Report: The Netivyah 40th Anniversary Tour and Celebration
by Yehuda Bachana
In all of our hearts beats the traditional prayer:
“Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.”
As of November 16, 2019, we have been officially listed with the Israeli government as a Messianic Jewish non-profit organization for 40 years, which is especially exciting because we, as Netivyah, are the first Messianic non-profit organization in Israel.
This non-profit organization was founded to provide a local, Jewish Israeli expression of faith in Yeshua as the Messiah of the world. We stand valiantly and declare that the Torah is “a tree of life to those who take hold of her,” as it says in Proverbs 3:18.
In today’s world there is great confusion: Are we under the Torah or under Yeshua? Should we obey the commandments? Which ones?
The world is confused. We stand firm and declare, “the Torah is the doctrine of life.” God has entrusted us with keeping His word, and we will continue to be vigilant, declaring always, “the Torah is the doctrine of life.”
As a messianic non-profit organization, we thank God for the great mercy He has shown Netivyah over the years, and we thank God for the return to Zion, and for fulfilling the words of the prophets in this day and age. It’s a wonderful privilege to see the words of the prophets come true right before our eyes.
We live in a very special period in history, the time that God re-established the State of Israel, and brought the people of Israel back home from the four corners of the earth. Possibly the greatest aspiration and expectation of every Jew is the desire to return home to the land of his forefathers, to the land of Israel. For 2000 years, we prayed “next year in Jerusalem,” and here, God finally brought us home.
“Our feet are standing in your gates, Jerusalem.” – Psalm 122:2 [NIV]
The ancient words, spoken by pilgrims 2000-3000 years ago, have become relevant again in our time. When we walk through the streets of Jerusalem, we see history revived. We live here and are fulfilling the great dream of all the prophets, we stand here and fulfill the return to Zion!
When we set out to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Netivyah, it was clear to us that the right way to do this was by traveling through Israel with an open Bible. Bringing along friends, traveling companions, believers in the Messiah of the world, Yeshua, and traveling with them, experience things with them, and bonding them with Israel.
To our joy, many joined us for the tour and for the celebrations. We were accompanied by dear friends and true partners from many countries, as well as dear people for whom this was their first visit to Israel.
What did we do? We began the first day with a tour of Tel Aviv and ancient Jaffa, then traveled North for a few nights. We crossed the Sea of Galilee on a ship, and visited many biblical sites. We were hosted at the farm of a believing family in Zippori, and we enjoyed every moment in the North. The most central site was Tel Dan, where Jeroboam built an altar as an alternative site for the Temple after the kingdom split (Judah and Israel).
After a few days in the North, we went to Jerusalem, on the way we stopped and saw important sites like Mount Gilboa, where King Saul and his son Jonathan had fallen in battle. And we visited Jericho, one of the oldest cities in the world.
Then we came to the Mount of Olives, where we marveled at Jerusalem’s amazing panoramic view. From there we went down to the Garden of Gethsemane. We spent a few days in Jerusalem, traveling through the ancient parts and the modern parts.
I think the most special part of Jerusalem was entering an active archaeological site in the City of David.
The entire group entered an area that is still closed off to visitors, but one of great importance: it was the main street that led pilgrims to the Temple.
Along the street we saw platforms on which priests would stand and quote the Song of Ascents from the Psalms, to encourage the pilgrims, and prepare them mentally for the Temple. The Song of Ascents is a collection of 15 psalms (Psalms 120-134).
Being in this place moved us to tears. What a privilege, to walk down the street that led tens of thousands of pilgrims to the Temple. Netivyah Founder Joseph Shulam stood on one of the platforms by the side of the road, the same ones on which the priests stood, and, like them, he read from the Song of Ascents.
The saddest part, I think, was the visit to Yad VaShem, the Holocaust Museum. But there we also saw a light, the light of the Righteous Among the Nations who risked their lives and their families to save Jews throughout the Holocaust. We will always remember those heroes, and we will never cease to learn from them.
We visited an underground arms factory from the time the country was founded, a factory that contributed greatly to the establishment of the nation. We visited the Weizmann Institute of Science, one of the world’s foremost science institutes. We took part in a special lecture that taught us about the carbon-14 dating process. It was an instructive lecture that explained to us how dating works in the field of archaeology.
We also participated in other lectures from professors who came especially to speak to us during our trip. From an Orthodox rabbi, who gave us insight from the Torah, to the head of the archaeology department at the Hebrew University, who explained to us the importance of the biblical city “Sha’arayim (Two Gates)”, which proves the veracity of the Bible, and the existence of the kingdom of Judah. We also heard from a high-ranking cabinet minister who came to lecture us about love for Israel as a homeland.
The sweetest part, the icing on the cake, was the Shabbat celebration at Netivyah. We gathered together to praise God, to learn from His word, and to take of the Lord’s Supper together. In the evening, there was a party, with music from the Messianic band “Miqedem”. It was an energetic night full of praise to God, and full of friends from all over the world who came to celebrate with us what God is doing in Israel.
All thanks be to God.
Our prayer is that God bless our handiwork, our lives, that we will continue to serve His Kingdom, and that we will always walk in the light of Yeshua. Amen.
Thank you to all our brothers in Messiah, and our partners around the world.
Published January 27, 2020 | Updated January 29, 2020
About Yehuda Bachana
Born and raised in Jerusalem, Yehuda serves as the Deputy Director of Netivyah and one of the elders of the “Ro'eh Israel” congregation. He is married to Lydia, and they have three children.