No. 597



We have a good friend here in Conway who has a little sign in her home that says, "My boss is a Jewish carpenter." When I was growing up in Gould, a small community in Southeast Arkansas, I didn't know much at all about the Jewish people. My limited knowledge came from a couple by the name of Sandstein, who had a variety store next door to our restaurant. And then, I only knew that they were Jewish.

As a quick sidebar, I remember one Halloween night when several of us boys took their woodpile from the back and piled it all around in front of the store, blocking the entrance. The next morning when I got up and went outside, I saw Mr. Sandstein surveying the situation, and without telling him I was involved, I helped him move it back where it belonged.

When I shared this true story with Viola, she could not believe that I had done something like this. I told her that at least it was better than turning over someone's outhouse with them in it!

As a young lad, I attended church back in those days, but did not spend any time reading or studying the Bible, so I was really green. You understand this was back in the days before television, much less all the 24- hour, cable news channels we have today, that show the plight of the Jews since they came back into their homeland in 1948. It has been a constant struggle for the nation of Israel just to survive, with Arab leaders on every hand vowing to wipe them off the face of the earth. A little more than 20 years ago, when I began to study the Bible and read it all the way through each year, I began to better understand this centuries-old conflict.

In reality, the nation of Israel would not exist today were it not for the loyalty and support of the United States of America. We have a bond with this nation unlike any other in the world, and for good reason. As a Christian nation, this is our heritage. Our very spiritual roots are to be found in the struggles of the Jewish people for hundreds of years. There are volumes of work, both written and spoken, to support this statement, but probably none better than two verses of scripture found in Genesis 12:2-3: "I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you and make your name great, and you will a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you."

Since I am not Jewish and have had no real interest in the modern-day history of Israel, I have just seen and heard bits and sketches of what the news was reporting, including sitting there a few years ago watching the Scud missiles coming in every few minutes. Thanks to a great book I received (unsolicited,) titled "Defining Moments" written by Gordon Zacks, I have learned more about the history of Israel by reading this book than all the other sources combined.

The author, Gordon Zacks, was born in 1933 - free-Jewish - in America, to wonderful parents of modest means. He became a highly successful businessman, retiring as CEO and president of the R.G Barry Corp. in 2004. Going back to 1948, his defining moment was when he decided to be a part of the rebirth of the Land and redemption of the People of Israel. In his wonderful and inspiring book he sets out to give detailed accounts of all the central players - including American, Israeli and other leaders - and the roles they have played in this ongoing saga. To be sure, every day is a crisis in Israel.

You will read about the defining moments, from first-hand accounts of people like David Ben Gurion, Moshe Dayan, Boris Yeltsin, George H.W. Bush, Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin, Bill Clinton and countless others who have played a role in the history of Israel. I can whole-heartedly recommend the book "Defining Moments" by Gordon Zacks. ---

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, Ark. 72034. To support literacy, buy his book, "Learning, Earning & Giving Back.")