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If Romney wins: Five things every Jew should know about Mormonism

October 19, 2012

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at a campaign rally in Westerville, Ohio, on Sept. 26. Photo by REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at a campaign rally in Westerville, Ohio, on Sept. 26. Photo by REUTERS/Brian Snyder

1. Devout Mormons can be found all across the political spectrum.

The Mormon Church doesn’t endorse candidates or political parties, and although most American Mormons are Republicans, a Mormon Democrat has served as the Senate Majority Leader for the last five years. Owing to our history of persecution and emphasis on self-reliance, there is also a noteworthy group of Mormons with libertarian sympathies who do not easily identify with either party.

Mormons can be found on all sides of most issues. On immigration, for example, many Mormons tend to be more liberal than other Republicans (or Democrats, for that matter). Many of us have served missions abroad, and tend not to be too judgmental of people who come here seeking a better life. Although Mormons generally agree on many important moral issues (see below), there is no consensus on economics and the proper role of government. We all agree, for example, that we have an obligation to help the poor. However, the extent to which government should help meet their needs by taxing others is a point of contention among followers of most faiths, including ours.

2. Mormonism is part of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Our church (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) bears the name of the Christian Savior, we believe in the God of Israel, we accept the Hebrew Bible and New Testament as Scripture, we worship in chapels and temples, and we consider ourselves to be covenant Israelites. Mormons follow the Ten Commandments and are Noahides. In addition, the Abrahamic Covenant is central to our faith. Like Jews, the family is central to our faith, and our idea of heaven is to live with our spouses and families for eternity.

3. A Mormon president would not take orders from Salt Lake City.

If Mitt Romney wins, he’ll undoubtedly have the same arrangement with top church leaders that other Mormons have with local leaders: They don’t tell us how to do our jobs, and we don’t tell them how to run the church. Even Romney’s most intractable foes haven’t accused LDS church headquarters of drafting Romneycare in Massachusetts, and it’s safe to assume that church leaders aren’t behind Harry Reid’s shameful promotion of Las Vegas gambling interests in Washington. Mormons are used to looking to their leaders for spiritual advice, not professional guidance. While I would certainly expect Romney to consult with Mormon leaders as part of his general outreach efforts to faith communities (including Jewish leaders), I am confident that he will be his own man when it comes to formulating policies for the nation. I am also confident that Mormons will not be overrepresented in his administration, as Romney has a history of hiring capable people from all backgrounds to work for him.

4. On moral issues, Mormons are not extreme right-wingers.

A closer look shows the views of most Mormons on these issues to be much more nuanced. Let’s take abortion, for example. The LDS church is very much against it but does allow for possible exceptions in the case of rape, incest, a threat to the mother’s life or when the baby is not expected to survive childbirth. That’s pretty much Romney’s campaign’s abortion platform.

On gay issues, it is accurate to say that Mormons oppose state-sanctioned, same-sex marriage. However, it is both inaccurate and insulting to say that we are anti-gay. We can and do support many other issues that are important to gays. For example, former LDS Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) introduced a Senate bill that would have added sexual orientation to the list of protected categories for hate crimes. Every Mormon I know is opposed to discrimination against gays in education, employment and housing. We also support rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, probate rights, etc., so long as the integrity of the traditional family is not affected. As for theology, the LDS church teaches that homosexuality is not sinful in and of itself, as long as one remains chaste.

Although Mormons tend to have more children than the national average, our church doesn’t take a position on birth control. In addition, the church takes no position on capital punishment, stem-cell research, evolution or global warming. As a result, faithful Mormons are advocates for positions on all sides of these issues.

5. Mormons are philo-Semites and pro-Israel.

One of our basic Articles of Faith affirms: “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes.” In 1841, LDS Apostle Orson Hyde offered a prayer on the Mount of Olives dedicating the Land of Israel for the gathering of the Jews. Israel went on to receive at least 11 apostolic blessings before the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. For more than five decades (1870s-1920s), the church seriously considered establishing a Mormon colony in Palestine. Today, Brigham Young University has a beautiful center on Mount Scopus with the best view of the Old City in Jerusalem.

