Israel Winter Weather

Winter in Israel starts with showers in October and advances to periodic heavy rainfall from November to March.

In winter, cold (not freezing as you are used to in some US areas) rain systems move in from the north. Because they are prevented from continuing south by the constant tropical highs over Africa, these storms can stall over Israel for days until they rain themselves out.

Lots of warm socks, layered clothes (including a fleece liner), and a good raincoat and portable umbrella are necessary. If you experience extremely hot summers, you will understand why above freezing weather can easily bring on the chills.

Israel also experiences hot, dry desert winds at the beginning and end of the summer, although a hamsin can occur anytime from March to November. A hamsin (or sharav) heat wave means you must cut back on rushing around: it is just way to hot. Seeking or planning to be in air-conditioned museums, in the shadowy areas, or in the water during the middle of the day, and an increase your water intake is a must.

These rains are super important for the trees that are planted at the Aliyah Return Center (ARC) in addition to any garden crops.

The Different Names of the Sea of Galilee


It is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth and the second-lowest lake in the world (after the Dead Sea) at levels between 215 meters (705 ft) and 209 meters (686 ft) below sea level.

The lake is about:

  • 60 miles from Jerusalem and at one time was
  • 13 miles long and
  • 8 miles wide at its greatest extent, although recent changes have reduced its length.

It is approximately:

  • 33 miles in circumference, (13 miles long, and 8.1 miles) wide.
  • Its surface is about 700 feet below sea level.
  • Its area is 64.4 sq mi at its fullest, and its maximum depth is approximately 141 to 150 feet.

The lake is fed partly by underground springs in the lake floor, but its main source is the Jordan River, which flows through it from north to south and exits the Sea at the Degania Dam.  The fresh waters of the lake are clean, and they have always been well stocked with a variety of fish.  (See our video August Personal Get-Away, Yeah for the variety).

If you have visited on any tour group, you will recognize the area pictured above where people get baptized. This is close to the dam as you can see in the back.  The dam regulates water levels in the Sea of Galilee and flows into the Lower Jordan River.

The Sea of Galilee has not always been known by that name.  It has also been known by the following names:

  1. Sea of Kinneret 
  2. Lake of Gennesaret (Luke 5:1)
  3. Sea of Ginosar 
  4. Sea of Galilee (Matt 4:18; 15:29)
  5. Sea of Tiberias (John 6:1; 21:1)
  6. Lake Tiberias
  7. Sea of Minya.

Throughout history, depending on the dominant settlement on its shores, the lake’s name was destined to change.  For long periods of history, it was known as the Sea of Kinneret, Kinnerot, Gennesaret, or Ginosar.

Sea of Kinneret

The modern Hebrew name, Kinneret, “harp-shaped” comes from the Hebrew Bible where it appears as the “Sea of Kinneret” in Numbers 34:11 and Joshua 13:27, spelled כנרות “Kinnerot” in Hebrew in Joshua 11:2. Kinneret was listed among the “fenced cities” in Joshua 19:35.

Jos 19:35, “And the fenced cities are Ziddim, Zer, and Hammath, Rakkath, and Chinnereth,…”

In the Hebrew word Kinneret, we find kinnor which means “harp” or “lyre”, because of the shape of the lake.  The city of Kinneret may have been named after the body of water rather than vice versa.

Sea of Gennesaret

Gennesaret stood in the northwester shore of the sea.  The name is Grecized  form of Chinnereth (Num 34:11; Josh 12:3; 13:27). The name is also used for the “Plain of Gennesaret”.  For beauty and fertility it is called “the Paradise of Galilee.” Its modern name is el-Ghuweir. This city or area is also a place where Jesus visited and performed healing.  In Hebrew, there is no distinction between the words “sea” and “lake”.  The word yam (הים) is used to describe any large and wide body of water.

Sea of Ginosar

Ginosar was founded on the eve of Purim in March 1937 by a group of young Socialist Zionists. Ginosar was originally an agricultural community.

Sea of Ginosar The Babylonian Talmud, as well as Flavius Josephus, a first-century Romano-Jewish historian, mentions the sea by this name after the small fertile plain of Ginosar that lies on its western side.  (2019 population 585)

Sea of Galilee, Sea of Tiberias, Lake Tiberias

The “Sea of Galilee” is used in the gospel of Matthew 4:18; 15:29, (Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, who were fishermen, were called by Jesus to follow him) Mark 1:16; 7:31, and in the gospel of John 6:1 as “the sea of Galilee”, which is the sea of Tiberias a late 1st century BC name.  Be looking for more about the fisherman in Jesus’s day in another post.

