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Fall Music and Arts Festival draws Christians and Messianic Israelis to historic Baptist Village

Sukkot festival brought together the Body of Messiah in Israel with a feeling of “family”

The Fall Music and Arts Festival, organized by­­­­­­­­­ Yuval Arts and The Messianic Jewish Alliance of Israel (MJAI) drew dozens of Israelis including believers in Yeshua (Jesus) to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles together at Israel’s Baptist Village, a tranquil community just 10 minutes from urban center in Petach Tikvah.

Originally envisioned to be an agricultural moshav for believers in the nascent State of Israel, the Baptist Village changed course in 1955 and became the George W. Truett Children’s Home for orphans of the 1948 War of Independence, which killed 1% of Israel’s Jewish population.

“As the orphanage grew, the village grew with it, eventually creating a full working farm, raising pigs and cattle along with citrus groves. Much of the original farm has since been transformed into picnic areas and sport fields, however the citrus groves remain and are still tended by village volunteers.” [source Travelujah]

This year, the Baptist Village’s staff, which includes 24-year-old Nataliah Davidov from Kfar Saba, was asked to host a music and arts festival. This year's Fall Music and Arts Festival marked the first time for such an event in the history of the village, Davidov said.

“One of the team’s core values is ‘look for a way to say yes,’ and we said yes,” she said.

Even before the festival began, the village was bustling activity, with people setting up kiosks, stands, and play stations for small children.

“The festival had not yet started but the spirit of joy was in the air,” she said.  

Davidov reflected on the creative crafts and baked goods on sale at the festival.

“There were spectacular handicrafts such as golden paper cutouts in the form of a verse on a colorful and shimmering background, delicate water paintings, ceramic works and knitted works by the Messianic Nursing Home,” she said.

She also remarked on a big olive tree arrayed with long strings “to which [participants] attached cards of appreciation to God.”

Davidov shared with ALL ISRAEL NEWS that she invited a friend from high school to the music festival, who came with her daughter – the result of an unexpected pregnancy at age 22. 

“I am thankful to say that she chose to save the baby’s life,” she said. “But as all good things do not come easily, few friends were happy with her peace and her choice to keep the child. After about two years, most of the friends who surrounded her disappeared.”

The festival included many children-focused activities with girls running around with princess tiaras and boys fighting each other with the balloon swords. Together with the music, dancing and food there was a joyful family atmosphere, even for virtual strangers.

“It moved me to see the people so engaged with one another…, no one sat alone,” she said. 

Davidov said that everyone at the festival had connected with others including her guest who “felt accepted.” 

“I believe this is what the festival gave my friend the most – an atmosphere free of judgment. American women, strangers she had never met, approached her; they all hugged her and asked how she was,” Davidov recalled.

For Davidov, “the most fulfilling part” was supporting Christian and Messianic business owners that were selling products at the festival, many of which were hand-made items.

“Towards the end of the evening, most of us were sitting there, praising, raising our hands – a whole community of people with one heart,” she shared. 

“We are not one nation but a group of nations – different groups of people from diverse ethnic backgrounds, men and women, old people and children, Jews and Gentiles, healthy and sick,” she added. “We all came to praise Jesus, to proclaim his name together; and, as my pastor always says, ‘Say hello to everyone, because we are not like family – we ARE family.’”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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