• Local Culture

    Khan-al Ahmar Bedouin Camp

    Political issues are never the focus of LDS Charities. But, often, poverty and hardship are the results of political decisions.  Our recent visit to a local Bedouin camp reminded us of this, especially for this cultures in transition. Last Monday we visited an agency in Bethany that is helping Bedouin ladies become self-reliant. Ladies in the camp embroider clothing and items which are then sold in local shops. The BYU Jerusalem Center and the Church are helping to fund this worthwhile project and part of our assignment is to help coordinate the support from the church. Sawson operates a small gift shop near the tomb where Lazarus was raised from…

  • Local Culture,  Notes

    Chronological Overview of the Holy Land – Latter Days

    It is easy to lose track of historical documents and treasured events.  By chance, I found this beautify poem by Eliza R. Snow that she wrote after her visit to the Sea of Galilee.  Her book of poems can be found at this link: https://archive.org/details/poemsreligioushi02snow/page/n5   At the Sea of Galilee  I have stood on the shore of the beautiful sea, The renowned and immortalized Galilee, When t’was wrapp’d in repose, at eventide Like a royal queen in her conscious pride.   No sound was astir – not a murmuring wave- Not a motion was see, but the tremulous lave, A gentle heave of the water’s crest- As the infant…

  • Local Culture

    Two good articles on Judaism

    Is Judaism a nationality?  What is the Jewish identity in the age of the Jewish Question? These two questions are the topics are the subject of two articles written in response to President Trump’s recently signed executive order to prohibit anti-Semitism.    They are both worth reading. In June of this year I posted another question: Are You Jewish?  It may also be worth reading as a reminder of the some of complexities surrounding the Jewish Questions.  For the question Are You Jewish, click on this link:  https://lifferthsinjerusalem.com/?p=566 Is Judaism a Nationality? Judaism is not a nationality Trump’s executive order will lead only to US Jews feeling unsafe and strangers in…

  • Local Culture,  Members and Other Friends


      We think it is difficult to communicate clearly in English. Wait until you have 4 people in a room and they all speak different languages: Russian, English, Spanish, and Hebrew.  This is how it was in Be’er Sheva last week in church.   The branch president, President Scott is in the States until the end of November.  For the last two weeks, his only counselor, Brother Hilton, has also been gone.  That gave me the opportunity to conduct the meetings and to be with the members in Be’er Sheva for the last two weeks.     While in Be’er Sheva, I met with Anna in the rest home.  Anna…

  • Local Culture,  Members and Other Friends

    Sahar Qumsiyeh

    Sahar is from Bethlehem.  She is a Palestinian lady who joined the Church and found peace despite intense conflicts and hardship. Her story is published in Peace for a Palestinian: One Woman’s Story of Faith amidst War in the Holy Land. Sahar returned to visit her family and to attend Church August 2019 Sahar is in the middle of the picture.  Here is a brief overview Received BYU Jerusalem Center scholarship to BYU. Baptized Feb 4, 1996 Attended the temple in August 1997 Received her PhD in mathematics from Turkey University 2007 Helped establish the Bethlehem Branch in 2008 Served as Jerusalem District relief society president 2011 Served in the…

  • Local Culture,  Members and Other Friends

    Ramsia’s School

    You can not go to Ramsia’s house with out being fed. She has 1000 projects to help the poor and you leave her home filled with admiration and gratitude for this Palestinian Mother Teresa.  One project is to help dyslexic children with behavioral problems. She and her friend acquired a home, converted it into a school, and now cares for 35 children.  Margaret wanted to help so she talked to the director of humanitarian services at the BYU Jerusalem Center and he donated 50 school packets. The BYU students assemble the packets as a service project.

  • Local Culture,  Members and Other Friends


    This is Masha.  A faithful, returned missionary, living in Dimona, doing her best to get enough money to take care of herself.  She has one day off a week.  Without an assignment, or being asked, she takes the few sheckles she has saved, rides the bus to Be’er Sheva, an hour away from her home, and visits this elderly sister who has just arrived from Russia. The sister from Russia is blind, has very little money, and speaks only Russian. She is uncertain about her surrounding, her future, and she has no family to help her.  You can image the relief and joy that she felt last Wednesday morning when…

  • Historic Sites,  Local Culture,  Notes

    Menorah and Medusa

    Chorazin- North of the Sea of Galilee What is the “seat of Moses”?  Who is Medusa?  Both were found in the synagogue in Chorazin. Chorazin is a city north of the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus visited this city and performed many mighty works, but none were recorded.  In fact, he said that if the same mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, the people in Tyre and Sidon would have repented. Chorazin is one of the 3 cities that he cursed because of their unbelief.  Matthew 11:21-22 The seat of Moses is where the priests would sit to show how important they were as they delivered their sermons.…

  • Local Culture

    Church in Bethlehem

    We attended church today in Bethlehem.  The little girl in this picture is 7 year old Miriam, daughter of Mohammed and our designated photographer.  I told her about Grandma Gretchen being baptized in the freezing water and how her hair froze solid.  I think Miriam is hoping for the Jordan River. During the 2nd hour, we talked about family history. Ohday, with the green shirt on the left, said his family moved to Bethlehem 800 years ago.  Mohammed, with he blue shirt, is rather new to the area. His family moved to Bethlehem 250 years ago. Both of the brothers have tons of family records and, none of their names…