Thursday, April 2, 2015

Refugees, Holocaust survivors and orphans in Ukraine

The news from Ukraine comes and goes but photos seem to bring everything back to reality. In five months the Ukrainian Hrivna went fro 13 to the US dollar to as high as 30 to the dollar. While we are Odessa and Nikolaiv  less than a week ago, the Hrivna had settled back to 25 to the dollar. Can you imagine what you would be going through if that happened in your country while prices rise, war rages in the east and work is hard to find? Here are some photos from the region that tell of a story still going on while we celebrate Passover or Easter.

Let's start in this part of the blog with refugees who have moved West in Ukraine with only what they could carry. Let's keep the pressure for the US to do something to stop the madness in Ukraine. Shalom, David Schneier







Friday, January 30, 2015

Even After Charlie Hebdo, Little in France Changes


       You would think that after a brutal massacre at the Charlie Hebdo offices in France, anti-Semites (those who hate Jews and want to eradicate them from Europe or the entire world) would lay low for a little bit. Not so! These "brave" Jew haters took on the Jewish dead who can't fight back from the grave. A few years ago in Toulouse an adherent to Islam shot Jewish children at point blank range in their school. He was hailed a hero after he died in a battle with the police. In 2006, a Muslim gang (The Barbarians) tortured to death a young Jewish man because he was a Jew. They believed all Jews have money to pay ransoms. About 15 members in the gang managed to take on one Jew and eventually left him for dead on the street. The gang's leader, after being convicted of murder, said it was better to live one day as a lion rather a lifetime as a lamb. In the Middle East, ISIS decapitates children in front of their parents because these kids won't renounce Yeshua, Jesus.
        The truth is Islamic extremists want to eliminate Jews in Europe. French Jews are making aliyah to Israel in response to terrorism directed at them only because they are Jews and to the astounding rise of anti-Semitism in France. The French government and most of Europe have caved their growing Muslim populations by curtailing the rights of free speech and expression of their citizens that disagree with Islam. They are not protecting their 600,000 Jewish citizens, the 3rd largest Jewish population in the world, as they failed to do when they deported 77,000 Jews to death camps during WW II. (I know this first hand because one of my relatives, who sought refuge in France from her native Ukraine, was deported by the Vichy government to her death.) They are not heeding the warnings of books like "Londonistan" which reveal in great detail the erosion of fairness and civil liberties in Great Britain because of their fear of offending Islam. How will this all play out and what do we face here in the US? Fear of offending others is eroding our civil liberties. This is not a time for citizens to be silent or complacent. Having an opinion and expressing it through speech or publication is critical to maintaining a free society.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

This is my story and I am sticking to it. Shalom,  David Schneier

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Update from Odessa - Bombings Increasing, Finances Plummeting






   News is getting more difficult from Odessa as the war with Russia through its surrogates continues. Here is a copy of an e-mail I just received from a friend:
" Shalom dear David and Leslie!
Happy new year! We wish you God's blessings in the New Year and each new day of your life!
A new year has come and in Odessa and there is news worthy of your attention. Over the past month, there have been 5 attacks. Most of them were small. They blew up Bank branches, or offices of volunteers (those who help the Ukrainian military or refugees). But for the last 10 days in the center of Odessa happened 3 explosions. Twice they blew up the cars (once suffered the driver, the second time was blown up empty car, but suffered passers-by). A few days before the New Year, there was an explosion at 4 o'clock in the morning. The man was carrying a package with (explosive materials) of great power, and perhaps unexpectedly, this thunder flash exploded right in his hands. Since this happened early in the morning, many people were not around, but was badly damaged nearby houses. The man was killed instantly. In Odessa, now declared anti-terrorist Operation. Maybe for someone this inconvenience (checking in the streets, checking cars, suspicious bags), but I'm willing to tolerate the inconvenience and I have hope that the explosions will stop and not happen a tragedy!
Ukraine has suffered badly, and most people in a very hard financial conditions. The price of the dollar rose more than two times (previously the dollar was worth UAH 8, today 17 UAH, on the black market 24 UAH), respectively, and commodity prices rose in two and wages remained and what was before that."

    Leslye and I lived in Odessa for 12 years and have led leadership conferences there for an additional 7 years. Life was hard but we did not have to endure an invasion and a 100% drop in the value of the money in a short period of time. If you want to help believers in Ukraine during this crisis  as well as desperate Jewish refugees from eastern Ukraine who are winding up in Messianic Jewish congregations let me know. We have now 19 years of experience in doing so and all of your donations are tax exempt. Blessings for a new year. Shalom, David Schneier

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

HANUKKAH BEGINS IN BIRMINGHAM!



    Yes, our electronic Chanukiah has just lit up on its own at Beth Hallel in Birmingham. Leslye and I wish you all an awesome Hanukkah, filled with light and love. Yeshua said he was the light of the world and he still is and will be. Shalom, David & Leslye Schneier


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

An appeal for the Jews of Europe





     As 2014 winds down we find ourselves with new challenges due to the sharp rise in anti-Semitism all over Europe and the Jewish refugee problem in Ukraine. If you want to review a listing of acts of anti-Semitism world wide, you can connect with www.antisemitism.org.il.
    Many Jews are fleeing eastern Ukraine, leaving everything behind, because of the ongoing war, a ruined economy and destruction of homes from shelling and bombing by Russian separatists and invading Russian forces and military efforts of the Ukrainian army.  Interestingly, Jewish refugees from eastern Ukraine are fleeing to the west and many of them are landing in Odessa where our Messianic congregation, Gates of Zion, is located. These refugees have nothing and need everything. We have many opportunities to share the Jewish Messiah with them as well because they are coming to see what the Messianic Jewish movement is about. There are now about 20 Messianic Jewish congregations in Ukraine in our Alliance (the IAMCS) who need support in every direction to continue their work in Ukraine. In Crimea, which was annexed by Russia, the congregations have to refile as Russian entities. This is an expense they cannot afford, and if the papers are not filed by the end of the year, the congregations will be shut down.
     If you would like to give a year end donation to help us to meet the needs of Messianic believers and congregations in Ukraine, please send a check, payable to Beth Hallel, to Beth Hallel, 2230 Sumpter St., Birmingham, AL 35226 with a note that it is for Ukrainian relief and support for our work there. Your contributions are tax deductible. Love and Shalom from David and Leslye Schneier.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Russia invades Ukraine - Again!!





    Russia is at it again. Nato reports all kinds of troops and armor have crossed the Ukrainian border and the world continues to be silent. Maybe the "effective" UN will make a pronouncement. But pronouncements have no effect on Putin. So let's keep up the prayer of protection for Ukraine and for the believers there and the Jewish people who have had to flee Eastern Ukraine. Some are showing up in Odessa and attending our Messianic Jewish congregation there. They have great needs because they had to leave with nothing. This is a great opportunity to respond through the network of congregations we work with throughout Ukraine. If you are interested please let me know in a response to this post. Also read the article at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30025138 so you can keep up with current events. Shalom, David Schneier

Armed people and military trucks are seen near a checkpoint outside a building on the territory controlled by the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic in Donetsk, A Reuters reporter captured armed men and military vehicles near a checkpoint in Donetsk on Wednesday

A column of unidentified tanks on a road near rebel-held Shakhtarsk, eastern Ukraine, 10 November  
A column of unidentified tanks was seen on a road near the rebel-held town of Shakhtarsk on Monday

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Back to Birmingham

On the way back to Birmingham from Paris, going through DFW, when I saw books by Jonathan Cahn for sale. Shalom. David Schneier.