Beit Yeshua







Set-Up &



Folk Dance



Chuck &

Curtis &





















































































































Pesach/Passover in December


Pesach is a Biblical Festival that occurs in the Spring each year, during the months of March or April.  When we were invited to do a Pesach/Passover Seder for the youth from the St. Stephens Campus of Christ Church in Hickory on December 17th, we were pleased to be able to share the experience with them.  In previous weeks, Youth Pastor Jesse Smith had completed a teaching & discussion on Passover with the group and this Seder gave them the opportunity to experience it.


(Below) Paul & Doug add elements to the Seder Plates ...


... and sound the shofarot to begin the evening
(Below) Everyone takes their places and the Seder begins
(Below Right) Festival candles are lit and the blessing said
(Below Left) Jesse watches as the youth take in the experiences of Pesach/Passover
(Below) The first cup of wine (grape juice) is poured
(Below) Water bowls are passed and hands washed
(Below) Curtis and Doug lead the group in the Seder
(Left)  The "4 Questions" are asked ...
(Right) ... and we examine the matzah
  (Below) Bitter herbs & Kharoset are tasted
(Below) The Passover Story - the story of Redemption - is told
The 10 plagues are recited as we dip our finger into the grape juice ...
... letting a drop fall on to our napkins
(Below) The shankbone is displayed and the egg explained
(Below) We sing a rousing version of "Dayenu" - "It Would Have Been Enough"
(Below) The Afikomen is searched for and found
(Below Left) The door is opened and we look to see if Elijah, the prophet, is there
(Center & Right) The Seder is enjoyed by all
(Below) The Seder is concluded ...
"La'Shana Ha Ba B'Yerushalayim"
Next Year in Jerusalem
Thanks to Youth Pastor Jesse Smith of the St. Stephens campus of Christ Church for the invite to share the Passover Seder with the youth of your church and to Mary for opening your home to all of us.
Hanukkah - Feast of Dedication/Lights
We gathered in the Family Life Center of Covenant Bible Church on Friday, December 19th,
to celebrate Hanukkah as a group - two days before the actual date of the holiday.
Thanks to Duke for the great photo
Several of us arrive 90 minutes early to decorate, set up tables & chair as well as sound,
and make sure that all was ready for our Hanukkah Celebration.
(Below) Myrl & Carolyn work on decorations, while Curtis organizes Hanukkah play props
(Below) Lynda works on decorations for the tables while Doug greets the arriving guests
(Below) Myrl & Chuck finalize the table for the Hanukkias that guest are bringing
(Below) Doug practices his shofar blowing while Chuck sets up his Hanukkia
(Below) Bill, Barry, Doug, Chuck & Curtis - waiting on additional guests
(Below Left) Bill, Melba & Doug
(Below Right) Janice & Rita
(Below) Christ, Chuck, Bill, Doug & Paul blow shofarim
to announce the beginning of our celebration
(Below) Curtis invites everyone to gather for the lighting of the hanukkias
(Below) Hanukkias are lit
Baruch ata Ado-nai, Elo-heinu Melech ha'olam,
She'hecheyanu, vekiyemanu vehigi'anu laz'man hazeh
Blessed are You, Oh Lord our G-d, King of the universe,
Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season
(Below) Susan lights Shabbat candles while Paul says the blessing over the bread & wine
(Below) Part of the evening was set aside for Praise, Worship & Dance
We typically choose to tell the Hanukkah story in the form of a humorous play.  Actors in the play typically don't know they will have a part.  Curtis, who directs the play, frequently doesn't know who will have a part in the play until all the guests arrive - it all depends on who is in attendance at the festivities for the evening.
(Below Left) Sheryl & Carolyn were the Narrators
(Below) Guests are pulled out of the audience to perform in the play
Melba give Gid a little help with his Judah Maccabee costume
(Below Left) Kirk is King Ahashuerus' Servant

(Below Right) Janice gets a fake moustache and is cast as a Jew named Emet who is willing to compromise his/her

This is Antiochus IV - also called Antiochus Epiphanes.  Antiochus was born about 215 B.C. and is the King of Syria - and not a very nice person.  He has recently invaded Israel and seized power.  He’s even taken control of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.  Have you ever seen a more evil-looking face?  ... A real "sinful root"!

This is Antiochus’ “lovely” wife, Laodice.  She was married to “two” of Antiochus’ brothers before she married him.  She is also Antiochus’ sister! 

