I’d like to share a story with you. Years ago, after I’d been coming to Israel for a few years with HaYovel and had begun to work with them on a more full time basis, my younger brother Ben became interested in filmmaking. He was constantly using our home video camera to make movies with his brothers and reading every book he could get his hands on. After several years, it was apparent that he had a gift for filmmaking.
After several years of making videos with consumer level cameras and smartphones, we decided to take our media to the next level. A friend who was a filmmaker had offered to sell us one of his cameras, and through the generous investment of one of our friends, our first professional camera was purchased for $1,800! Now, we were going to do something!
Over the next year, we made many short videos, and even ventured to make a 40 minute story about HaYovel, which can still be seen on DVD today.
The next year, in the summer of 2012, Caleb Waller had a big dream. His dream was to create a show, themed around the two good spies from the Bible, who went into the land of Israel and brought back a good report to the rest of the people. In today’s world, we are constantly barraged with fake news, biased media, outright lies, and skewed opinions and negativity – especially when it comes to the Heartland of Israel. This show would be different. It would be hosted by Joshua and Caleb Waller, and would tell the real stories of what was happening in the Heartland of Israel. Through a series of phone calls, meetings and brainstorming, the idea for the Joshua and Caleb Report was born.
However, there were a few problems. We still had very little experience in media, our equipment was very limited, and none of us had a clue about how to make a TV show! We knew, however, that the idea was a winner, and something that was very needed in today’s world, so we were determined to give it a shot. Figuring that we would need about $10,000 worth of gear to pull it off, we began reaching out to individuals for sponsorships. To our shock, within less than 48 hours, we had raised more than the amount needed to buy all of the equipment! I still remember writing everyone late at night with the news – “Guys, we’re about to make a TV show.”
Through a crazy series of events, including driving 14 hours to New York City, driving into the city on a Monday morning during rush hour traffic (an experience I don’t care to repeat), buying our new cameras at a well known company, and then driving straight to the airport whilst unboxing and repacking equipment in the car, and then almost being late for our flight to Israel, the first season of The Joshua and Caleb Report – Stories from the Heartland of Israel was born.
Now, five years later, we are currently working on putting together Season 4 of the show, and have just hit our 30th episode mark! In addition to the first two seasons being released on DVD, Season 3 has been viewed online tens of thousands of times, and all three seasons have collectively been aired on six TV networks!
We are excited about Season 4 being released beginning in September, and cannot wait to see the impact that these episodes will have around the world.
We are now entering a new season, here at HaYovel. Recently, I’ve had the personal vision to greatly expand and grow the media content that we’re putting out, in order to have a greater impact on the world. Here are my ideas for growing the Joshua and Caleb Report:
- Continuing monthly episodes of stories of the people and places from Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria;
- Monthly educational episodes focusing in depth on places in the Heartland, hosted by Zac Waller;
- News broadcasts from the Heartland, twice per month,
- Short films, music videos, and more.
We are ready to launch into these new ideas and shows in the upcoming months, but we need your help. In the ever growing world of media and film, equipment wears out, needs updating, technology changes, etc. Currently, our main camera and one of our mics are on their last leg (thousands of dollars’ worth), and we need new equipment to enable us to step into the next level of filmmaking.
To continue filming the Joshua and Caleb Report episodes, and begin filming, producing, editing and releasing the new shows listed above, our media team needs the items listed below.
Would you consider investing in this work, so that we can continue being a voice for the Heartland of Israel? Please back this project, and together, we will be the voice of Joshua and Caleb to the rest of the world, with the message that the land truly is good. Click here for more information on how to get involved.
For Zion’s Sake,
Do you enjoy experiencing stories from the incredible people who live in Judea and Samaria? If so, join Joshua and Caleb Waller as they introduce this brand new Season of the Joshua and Caleb Report, stories from the heartland of Israel.
The media team from HaYovel are about to launch into the next level of filmmaking, including new shows, stories and projects – all from the Heartland of Israel. If you’d like to know what they are up to, as well as read the story of how the Joshua and Caleb Report was birthed, click here.
Should Christians be Allowed to Serve in Israel?
Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz (BIN) 18 Av 5777 – August 10, 2017
The recent op-ed by Donny Fuchs (“Snakes in the Vineyard,” Aug. 7) accuses HaYovel, a non-profit organization that brings Christian volunteers from all over the world to serve Jewish farmers in Israel, of being a missionary organization attempting to convert Jews to Christianity. From personal experience, interviews as the chief reporter for Breaking Israel News and my own research, I feel Fuchs’ article reeks of a form of xenophobia that was appropriate to galut (exile) Judaism, but that now holds Eretz Yisrael Judaism back from its higher, global purpose.
