Articles by K. J. Kruger

K. J. Kruger is a mother of four and has lived in Israel for over 20 years. As teacher, life coach, writer, and speaker, she has been passionately involved in reconciliation between Arabs and Jews, and sees her role as being part of tikkun olam.


Festival of Lights in Israel

Hanukkah is not particularly commercial in this part of the world. It is still considered a minor holiday though it is exuberantly celebrated by both secular and religious. It's a holiday for families and kids, with gooey donuts, deep-fried potato pancakes, chocolate coins, songs, and school holidays.

4-minute read

Thanksgiving in Israel

Thanksgiving is a time to bless God for the gift of his son and his presence and guidance in our lives and to bless him for each other. It is also a time to bless God even through the difficulties because there will be an end and a purpose for the pain.

6-minute read

Real and False Responsibility

It is not for us to maintain something at the expense of our physical, emotional and spiritual health. That thinking is manipulative and cultic, and it places burdens upon the child of God that God has never placed. It is erroneous and misguided loyalty, and it is dangerous.

6-minute read

To Whom Should We Show Forgiveness?

God doesn't leave us in our brokenness. He encourages us to face our wounds and to grow stronger, healthier, and more into his image. I will decide to live in forgiveness rather than bitterness, and to be an instrument of peace and reconciliation, rather than division. May God help us all to mourn and grieve the brokenness, but not to stay there.

5-minute read

Three Weeks to Wake Up

Sometimes, in the case of tragedies, there is no way to reframe or sugar-coat things. They are simply hard. Can we face the future with courage and faith? I believe we can, if we remain watchful, silent (maybe just quieter) and humble. May God give us much grace as we enter into the three weeks of mourning.

8-minute read

The Beloved City

During the Six-Day War, one of the most stirring moments occured, which was captured on camera and tape, when Lt. General Mordechai Gur announced, "The Temple Mount is in our hands … the Temple Mount is in our hands!" Why was this so very significant?

6-minute read

We Stand Together

We stood together—students, teachers and a smattering of soldiers and parents. We stood together to honor our dead and our State, to remember our past, and look forward to our future. We remember. We honor. We are filled with gratitude and a deep sense of responsibility.

3-minute read

Slice of Life

I entered the office and immediately apologized for being such a problem child. Assured that I wasn't and that the manager was there to help, I was given voluminous forms to fill out. Presently, the principal breezed in, declaring with gusto how wonderful I am.

4-minute read

We Pause to Remember

I looked at the faces of my students and I prayed. I prayed for a world in which they can be proud and unafraid Jews. I prayed for a world in which my children and my students can live in peace. I prayed for a solution to the protracted and relentless conflict with the Palestinians.

7-minute read

Passover in Israel

As we clean our homes, we realize that we must clean our souls from any dirt that may be hidden. As we scrub our drawers and table tops, we realize that we must also look inward and deal with the lurking evil so relentless and so easy to miss, or explain away.

9-minute read

Find the Hidden Meanings in Purim

I am sorry that the holiday has taken on such a secular emphasis. It seems that we spend our time baking, designing costumes, and writing skits and songs (Purim Shpiels). Sometimes the bigger picture is lost amid all the noise.

6-minute read

Behold the Man

It seems as though these artists, on a deep and personal level, understood something about him and his life and it's meaning for all of us in a way that many of us in Messianic Judaism have been trying to grapple with for decades. They understood that he is us.

4-minute read

Toward Peace and Healing

The protracted conflict in Israel carries with it difficulties that are not always visible to the outside world looking in. The pain is real, deep, and pervasive on all sides of this issue, and I have embraced some who have wept as a result of losing those they love.

6-minute read

Blenders and Neighbors

People in Israel live closely. We have to stand together and help each other. Life is often like living in a dormitory, where we are into and out of each other's homes all the time. We have to be able to laugh at our mistakes and form friendships, so that when things get rough, we can support each other.

6-minute read

Tu B'Shvat and the Red South

To me, it is comforting that we have Spring to look forward to after winter. I love that God has set it up this way. Sometimes during the winter, we think that we will never be warm again, and just when we think we can't take anymore, it hails. It is even colder than we had thought it could ever be

5-minute read

What Is Necessary for Evil to Triumph?

We say "Never Again," and we mean it, but we know we are only as strong as the country in which we live and that the world is always ready to blame, condemn, and crucify the Jew. The Syrian War rages and refugees flood into neighboring countries, yet the world meets in Paris to denounce Israel?

5-minute read

Don't Let the Light Go Out

The real issue, as my Rabbi pointed out, is this. How are we going to keep our light burning? How are we going to make sure that we have enough oil to keep shining, keep burning, and keep doing what we need to do to shed a little bit of light in our corner of the world?

4-minute read

The Turning Point

I watched in awe as this young woman who had complained so bitterly stated with tears that leaving the army was one of the hardest things that she had ever had do to. We knew beyond any doubt that this army experience had been a life-changing event—and a metaphor for us all.

7-minute read

Hanukkah in Israel

We joke that Jewish history consists of three sentences. They tried to kill us. We won. Let's eat! So as we huddle in our coats and scarves, and join others at their tables we once again reaffirm our community and our covenantal promises with he who remains faithful, even after so many years.

7-minute read

It Won't Be Cold Forever

Perhaps you are cold too. Perhaps you feel as though you always will be. Allow me to remind you that as surely as the seasons change, so will your life circumstances. You will be not cold, in pain, lonely, and in this situation forever. Life is dynamic, change is to be expected.

3-minute read

Are You Truly Grateful?

They were literally not allowed to say one negative thing to each other for the entire next week. They were to only say positive things. If they had nothing positive to say, they were to remain silent. This meant no nagging, and no complaining.

4-minute read

Let Us Not Wander from Home

If we entertain negative and angry thoughts, feeding them and reinforcing them, they will loom larger and larger, drowning out the peace that is ours to remain within. We may find ourselves in the wrong place, hiding under a bed, or struggling against the very arms that are trying to carry us to safety.

5-minute read

Hassan, Hitler, and Me

A fellow (Jewish) teacher said, "Oh, well, you can't really blame them. They see the Jewish soldiers oppressing them. So, it's natural for them to feel this way. You have to love your enemies." I freaked out! Then, I coldly said, "He is not my enemy. He is my student and I do love him."

6-minute read

Sukkot in Israel

We recite blessings toward he who has commanded us to dwell in booths and, as the weather is becoming chilly and the rains come, we are reminded of our temporary sojourn upon the earth and our complete and utter dependence upon the LORD.

5-minute read

Rosh HaShanah in Israel: Renewal and Rejoicing

The fall holidays, or, as they are commonly known, the High Holidays, are a time of refreshment, renewal, taking stock of our lives and our goals, and refining who and what we are and want to become. It is a new year in Israel—a year ripe with the anticipatory promise of the goodness and mercy of God.

5-minute read

They Are Our Sons

Here in Israel, everyone is a Jewish mother or father to the soldiers who serve in the IDF. It is not uncommon for a stranger to go out of his or her way to help a soldier in any way they can. The soldiers are like our own children.

4-minute read

Preparing for Tisha B'Av

Tisha B’Av is, depending upon one's perspective, a time of deep reflection prior to the time of deep reflection during Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. It is, as it were, a “dress rehearsal” so that we might spend this time looking at our goals and objectives for the coming year, and deciding upon courses of action.

4-minute read

Lessons from the Cat

I kept hearing my daughter say, "I want to help you! I am trying to help you," and I knew this was another vivid reminder of how the LORD longs to help us, often to no avail. We see something that looks like fun, and before we know it, we are caught.

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4-minute read

What It's Like to Live Here

I knew it had to have been an attack, so accustomed are we to this outrage in this part of the world. Not wanting to alarm my husband and daughter, I looked at YNET on my ipad and saw there had been a shooting at the upscale, trendy Sarona neighborhood at our favorite chocolate restaurant.

4-minute read

Seek Peace

Perhaps the peace talks would have failed. Perhaps we would have let ourselves in for (another) great disappointment and perhaps it all would have been to no avail. But a famous coach once said, "You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take!"

4-minute read

Summer Strawberries

Where had her father been? There were children playing at the park across the street and this hero, who was in pain himself, got out of his car and rounded up the kids to shelter them inside a garage. He covered them with his body, arms around them, and calmed their fears.

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6-minute read

The Steps of the Righteous

Last year I began to find myself less enthusiastic than I had been at the school for Palestinian kids. I wondered at the reasons. Yes, we have been through terror attacks and operations by the IDF. I have mourned with those on both sides who have lost people and rejoiced at celebrations for weddings and graduations. What was wrong?

5-minute read

Ordinary Heroes

I have heard that this is a narcissistic generation, and that it is a generation in which people care only about money. I have heard all these things stated as though they are true. My experience, however, proves that this is not always the case! I am grateful and fortunate to know many heroes.

4-minute read

From Boys to Men: A Mother's Reflections

These boys are those among the very committed. No one has to join a Special Forces unit. It takes dedication, perseverance and a desire to have one's service count. The physical and psychological demands are above those of a regular soldier, and those demands are high.

4-minute read

Beyond Sinai: An Experience at the Bram Center

The focus of the Bram Center is to seek our own community, while challenging evangelistic theological paradigms. We must be aware of the many influences that have, perhaps incorrectly, shaped our thinking. And, we must be willing to challenge them in a thoughtful and coherent manner.

6-minute read

Drom Adom: The Red South

As I watched the vendors, the kids, the families and the flowers, I was overcome with emotion, to stand at the same spot in which my son had stood to defend and protect us, and to see that life in the glorious South is continuing and thriving because of him and others like him.

5-minute read

What Is a Kehilah?

I can't help but wonder… is this what it was like with the early believers? Is this how it was truly meant to be? Love in action. Prayers with feet. A living, breathing community. May we all be blessed to be part of such a living, blessed work of God.

5-minute read

Love Speaks Louder than Words

It's tense in the Holy Land. There have been fatal attacks on young Jewish families, mothers, children, soldiers, and fathers. There have been demonstrations and Palestinian kids and youth have been killed. Our soldiers are kids, often confronting angry mobs. Their demonstrators are also kids, who feel as if they have very little to lose.

5-minute read

The Compassionate Face of Israel

This is a country where, if you can't find your kids, you can be fairly sure they are at someone's house, eating schnitzel. When there is a stranger he is welcomed and when there is someone who is lonely, they don't have to be, because they are included.

6-minute read

The Wedding

We joined together to bless, to encourage, and to rejoice with the couple. For a brief instant, our grievances melted away in the mutually satisfying revelry and camaraderie in our approval of the union. We forget ourselves in service to someone else. This is how it should be.

6-minute read

Setting SMART Goals for Rosh HaShanah

There are very practical and effective things we can do to increase our spirituality. This does not have to be vague or amorphous. Elul is the time to take stock of ourselves and make effective resolutions. We can set and reach our goals. It takes a little practice saying “Yes!”

8-minute read

The Fire of a Thought

Waking up to devastating news is sometimes not so uncommon in Israel, unfortunately. But do we really stop to think about the wellspring of the evil that is done? We all would do well to take inventory of our own thoughts. We are in more danger from within than we will ever be from without.

25-minute read