In the United States, Mormon pioneers arrived in the Utah territory in 1847. The first Jews arrived two years later, in 1849. The first Jewish worship service was held in 1864 in Salt Lake City. Rosh Hashanah was celebrated in Temple Square (the city center) in 1865. Brigham Young donated his personal land for a Jewish cemetery in 1866. In 1903, church President Joseph F. Smith spoke at the ceremony for the laying of the cornerstone for the state’s first Orthodox synagogue, which was largely paid for by the church. The second and third Jewish governors in the country were elected in Idaho (1914) and Utah (1916), the two states with the highest percentage of Mormons. Salt Lake City had a Jewish mayor by 1932, more than four decades before New York City.

Most Mormons in this country are very pro-Israel, and Romney is no exception. He has a close, decades-long personal relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who looks likely to be elected to another term. If Romney is elected, Jews and Israelis can be assured that they will have a true friend in the White House.

Mark Paredes writes the Jews and Mormons blog for the Jewish Journal and is a member of the LDS church's Jewish Relations Committee for Southern California. Read the Jews and Mormons blog

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A Mormon Girl Among Jews

At Sunday school, I learned about the Israelites and end-times. Then bar mitzvah season began.

By Joanna Brooks|August 8, 2012

Before I met any Jewish people, I learned about Jews in my Mormon Sunday school classes. But no one used the word “Jews.” Instead, it was always “Israel,” or “the tribes of Israel,” or “Israelites.” Or maybe even “Hebrews.”

During sacrament meeting on Sunday morning, I would trace the movements of the Israelites charted on the colored maps at the back of my scriptures. Perhaps the most important of these movements, I learned, was the exodus of a small family of Israelites led by a righteous man named Lehi away from the land of their ancestors and across the ocean to the Americas, where they grew and divided and clashed and became the civilizations of the Book of Mormon.

In Sunday school, I studied the colorful Arnold Friberg Book of Mormon illustrations that my teacher propped up on her knees as we all sat in our little semicircle of child-sized chairs. The Israelites in these pictures were tall, dark-haired, and heroically muscled. Their expertly crafted wooden ships parted the waters as they approached some unspecified American coastline. At the center of the painting stood Lehi, the white-bearded patriarch, looking toward the heavens in prayer as the rest of the traveling party strained to see land on the horizon; his wife, Sariah, clung to him and silently rested her head upon his shoulder, eyes closed.

After church, because our family kept the Sabbath, I was not allowed to watch secular television, only Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments. Sunday afternoons, my sisters and brother and I would watch the Israelites—mostly tall and sculpted (Charlton Heston, John Derek) or lovely and lithe (Yvonne DeCarlo)—act and reenact their epic journey from slavery and across the sea and the deserts to freedom.

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The Passover Haggadah

A brief overview of the book that serves as guide, script, and liturgy of the Passover seder.By Rabbi Louis Jacobs

Excerpted with permission from The Jewish Religion: A Companion, published by Oxford University

Rabbi Louis Jacobs Press.Haggadah--"the telling"--[is] the book containing the passages dealing with the theme of the Exodus recited at the Passover seder. The reading of the Haggadah is based on the verse, "You shall tell your son on that day: it is because of what the Lord did for me when I came forth out of Egypt" (Exodus 13:8).

Although the Talmud mentions some features of the "telling" by the father [or other leader] at the seder, no formal Haggadah was produced until the Middle Ages, when the current form was established in essence and became universally accepted.

The Haggadah now contains passages from early and late sources dealing with the Exodus, instructions for the conduct of the seder, Psalms, and other songs of praise, grace before and after meals, concluding in the Ashkenazic version with a number of table songs.

It has been estimated that no fewer than 2,000 different editions of the Haggadah have been published. No other Jewish sacred book has enjoyed such popularity. The Haggadah is, of course, a sacred book. Its theme, the delivery of the people of Israel from Egyptian bondage, is more than a celebration of freedom as such. It is a celebration of the freedom the people of Israel attained in order to become God's people and receive His Torah.

Yet even secular Jews enjoy the Passover Seder and read the Haggadah as the ancient manifesto of liberty for all. Very few secular Jews, however, have gone so far as to produce an edition of the Haggadah, like the notorious "Godless Haggadah," from which all the references to God and His deliverance have been removed.

Many Haggadot have been published with commentaries by outstanding scholars and many are richly illustrated. Illuminated manuscripts and early editions of the Haggadah are now highly prized collectors' items.

Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs (1920-2006) was a Masorti rabbi, the first leader of Masorti Judaism (also known as Conservative Judaism) in the United Kingdom, and a leading writer and thinker on Judaism.

Joseph Smith Papers website

Now access the new site at This is a wonderful addition to the LDS online presence. The intent of this new site is to "compile, transcribe, annotate and publish all of the known papers of Joseph Smith, including his revelations, journals, sermons, correspondence, business documents and other papers written by him or by others under his direction".

The Prophet Joseph Smith's Presidential Platform

With the 2012 elections coming up next year, we'll hear a lot about presidential promises and political posturing. Here's the official platform of the Prophet Joseph Smith when he formally decided to be a presidential candidate on January 29, 1844. What did he hope to accomplish?

A central banking system owned by the government, with the mother bank at Washington and branch banks in the several states.

The annexation of Texas upon her application, and the extending of an invitation to Mexico and Canada to become parts of the USA.

The immediate occupation and settlement of the Oregon region.

The reduction of the National Congress, the House tw-thirds and the Senate one-half.

The freedom of the slaves through purchase by the Federal Government, the funds to be obtained by the sale of public lands.

A reform of the prison system, which would make the prisons workhouses and seminaries of learning.

The building by the government of a dam across the Mississippi River at Keokuk and the construction of locks to aid shipping around the rapids.

A reform of the strict military punishment for desertion in time of war.

A high tariff to protect young industries.

From: The Restored Church, William Edward Barrett

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An Israeli algorithm sheds light on the Bible

FILE - This undated file photo made available by the Yad Ben Zvi Institute on Nov. 8, 2007, shows a piece of an ancient parchment believed to be part of the most authoritative manuscript of the Hebrew Bible, the Aleppo Codex. Software developed by an Israeli team of scholars led by Moshe Koppel, of Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv, is giving intriguing new hints about what researchers believe to be the multiple hands that wrote the Bible. (AP Photo/Yad Ben Zvi Institute, File) NO SALES    JERUSALEM (AP) — Software developed by an Israeli team is giving intriguing new hints about what researchers believe to be the multiple hands that wrote the Bible.

The new software analyzes style and word choices to distinguish parts of a single text written by different authors, and when applied to the Bible its algorithm teased out distinct writerly voices in the holy book.

The program, part of a sub-field of artificial intelligence studies known as authorship attribution, has a range of potential applications — from helping law enforcement to developing new computer programs for writers. But the Bible provided a tempting test case for the algorithm's creators.
For millions of Jews and Christians, it's a tenet of their faith that God is the author of the core text of the Hebrew Bible — the Torah, also known as the Pentateuch or the Five Books of Moses. But since the advent of modern biblical scholarship, academic researchers have believed the text was written by a number of different authors whose work could be identified by seemingly different ideological agendas and linguistic styles and the different names they used for God.

Today, scholars generally split the text into two main strands. One is believed to have been written by a figure or group known as the "priestly" author, because of apparent connections to the temple priests in Jerusalem. The rest is "non-priestly." Scholars have meticulously gone over the text to ascertain which parts belong to which strand.

When the new software was run on the Pentateuch, it found the same division, separating the "priestly" and "non-priestly." It matched up with the traditional academic division at a rate of 90 percent — effectively recreating years of work by multiple scholars in minutes, said Moshe Koppel of Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv, the computer science professor who headed the research team.
"We have thus been able to largely recapitulate several centuries of painstaking manual labor with our automated method," the Israeli team announced in a paper presented last week in Portland, Oregon, at the annual conference of the Association for Computational Linguistics. The team includes a computer science doctoral student, Navot Akiva, and a father-son duo: Nachum Dershowitz, a Tel Aviv University computer scientist, and his son, Idan Dershowitz, a Bible scholar at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

The places in which the program disagreed with accepted scholarship might prove interesting leads for scholars. The first chapter of Genesis, for example, is usually thought to have been written by the "priestly" author, but the software indicated it was not.

Similarly, the book of Isaiah is largely thought to have been written by two distinct authors, with the second author taking over after Chapter 39. The software's results agreed that the book might have two authors, but suggested the second author's section actually began six chapters earlier, in Chapter 33.

The differences "have the potential to generate fruitful discussion among scholars," said Michael Segal of Hebrew University's Bible Department, who was not involved in the project.  Over the past decade, computer programs have increasingly been assisting Bible scholars in searching and comparing texts, but the novelty of the new software seems to be in its ability to take criteria developed by scholars and apply them through a technological tool more powerful in many respects than the human mind, Segal said.

FILE - In this Sunday, March 14, 2010 file photo, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man writes some of the last words in a Torah scroll before it is taken from the Western Wall into the Hurva synagogue in Jerusalem's Old City. Software developed by an Israeli team of scholars led by Moshe Koppel, of Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv, is giving intriguing new hints about what researchers believe to be the multiple hands that wrote the Bible. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty, File)   Before applying the software to the Pentateuch and other books of the Bible, the researchers first needed a more objective test to prove the algorithm could correctly distinguish one author from another.So they randomly jumbled the Hebrew Bible's books of Ezekiel and Jeremiah into one text and ran the software. It sorted the mixed-up text into its component parts "almost perfectly," the researchers announced.

The program recognizes repeated word selections, like uses of the Hebrew equivalents of "if," ''and" and "but," and notices synonyms: In some places, for example, the Bible gives the word for "staff" as "makel," while in others it uses "mateh" for the same object. The program then separates the text into strands it believes to be the work of different people. Other researchers have looked at linguistic fingerprints in less sacred texts as a way of identifying unknown writers. In the 1990s, the Vassar English professor Donald Foster famously identified the journalist Joe Klein as the anonymous author of the book "Primary Colors" by looking at minor details like punctuation.

In 2003, Koppel was part of a research team that developed software that could successfully tell, four times out of five, if the author of a text was male or female. Women, the researchers found, are far more likely to use personal pronouns like "she" and "he," while men prefer determiners like "that" and "this" — women, in other words, talk about people, while men prefer to talk about things. That success sparked debate about how gender shapes the way we think and communicate.

Research of this kind has potential applications for law enforcement, allowing authorities to catch imposters or to match anonymous texts with possible authors by identifying linguistic tics. Because the analysis can also help identify gender and age, it might also allow advertisers to better target customers.The new software might be used to investigate Shakespeare's plays and settle lingering questions of authorship or co-authorship, mused Graeme Hirst, a professor of computational linguistics at the University of Toronto. Or it could be applied to modern texts: "It would be interesting to see if in more cases we can tease apart who wrote what," Hirst said.The algorithm might also lead to the creation of a style checker for documents prepared by multiple authors or committees, helping iron out awkward style variations and creating a uniform text, Hirst suggested.

What the algorithm won't answer, say the researchers who created it, is the question of whether the Bible is human or divine. Three of the four scholars, including Koppel, are religious Jews who subscribe in some form to the belief that the Torah was dictated to Moses in its entirety by a single author: God.

For academic scholars, the existence of different stylistic threads in the Bible indicates human authorship.But the research team says in their paper they aren't addressing "how or why such distinct threads exist."

Those for whom it is a matter of faith that the Pentateuch is not a composition of multiple writers can view the distinction investigated here as that of multiple styles," they said. In other words, there's no reason why God could not write a book in different voices.
No amount of research is going to resolve that issue," said Koppel.
by Matti Friedman for AP                    

The 13 Articles of Faith - LDS

We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.

We believethat through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.

We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.

We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

The Prophet Joseph Smith

History of the Church, Vol. 4, pp. 535—541

A sourcebook for understanding Jewish life

A sourcebook for understanding Jewish life
Reprinted with additions. $10. Order today!

Jewish celebration in Ghetto

Jewish celebration in Ghetto
Archive photo - 18th Century

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Get Ye Understanding...

In the beginning God didn't rest until He created man in His own image. In the end He won't rest until man creates in himself the likeness of God. Joseph Smith, Jr.
Marlena's websites:
http:// Info re firesides, see and order books, ebooks, Judaica, links to Jewish sites, much more. - link to Israel Historical References. Eleven articles from Church scholars on Israel, Jewish migrations, Arab-Israeli conflict,etc.
Order my novel- Historical fiction - Ukraine Holocaust story. My books are $10. I mail the items. To order, click on first website. All funds go toward republishing.

Charming Video of Jewish Girls' Thoughts on God

Approximate Timeline of Hebrew Events

The Talmud teaches that there are three things that can change the course of a person's life -

Teshuva (correcting your mistakes between you and the Almighty, and between you and your fellow man), Tefillah (heartfelt prayer), and Tzedakah (acts of righteousness, charity).

Check out my friend Mark Paredes' wonderful blog:

He writes well and is timely concerning issues of the Mormon and Jewish communities.

International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, Inc.

