We pray you had a blessed and meaningful Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends! As we have entered into the month of December, we look forward to the M.J.A.A. Southeast Regional Conference December 15th-17th, 2023 at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando Florida! It is a powerful, supernatural weekend of Messianic praise, worship, teaching, and fellowship! Paul Wilbur, Shae Wilbur, and the Nesbitts will be our guest psalmists! Dr. Raleigh Washington is teaching Yeshiva! Never has it been more important to stand with Israel than right now! Put action to your love and join us in solidarity with Israel! This is a weekend you don’t want to miss!
We remain committed to praying for and supporting Israel in this ongoing and difficult time! ‘It’s hard to be a Jew’, an old Yiddish proverb never felt more resonant in America today! We’re all reeling from the tidal wave of antisemitism and its silent sanction in our society! Throughout our history in America, as Jews we’ve faced our share of bigotry, excluded from certain businesses, schools, neighborhoods, and social clubs. Since the COVID Pandemic we’ve witnessed a terrifying increase in antisemitic rhetoric, violence, and attacks. But never have I witnessed and experienced the level of anguish and fear American Jews are experiencing right now.
So, what can we do? We stand on biblical truth, be bold and courageous, speak out and let your voice be heard. Do it respectfully but firmly and do not back down. Don’t use Mainstream Western Media as your news sources, they are all biased. Seek out news sources that are based in Israel with reporters who have boots on the ground in Israel. Here are a few that I recommend: Ynet News, Arutz Sheva, Jerusalem Post, and Israel 365.
Align yourself with, associate, and attend a Messianic Jewish Congregation! Congregate with both Jews and Gentiles who love Israel and our Jewish people! Be with others who have Israel and Yeshua in their heart, those who have a Biblical world view!
Keep praying for Israel and the Jewish people! Pray with fervency and unceasingly! We have placed a prayer guide for Israel in this month’s newsletter as well! עם ישראל חי “The people of Israel live!”
December is the 12th month (and last month) in our modern-day Gregorian calendar (as it was in the preceding Julian calendar). However, it was originally the 10th month of the Roman calendar (until 153 BC). Hence, “December” comes from the Latin “decem”, meaning “ten.” In Roman times, the calendar only had ten months and began with March! The winter period was not even assigned months because it was not an active time for military, agriculture, or civil life. The month of December originally consisted of 30 days. When January and February were added to the calendar (around 700 BCE), December was shortened to 29 days. Then, two days were added to December in the subsequent Julian calendar, making it 31 days long.
We look forward to celebrating Hanukkah for eight days which begins at sunset, Thursday, December 7th, 2023. At our Erev Shabbat service on Friday, December 8th we will have a special Hanukkah service with both a children’s and youth group holiday presentation! You don’t want to miss this special service with all of our children and youth! We’ve included a “How to Celebrate Hannukah “guide” in this Newsletter. Then, on Thursday, December 21st, 2023, we enter the “winter Solstice”, the shortest day of the year that officially marks the first day of winter!
National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, also referred to as Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day or Pearl Harbor Day, is observed annually in the United States on December 7, to remember and honor the 2,403 Americans who were killed in the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941, which led to the United States declaring war on Japan the next day and thus entering World War II. When I was a young child Pearl Harbor Day was a big deal! As our nation ages the importance of this day is fading, overshadowed by 9/11. Yet it is a day we should never forget!
On Pearl Harbor Day, the American flag should be flown at half-staff until sunset to honor those who died as a result of the attack on U.S. military forces in Hawaii. Pearl Harbor Day is not a federal holiday – government offices, schools, and businesses do not close.
And last, but not least, December 25th is Christmas! A holiday to commemorate the birth of the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua! This day is celebrated by 81% of the world’s population. 160 countries out of 196 total celebrate Christmas in some form or fashion! Since it is a Federal Holiday, our offices will be closed! Since Jews don’t celebrate Christmas, what do we do on December 25th?
It’s tough to find something to do on Christmas, because just about everything is closed, rather like the early days of the 2020 pandemic! Except on Christmas, even the grocery stores are closed! But here are a few of the more popular Jewish December 25th activities! We go out for Chinese food on Christmas. In fact, Justice Elena Kagan mentioned this in her Supreme Court confirmation hearings: when a senator asked her where she was on Christmas, she said, “You know, like all Jews, I was probably at a Chinese restaurant.” Someone even wrote a song about Jews eating Chinese Food on Christmas. In fact, there was a meme of a sign on a Chinese Restaurant (not real!) from the “Chinese Restaurant Association” thanking the Jewish People that our God insists that we eat their food on Christmas! The Chinese do not celebrate Christmas any more than Jews do, so most Chinese restaurants are open on Christmas.
Another tradition is to go to the movies. Many movie theaters are open on Christmas day, particularly in the afternoon (after 4PM). Of course, nowadays, if you’re not up for going to a movie in person, you can stream them at home. Whatever you choose to do we pray you have a blessed and wonderful December as we prepare to enter into the new Gregorian Calendar year of 2024!
Blessings and love,
Rabbi and Rebbetzin Carlson