Sea of Tiberias is also the name mentioned in Roman texts and in the Jerusalem Talmud, and it was adopted into Arabic as Buḥayret Ṭabariyyā (بحيرة طبريا), “Lake Tiberias”.

Sea of Minya

The lake was known in Arabic as “Bahr al-Minya”, the “Sea of Minya”. This is the name used by the medieval Persian and Arab scholars.

As other places around the lake rose to prominence, such as Tiberias and Qasr al-Minya, the name of the lake also changed to Lake Tiberias or Lake Minya.

Daily monitoring of the Sea of Galilee’s water level began in 1969, and the lowest level recorded since then was November 2001.  Today a “black line” of 214.87 meters below sea level shows the water level had fallen lower than the current black line during droughts earlier in the 20th century.

Increasing water demand in Israel, Lebanon, and Jordan, as well as dry winters, have resulted in stress on the lake. Israel has suffered from a chronic water shortage for years.

Since the beginning of the 2018-19 rainy seasons, the Sea of Galilee has risen considerably and by April 16, 2020, just 16 cm below the upper red line, due to the strong rains and a radical decrease in pumping.

As of April 29, 2020, after almost 30 years in which the shrinking lake retreated further and further from the shore, it overflowed its banks.  Unfortunately, the coronavirus lockdown has prevented the ability for anyone to enjoy it.  (See our brief August Personal Get-Away, Yay video regarding the special activities of the Aqua Kef that people are missing out on.)

We hope you enjoyed this brief history of the Sea of Galilee, the lake that Jesus walked on the water and provided loads of fish for Peter and his brother one special day.

The Sounds of the Shofar

The shofar is a ram’s horn. The shofar is sounded 100 times during a traditional Rosh Hashanah service. And a long and loud shofar blast marks the end of the fast day of Yom Kippur. The blower must first take a big breath, the shofar only sounds when the air blows out.

The trumpet or shofar is for the inspiration, energizing, and motivational sound that flows out in the blowing of the instrument.

For the trumpet blower:

Numbers 10:9-10:
“When you arrive in your own land and go to war against your enemies who attack you, sound the alarm with the trumpets. Then the Lord your God will remember you and rescue you from your enemies. Blow the trumpets in times of gladness, too, sounding them at your annual festivals and at the beginning of each month. And blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and peace offerings. The trumpets will remind the Lord your God of his covenant with you. I am the Lord your God.”

The trumpets sound for many different reasons. It isn’t only the sound, but the way it sounded. Sometimes, it was a short blast, sometimes long, sometimes quiet and sometime loud! At times it was very l-o-n-g and very loud. And it always elicit’s a response from the hearers.

In Exodus it was used to call the people to the mountain to hear from God. One l-o-n-g sound was used to call the people to come; a second one was to bring the people to attention as God was going to speak. This brought much fear and trembling upon the people. God was certainly using this means to get their awareness that He was certainly God!

In Judges the trumpet blast was used to draw the people together to invade the enemy’s camp, then again used to strike fear in the camp they were invading and to catch these people off guard. In this instance it was the sound of the trumpets along with the light from handmade lanterns that so frightened the enemies of God’s people, they all abandoned their camp and ran! You find this fascinating story in Judges 7:16-18. And of course, God’s people won this invasion!

The trumpet horn was used to awaken the people as well, to arouse them to get moving.

For the trumpet sound hearer:

Psalm 58:15-18 “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance. In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted. For thou art the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn shall be exalted. For the Lord is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our king.

There are four classic shoar blasts each with a special meaning, message, and purpose.  They can also be like a “Jewish Morse Code” by Rabbi Dov P. Elkins.

Here are their blows and their meanings:

  1. Tekia is a single blow. It’s a long, loud blast. If you’ve ever seen a knight or court messenger play a horn or blow a long sound to call attention to a king in a movie, tekiah, is kind of like that. When tekiah sounds, it brings everyone to attention.
  2. The Shevarim is three, broken blows of shevarim, sound like crying. Some scholars believe that shevarim is our tears of sadness, or joy, at another year passing.
  3. The Teruah involves nine or more rapid-fire, or staccato, blows.  Yom Teruah is a ticking clock.  Think of this sound as an alarm clock that you can’t hit snooze on.  The alarm will go off.  Truah is the wake-up call to the new year.
  4. Tekiah Gedolah are three sounds played all throughout the Rosh Hashanah service. And during the final combination, the shofar player concludes with the tekiah gedolah, the great blast, one last, long tekiah to wrap up.

These blasts are blown in a specific sequence climactic sounding to a prophetic time yet to come.

Summing up, trumpets symbolize several events in the Bible:

  1. Beginning of the Sabbath and all feasts
  2. Signifies a Battle cry
  3. The Shofar horn is symbolized to the gathering of Israel
  4. Calling for a solemn assembly
  5. The anointing of a king
  6. Sounds of praise – this warned the people that the time to enter the LORD’s presence was at hand.
  7. Wake Up Call

Rosh Hashanah, A Sabbatical Month

For some, Rosh Hashanah is called the “birthday of the world.” It marks the start of the Jewish New Year and is the only celebrated festival on the first day of the month.  

The two-day celebration of Rosh Hashanah is referred to as yoma arichta – a long day; i.e., the forty-eight hour observance of Rosh Hashanah is considered one extended day.

Rosh Hashanah is the Head of the Year in the month of Tishri the seventh month.  There are two harvest seasons in Israel, the spring early harvest (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost), and the fall late harvest (Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacle). Tishrei, the seventh month, is the season of fall feasts.

The late harvest feast is a reminder to the Israelites of their wandering in the wilderness for 40 years before arriving in the promised land.

Rosh Hashanah points prophetically to Yeshua (Jesus), His second coming, and Him truly “tabernacling” – or dwelling – with His people forever to Messianic Believers and many Christians.

It is a time of deep introspection and weighty significance for Jewish people around the world.

(NOTE:  It was not called Rosh Hashanah until the Talmudic times, when a name was taken from Ezekiel 40:1.)

“In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.”  (Leviticus 23:24)

Seven means completion.  This is the Sabbatical month of the year.  Based on the testimony of two witnesses, it officially begins with the witnessing of the new moon by two witnesses testifying to the Jewish leaders who verify the siting.  Word was then spread around Jerusalem into all Israel by messengers and many trumpets being blown to spreading this news. This precipitated large torches being lit from mountain to mountain.  Trumpets were blown spreading this news.  This would be the beginning of High Holy Day, the Feast of Tabernacles that would last for seven days.

Elul is the 12th and final month in the Jewish calendar. It is a month that connects the past year with the coming year—a time when we reflect on where we stand and where we should be going.  September, which is the season of teshuvah (return).  It is a 30-day process of preparation through personal examination and repentance for the coming High Holy Days.  Psalm 27, begins with “The Lord is my light and my salvation,” is also recited at the end of the morning and evening.

Teshuvah, (tshuva) תשובה‎, literally, “return”, a season of transformation precedes the High Holy Days of the fall for Israel: These high holy days are a season of completion, atonement, and harvest. It’s a season of returning to God and embracing his glory.

For 40 days it rained at Noah’s time.  For 29 days they blow a shofar.  The shofar is bent or twisted and is a reminder to surrender, to bend, to turn, to repent. Teruah means to shout, shouting, alarm, sound, blowing, joy, miscellaneous. The Teshuvah is the “day of alarm” for war, “day of shouting” a religious impulse, “day of blowing” for marching, “day of joyful sound” in general.

This is the same “shouting” a battle cry, a shout of joy that brought the walls of Jericho down.  This is an opening up of our spirit to the LORD God and coming to Him.  It is two-way communication between God and His people in the covenant of promise.  The Bible often speaks through the trumpet, proclaiming His news, warning His people, alarming them, and inspiring them.


When the ark of the covenant of the LORD came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout.  (Joshuah 6:20)

All the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. (Ezr 3:11)

When the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy: (Ezr 3:12)

The sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.  (Jeremiah 4:19)

They believe that however you responded during this time of repentance is sealed on the Day of Atonement and the judgment is carried out within the next 12 months. Judgments are weights.  National judgments are done with the LORD God’s hand of protection being removed, not His hand to whip, beat, etc.  An example of this is in Nebuchadnezzar’s story.   The LORD God has always had the heart to warn people before He proclaims judgment. He wants to warn the people before the flood, and He warned Nineveh before it was ruined. He does not want anyone to receive the wrath of His judgment.

  • (September 1 – 9) Rosh Hashanah, also known as the Feast of Trumpets, meaning “A day of Shouting”.  This is Yom Teruah – teruw`ah, the Head of the Year, where action is required.

Yom Teruah  teruw`ah is the Day of Awakening, the day of blasting the shofar.

  • The word Teruah does NOT mean trumpet though.  The word is a verb referring to the action of proclamation rather than a noun referring to an object, in this case, the trumpet.
  • The whole focus of the divine appointment called = Yom Teruah is not the instrument but rather the announcement of God being proclaimed through the blowing or the sounding of that instrument.
  • (September 10 – 14)  Yom Kippur the Day of Atonement.  Yom Kippur is a time of fasting, Sabbath rest, repentance and prayer.  The only day the priest would enter the Holy of Holies to sprinkle the blood sacrifice seven times for the sins of the people of Israel for the previous year.  
  • (September 15 – 21) Sukkot is celebrated with the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles being set up for seven days.  It is the final of the seven feasts of the Lord according to Leviticus 23.
  • The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the Lord.
  • besides the Sabbaths of the Lord, besides your gifts, besides all your vows, and besides all your freewill offerings which you give to the Lord.
  • Also on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep the feast of the Lord for seven days; on the first day there shall be a Sabbath-rest, and on the eighth day a Sabbath-rest.

In September at the Aliyah Return Center (ARC), they geared up for this exciting event.  The original plan was to have a Prayer Valley with many people from around the world attending it located near the ARC in the valley, to build their Sukkot (booth) and provide their ethnic food.  All that changed due to COVID-19.

What is their Plan B?  Zooming or Facetiming online.  The ARC is planning on building one Sukkot and airing the event instead.

Laborers With Christ will miss this event.  We

Read about The Sounds of the Trumpets.

Meet those we work with

THIS IS OUR STAFF!  We are in the Aliyah Return Center’s (ARC’s) vehicle heading up the hill to Poriyah for a morning get-a-way breakfast.  Get-a-ways are very special times that I think I would like to share what they look like in another blog series.  Each one is very unique.

Garret & Christina (front seat)

Garret is the project manager on the ARC’s property.

Christina is their ministries manager and fills in when she can.

Les & Catherine (middle seat)

Les maintains the health of the tree population at the ARC.  Les works with Garret on many projects but also takes care of the grounds of the ARC.  Les helps with receiving people that come and stay in the Airbnb membership suite and makes sure their stay is comfortable during their stay.  Les runs circles around many moving parts at the ARC.

I, Catherine, work as the kitchen manager (checking inventory and places an order when something is low and helping keeping it clean.) I also help with Shabbat planning and preparing.

Russ & Karen (back seat)

They are the ARC’s media team.  This is a critical role for the ARC.  Russ captures events and other things on film and edits it.  Karen maintains the binning (filing, organizing) of each B roll (the supplemental or alternate footage and intercuts with the main shot, interviews, documentaries).

B-roll footage plays a huge role in the filmmaking storytelling process. It’s just as important as the main set-up shots in creating a captivating film, but often it is not given the consideration your film deserves.  It is a full-time job!


Christina – The ARC’s office manager.  She is very instrumental in all the necessary paperwork for passport, in-country insurance, and works closely with the Jewish Agency.

Rain – our remaining original nucleus daughter.  She works in the office with special projects, newsletters, designing programs that help the ARC stay connected to its support base.

Teresa – is the bookings arranger.  The ARC has three places online for booking an Airbnb in Israel.  This is a form of revenue needed for the ARC on top of the donations from people who love Israel.

Moshe – Chaim’s brother does a lot of managing of some of the building projects.

We are Les & Catherine DeRoos and currently serve at the Aliyah Return Center (ARC) in Beit Zera, Bikot Kinneret, Israel.  We came as volunteers to help agriculturally and nutritionally.  We are so blessed with this unique opportunity to serve and experience what many people only dream of —  being in Israel.

If there is a topic you would like to hear about, please let us know.  We would enjoy sharing what piques your interest in Israel.

August Weekend Getaway

LES IS MORE – There is truth to this play on words!

On August 13th, right after lunch and after celebrating Les’s birthday, we were able given the keys to the Aliyah Return Center (ARC) vehicle to go to town.  It was the beginning of our get-a-away weekend beginning Thursday 13th – Saturday 15th.  Our normal weekend was for the following weekend, but we were given permission to take Les’s birthday weekend off.  What a blessing!

This get-away is the once a month time off for long-term volunteers.  Just recently, we had another get-a-way as a staff.  You can watch this getaway here. Two get-aways close together like this is a rare and special treat.

The very next day, Friday Shabbat, we were given the keys to the Aliyah Return Center (ARC) vehicle again to head to Semach, the closest city from our Kibbutz town.  We were going to enjoy a brunch at a favorite spot of our ARC founder.  Semach has a mall-like area on the way to Tiberias that has our favorite coffee place called Aroma.  Aroma is another popular place, a small diner with deserts and meals.  We walked the perimeter to see what all they offered and took extra time to visit the local grocery store to see what they had as well.  Then we headed to Landwers, a popular place to have our brunch.  The 102 degrees weather is not the best time to do much unless it is if you are going to a water park, which there happens to be a fancy one in Tiberias.  It is called AQUA KEF – ISRAEL’S FLOATING WATER PARK AT THE SEA OF GALILEE.  We just drove past it, but looking into it revealed it to be quite the recreational place.  Please watch our get-away experience here.


GET-A-WAYS are very special to long term Volunteers and Staff.  Each get-a-way is unique and is a valuable part of the Aliyah Return Center’s (ARC’s) ministry.  A high priority of the ARC is to keep its volunteers and staff from getting burn out.  The pace of this busy beehive has that natural propensity with so many moving parts and its levels of challenge.  It is wonderful to be a part of a ministry that cares about their Volunteer staff in this way.  These times vary in date, space of time, and location.

Get-A-Ways for the Staff:

Monthly – Every month a morning is planned to get off the ARC’s property and escape from the beehive.  For the Volunteer staff, it is very special to time of feeling encouraged, being allowed to give extra input, and strengthened to continue fulfilling and occupying with good works the LORD God has placed on each of our lives for His glory until He returns.

Get-A-Ways for each Volunteer:

Weekly – Each volunteer is highly encouraged to take a day off.  Some do not feel the need while others do.

And, there are some extenuating circumstances that prevent this from happening, but for the most part, most are happy to take advantage of this blessing.

Some volunteer couples choose to take the same day.  Due to the workload on Les, Les works most of the day and tries to take off a couple of hours on Wednesday.  Les generally does not feel the need to take his time off but will join me for an hour or two in the afternoon.  I, Catherine, get the entire day off.

Monthly – Each volunteer is allowed a weekend off.  Since our volunteer staff is four couples, this offers us a nice rotation for each month.  Les and I are off the third weekend.

During this new season of COVID-19, get-a-ways to different places has become more of a challenge.

Places to visit are not always open or need a reservation.


The ARC’s vehicles are in high demand for the various functional needs of the ministry, so volunteers are expected to take public transport for these get-a-aways unless it is a staff get-a-way.

During one weekend off, we experienced this public transport.  It was fun to learn how it all functions for the population.  This system does not run on Shabbos (Shabbat) or Friday.  So planning ahead is key with the transportation you take.

We are Les & Catherine DeRoos and currently serve at the Aliyah Return Center (ARC) in Beit Zera, Bikot Kinneret, Israel.  We came as volunteers to help agriculturally and nutritionally.  We are so blessed with this unique opportunity to serve and experience what many people only dream of —  being in Israel.

If there is a topic you would like to hear about, please let us know.  We would enjoy sharing what piques your interest in Israel.


A shofar (a Ram’s horn) is blown to begin the meeting of those present in the fellowship.  Most of the time, there is a designated person that receives the honor — and it is a privilege to do so.  Other times someone requests to blow the shofar.  It has a special significance that we hope to share with you in another blog post.

The Torah, an old testament reading is designated to someone ahead of time and the reader gives a little teaching on it.  Les has been asked to read this a couple of times.

Communion is also served every Shabbat as part of the service, held each Friday at 3:30 p.m.  

Praise and worship is also a very vibrant part of this time together.  Unique to this congregation, a home fellowship, is a very special mix of singing Hebrew & English songs.  The Hebrew is written phonetically so you can sound out the Hebrew words, a special treat.  This way, we are able to join in with the worship. Most of the time, when you see Hebrew it is written in the special Hebrew symbols and characters.

And, of course, each service like any other, must have announcements.  These announcements share about needs to the various areas of outreach.

This congregation has an ebb and flow of different visitors from many different places.

  1. Most Sanctuaries are decorated.  A unique and special thing in their home/sanctuary is a huge Torah scroll centerpiece.
  2. the “Sea of Galilee” also called “Sea of Kinneret”.  (The story of this is coming.)

During the month of August (month of Av), the congregation takes the month off from Erev Shabbat fellowship.

August is observed on the ninth day of the month of Av in the Jewish calendar. Av literally means “father.” It is customary to add the name “Menachem,” which means “comforter” or “consoler”.  In this month, both Temples were destroyed and many other tragedies occurred. Yet the Father in heaven is there to comfort and console us.

Erev means evening or evening of in Hebrew. Days in the Jewish calendar begin as the daylight leaves — as opposed to other calendar systems where a day begins at midnight or sunrise (as it becomes light).

The congregation, also known as Poriyah Congregation, is a home fellowship of messianic believers, an international English speaking fellowship since 2005.  It was formed on what they believe to be the New Testament model: meeting in homes governed by many elders.

Another reason they meet in a home is so that much of the funds received are used to help needy families in and around the congregation.  Those areas of giving are to reach out to the desperate and needy, to soldiers, widows, orphans, Arabs, and Druse. We also have a small prison ministry.

Three-thirty was the normal time we traveled up the hill to the upper Galilee in Poriyah in northern Galilee to join this fellowship until COVID-19 struck the world.  Congregation is a 20-30 minute ride skirting the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee then heading towards the west up a hill, to one of the first communities.

The Hebrew word “Poriya” (the name of the village) means “fruitful,” and “Kehilah” (K’hee-lah) means “Congregation,” so the name actually means “Fruitful Congregation.”  

Eric and Terri Morey, who host this fellowship in their home, made Aliyah around 1980.  They met some of the first believers in the modern state of Israel in Rosh Pina (see map); but, after receiving lots of persecution in Rosh Pina the first location, they relocated towards Tiberias.  Desiring to maintain a place for the English speaking international community fellowship, Tents of Mercy helped the Morey’s home cell group get started.

This Congregation has a huge heart for helping those making Aliyah, which is why they are very connected to the Aliyah Return Center (ARC).  Eric was the first to extend a hand of help and fellowship to the ARC.   The Congregation put together 64 scriptures that speak to Aliyah, the returning of the Jews to Israel.  

Poryiah has a lot of houses of prayer and is like a retirement community for believers.  Their home position overlooks the Galilee vallee and these believers have been praying years for the valley and the restoration of the kingdom in the valley.  The ARC is a part of the answer to their prayers helping Jews make Aliyah.

This congregation has an ebb and flow of different visitors from many different places.

  1. Most Sanctuaries are decorated.  A unique and special thing in their home/sanctuary is a huge Torah scroll centerpiece.
  2. Another very special aspect of this home fellowship is the mix of singing Hebrew & English songs.  The Hebrew is written phonetically so you can sound out the Hebrew words, a special treat.  This way, we are able to join in with the worship. Most of the time, when you see Hebrew it is written in the Hebrew symbols or characters.
  3. Another special thing is going back down the hill, and you see the beautiful scenery of the “Sea of Galilee” also called “Sea of Kinneret”.  (The story of this is coming.)


It was part of our regular schedule, but it has been a while since we attended because of COVID-19.  When things started opening up again, most of our Volunteer help was gone and our work increased.

THEN, because of COVID-19 radically changing the Volunteer environment, I became busy preparing for Shabbat.  Les, of course, has volunteered to help me, so we are unable to attend.

This ends our series of what our daily/weekly, more constant schedule looks like.  We hope you enjoyed it!  You can look forward to hearing about other life events here at the ARC and the Galilee that we have promised to share about in other blogs.  To keep in the loop on these events and not miss out, please subscribe.  Thank you for taking the time to stop by and peak into our lives.  Shalom aleichem! (shālôm ʻalêḵem means “peace be upon you.”


A day of rest that lasts from sundown on Friday evening through nightfall on Saturday night.

There are many things that Orthodox or observant Jews will not do on Shabbat (such as driving, working, or turning on a light switch), there are a host of things they do do in order to make the Shabbat a delightful celebration.

In the words of Isaiah 58:13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:”

You may already know that Shabbat is the weekly day of rest. The celebration begins in Jewish households in Israel and around the world during the Friday night dinner.

A big part of the “delight” of Shabbat is the enjoyment of three Shabbat meals, mainly the first two—Friday night dinner and Shabbat lunch—that are elegantly prepared, preceded by the sipping of ceremonial kiddush wine or grape juice (the best grape juice we’ve ever tasted, by the way), and the breaking of traditional challah bread, and blessings along with songs, inspiring thoughts and camaraderie integrated.

To host this event, much of the meal preparation takes place Thursday and Friday morning.  Shabbat usually starts at sunset for the candle-lighting and prayer. This is a prayer of thanksgiving over the workweek coming to a close of a week of activity, a week of growth, and a tiring week with the celebration of a day of rest and tranquility with a Shabbat rest.

At the ARC, most Fridays receive guests. Every Friday is Shabbat, a special meal is prepared.  This meal is really a celebration meal where guests and the hosts enjoy sharing the experience of five observances that are an integral part of any Shabbat meal. The ARC has had upwards of 80 or so guests that we know of.

These are the blessings (Baruch) observed throughout the Shabbat meal:

  1. Blessing for the Lighting of the Candles
  2. Blessing over the Wine or Grape Juice
  3. Blessing for Washing of the Hands
  4. Blessing over the Challah (braided bread)
  5. Blessing from the head of household (over wives, children, others)

We think this is a special biblical practice that the LORD God instituted for mankind for a reason.  It is not only for health but for remembering Him and honoring Him.

WHO doesn’t like receiving a blessing?

In a separate post, I will share these 5 Blessings practiced at Shabbot and there meaning and why it is a blessing for everyone.

How Sweet!

One Shabbat, we collected our Shabbat meal we had our own private meal.  We are allowed a special weekend off every month, which is such a huge blessing.  We will share about in another blog article.  This was totally acceptable and the kitchen staff at that time enjoyed preparing a special hallah bread for us and a small h’orderves plate just for us.

Here is what comes up next in the line-up of our “semi-“normal” life:


The congregation post will conclude the series of our semi-consistent day to day life at the Aliyah Return Center (ARC).



Generally, all staff meals are shared and so is the kitchen.  As you may know from our article Our Three Homes, our places of residents are dorm-like.

Right now our staff/volunteer group is very small.  I will introduce you to our new communal family in another post.

For now, lunch takers are 9-10 and supper takers are about the same only with some different people due to schedules.


For a week, and being very short-staffed, I, Catherine, inherited being the head of hospitality/kitchen, which originally included meals, rental properties, etc.  There simply is not another person to fill this role, and it is a full-time job.

When I was first asked, thankfully, I had another young lady helping with meal preparation named Yola, from South Africa in Cape Town.  We shared kitchen duties include:

  1. Meal planning
  2. I collected the grocery list, sent it to the main office for purchasing for the week’s groceries.  There is a designated budget for meals and other hospitality items.
  3. Organize the kitchen, making sure everything is inventoried for meals and rental properties.
  4. My part was to prepare lunch for our small group of up to 7 to 8 people plus any visitors.


Most of the time, this is just a couple of sandwich varieties and vegetable tray items.  Pretty simple preparing fresh sandwich spreads and cutting vegetable tray items.  Sometimes reheating leftovers from Shabbat meal is necessary.  Recently, I prepared an eggplant dish just for a new item.  Israeli’s really like eggplant but so does the staff.  I collected 10 different types of eggplant dishes and was prepared to make something new.

THEN, I shared at the end of the month, I would need to step back for a week to work on our newsletter.  They decided to have lunches catered from the local Kibbutz.  They seem very happy with this decision and will continue using this catering service.

My plate is lighter.


Yola, South Africa, was responsible for the evening meal and does a really good job of throwing things together.  Because she worked in the kitchen differently than I do, and I plan ahead with meal plans, and since she was in the kitchen more, we had an agreement.  You know how it goes when there are two kitchen queens and getting along can happen.  I agreed to help her in a pinch if she needed it preparing supper.

She was on borrowed time though.  We did not know how long she will be around.  She is waiting for news from her consulate as to when she can book her flight to South Africa.  It sounds like it gets really complicated and there are a number of South Africans still in Israel waiting for the skies to open up to return to their homeland.  She did get the news that South Africa was closing their skies and to travel as soon as possible, that their border would not open up again till January.

She is now gone but was very helpful in meal preparation while here.

Because the catering service provides plenty at LUNCH, it was decided that left over’s will be the plan for SUPPER.  They may continue on this course hereafter.

Here is what comes up next in the line-up of our “semi-“normal” life: