Well, I am out of Asia and out of China and back in the USA visiting my son’s family for a few days and taking Marcia home to Jerusalem. This is the end of a long around the world trip of 70 days. Sixty of the seventy days I was in meetings and teaching the Word of God. There is nothing more rewarding for a Bible Teacher than the joy of seeing people respond to the Word of God with excitement and joy. I suppose that it would not be boasting to say that after such a long trip that started in the USA and from there to Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Japan, China, and back to the USA – I am happy to be free and in the land of the free.

China was my last teaching stop on this trip. Everything in China is big and intense. Everything in China is Orwellian and wonderful at the same time. But at the age of 72 near 73 I am happy that it was and that it is now time to return home and back to the normal schedule and rhythm of life in Israel. The Lord gave several different types of fruit during this trip. The most exciting was in China where five people gave their life to God and received the Messiah in water emersion for the remission of their sins. The other fruit of this trip is to see disciples of the Messiah learning and being excited to learn and dig deeper into the word of God. My reception in Singapore both by new friends and brothers and by old friends and brothers was also a very special time for me. There is an Arab proverb that says: Every day that passes where I did not make a new friend or learned something new – is a wasted day. Well, I did not have even one wasted day on this trip but making new friends in the Cornerstone Church in Singapore was especially exciting and wonderful. I do hope to keep in contact with these wonderful disciples of Yeshua at the tip of the Malaysian peninsula in Singapore. On the flight back from Asia to the USA I watched the movie “Crazy Rich Asians.” It was wonderful because one of the main venues in the movie was where I spent a wonderful afternoon with the family of dear brothers and friends. There were some minor challenges in China that all went well and now I am safely back with my wife and family in Tennessee and getting ready to fly back home to Israel in the next days. Thank you all for your prayers and for your support!

This Sabbath’s reading of the Torah and the prophets is Vayigash: Genesis 44:18 – 47:27, Ezekiel 37:15-28 and from the New Testament the reading is Luke 24:30-48. We are still in the story of Joseph and his brothers and still in Egypt before the exodus.

It is a common myth that people don’t change their character. This Torah reading starts with one of the great stories of character change. Judah, Joseph’s brother, who was one of those who suggested to his brothers to sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites. (Genesis 37:26ff) It was Judah who later on had the selfish attitude that refused to give his young son to perform a leveret marriage for his brother’s wife Tamar. It was then Judah who fell into Tamar’s entrapment and tried to lie about it. Now in this week’s parashah Judah comes forward and it is clear that he had changed his character and learned some important principles of what it means to be a brother. Now, Joseph is willing to sacrifice his own freedom and take the place of Benjamin his younger brother and stay in Egypt until the brothers return with their father and with Benjamin. This is a very dramatic change in Judah’s nature. A change that indicates repentance and concern for his father and for Benjamin. Here is what Judah said to Joseph, before he knew who this Egyptian administrator of all of Egypt really was.

“Then Judah went up to him and said, “Oh, my lord, please let your servant speak a word in my lord’s ears, and let not your anger burn against your servant, for you are like Pharaoh himself. 19 My lord asked his servants, saying, ‘Have you a father, or a brother?’ 20 And we said to my lord, ‘We have a father, an old man, and a young brother, the child of his old age. His brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother’s children, and his father loves him.’ 21 Then you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me, that I may set my eyes on him.’ 22 We said to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die.’ 23 Then you said to your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you shall not see my face again.’

“When we went back to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. 25 And when jour father said, ‘Go again, buy us a little food,’ 26 we said, ‘We cannot go down. If our youngest brother goes with us, then we will go down. For we cannot see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’ 27 Then your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons. 28 One left me, and I said, “Surely he has been torn to pieces,” and I have never seen him since. 29 If you take this one also from me, and harm happens to him, you will bring down my gray hairs in evil to Sheol.’

“Now therefore, as soon as I come to your servant my father, and the boy is not with us, then, as his life is bound up in the boy’s life, 31 as soon as he sees that the boy is not with us, he will die, and your servants will bring down the gray hairs of your servant our father with sorrow to Sheol. 32 For your servant became a pledge of safety for the boy to my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, then I shall bear the blame before my father all my life.’ 33 Now therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the boy as a servant to my lord, and let the boy go back with his brothers. 34 For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I fear to see the evil that would find my father.” (Gen. 44:18-34)

As you can see in this text Judah is offering himself in place of his younger brother Benjamin. Judah’s concern for his father Jacob’s wellbeing and for his younger brother’s stay in Egypt has motivated him to overcome his selfishness and the twist of his character that made him suggest selling his brother Joseph in order to make some monetary profit. Judah has some remorse for his past action and character and now Judah is willing to sacrifice himself for his father’s well-being and his brother Benjamin.

