Israel has launched a National Bible Project aimed at drawing every citizen of Israel closer to the Bible.
The initiative called "929 – Studying the Bible Together" was launched last week at the President's Residence in Jerusalem and is intended to get the entire nation involved in reading a daily potion of the Bible -- all 929 chapters of the Hebrew scriptures. Beginning on the Festival of Hanukah, the entire Hebrew Bible will be read by the nation in three years and seven months finishing up with a grand finale during Israel's 70th Independence Day celebrations.
World’s Biggest Bible Study
Brainchild of Deputy Education Minister Avi Wortzman of Bait Hayehudi (Jewish Home political party) the project aims to integrate the stories and lessons of the Hebrew Bible into everyday life of Israeli politics, culture, education and values. "Five years have passed since I made it my goal to fulfill one of my greatest dreams," said Wortzman, stressing that "within five years, one million Jews around the world are expected to participate in the program and become part of the world's biggest Bible study community."
Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau who helped jumpstart the new initiative hopes to make the Bible accessible to all of the different groups and segments of Israeli society. His cousin, Rabbi Benny Lau said that he was very excited about "the attempt to create a cure for society. A cure in which you don't complain about what you don't have, but create together what you do have."
The project is expected to cost about NIS 47 million (roughly $12 million).
1 Million Jews Expected to Participate
The entire nation will participate in a public discussion over each chapter of the Bible – a chapter a day – until all 929 chapters of the Bible are completed. The conversation will include articles, home study groups, video clips, a Facebook page and activities across social networks. There will be contributions from religious as well as secular Jews, artists, philosophers, political leaders, intellectuals, television personalities and more.
A survey conducted ahead of the project's inauguration revealed that 93% of Israelis have a Hebrew Bible in their home, but only few of them open it and read it. Religious Jews tend to spend much more time studying the religious texts and Jewish commentaries like the Mishna and Talmud than the actual text of the Hebrew Bible. Messianic Jews, on the other hand, who read almost exclusively from the Hebrew scriptures should have much to contribute to the national forum on the text of the Book of Books.
Discussions on the Messianic prophecies in the Hebrew Bible, particularly chapters like Isaiah 53, could prove to be very interesting.
Visit the projects website (Hebrew only)
Pray with us
It is our prayer for this New Year that the People of Israel would draw closer to the God of our fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. With so many dangers lurking on so many fronts, and with national elections on the horizon, we ask that our people would receive the wisdom and guidance that we so need from Book of Books, and that all Israel would come to know their Messiah, the son of David.
May this be a year of blessing, strength and shalom for Israel and for each one of you.
With warm affection,