Hebrew Voices #32 – City of Rockets (Rebroadcast)

In this episode of Hebrew Voices, City of Rockets, Nehemia Gordon journeys to the Israeli town of Sderot on the border of Gaza. With the help of Hands of Mercy, an international humanitarian organization, Nehemia brings you the real-life experiences of this war-torn community. You will meet the innocent people who have been suffering for over eighteen years from brutal rocket attacks, perpetrated by the radical Islamic militants who rule Gaza. City of Rockets is an inspiring message of hope, faith, and co-existence in the face of brutal terrorism. This episode contains sensitive material, which may not be suitable for young children.

I look forward to reading your comments!

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NG: Shalom. This is Nehemia Gordon and I'm bringing you a very special episode of Hebrew Voices. For this episode, I traveled to the Israeli town of Sderot on the border of Gaza. This Jewish town has been under incessant rocket attack since 2001. I spent the day with Yishai Reinhardt from Hands of Mercy, an international organization that helps the beleaguered people of Sderot. He took me to meet some of the folks who have been living for years under conditions few of us could hardly imagine. I spent the day in tears as I heard the heartrending stories of these brave people and was inspired by their unyielding faith.

If you are listening with small children, you may want to stop the program and have them leave the room. You are going to hear about life and death in a war zone, about what is really going on in Israel, and people the mainstream media will never tell you about. These are real people who are suffering and they need our support and prayers. What you are about to hear will build your faith and impact your life in a big way. It has mine.

This was an incredibly complicated episode to put together. Most of the interviews I carried out with the people of Sderot were in Hebrew. I had to translate their words into English and then blend voiceovers with the original Hebrew audio. I could not have done this without the masterful skills of my editors Ben Bresky and Danilo Vojnov. I also want to thank voiceover artists Richard Thomas, Karen Allen, Devorah Gordon, and my niece Aviva. I am very grateful to all the folks at Hands of Mercy and the people of Sderot who were so candid about their painful experiences and extremely generous with their time.

I'm going to start out talking with Yishai at the headquarters of Hands of Mercy. We met in his office, in the heart of Sderot, the City of Rockets.

I am here with Yishai who runs Hands of Mercy. It's an outreach that helps people in this city who are struggling and suffering. I asked him why he's doing this.

Yishai: That's a difficult question. We started thirteen, fourteen years ago with a barrage of suicide bombers that were coming in two or three a week. The devastation within the lives all across Israel was immense in 2002. I went to visit the hospital with some families and their loved ones who were suffering between life and death. It broke my heart, because they were laying there... they were just innocent people, just caught by this radical Islamic hatred. They were victims. So I said, "God, if you can use me, Hineni!"

NG: Hineni. That's what Abraham said when God called him. He said, "Behold, here I am!"

Yishai: And many other tzadikim (righteous people) throughout history said to Hashem (God), "Hineni!" So anyway, I said after that one exposure to some young kids who were just between life and death, I said, if I can help them God, Hineni!

NG: I was really impressed with the diversity of the people working with your organization. This is really in the very Hebrew sense "lesharet bakodesh" what you're doing here, it's "serving in the holy." I was talking with one woman who's a Chardei (an Ultra-Orthodox Jew), and I was talking to a couple who are Zionist Christians, and some other people who are secular Jews. You really have a diversity of people and they're all coming together for the purpose of helping the people here in Sderot. This is amazing what you're doing! So for my listeners outside of Israel, what has been going on in Sderot for the last 14 years? Tell us about it.

Yishai: Sderot is right next to Gaza, on the north-east tip of Gaza, just across on the Israel side. We have just two short kilometers, a little over a mile, from our city limit into Gaza. That has been the launching pad for the last 14 years of thousands of rockets into this little town.

NG: Do you have a number of how many rockets? Does anybody know?

Yishai: I was quoted 6,000 rockets. That was two years ago. Of course, we've had one war since then. In the last war, we had just short of 5,000 rockets shot from Gaza in 32 days. In the last war, last August.

NG: I was talking to some other people, and they were telling me a story. One woman said, "That happened two wars ago. What was that called?" It struck me that there have been that many wars that she doesn't remember what they're all called. We have this expression kore'a ha-lev. "It tears the heart." Heartrending. That's been my experience today. I just want to tell people, this is an amazing organization you have. It's called Hands of Mercy. That name is amazing! We're going to post a link on NehemiasWall.com, my website. What are some of things that you do here in this organization? How do you serve this community?