Fuchs writes that accepting non-Jewish volunteers to work in Israel violates halacha (Torah law), but he fails to cite which halacha this violates. If he is referring to the section of halacha dealing with avoda zarah (idol worship), then he is bringing up a very complex issue and an issue about which many rabbinic experts disagree. You can compare Fuchs’ statement, for example, to the simple and blunt assertion that a kosher-eating Jew cannot consume pork. It seems obvious, but this statement is not entirely accurate, as it discounts the sections of halacha dealing with taarovet (when a non-kosher mixture inadvertently occurs) or yavesh b’yavesh (when pieces of kosher and non-kosher foods are mixed). I am not a great rabbi. As such, I rely on the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, a globally accepted halachic authority, who has welcomed HaYovel – and founder Tommy Waller – with open arms. Rabbi Melamed wrote a halachic ruling on the subject in which he states that the litmus test is a love of Israel. The rabbi instructed Jews to welcome Christians who love Israel, and to consider them allies in geula (redemption).
This op-ed accuses Torah observant farmers and vintners of selling out their beliefs for free labor.
“If you cannot afford the cost of running such an enterprise, don’t do it,” writes Fuchs. He then suggests using Jewish volunteers. Doesn’t his initial admonishment still apply? Israeli industry, especially the wine industry, was built on foreign largesse.
His solutions include imported labor from Thailand. It is no less immoral to import cheap non-Jewish labor than to rely on non-Jewish volunteers. In fact, Fuchs points out himself that this could be halachically problematic.
Fuchs accuses Waller of being a missionary. At one point, early in Waller’s career, this may have been true. But myself and my colleagues have come to know Waller and HaYovel well through our work. Waller and his family are far along a path that has led them outside of the church they grew up in. They do not seek to be Jewish, nor do they seek to influence Jews. They have come specifically to connect with Jews who are strongly connected to Israel to help them find their way. But not as Jews.
I challenge Fuchs to find one Jew who has been converted or influenced by HaYovel. I personally believe Fuchs has redefined missionary as any person who comes close to Judaism but who does not want to convert. This is incorrect. A Christian who does not preach and who does not convert anyone is, by definition, not a missionary.
The Jewish people became xenophobic out of necessity in the exile. Today, when we merit to have the State of Israel, there is not the same need. The real issue is not whether HaYovel is a missionary organization or not; converting Jews is not their stated intention. The question is whether Jews and Christians can have a meaningful dialogue without trying to convert each other or prove that their God could win in some bizarre divine cage match. I believe the answer is yes.
The creation of the modern State of Israel has been enormously transformative for Judaism, but perhaps it was even more so for Christianity. It has strengthened Judaism, but it has annihilated Replacement Theology, the very basis for the Catholic Church and some branches of Christianity. Waller and many others, have turned to Judaism and Israel to be their beacon in uncharted theological territory. It is our Biblical mandate to accept them.
Moreover, with the founding of the State of Israel, Jews returned to our nachala, our inheritance, and we are once again a nation that serves Hashem. We are not a loose matrix of minyans, each trying to stand firm as a speck of light in an ocean of darkness. In the exile, the Jews forfeited most of the Torah, limiting themselves to a small fraction of the mitzvoth.
Returning to the land challenges us to redefine the Torah, making it large-as-life once again. We must move forward to the next stage: Eretz Yisrael, Beit HaMikdash and Moshiach. This will require a willingness from Jews to take their role in the world, guiding the nations through the crises they are facing today. This will require rabbis who are experts in agricultural Judaism, purity laws, Temple laws and laws of commerce. This will require the reappearance of Torah concepts that became fossils, such as ger toshav, a non-Jewish resident in the Land of Israel. This will require rabbis who can relate to non-Jews through something other than a dysfunctional conversion process. This will require a Sanhedrin, and not a Chief Rabbinate.
As the Prophets wrote: The temple was and will be a “House of Prayer for all Nations.”
Loving babies in an anti-baby world
The story of how the Old City of Jerusalem grew into the beautiful homes and neighborhoods that are known today, and how it is connected to prophecy coming to pass! Don’t miss this video by Zac Waller!