LinksInternational Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS)

Government Archives With Documents/Index On-Line

Australian National Archives
Austrian National Archives
Library and Archives of Canada
France National Archives
German National Archives
New Zealand on-line vital records
Poland's National Archives
ScotlandsPeople – National

Government Source for genealogical data for Scotland National Archives of the United Kingdom
General Interest Avotaynu / Cyndi's List of genealogical sites Family History Library Family History Library Pilot for new data on–line Easy Google Genealogy / Hebrew Immigrant Aide Society (New York City) Jewish Encyclopedia NY Public Library Digital Collection- Photographs and
Maps / Phone Book of the World Variety of helpful tools

European Websites / Internet Archive of Jewish Periodicals (German) 1806 -1938 Federation of Eastern European Family History Societies Grand Duchy of Lithuania Project Jewish Historical Institute (Warsaw,
Poland) Museum of Family History A virtual, multimedia website
created by Steven Lasky dedicated to those searching their Eastern European roots. The Project_Virtual Shtetl Museum of the History of Polish Jews Poor Jews Shelter (Site for immigration from
Eastern Europe to South Africa with temporary stay in England) Foreign Directories, Yizkor Book Search- Logan Kleinwaks Free and pay site on different databases Jewish sites in
Poland / Miriam Weiner's Roots to Routes Eastern European Archival

Holocaust Websites Auschwitz Database Alternate Auschwitz Database Site Warsaw Ghetto Database Tracing Service- Bad Arolsen Documentation Center for Austrian Resistance Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation Entrance Yad Vashem Central Database Shoah
Israel Websites genealogy
Beth Hatefutsoth - Douglas E. Goldman Genealogy Center In Israel Yad Vashem Jewish National Library Central Zionist Archives of Israel

Latin America Websites Center for Studies Latin American
Immigration—Buenos Aires (Spanish) Buenos Aires, Argentina Jewish Cemetery Indices
(Spanish) AMIA= Buenos Aires Kehila Brazil immigration indexed database
arrival records for the Port of Santos (Portuguese)

Maps Library of Congress Map Library Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection David Rumsey Historical Map Collection Google Maps University of Toronto Map Collection

Newspapers Canadian Jewish Review Google Newspapers historical archives Library of Congress Chronicling America Historic American
Newspapers Newspapers archives on line NYState Newspapers including Brooklyn Eagle to 1950 and
NY Times to 1920’s Directory of newspapers on-line free and pay sites

Sephardic Websites Sephardic Genealogy Resources / Sephardic Name Search Engine plus more

South African Websites South African Jewish Database-Kaplan Centre for Jewish Migration and Genealogy Studies Poor Jews Shelter (Site for immigration from
Eastern Europe to South Africa with temporary stay in England)

United States Websites American Jewish Archives (Cincinnati, OH) Castle Garden (New York City) / Center for Jewish History (New York City) Houses American Jewish Historical
Society, American Sephardi Federation, Leo Baeck Institute, Yeshiva University Museum and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research Ellis Island (New York) Google Newspaper Search ( some are fee for service) NYC Public Library Dorot Jewish Collection NYC Municipal Archives - NYC and LI index to vital and naturalization records National Archives (USA) NARA Genealogy Site NARA database military records (USA) military records US Personnel Center St Louis
MO (USA) genealogy United States Citizenship and Immigration Service

Prepared by Jan Meisels Allen, Director, IAJGS on 7/02/09 for 29th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy Resource Room

Copyright 2000-2009, International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, Inc.
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Adventures With the Angels of Love

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Perfect gift for teens, young adults

Missionary and Marlena at her fireside

Missionary and Marlena at her fireside

Bound for Glory

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A Restored Mahzor (Jewish prayer book)

My historical fiction novel of 1940's in Europe

My historical fiction novel of 1940's in Europe
Meet the two families - read their stories

Wailing Wall At Dusk

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Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem

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Belarus, Ukraine

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Fireside in Kirkland - March '09

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13 Uplifting Stories of LDS Converts

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May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make His face shine upon you.
and be gracious to you.
May the Lord turn His face toward you,
and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

Map Of Israel

Map Of Israel
...and the remnant shall be gathered again...

Surprises in every section!

Surprises in every section!
Stories, psalms, essays, more

Morning beauties

Morning beauties

The Hasidim (Pious Ones)

The Hasidim (Pious Ones)
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Angels are always in our midst...

Angels are always in our midst...
Have you blessed another life today?