Yishai: The community is extremely stressed financially, because of all the rockets. over 50% of this community do not have jobs. The city social system is a mess, financially, because of the damage on the infrastructure. We help them with tons of food.

NG: Literally, "tons!"

Yishai: Yes, we buy probably two tons of dry goods: beans, rice, wheat, pastas and give that away every month.

NG: I can't even imagine what it's like living under this constant bombardment.

Yishai: The trauma level is intense. Most of the children below 15 have gone through three years of psychotherapy to try and bring a balance from the damage to their personalities because of the trauma of the rockets, not knowing when they're going to come. When they've come you've got fifteen seconds before they're landing like rain. And they may land right on you.

NG: They actually use that [image of rain with] that word "drizzles". I was talking to one of the people and she was talking about how the government of Israel kind of ignores what is going on here, because it's [only] "drizzles." I had to stop her in the middle of the interview when she said in Hebrew "tiftufim." And I said, "what do you mean, 'tiftufim,' 'drizzles?'" She said that's when there's not that many rockets, they call it "drizzles.' She said, "But for the people living here, it's a really big deal!"

Yishai: We just had a going away part for some of our volunteers last night. We had a rocket that landed right close to us. We were dancing, celebrating outside. Suddenly, someone said to us, "Do you know a rocket just landed!" We said, "No! We couldn't hear it, because of the music." So we who live here in Sderot, we've lived here for so many years with the reality of rockets, that we try to enjoy life as if that's not a threat. The Orthodox [Jewish] community here, they live with faith. It's really wonderful to see. They walk to synagogue and I walk with them. We say, "What a wonderful day! No rockets today." We're looking right down over Gaza and see where the rockets come from and it's a Yom Sababa, a terrific day. That's [Hebrew] slang, here in Israel. A no rocket day is a terrific day. What a bizarre way to live! But that's what this city has lived through for 14 years.

NG: This morning I was there when they were handing out the food and you told me something really funny. So, there were these bags of mixed peas and barley and rice and all kinds of things. I said, “Oh, that’s for cholent,” which is the traditional Ashkenazic food that you eat on Shabbat lunch. And you told me something really funny, that they don’t know what to do with it.

Yishai: Well, see, we live in a community that were primarily from Morocco, Tunisia, North Africa, Persia. Sephardic.

NG: And they don’t eat that kind of cholent. They have a different cholent.

Yishai: It’s called chamin and what they put in it is primarily garbanzo beans and big fat beans and things like that.

NG: So you’re giving them these dry good, these people who can’t feed their families, but you have to teach them what to do with it.

Yishai: They have no idea what to do with it. So, we had a big mesibah, a big party [to teach them]. We [also] do diaper parties every month. We give away about 18,000 diapers because of some wonderful people in Australia who donate the diapers to us every month. We give 18,000 plus wipes and a variety of things.

NG: And those are diapers for babies and also for the elderly.

Yishai: Of course. Yeah, we have a Holocaust Survivor outreach every week. We’re visiting 2-3 days a week, the old people who are survivors of the Holocaust.

NG: They survived the Holocaust and they're living here in Sderot. One of the things, one of the things your social worker told me, a lot of times their children and grandchildren leave Sderot because the conditions are so horrible and the elderly are left behind by themselves.

Yishai: And many live on the third and fourth floor. They have no way to get down or up because of their legs. They are curled up in bed, in very, very sad situations. We deal with that every day! When we visit the families or the Holocaust Survivors, we bring them food. We provide them financial services for their bills. We look for anyway that we can help them.

NG: How can somebody [help] who is hearing this and says, “Wow, I want to be involved in this mitzvah, in this righteous deed!” What are some different ways people can get involved and help out with what’s going on here in Sderot?

Yishai: Well, one way is we have an adoption sponsorship program that you can look at on our website. It’s https://www.israel-handsofmercy.org/

NG: And we’ll have the link to that on my website, https://www.nehemiaswall.com/, as well. So, they go to the website and what do they look for there?

Yishai: They can look at how they can be involved with the adoption sponsorship. We list a variety of people who we feel are in high need for someone to adopt them. It’s a symbolic adoption for six months or a year.

