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Inspiring articles and informative material covering Messianic Judaism, Israel, lifestyle, theology, resource reviews, and much more…

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.

Hanukkah Nov 28, 2021

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.

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Life in Israel Nov 23, 2021

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-min

Cheshbon Nefesh Jun 28, 2021

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-min

Life in Israel May 10, 2021

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-min

Life in Israel Oct 15, 2020

This Is What Jews Do

Jews are the original lemonade makers, having learned from all kinds of lemons that life and other nations and disparaging circumstances have thrown our way. We have learned not only to make lemonade but lemon cake, as well. Enough for everyone! This is our ethos. This is our strength.

7-min

Preparation for the High Holidays

As we prepare for the coming year with its challenges and joys, its uncertainties and frailty, its hope and glory, its opportunities and frustrations, let us be mindful of bringing the attributes of patience and trust, frugality and lovingkindness with us. In so doing, we will find that the year may be a bit more sane, safe, and sanctified.

8-min

Passover Apr 6, 2020

A Silver Lining of COVID-19

For the first time in as many years as I can remember, we are not alone. We, like the rest of the world, are stunned and helpless in the face of this crippling pandemic. Nevertheless, in the midst of it, beautiful things are beginning to happen.

6-min

Calendar Feb 7, 2020

Behold the Spring

Tu B’Shvat is the Israeli Arbor Day! Environmental awareness is promoted and celebrated around the country and, on Kibbutzim, it is celebrated as an agricultural holiday with hay rides given to kids and families.

6-min

Life in Israel Jan 20, 2020

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-min

Holocaust May 2, 2019

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-min

Purim Mar 22, 2019

The Opposite of What We Fear

Do you feel as though hope is lost? It most certainly is not. Do you feel as though things are spinning out of control? They may look and feel that way but the author hasn't finished writing! Look up. God is the author of events. It is not over and it may very well turn out to be exactly the opposite of what we fear.

8-min

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-min

Cheshbon Nefesh Feb 13, 2018

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-min

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-min

Holocaust May 3, 2017

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-min

Life in Israel May 2, 2017

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-min

Passover Apr 4, 2017

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-min

Purim Mar 9, 2017

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-min

Life in Israel Mar 9, 2017

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-min

Life in Israel Mar 3, 2017

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-min

Jewish Holidays Feb 9, 2017

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-min

Holocaust Jan 26, 2017

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-min

Cheshbon Nefesh Jan 23, 2017

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-min

Messiah Magazine Jan 3, 2017

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-min

Hanukkah Dec 25, 2016

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-min

Cheshbon Nefesh Dec 8, 2016

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-min

Cheshbon Nefesh Dec 1, 2016

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-min

Life in Israel Oct 31, 2016

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-min

Sukkot Oct 14, 2016

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-min

Rosh Hashanah Oct 1, 2016

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-min

Life in Israel Aug 17, 2016

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-min

Calendar Aug 8, 2016

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-min

Cheshbon Nefesh Jul 13, 2016

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.

4-min

Life in Israel Jun 22, 2016

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-min

In the News May 31, 2016

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-min

Life in Israel May 29, 2016

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.

6-min

Cheshbon Nefesh May 20, 2016

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-min

Cheshbon Nefesh May 15, 2016

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-min

Life in Israel Mar 28, 2016

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-min

The Bram Center Mar 3, 2016

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-min

Life in Israel Feb 26, 2016

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-min

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-min

Cheshbon Nefesh Nov 16, 2015

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-min

Life in Israel Oct 14, 2015

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-min

Jewish Customs Oct 4, 2015

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-min

Jewish Holidays Sep 7, 2015

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-min

Cheshbon Nefesh Sep 6, 2015

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-min

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