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News from the Land

Judea and Samaria must Continue to Flourish!

by Sondra BarasMarch 2, 2021 A report was recently published with updated statistics on population growth in Judea and Samaria.  The numbers are so encouraging!  There are more than 475,000 people living in Judea and Samaria today, representing a growth of close to 3% in 2020 alone and a 17% growth rate over the last … Read more

Esther, Mordecai and the Challenges of Exile

Each year, Jews all over the world celebrate the holiday of Purim. They celebrate the miracle of salvation as described in the Book of Esther, with special prayers in the synagogue, public readings of Esther, festive meals, gifts of sweet food packages to neighbors and friends and charity to the poor.  There is a spirit of … Read more

Street Prayer Services

February 2, 2021by Sondra Baras Prayer is central to Judaism.  Jews pray to G-d, talk to G-d, sing to G-d, informally and whenever they feel the need.  Perhaps the Jew best known for his informal talks with G-d is Tevye, the milkman, from Fiddler on the Roof.  My favorite is when he turns to  G-d, … Read more

Israel Deserves Better Leadership!

More than 2000 years ago, the Maccabees rebelled against the Syrian Greeks and miraculously defeated them, liberating the Jews from pagan rule and re-entering the Sacred Temple in Jerusalem.  They immediately set to work, purifying the Temple and renewing the ancient services.  But when they tried to light the Menorah, they discovered that there was only enough pure olive oil to last one day. 

The Lesson of Hanukah

More than 2000 years ago, the Maccabees rebelled against the Syrian Greeks and miraculously defeated them, liberating the Jews from pagan rule and re-entering the Sacred Temple in Jerusalem.  They immediately set to work, purifying the Temple and renewing the ancient services.  But when they tried to light the Menorah, they discovered that there was only enough pure olive oil to last one day. 

In Memory of Ted Beckett

Ted Beckett

November 2, 2020by Sondra Baras I am often asked about the origins of CFOIC Heartland.  People are particularly intrigued at the thought of an Orthodox Jew heading up an organization called Christian Friends of Israeli Communities. I always respond that the idea was a Christian one but I launched the organization’s Israel office and turned … Read more

In Memory of my Father: Joseph Oster זצ״ל

October 6, 2020by Sondra Baras My father passed away three weeks ago.  He was 94 years old and during his final months, he had sunk into the depths of dementia and no longer recognized me.  It had been many months since I had been able to have even the most rudimentary conversation with him.  In a … Read more

Reflections while sitting on the beach

Even though summer weather continues in Israel until well into October, as August draws to a close and September begins, we mark the end of summer. Probably because school begins on the 1st of September. So last night, a few friends of mine got together to mark the end of summer by going out to the beach in Herzliya. We were five middle-aged women, at the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, sitting on blankets or beach chairs, chatting. We watched and listened to the waves crashing onto the shore, we got our feet wet in the water, and we breathed the fresh sea air.

A Statement Regarding the UAE Announcement

Yesterday, we were all surprised to learn that the United Arab Emirates, a key Gulf State, is planning on signing a peace treaty with Israel to include full normalization of relationships. The White House was very involved in the process and announced that in exchange for this recognition by the UAE, Israel had agreed to suspend any moves towards applying sovereignty in Judea and Samaria.

The Thanks Belong to You!

A few weeks ago, we held our first annual CFOIC Heartland Conference of Judea and Samaria communities. This was a dream of mine for some time — to gather together in one room the representatives of all the communities we work with as well as the various mayors, to share experiences and ideas and just interact with one another.