NG: I want to tell people. We’re sitting here in this... we’re actually in a bomb shelter! When we came in here to do this interview, Yishai had to move his cot out of the way so I would have a place to sit. And I asked, I said, “Okay, Yishai, I understand you’re working here late and you're burning the midnight oil and that’s why you have a cot here. But where do you live?" And what was the answer, Yishai? Where’s your actual apartment?

Yishai: Well, I traveled about six to seven months a year, this past year. I don’t have a wife and I don’t have a home so…

NG: So this is where you really sleep! This isn’t just where you take a nap in the afternoon!

Yishai: This is where I sleep. This is where I live. I live in the, in a bomb shelter, right here in "Rocket City,” Israel.

NG: Wow, I’m sitting here in your bedroom/ living room and it’s a bomb shelter! And if we move the cot, then, there’s a place for me to sit!

Yishai: I have a belief that everything we do is la-kadesh HaShem [to sanctify the name], to bring glory to the Name above all names.

NG: Amen!

Yishai: And that is the reason why we even exist, to bring honor to the Creator. So, to do that, sometimes, we have to make sacrifices to help someone else. Some of us make more sacrifices than others, and every shekel, dollar, ruble, whatever we have, we give as Terumot, to help other who suffer more…

NG: Terumot are contributions, donations…

Yishai: Yeah, contributions, donations, to help someone who has it worse than we do.

NG: You mentioned you have volunteers. Is there a way people can come and volunteer?

Yishai: Yes, we have a very active volunteer program. If you look on the website, you’ll see a way of volunteering on a short-term basis, that’s up to three months. Or long-term basis, one year or more. We can attain government visas for you to come as a volunteer. There’s nothing like living in Israel, and seeing the miracles of God’s protection and at the same time, helping people who have no way to help themselves.

NG: These volunteers, I met a guy today who is from Norway and some Zionist Christians from the US. In another words, this is open to anybody who wants to come and help out, is that right?

Yishai: Yes, we have Turalf from Norway, like you said. We have Yehudit from California. We have Todd and Jonah from Washington State. We have Yoni from Hong Kong. It’s crazy to have so many international people here, and the Israelis who live here, they ask, “Why are you here?” “What is your motivation?” “Why do you risk your life to come here?” And they say, “Because we love you and because the Bible teaches us that we must reach out and help bring comfort. That's the highest mitzvah, to bring comfort to someone who is suffering more than you. We want to come. You give us the opportunity to take a few days, sometimes a few weeks, or a few months and give. And, share the pain, and do something that brings honor to the Most-High.”

NG: Amen.

NG: I wanted to see how Hands of Mercy was helping people in tangible ways, so Yishai took me to a soup kitchen, run in cooperation with a local synagogue. I knew Sderot to be a Jewish town of 25,000 people, terrorized by Islamic militants in Gaza who have been lobbing rockets at them for over 14 years. The constant bombardment has driven away many factories and businesses, leaving the people of Sderot impoverished. When I arrived at the soup kitchen, I was surprised to see Arabs standing in line, waiting for food, at a synagogue soup kitchen. What were Arabs doing in Sderot, a Jewish city under Arab bombardment? I approached one woman who was decked out in the colorful gown of a Palestinian farmer's wife:

NG: Are you an Arab?

Arab Woman: I'm an Arab from Hebron, but now I live here. I've lived here for twenty years with my children.

NG: I found out there are over 100 Muslim Arab families living in Sderot, who suffer from the rocket attacks alongside the Jewish population. Evidently, the Arabs of Gaza could care less that they are firing rockets not only at innocent Jews, but at their fellow Muslims. Their goal is to terrorize, maim, and kill Jewish civilians and they don't care who gets hurt in the crossfire.

I asked Yishai to take me to meet with Rabbi Herzl Shaubi, the leader of the synagogue that runs the soup kitchen. Rabbi Shaubi is also a member of the Sderot City Council.

NG: Rabbi Shaubi, I went to visit the soup kitchen this morning and I was surprised to see Arabs in the line alongside Jews.

Rabbi Shaubi: We don't discriminate against anybody. Whoever comes here asking for food, if we have food to give, we give it. We don't check whether he's an Arab or a Jew, or what his ethnicity is. Any human being who comes with his hand stretched out asking for assistance, we provide what we can. This is also what the Jewish faith requires. You are required to help whomever you have the ability to help.

NG: As the spiritual leader of this community, what is life like living under rocket attacks for the last 14 years?

Rabbi Shaubi: In the past, when the Kassam rocket fire was very heavy, we were in a situation where every few minutes a rocket fell in town. The government of Israel came and built a bomb shelter for every family. Now every apartment has its own bomb shelter. So when anyone hears "Color Red" (the "Color Red" warning) while they are at home, he immediately enters his family bomb shelter. They also put bomb shelters all over town. If you're in the street and hear the warning, you can run a few meters and enter a bomb shelter and have protection from the rockets. This has really saved many lives. We are truly blessed that the Israeli army protects us, and our Father in heaven also watches over us. There have been many miracles and wonders here.

NG: You heard Rabbi Shaubi mention the "Color Red" warning. Color Red is part of daily life in Sderot. It's an air-raid warning system that blasts out over loudspeakers. I want you to understand what this sounds like, but first I want to share a personal story.

In 1991, during the First Gulf War, I was living on a Kibbutz when Saddam Hussein fired Scud missiles at Israel. I remember being woken in the middle of the night by my roommates rushing around in a panic looking for their gas masks. At the time there was a serious concern that Saddam would use poisonous sarin gas against Israel, as he did against the Kurds, so everyone had their own gas mask. I remember hearing the undulating whine of the siren and running to the bomb shelter with my mask strapped to my face. It's something I'll never forget. To this day I can't hear an air-raid siren, not even in a movie, without remembering that first experience of a missile attack. The Iraqi Scud missile attacks on Israel only lasted about a month and a half. The people of Sderot have been living with rocket attacks for 14 years.

With that said, you are about to hear what an actual missile attack sounds like. This was recorded in Ashdod in 2012 and posted on Youtube by Matan Shaul. Here is a Color Red in Ashdod, Israel:

[Air-raid siren. Explosions. Car alarms. Explosions.]

NG: That whining air raid siren sends everyone scurrying to the bomb shelter, but it's also quite unnerving. In some ways, the siren is almost as traumatic as the missiles themselves. The authorities in Sderot decided years ago to replace that terrifying siren with something that they hoped would instill less panic in people. The system they came up with was a network of loudspeakers all over town that broadcast the calm voice of a woman announcing Tzeva Edom - Tzeva Edom (Color Red - Color Red). This is what a Color Red sounds like in Sderot, recorded in 2009 by a Youtube user named Galanos54.

[Explosions. Tzeva Edom. Explosions. Tzeva Edom. Car Alarms. Tzeva Edom.]

NG: Wow! Did you notice how long the people had to take shelter before the rocket fell. In this case, the Color Red warning only went off after the first rocket fell. That's life in Sderot. No one suffers worse from these rocket attacks than the children. Nadia, a mother raising her children in this war-torn town, explains:

Nadia: The children won't leave the family bomb shelter. I'm not just talking about during the wars. Even when the wars are over, and the authorities announce everything is fine, the children think, "Yeah, right! They're just saying that!" The children don't believe them after a war, whether its Operation "Protective Edge" or just a "normal" rocket attack. Two days ago, we had another series of rocket attacks - when they hear that warning siren, they refuse to go to the toilet by themselves. "Mommy, I'm afraid!" "Mommy, come in the room with me!" "Mommy, take me to get something to drink!" "No, I'm afraid!" It's horrible! When my youngest was about to start kindergarten, my older son asked, "Mommy, is there a bomb shelter at the kindergarten? If there's no bomb shelter, mommy, please don't send him! It's dangerous! We need to make sure there's a bomb shelter!"

NG: It's hard for me to hear this. Sorry, it's hard for me. [Hebrew]

Nadia: Yes, it's very difficult, because of the children... [Hebrew]

NG: And you live with this!

NG: There I was crying and Nadia was comforting me. She's the one whose children are afraid to leave the family bomb shelter, and she handles it with such composure. Did you notice how Nadia talked about a "normal" rocket attack. Before I went to Sderot I had no idea there could be anything normal about a rocket attack. Nadia contrasted these normal rocket attacks with the three wars Israel has fought against the Hamas terrorist organization that rules over Gaza. The three wars are known as Cast Lead in 2009, Pillar of Defense in 2012, and Protective Edge in 2014. Each of these three wars were preceded by an intense escalation of rocket attacks on Sderot, which eventually forced the government of Israel to take action. For example, on November 12, 2012, Arab terrorists fired 100 rockets from Gaza at Sderot in a 24-hour period. This forced Israel to eventually respond with Operation Pillar of Defense.

