about a horrible wreck he’d recently survived.  With a cracking voice and tears in his eyes, he said, “I don’t know why G-d saved me alive.  Is it just to work day after day as a truck driver?”

G-d spoke very clearly to me at that moment:   Gail, you are here tonight for such a time as this - to tell him that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah.

Trembling, I spoke softly, “I believe G-d saved you alive so that you and I could have this conversation right now.  He wants me to tell you that Yeshua is the Messiah.”

“I just can’t believe a holy and mighty G-d could come to earth in human form”, he said sincerely. 

“My husband, Rabbi Jem, escaped death miraculously like you, and he asked that same question of G-d:  why didn’t I die?  That burning question led him to search for G-d, and it led him to accept Yeshua as the Messiah.” As I spoke those last words, we were interrupted and the conversation with him ended. 

G-d had me there at just the right time to answer his question.  I pray for him, and I believe He will one day find the wonderful peace of knowing Yeshua as his Messiah.  Like Esther, I know G-d used me in that man’s life “for such a time as this”.

Purim will be celebrated on March 20 this year.  I'll let you know about the fun we have and post some pics.

Shalom and blessings to ya'll.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My friend Marnie

Many thanks to Marnie, who gave me the privilege to tell my weight loss story on her radio show.  Here is the link to the show.  Marnie's Friends (scroll down to the show for February 28 titled SUPER BUSY:  Amazing Women Lose Weight).Three other ladies share their weight loss stories also.  I was blessed to have this opportunity as well as to learn from the other speakers. 

Marnie is a real go-getter and I've been following her website for many years.  You will find a multitude of ideas to help you in ministry.  I love her newsletter and recommend you sign up.  I've learned so much from her.

You can read my story (the Chewing Tobacco Diet) at this link: