A New Website
After much planning and work, I have just created a new website about us called www.jamiecowenministries.com. In Israel I’m known as Jamie or James Cohen. That’s the name used in our law firm and on the law firm’s website. The problem with the name is that when you google Jamie Cowen, it appears that I either died over two years ago or joined the witness protection program. For all intents and purposes, I stopped existing in 2011. In addition, now with the emphasis on building a law firm here, it seems like my 22 years of ministry didn’t matter – au contraire. Yet, to be honest, highlighting or even mentioning my faith and experience in our legal work, certainly in a public manner, will drive business away. Therefore, the new website was developed to include my weekly updates, articles, recorded sermons, background and a means to donate.
First, the name of the site – jamiecowenministries.com. I know it sounds egotistical, as if I’m some big macher, but I figured it would be the easiest way to find me via google. I guess I could have used a name like lostinhebrew.com, but then it would be difficult to track me down, and I’d have to explain to everyone why the name – too embarrassing. Even worse, with such a website, pranksters would likely trap me by sending me messages in Hebrew, and then I’d be faced with the constant reminder of my language limitations. Also, the anti-missionary article that was written about me last summer appeared as the first reference in a google search of my name and still appears on the first page. Thus, folks going to my website will help drive down the position of the other article.
What I’m hoping will be a highlight of the website is the ability to listen to my messages given over a 20 year period. I brought with me cassette recordings of my messages from 1991-2005. All of these messages need to be converted to a digital format in order to put them on the website, and Mark Chopinsky of Israel’s Hope fame and his son, Eli, are doing this in their recording studio here for a very reasonable price. After 2005 my messages were recorded on CD in digital format. Folks have them in Richmond, and they will be uploaded directly to the site. All in all, there are about 1000 messages, none of them repeated although general themes were repeated from time to time. In the last 10-12 years of my service as rabbi at Tikvat Israel, I often spoke directly from the Torah portion read that week. In Judaism the Torah (5 books of Moses) are divided into 54 readings spread out over a year, so that the totality of the Torah is read every year. What I’m hoping to do is to locate the messages connected to the weekly Torah reading and make at least one of them the highlighted message for that particular week. This will assist those who follow the Torah portions when they read the Scriptures. During my years at Tikvat, the person responsible for handling the sound and doing recordings for most of that time was my good friend, Jerry TerLouw, probably the most godly sound man on earth. Jerry, a big thank you for your sacrificial service over all those years.
Another feature of the site will be cataloguing my weekly updates since we moved here, so folks wanting to follow our escapades can do so. I’m also including articles I’ve written or am writing on spiritual subjects. In addition, I’m hoping to write articles about my experiences in Richmond and before to highlight how God has worked in our lives. Many of our experiences need to be recorded as a way to encourage people that God is real and active in the world today. As an example, I recently wrote an article and published it to the website about the history of Russian Immigration Services, an organization we established alongside our congregation in Richmond to assist the Russian Jews immigrating there. It was probably the most rewarding work in my 22 years serving in the congregation.
In addition, there is a description about our ministry here in Israel – Adonai Shamah Congregation, and a way to support our work. Jamie Cowen Ministries is not an organization. Rather, the organization to which support can be sent is the congregation, which is a 501 c 3 organization. When we’re back in the States in the summer, we will also set up a page to sell items, such as Stacy’s worship CD (and hopefully more CDs in the future) and my Jewish history course.
Lastly, I want to give a huge thank you to my good friend, Jason Linas, who designed this site. He’s a wonderful, giving friend, who is a very talented web designer. If you’re in need of work, I suggest you check out his website at www.jlinasdesign.com.
Last week we celebrated the holiday of Purim, originating from the Book of Esther in the Bible. Purim is considered a minor Jewish holiday, but in Israel everyone celebrates it. Basically, it’s a godly Halloween. Our kibbutz had a big Purim party last Friday night, and the theme was horror shows. (Whatever happened to the godly Halloween). We didn’t feel too comfortable with the celebration, and besides, it began at 10 PM, and we oldies are already in bed by then, so we missed it. However, the following day, Ohalei Rachamim (Tents of Mercy) congregation near Haifa, where we often go on the weeks our own congregation doesn’t meet, held a party during their main service. Everyone was to come dressed up.
Because I got caught up in several conversations I missed out on the famous hamantaschen pictured below. Hamantaschen is a Yiddish word for the pastries eaten during the holiday. They’re supposed to represent Haman’s (the villain in the Book of Esther) hat, pockets or ears, as the case may be. In Israel they’re referred to as Oznay Haman (Haman’s ears). I did get some pretty good ones from the local bakery, however.
For those wanting to make tax deductible contributions to our ministry, you can send checks payable to Adonai Shamah Congregation (our congregation here), 2510 Stratford Road, Richmond, Virginia 23225. Thank you for your assistance.
Lehitraot (see you later), Jamie Cowen