Listen how Miryam, a native of Sderot, describes the contrast between "drizzles", the normal weekly rocket attacks they have been living with for the past 14 years, and "rain", those heavy barrages that have so far forced the Israeli government into three wars:

Miryam: There's a saying that the people of Sderot are all sprinters. They could all participate in a marathon. Everyone in town can burst into a run the second they hear the "Color Red" warning. People jump every time a window slams shut or a trunk closes. The residents of Sderot are always wound tight. They're tense. There's always anxiety about when the next missile might come, and where it might fall. You won't usually hear this in the media when they talk about us. Two nights ago, at 2am, I just happened to be awake, as I often am at night, Israeli fighter jets flew overhead to respond to rocket attacks from Gaza. When I heard the news in the morning, they said, "IDF planes attacked targets in Gaza after two rockets landed in Sderot." They didn't really say anything about the rockets themselves. But the people here experienced those rockets landing on the street, and in someone's backyard. They don't always even report this. The media calls these sporadic rocket attacks "drizzles". And the word drizzles is used so casually. Drizzles?! Do you know what drizzles can do?! Drizzles can traumatize children, keeping them away from school. "Mommy, I'm not going!" It can drizzle at 6am and then many children are afraid to leave the house. This is "normal". A sad "normal". But this is "normal" life in Sderot. We had two drizzles just this week. I don't think that they would tolerate these drizzles in any other place. We have this feeling that we are lower class citizens in this country, not even second or third class. We feel like we've been abandoned and neglected. We keep saying, "What?! Do we need it to rain Kassam rockets before anyone does anything!"

NG: Drizzles. Rain. The new normal.

I want you to hear now from Michael, who shared why he chose to move from the country of his birth to Sderot of all places:

Michael: I'm from Ukraine. I immigrated in 2006. It was in my heart, as a Jew. I always wanted to. I believe this is my homeland. That’s why I remained in Sderot and not in the center of the country, such as Tel Aviv, or another wealthy city. I want to support my country with my life. I have a family. I've been married for six years and have two kids. I arrived in Israel in the middle of the Kassam rocket barrages. There were many rocket attacks every day. It was an epiphany for me to arrive here and see rocket attacks every morning like an alarm clock at 7:30am, precisely when children were waiting for the school buses. The warning sirens would go off, but the children would still go out and head for school. What could they do? I saw all these scenes of children fleeing from school buses, desperately looking for shelter from the missiles. Some just sat there. It was terrifying.

NG: I understand some people in Sderot only got bomb shelters recently. When did you and your family get a bomb shelter?

Michael: In old houses like ours, we only got a bomb shelter about three years ago.

NG: What did you do when rockets were fired at you?

Michael: We prayed. What could we do? All we could do was pray that God would protect us.

NG: So you were under rocket attack, with no bomb shelter, and you just prayed?
Michael: Yes, that's what I did.

NG: Michael's iron faith in God is something I heard time and again from the people of Sderot. I think of the problems I have in my life that seem so enormous, and you know what, they are enormous to me. But then I hear Michael describe how he sat there defenseless, as rockets rained down around him, and the only thing that kept him going was prayer. I hope I have Michael's faith and prayer in every situation I face in life.

NG: We heard earlier from Rabbi Shaubi that many people have been saved by the bomb shelters that the Israeli government built all over town. But in the real world of rocket attacks, there's not always time to get to safety. A longtime resident of Sderot, named Rina, shared with me her experiences of getting caught out in the open when Kassam rockets fell.

Rina: I was caught a few times outside when a Kassam rocket fell, and there was no bomb shelter. I was walking home and just stood there and prayed, "God, you know where I am. Behold, I am standing in front of you!" There was nowhere to run and there were explosions. It was terrifying. It was just so frightening. Unless you've experienced it, you can't understand it.

When my daughter was little, a Kassam rocket caught me in the car. When a rocket falls we have a fifteen-second warning to get to safety. I stopped the car when I heard the "Color Red" warning. There was no time to get out of the car. I turned off the engine, quickly climbed into the back seat and got on top of my daughter to cover her with my body. Then we just prayed. Unless you've lived through this reality, you can't understand how it crushes you.

NG: Not everyone is as fortunate as Rina. One of the social workers at Hands of Mercy wanted me to meet with Lydia, a woman who did not make it to safety in time when a Kassam rocket fell. I have to be honest. When I interviewed Lydia and her daughter, the social worker did most of the talking for me. I was mostly speechless, trying to fight back tears. Once again, if you have children in the room, now may be the time to stop the audio and send them away.