Laodice has a daughter, Nysa.  And just to keep the facts straight, she is not Antiochus Epiphanes’ daughter - she’s his step-daughter and also his niece!   Talk about one mixed-up family!


Personally, that sounds a little “harsh” to me.  Me, a “sinful root”?  I don’t think so.  I do have everything I’ve ever wanted, though.  I rule these people here in Israel, and if they don’t do what I say, I have them killed.  After all, they’re simply here for my pleasure.  Surely that doesn’t make me a “sinful root”!  Does it?  Really!!!!


No, no, my dearest darling!  You’re not any more sinful than I am.  If you were, I’d know it.


Thank you my dear, Laodice.  Your encouragement shows me that I was right when I decided to take you, my sister, as my wife.  Am I a better husband than my brother was to you?


You’re a wonderful husband, Antiochus.  These Hebrews are a “lower class” of people.  They’re foolish and need someone to rule over them.  They’re fortunate to have you to “care” so much for them as you do.

(Below) Narrator, Nysa, Narrator, Laodice, King Antiochus & his Attendant
(Left to Right) Sheryl, Myrl, Carolyn, Allison, Bill & Kirk

But enough about these “lower-class” characters.  Let’s get on to the good ones.

One of the heroes of our story is an elderly Jewish man by the name of Mattathias.  He is a priest from the tribe of Levi.  He loves HaShem and has raised his sons to love Him, too.

Mattathias has 5 sons - the chiefest of whom is our hero, Judah.  Look at that noble chin … those muscles … those rugged good looks … that determination.

Our story also includes three other Jewish men.

James is a devout Jew who spends all of his free time studying Torah.  Saul and Emet are 2 Jewish men who are willing to compromise their faith when it suits them - and it suits them often!

Now, let’s get on with our story.

(Below) Emet the "Compromising Jew", Mattathias Maccabee, Judah Maccabee,
Saul the "Wishy-Washy" Jew, and James the "Devout Jew"

(Left to Right) Janice, Doug, Gid, Paul & Chuck


Hear ye!  Hear ye!  The noble King Antiochus and his beautiful Queen Laodice have wonderful plans!  A Greek gymnasium will be built here in Israel so that you Jews can join with us in numerous athletic competitions.  The winners of these games with be given great honor - and even treated like friends and relatives of the noble family.



(Speaking to Emet & Saul)  Like their friends and relatives?  I’ve seen how they treat their friends and relatives, and if they want to treat me like that… I think I’ll pass. 



Sometimes you have to compromise a little, James, to keep everyone happy.



Yahweh, Blessed be His Name, would not have us to mix with these Gentiles.  These Greeks will never accept us.



You’re wrong, James.  They’ll love us.  You’ll see.  They just don’t like that fact that we act so …  different.



Different?  Just because we cover our heads when we pray?  Just because we refuse to worship pagan gods?  Different because HaShem has given us Shabbat and the Festivals?  Saul, we are different!  We’re Jews!  We’re the “chosen” people!



Well, for once, couldn’t He choose someone else? 

(Below) Saul, James & Emet discuss the possibilities of compromising
so that they can get along with the Syrians. 

Emet holds a sign, "A Little COMPROMISE Makes the World an Easier Place in Which to Live"


Antiochus found the books of the law and had them torn to pieces and burned.  They put to death the women who had their children circumcised, as well as their families and those who performed the circumcision.  But many in Israel stood firm and resolved in their hearts to obey the commandments of God.  They chose to die rather than to be defiled, and many did die.

(Below - Cast Left to Right)
Sheryl, Carolyn, Myrl, Allison, Bill, Kirk, Melba, Janice, Curtis, Doug, Gid, Paul & Chuck


There was also living in Israel, a priest by the name of Mattathias, with his five sons.  Even though he was almost 80, his neighbors respected him for his wisdom and courage.
I will not bow to foreign gods, my son.
How can this Syrian come here, claim to be our king, and just take over?

Because we let him, son.  But HaShem will not leave us in Antiochus’ hands.

