It is an amazing thing to raise a family of faith in Israel, but it can be challenging, too. For the most part, faith is a matter of choice. The matter of choosing to live by faith is an education that starts at home.
Living in Israel offers plenty of opportunities to trust and rely in faith for God’s providence. It is a wonderful place to teach young children about the Bible; living in the Land of the Bible gives them firsthand experience in a real way.
Opportunities for a Family of Faith in Israel
Let’s take a look at the God-given Biblical holidays and Shabbat as learning tools in the Land. Throughout the week, everyone looks forward to Shabbat here in Israel. It is a day for setting aside valuable family time.
The children look forward to a day off from school and can enjoy a festive family Friday evening and Saturday afternoon meal to which we invite guests at times. Everyone in Israel can feel the oncoming of Shabbat.
Shopkeepers tell their patrons “Shabbat Shalom” already from Thursday. On Friday afternoons, when walking through residential neighborhoods, one can “smell” Shabbat from all of the cooking and preparations.
Another fantastic festival example is Passover. Preparation for Passover begins a whole week before, and the children have that week before Passover as vacation to help participate in the holiday preparation.
Grocery stores close off all the products that contain leaven, and we clean our homes, as do our friends and neighbors. Here we can visibly see and understand what it means to “clean out” the leaven. I have observed that, as time passes, more and more people want to join in and become part of a greater whole.
It is also such a privilege to visit the “Mt. of Olives” as a family and see where Yeshua wept over Jerusalem. As believers we can join in and ask God how we can be a tool in His hands as we too “weep” over Israel and the ways of the world.
It is powerful to be able to take the children to the Garden Tomb, to get a visual of where Yeshua might have been buried and realize that He is not among the dead but among the living!
Another great place to visit is the Galilee where Yeshua called his disciples, calmed the storm, and saved Peter from his lack of faith.
Nazareth, where Yeshua spent His childhood, and Bethlehem, His birthplace, are also places where the land is an eyewitness of the Biblical events, even if we as Israeli citizens cannot legally visit them.
The land of Israel is the perfect schoolbook and takes learning and understanding our Master to much deeper levels.
Study of the Scriptures
Here in Israel, unlike Europe and the United States, the Bible is taught from Kindergarten all the way through high school. Religion is not just a subject in school here; it is a way of life. The school and national holidays revolve around the Biblical holidays, so everyone takes part in one fashion or another.
There are many different kinds of schools in Israel. You have ultra-religious, national-religious and secular schools. In secular schools, during the seventh grade, students learn about the three monotheistic religions.
Unfortunately, the system is often biased, and Messianic Jews are still not fully accepted here. This can be hard for children and can create division that leaves them feeling excluded; “us versus them” in a way.
It is difficult since the children want to be a part, yet also want to keep the identity they receive from home. It can be a serious challenge for children and their families. The children go on field trips visiting Christian sites and hearing about their faith, but they also visit mosques and Druze people to hear their points of view.
It is truly exciting to watch our children on their path of discovering the Bible at school. It can certainly conjure up lively discussions around the dinner table! In short, Israel is an amazing place for children; a place to fulfill prophecy by just living and being in the Land.
May God give each family of faith and their child the wisdom and courage to choose to follow our Master Yeshua in His footsteps.