Lydia: My name is Lydia. I'm from Uzbekistan. All the Jews left Uzbekistan when the Muslims wouldn't let us live. They attacked us, so we fled. We arrived in Israel in 1990.

In October 2006, I was walking to work, when I heard the shriek of a Kassam rocket. I was pregnant at the time and could not run. There was nowhere for me to hide. The Kassam fell near me and sent me flying. The baby died. I was six months pregnant, and the baby died.

I woke up in the hospital eight hours later and saw my belly was gone. I asked the doctors what happened to my belly, and they told me the baby died.

After this I was in a very difficult state. I'm a single mother with three children and unable to work because of the trauma. Sometimes they shut off my electricity and water, because I can't pay the bill. When I go to the store I only buy bread and milk. It's very difficult for me. After 5pm I lock the door and don't leave the house. I suffer from severe anxiety and receive psychological treatment. I take strong medications, which as a side effect have caused me to lose all my teeth. It's very difficult for me. But God helps me. What can I say? I thank God that at least I'm like this and not worse.

NG: What an amazing faith this woman has, after all she's been through. Lydia really wanted me to see her family bomb shelter. This was a room in her apartment with reinforced concrete and a blast door, where Lydia spends most of her time every night.

Lydia: This is the family bomb shelter. I sleep here. It has a television and a radio. I also have a device that makes noise when there's a Color Red warning. I sleep in the bomb shelter and never leave at night. This is how I live.

NG: The Hands of Mercy social worker was eager for me to speak with Lydia's young daughter Lianne, who was fascinated by my microphone. I think this was meant to be cathartic for the little girl, who rarely has anyone interested in her or her story.

Lianne: What's this, a microphone? Hello!

NG: What's your name, Li-Yann?

Lianne: No! Not Li-yann, Lianne!

NG: Don't scream. Lianne, How old are you?

Lianne: Six years old.

NG: So Lianne, what grade are you in?

Lianne: First grade!

NG: Tell me about the Color Red sirens.

Lianne: Color red...

Social Worker: And when we have a Color Red, do we go to the park or to school?

Lianne: To the bomb shelter!

Social Worker: And what do we do there?

Lianne: We stay there.

Social Worker: And are you afraid when there's a Color Red warning?

Lianne: No!

Social Worker: Because you pray in your heart?

Lianne: A-ha.

Social Worker: What do you say in your heart?

Lianne: Um... Shema Yisrael. Hear Oh Israel.

Social Worker: What does the Color Red warning do, that one time when you saw it fall?

Lianne: It kills people. I remember our roof collapsed.

NG: When you hear the color red warning, what do you do?

Lianne: I go to the bomb shelter.

Social Worker: You run quickly?

Lianne: Yes, but mom doesn't know how to run at all. She goes slowly. That's why I help her.

NG: What do you enjoy doing?

Lianne: I only have fun when I go to school.

Social Worker: And you don't stay at home, right? There are days when they tell us over the loudspeakers not to leave the house.

NG: What do you like the most at school?

Lianne: Recess!

Social Worker: Lianne, if Nehemia went now to Gaza, and went to speak to the Arabs, what would you want him to say to them? What should they stop?

Lianne: They should stop doing bad things, firing Kassam rockets.

Social Worker: Beautiful. And to ask them to be at peace with us, right?

Lianne: So, maybe he should go there and speak to them!

NG: And what should I tell them?

Lianne: I already told you! They should stop firing Kassam rockets at us. I said! There would be no war here! It would be fun!

NG: And what would you do?

Lianne: I could play until 100 at night!

Social Worker: Until late.

Lianne: Until 100 at night!

NG: And now you can't play at night?

Lianne: No! It's very dangerous outside!

NG: Out of the mouth of babes. If only it were that simple, that we could go to Gaza and ask them to stop doing bad things; ask them to stop firing Kassam rockets at us. After speaking to Lydia and Lianne, I decided to go back and speak once again with Rabbi Shaubi. I wanted to make sense of everything I saw and heard during my time in Sderot.

NG: Rabbi, what is the future of life in Sderot?

Rabbi Shaubi: The future? There's someone who sits up in heaven who knows the future. As Jews who believe, as our fathers before us believed, we hope for good. We hope everything will be alright. We feel there's a guiding hand above, who is directing everything that happens. Maybe this is all happening because God wants the Jewish People to return in repentance. The problem is it takes many people a long time to realize this. As a Jew who believes, I believe that in the end everyone will understand that there is none besides Him, that there really is a God in heaven. And we will improve our behavior towards one another. As Jews who believe, we prayer to the Creator of the universe three times every day. We get up in the morning and pray, then again in the afternoon, as well as in the evening. We pray: "Holy One, Blessed be He! He who makes peace from on high, may He make peace for us, and all Israel. And let us say, Amen."

Yishai: Amen!

NG: Amen!

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Hebrew Voices Episodes
Support Team Studies
Nehemia Gordon's Teachings on the Name of God

Show Notes:
Hands of Mercy

  • Keith A. Pitts, MSE says:

    Praying for the peace of Jerusalem.

  • Philip says:

    Praying for the people of Israel. Thanks for this post.

  • Sarah says:

    And again this week the rockets are coming into Israel like thunderstorms. 2,200+ in 5 days is a flood.

  • Terri Tom says:

    You, your family & all of Israel are in our thoughts and prayers!

  • Jeff Ellis says:

    Folks here in the States do not understand what it’s like.
    I will share this on FaceBook.

  • Donald Smith says:

    Messiah please come. Please!

  • Pam Herdman says:

    Nehemiah I never tire of listening to the raw truth you put forth with each broadcast you do. I listened to the re-broadcast of City of Rockets and was moved to tears. All I can say is Im moved to jealousy in my spirit of Yishai’s dedication and meaningful life. It makes me rethink my life and the direction of which I should be going. So often we get caught up in things that mean nothing. This mans life was beautiful. I pray people will donate to this organization. Keep up the good work Nehemiah! You are making a difference! The redemption has started, Praise YEHOVAH

  • Gregory Irby says:

    Unbelievable! What people suffer in war torn areas. I found the little girl to be absolutely amazing! Not so much as even a hint of bitterness in her soul! Too many times I have met people so filled with hatred for ethnic groups or race. How awesome it will be when the Kingdom of Heaven is established on Earth! In the NT writings it is mentioned that when GOD grants immortality to his people their memories are erased. No bad vibes and no bad memories in the Kingdom of Heaven. Praise Yehovah! ✡️ The Savior of the World.

  • Roni Walters says:

    This was incredibly difficult and heart-wrenching to listen to. I can’t fathom what it’s like to have daily activities which include making sure my family and I are within fifteen seconds of shelters.

    Not only do I pray for peace in Jerusalem, I also pray for peace in ALL of Israel.

  • It is NOT to be understood for an outsider that the Goverment cannot set its foot down to these terrible ongoing missile attacs. Is it not a war that is going on? Is it the fear of the international reaction that holds Israel back from action?

  • Yvonne Russell says:

    Very powerful. I pray for Israel daily and have for years. It’s almost too much to listen to the suffering if it wasn’t for their tremendous faith in God.

  • Anna Holt says:

    The faith of these people in the face of such terror is amazing. The media loves to portray the Jewish people as evil overlords. Too bad the media doesn’t show the love and compassion demonstrated by these victims. Instead of harboring hatred and resentment, they are demonstrating God’s love and caring for Muslims. May God bring peace to these people..

    • Medo says:

      So true. You cant find in europa news something good about jews, only that they are EVIL they want to destroy human, That is agenda

  • Seydel says:

    How powerful these stories are…I was moved to tears. The people in these stories stole my heart and broke it at the same time.

  • Piper Delainey says:

    Powerful Hebrew Voices. I have been looking for ways to help and the Father immediately placed upon my hear that a financial contribution was something I should do. Thank you for this episode.

  • Cyndie Simmons says:

    So glad the you were able to do this interview with Ye’shi Reinhardt! Such a touching Hebrew Voices episode!

    I met Ye’shi while helping at “The Love for Israel Conference” a number of years ago and he is doing such amazing work! He gave me a “mini Hebrew Book of Psalms” and a bracelet made by a widow [which I am also] with Israeli flag beads on it. Such beautiful treasures!

    I share his business card information often with others, hoping in some small way we can raise some financial help and attention and on the plight of the people of S’Derot. I highly admire and respect the work Ye’shi does and pray for his ministry, as taking care of the widows and the orphans is so near and dear to my heart [and Scriptural 😉 ]!

    Blessings on your continued and wonderful work my friend!