People do change if there are the following ingredients in their character, and I believe that most people have the following ingredients in their personality. They just need to be awakened and activated.

The first ingredient that is necessary for such a change is LOVE. You have to love someone that is more important to you than yourself. If you love someone you also need that someone. You normally love someone if you need that someone. Needing someone does not always mean that you need them for gain or personal satisfaction. Most of the time people need someone because they are interested to helping or caring or out of sense of deep obligation or attachment. Like Barbara Streisand’s song, “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” There are few people that do good and are willing to sacrifice out of a pure altruism. Most of us do good because we need to do good and we need to do good before of love, or pure care for someone who is important to us, or just because we need to know deep inside of our soul, in that spark of divine nature that every one of us has buried deep in our human DNA. Judah changed, and I believe that because he had changed that Jacob blessed him with one of the best blessings that he gave to any of his other sons.

“Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall bow down before you. Judah is ka lion’s cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he has washed his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes. His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.” (Gen. 49:8-12).

Jacob’s blessing of Judah is clearly a messianic prophecy for the fact that the Messiah will come from the tribe of Judah just as Yeshua is from the tribe of Judah.

Please continue to pray for Israel’s government. It seems like Israel is going to have elections in the early spring of 2019. We need your prayers because so much is standing on the balance these days in the political arena of the state of Israel.

I also suggest that you all pray for the United States of America. The enmity between the two parties in the USA is increasing daily and the tug of war that is going on in the highest echelons of the government in the USA is polarizing the population and breading hate and alienation. Any time that there is hate and alienation in a nation it is almost always a formula for disaster. I pray for the USA and its citizens to have a enough unselfish and unpartisan care for the country that the tone and the bad attitudes are toned down and a rhetoric of unity and cooperation will replace the hate and divisiveness.

I ask you to pray for the conference in Portugal and to send us your personal information and interest to participate with name, address, e-mail address, phone numbers, so that we can send you information as soon as possible. The importance of this conference for you and for the Anussim/Marrano Jews that are suffering from the Spanish and Portuguese inquisition is just impossible to calculate and the benefit for these people and their decedents is enormous. Our objective is to wake up the Jewish population and the State of Israel to open the doors to these lost Jews and restore them to the land and to the nation of Israel. The numbers according to Dra. Anita Novinsky of the San-Paulo, University are staggering. She estimates that there are 60 million Anussim in South and Central America. Even if 10% of these make Aliyah that would change the whole complex of the Middle East. I urge you who can to make an effort and participate in this conference. Start by sending us your information and make it possible for us to communicate with you the plans and program and if necessary, to put you in contact with a travel agency that can help you with your arrangements to participate.

Eli Levi is getting the Chemo-Therapy and so is Ruby Little, both of these dear brothers in are in very serious need of the Lord’s merciful healing hands to touch them and restore their lives with health. They are both suffering from a very serious stage 4 cancer that is inoperable at this stage. We have a dear brother in Japan, Brother Toru, who is also in a similar situation and we have been praying for him for several years. I saw him in Tokyo and he is still in treatment and although the cancer is still active in his body Toru is in good cheer. Please continue to pray for these brothers, and also pray for Takeo and Tomoko who live in Tokyo. Tomoko San is now in an institution for old people who have memory issues and exhaustion. Takeo Sensei – a very dedicated Bible teacher and a man of God is just suffering from old age and still doing his very best to faithfully continue serving the Master. The same is true for his brother Elder and teacher Daisuke Sensei, who is older and still living alone and taking care of himself.

Pray for the seeds planted in Asia in my last trip there. The trip ended this last Monday, but the seeds of God’s Word need to geminate and bring glory to the God of Israel and to their national communities of disciples of Yeshua.

Pray for Sharon from Hong Kong and pray for total healing of her eyes. I am praying for Sharon and ask you to join me.

Keep praying for Netivyah in Israel and in the USA. The leadership of Netivyah needs your prayers and your support. At Netivyah we are still praying for the purchase of a new van that will replace the 16-year-old van that has been faithfully serving the community and the food program of Hamotzi and the youth and the old people who need a ride on Shabbat for the services of the congregation and at least a dozen more needs and services that a community like Netivyah and Roeh Israel has. Some funds have entered in from this trip in Asia, but the need is still far from being met. Thank you to all of the brothers and sisters who have made contributions for this van.

Please pray for Netivyah and pray for the 40th Anniversary Tour to be a success and an opportunity for us all here in Jerusalem to show our joy and gratitude for your prayers and support.

Remember our dear brother Jacob Damkani and ask The Lord to give strength and healing and awaken him from the very serious condition and the coma that Jacob is now experiencing. Pray for Jacob’s wife Elisheva who is daily by Jacob’s side to comfort and pray.

Keep a dear sister in the Lord named Courtney in your prayers. Courtney has a number of health challenges and I ask you all to pray for this dear sister and her healing of all those challenges.

Please continue praying for baby Lion from the Huch family in DFW. Little Lion is doing better in the last week and is back receiving Chemo-Therapy. Baby Lion has been released from the hospital for the Christmas season.

Please continue to pray for our Jewish brother Hillel from Helsinki. Pray for Patty, Andrea and Tineke are all in Netherlands and need healing from God. Continue to Pray for Julia and Victor our dear sister and brother who both need healing and God’s help. Please add a dear sister that is suffering from prejudice in Switzerland. Her name is Paula and she needs divine breakthrough.

Please keep praying for a dear sister named Zhou WenriIan living in China. There is a dear brother Isaac in Chenai, India, who has a deep love for the Lord and for Israel. He is sick with kidney problems and needs a dialysis treatment several times per week. He is Pastor and a leader in a church in his city and I am asking you all to pray for the Lord to heal him.

Margareta, keep her in your prayers she is a dear woman who is going through some real hardship and anguish for her faith. Pray for Kenneth and Margarite G. in Tennessee. They are worthy for God’s grace and we are privileged to pray for the healing of these dear mother and son who suffer. Pray for Um Abu-Eid is a dear old Arab sister. Please pray for her healing and strength. Keep the following brothers who are improving with their health, but still lneed God’s merciful hand to touch them with healing, George, Gary, Melanie, Aharon, Yuri Marianenko, Sarit, Ahuva, Leah, Ilana, Miraim, Yehuda H., David Stern, Paulo, Noami, Tim Tucker, Anne-Mirjami, Satu-Maria and Anna-Majia, Sinni Tuuli, Erki and Sirpa, Keijo and Salme, Evelina, Eva H., Horace and June Marcia’s father and mother, Marcelo’s parents. Curita Sensei, the Abe family, Toru, Takeo Sensei, Daisuke Sensei, Tomoko San, Sadako San, Yumi, and keep praying for her father, Pastor Oharah in Okinawa.

Please pray Ritva Huhtala and for sister Oksanen they need prayer for illness. Please pray for Louisa and Tony in Hong Kong. I have special concern for our dear brother Goh and his family, and for Sister Christy, Sister Laurel, and for Brother Michael Knezevich. I want to add a brother from Brazil who is living in Portugal now and is having some serious family problems. His name is: Ismael Alves.

If you would pray for those whom you know that need this prayer – the Lord will surely cover those for whom you pray and those for whom I pray. It is hard enough to live in this world and work and business-related issues make it harder and as much as we pray for the spiritual issues and health issues.

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem and believe in God’s promises!

Joseph Shulam

P.S. Hotels in Lisbon for the season of the conference in May 17-19 and the prayer tour from May 20-24 are very difficult to find. So, please make contact with Netivyah and indicate if you are planning and interested to attend this very important conference for the restoration of the Anussim and their decedents back to the land of Israel and to the fold of the Jewish nation.

Last week I indicated that you can contact our travel agency in Portugal in the following address. However, if you prefer to contact Netivyah through the web page or directly through e-mail and indicate that you are interested in receiving information about how to register and make the travel arrangements to attend this important event – please write to the following address: netivyah@netivyah.org

If you have a small group from your country or Church or Synagogue that is planning to attend this conference and you prefer to approach the travel agency directly please write to Ana Mendes in Osiris Travel agency in Portugal. Here is the address and e-mail of Ana Mendes.

Ana Mendes
Incoming Department
Avenida Marquês de Tomar, 35 A 1050-153 LISBOA | PORTUGAL
Phone: (+351) 21 132 79 61| Fax: (+351) 21 318 26 69
E-mail / Skype: ana.mendes@osiris.pt