Israel 2010 ~ Missed Appointment ~ New Appointment and Radio Show from the Old City

It was the last day of this years Feast of Tabernacles holiday in Israel. So much to do in little time before everything shut down for the “Last Day of the Great Feast”. I joined Jan Willem van der Hoeven’s and the delegates from the International Christian Zionist Center at the Garden Tomb; one of my favorite places in Jerusalem. Although I may have been to the Garden Tomb more than 50 times in my life it never gets old. It is here that one can sit in the cool, quiet, sanctuary of this set-apart place. It is here one can reflect of the goodness of God found in the story of the life, death, burial and the resurrection of our Lord and listen to the nations sing hymns that He is Alive!

After our communion ceremony we had a few moments before we had to board the bus that was going to the Mamila Mall, near the Jaffe Gate. Perfect for me; I had an appointment at noon at the gate. On my way to the Jaffe Gate I stopped to sign a petition in support of Israel not to divide the land. While standing there I was handed three tickets to the closing night of the ICEJ with Reinhardt Bonke in Ein Gedi. I handed two tickets to my friend and I kept one telling her that I would find some transportation for us to get to the desert. Then I scurried up the steps as it was three minutes to noon and I had an appointment. 

If you have ever been to the Jaffe Gate you know that is a very busy place. I stood in front of the Information Center waiting for my friend. She wanted to take a few items to the Children’s Home before she returned home to America and she needed me to take her there. Time was slipping away as I looked for her in the crowds of people. I looked at my cell phone clock; 20 minutes had passed  then I remembered things were going to be closing in a few hours. There would be no buses or Jewish taxi drivers. I began to think that it wasn’t such a good idea to be going to Ein Kerem, about a 45 minute cab ride and get back to the city before things closed. I left and went back to the mall seeking one of her friends thinking that she had gone down there. I found a friend who said she thought she was at the gate waiting for me. I returned to the gate and waited a few more minutes. Somehow we just didn’t see each other, so off I went. I still had to find transportation to get to Ein Gedi. I remember that I had some reliable taxi driver phone numbers in my apartment. Seeing the hour it was, things had to move quickly to be at the event on time.

I was hurriedly walking down Jaffe Road and had to make a quick stop. All of a sudden I looked up to see a man who was somewhat out of breath. He recognized me as being an American and asked if I could help him. He was looking for a place where he could charge his cell phone. I told him “Yes, you can charge it at the Orange store on Ben Yehuda. It is this way, walk with me.” As we walked down the road we introduced ourselves and exchanged information. I got him to the store, which only lead us to another . . . a very common thing that happens in Israel. I told him I had to go and he was on his own as I bid him farewell. I had to get to my taxi cards. The next hour was somewhat crazy as I tried to find a taxi to go to the hotel to pick my friends up for the desert meeting. I found one and sent word to my friends at the hotel. It was at that point I opted out of going. It was now after 2:30 and I felt after the whirlwind of my day, I just needed to take a break. Then I remembered the guy I had met on Jaffe Road. I wondered if he got his phone charged. I called his phone and he answered. I apologized that I had to leave so quickly after meeting him. We chatted a few moments and then he asked me what I was doing the rest of the day. I told him not much as I was just going to hang out because I couldn’t get to the ICEJ Ein Gedi meeting . It was then he asked if I wanted to be on his radio program and could I be at the Jaffe Gate at 4:30. I thought “Why not?  I said I would love to join him and his friends.” While I don’t like missing appointments like I did earlier in the day, perhaps this is why I met this guy on Jaffe Rd.

Well, I had a blast with my new friend Jamie Louis from Torah 2 The Nations. I joined Jamie and Eric Bissel for 2 hours sitting under a Sukka in Yemin Moshe overlooking the Old City walls.  Before the radio show we thought we would be able to go to the desert meeting. 

After the show we looked at the time and felt the hour and half drive to the desert wasn’t going to work out. So we headed to the Kotel (Western Wall). Then we went and ate dinner at a wonderful Armenian restaurant in the Old City that I hadn’t ate at before, but I will return, it was awesome and a fun place.

To you want to listen to the interview please go to



Israel 2010 ~ Arutz Sheva ~ Israel National News

Have you ever wondered if there was a “voice” of Israel that isn’t dominated by governments? Instead of me writing about the “control” of media, I’ve posted a few minutes of a video that I took on September 27, 2010 on You Tube. It is at the radio station of Arutz 7 (Sheva) a/k/a Israel National News.

For the record, I recorded this on the day that the building moratorium in Judea and Samaria had been lifted. Since that time there is increased pressure to begin a second moratorium and even more to divide the land.

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem, and Israel.


Cynthia Hillson

Israel 2010 ~ Valarie: A Holocaust Survivor ~ An Artist ~ And My Friend

I wish I could take everyone I know to Israel to meet my friend Valerie. She is 90 years old, a Holocaust Survivor, an artist and she is my friend.  On my website you will see a picture of her and I together a few years ago.  

Valerie’s story is amazing. She married at 24; five days later she was separated from her husband and taken to Auschwitz Birkenau. She escaped; many did not. The memory of the Holocaust became her life’s work through pen and ink drawings. Using the olive tree to identify her people the drawings trace her family’s history.  This is a picture of one that she has displayed in her office. (Sorry for the flashback but it still tells the story.)

Olive Tree Holocaust Story by Valarie

This picture is only one of many that Valerie has drawn. In this picture you will notice one half of the olive tree is alive; the other half is dead.  A few years ago, when I first met Valerie, we stood in her office and looked at this picture on the wall; she told me this is her husband and herself. I still feel the depth of grief in my heart as she told me that story.

It is always quite amazing to me how the Lord interacts in my Israel travels. While I was in Israel I had been contacted that someone wanted to send me a gift and I would know what to do with it. Of course I did, of all the things I still needed or wanted to do before departing Israel, I wanted to visit Valerie. I knew I had to buy one of her watercolor paintings. She paints scenes of Jerusalem and sells them for $100 each. I had been sent word that she was in need of finances for medications and nutritional supplements that are costing hundreds of dollars a month. For someone on a Pensioners salary earning a few dollars from the sale of her artwork helps meet the medicine expenses.

As I sat an looked over her artwork I chose this one.  It is one that she painted on Israel’s 60 Year Independence Day in May 2008. This was perfect as I was in Israel during this season. She had been playing solitaire and moved the cards aside so she could sign it.

After I gave her the US Ben Franklin she scurried off to another room.  I gazed at her precious gift and thought how wonderful it is that many of her watercolors show vibrant colors and flowers; not the  barren olive trees of the Holocaust artwork.

She returned and sat down next to me with jar in her hands. She began to tell me that I helped her that day so she could buy more of the supplements that she takes each day. This one in particular helps with her bones. I wrote down the information so I could acquire some and take back to Israel with me on my next journey so she could save on the shipping from the US.

I left her home in the quiet neighborhood of Rehavia in Jerusalem with only a few hours until I had to be at the airport. I told her that I would see her on my next trip to Israel and instead of being the last thing I do when I arrive, she will be one of the first things that I do.

I am making plans to return to Israel over the next few months. If you want to come with me on my Spring or Fall journey it is possible that you will get to meet Valerie and have the opportunity to own one of her pieces of art. You will also have the opportunity to plant an olive tree in the Negev in honor of Valerie and other Holocaust Survivors. Please go to my website for more information.

To close, I just want you to know that the Olive Tree Holocaust artwork collection is not for sale; it is being kept for a time in the future.


Cynthia Hillson