(Below) Mattathias and his son, Judah
(Speaking to Mattathias) You are a leader, honored and great in this city, and supported by sons and brothers. Be the first to come and do what the king commands, then you and your sons will be numbered among the friends of the king, and you and your sons will be honored with silver and gold and many gifts.  And who knows - the King might even favor you with an arranged marriage for your son, Judah, to his “lovely” step-daughter, Nysa!
Even if all the nations that live under the rule of the king obey him and depart from the religion of his fathers, I and my sons and brothers will live by the covenant of our fathers. We will not desert Yahweh’s law and ordinances.  And as far as a marriage between Judah and that witch Nysa is concerned - that would be a curse - not a blessing!


Hey!  That’s a little harsh, don’t you think?

(Below) Antiochus' Attendant with Mattathias and Judah
When the Attendant had finished speaking, the Jew Emet came forward in the sight of all to offer sacrifice upon the altar in the way Antiochus had commanded.
What are you doing, Emet?  Have you no honor, no faithfulness to your God?
I’m doing as our king has commanded!
We have no king but Yahweh!
When Mattathias saw what Emet was doing, he gave way to righteous anger. He ran and killed him upon the altar. At the same time he killed Antiochus’ Attendant who was forcing them to sacrifice.  Then he tore down the altar.

(Below) Emet rushes up to offer sacrifice on the gentile altar ...


(Below) ... and pays the price when he is killed by Mattathias

Let every one who is zealous for the Torah and supports the covenant of God come with me!
Judah was not intimidated by Antiochus’ attempts to crush their rebellion.  Every time Antiochus attempted to crush Judah and his followers, Yahweh gave the Jews victory after victory.
Don’t fear their numbers or be afraid of them. Remember how our fathers were saved at the Red Sea, when Pharaoh pursued them.  Instead, let us cry to Heaven.  Yahweh will favor us and remember his covenant with our fathers and crush this army before us today.  Then all the Gentiles will know that there is One who redeems and saves Israel.  It is not the size of the army that determines the victory.  Our strength comes from Heaven. Yahweh himself will crush them before us, “nu?”  As for you, do not be afraid of them.
Judah’s strength is awesome!  He’s like a hammer, destroying the enemies of God.  That’s what his name should be, Judah Maccabee … Judah the Hammer … “Bone-a-fied” Hero.

(Below) Judah - a real "Bone-a-fied" Hero

I think it’s time we leave this morbid place, my king.  What do you think?
That might be a good idea, Laodice!
Well, it’s about time!  Let’s go to Pompeii!  I hear it’s lovely there at this time of the year, and we’ll not have any worries living in that peaceful city!
(Below) Nysa, Laodice & Antiochus


Judah chose blameless priests ,devoted to the law, who cleansed the sanctuary and removed the defiled stones. They tore down the altar which had been profaned by the Gentiles and built a new one.  They also rebuilt the sanctuary and the interior of the temple, and consecrated the courts. They made new holy vessels. Then they burned incense on the altar and lighted the lamps on the lampstand. They placed the bread on the table and hung up the curtains. Thus they finished all the work they had undertaken.
Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, which is the month of Chislev, they rose and offered sacrifice, on the new altar.
(Below) Judah, Saul & James

The 2008 Hanukkah Play Cast
(Below) Carolyn, Allison, Myrl, Sheryl, Kirk, Bill, Melba, Gid, Paul, Chuck, Janice & Doug


(Below) Kirk directs the kids in playing the dreidel game

Hanukkah at Chuck & Janice's

(Below) Chuck & Janice light the 1st candle of Hanukkah in their home in Lincolnton


(Below) Chuck & Janice display their new 3-panel canvas photo of Jerusalem

(Men - Left to Right) Chuck, Doug & Paul
(Ladies - Left to Right) Rita, Janice, Lynda, Myrl, Carolyn Susan
Hanukkah at Curtis & Carolyn's

Day 1

(Below) Curtis lights the 1st candle of Hanukkah in their home in Catawba


Day 2

(Below) Carolyn lights the candles on the 2nd night



Day 3

(Below) Curtis lights the candles for the third night


Day 4

(Below) The fourth night of Hanukkah


Day 5

(Below) Savanna and Ali light the candles on the 5th night


Day 6

(Below) The 6th Night of Hanukkah


Day 7

(Below) The 7th Night of Hanukkah


Day 8

(Below) The 8th Night of Hanukkah


See you in 2009!


Go to 2008, Page 2 - April to June

Go to 2008, Page 3 - June to August

Go to 2008, Page 4 - September to November

Go to 2008, Page 5 - December