July 2020 — Our Jewish Roots Production Update

The show must go on? Writing this in the middle of July 2020, it is easy to conclude that caution is a prudent response during a surge in Coronavirus cases. It would be reckless for any organization (including ministries) to coerce employees or volunteers to do something out of their comfort zone. When the original pandemic lockdown order came in March, we made very sure that everyone was comfortable with the safety protocols we adopted. If anyone hesitated, we were willing to change our plans and procedures to accommodate their concerns.

With this in mind, when scheduling the Harts’ trip into Dallas for our next studio session, we wondered if they’d be okay with air travel, which could increase their exposure to the virus. Kirsten and David responded positively and without hesitation: They were ready and willing to fly in from Branson, Missouri to record the studio segments. We have come to expect such cooperation from them. (Praise the Lord for that!) We offered an alternative — driving as they had done in the past — but they insisted on a preference for flying. We proceeded as planned.

Still, what if another, more-severe lock down happened? How could “the show go on?”

We are currently in the process of installing a system of computer, lights, microphones, and support equipment in the Harts’ home. With this setup, they can record interviews using the Zoom video conferencing app. You, the viewer, will be able to watch these interviews, not on our television program but on our social media outlets. Keep an eye out for these virtual conversations. If you are not connected with Our Jewish Roots on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, you are missing out on a lot of interesting and educational content.

Even though the quality of Zoom is sufficient for social media, it is unfortunately not high enough resolution for our television broadcast stations and networks. You might have seen late night talk shows or news programs on your local stations that appear to be a Zoom meeting. Don’t be fooled! The networks are using equipment that is specially designed to meet technical broadcast specifications. This technology is constantly evolving, and OJR will continue to look into it. We pray that we will never need it.

Meanwhile, we are making prudent decisions to safeguard everyone’s health while keeping the production wheels at Our Jewish Roots spinning! Please join us in praying that the Lord will protect us all from the virus and guide us into new ways of sharing the Good News of Yeshua!

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June 2020 — Our Jewish Roots Production Update

The photo above was taken in May when we came together (but not too closely) to record the studio segments for our new series, Revelation: Unveiling the Visions,currently airing on Our Jewish Roots. We acted responsibly by practicing “social distancing” whenever we could; and when we couldn’t, we wore face masks, used hand sanitizer, and washed our hands often. When you watch the new series, you will notice added space between the Harts and Dr. Seif on the set.

Do you feel awkward not shaking a hand or giving a hug to people you know well and care about? The “elbow bump” is a poor substitute. David, Kirsten, and Jeff appear to enjoy working together … and they do. Actually, everyone on the Berg Productions crew works together well. We are thankful for that, and it is one of the reasons that we always begin each studio day in prayer. We know whence our strength comes (Psalm 121:2).

Several people — never or rarely seen — work behind the scenes to make an episode of Our Jewish Roots. We rent studio space in Haltom City, Texas, and hire a professional “gaffer,” Bob Truax. (A gaffer makes necessary adjustments and finely tunes the lighting.) We have a longtime relationship with a professional makeup artist (Belin Parks) who gets and keeps David, Kirsten, and Jeff looking good in front of the camera. Three camera operators (Caleb Colson, Bill Elliott, and Ken Waller), all of whom work out of our Berg Productions office, cover every angle. Office manager and social media coordinator Andrea Davis keeps track of scripts and timings. Producer Clayton Herring (that’s me) keeps things moving and helps director Kenneth Berg, who actively orchestrates the camera angles and remains the driving force behind the television program, just as he was in Zola’s day.

Absent from the studio for only three months since filming Kings and Kingdoms, we returned to a surprise. It may have been the COVID quarantine or even the new grandson, but you will soon see for yourself … Kirsten changed her hair color from dark brown to golden blonde! What doesn’t change: our commitment to producing our weekly television program and expanding our reach and exposure on the Internet.

Revelation: Unveiling the Visions is the first time this ministry has walked chapter by chapter through the Book of Revelation with all of its many ups and downs. While we know that things end well, we are thankful that the Lord has protected everyone affiliated with this ministry. We pray for your protection too, knowing that one day we will see our Messiah return to rule and reign. “Come quickly, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20).

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May 2020 — Our Jewish Roots Production Update

Presenting the Jewish Roots of the Christian faith is this ministry’s driving force and has been since 1979. In addition to that, we emphasize Israel and Bible prophecy, particularly how Israel figures in Bible prophecy.

News reports continue to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, not only for Americans but for people worldwide. These reports dwell on our circumstances and tend to breed a sense of fear and helplessness.

How appropriate, then, that ZLM is currently producing a new television series, “Revelation: Unveiling the Visions,” that reminds viewers that God is still in control and that pandemics don’t surprise Him. All the prophecies revealed to John on the island of Patmos either came true or are about to sooner than many suppose.

How fast should societies return to the way we lived before COVID-19 hit? Politicians and medical experts argue this dilemma and scapegoat each other.

Our television production crew was fortunate (PTL) in being able to film all of Dr. Jeffrey Seif’s Revelation teachings a week before sheltering in place began. We wondered if the situation would improve enough for us to film the studio segments in an actual studio and not remotely via cell phones. We optimistically set a date for late May, and God looks to be making it work!

Aside from social distancing and wearing face masks, we’re taking other precautionary measures. In pre-COVID days, we would fill a table with water bottles, nuts, sweet and salty snacks, and the like. In the business, this is called “craft services,” a term that originated in the motion picture industry. Crew members who provide “crafts” such as costumes, makeup, lighting, camera, etc. customarily receive snacks (“services”) provided by an outside company. Just so you know, a caterer provides a full, usually hot, meal, whereas “craft services” are just munchies set out for the crew.

Since Our Jewish Roots, involves the fewest number of workers possible, our “craft services” table is small. I should say was small, because having one small table where everyone walks by and grabs some nuts out of a dish, or some peanut butter pretzels (Dr. Seif’s favorite!) from a plastic jug would not be safe now! So we decided to take a cue from the airlines and provide each person with their own “goody bag” of snacks.

Even though the coronavirus is still among us and may resurge with a vengeance, we production crew are not deterred from bringing you the Bible’s Good News. The visions that God showed John on Patmos in the first century demonstrate that God has a masterplan and that ultimate victory awaits those of us who are His.

All of us a Berg Productions hope that you are counted as one of His, and we encourage you to continue watching our program and all the other social media we post on the Internet (Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter). Also, please make sure that those close to you hear the Good News of Messiah. They need to exchange their fears for faith in the One who has created everything!

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April 2020 — Our Jewish Roots Production Update

By Clayton Herring, producer at Berg Productions

For Our Jewish Roots, our TV production team constantly seeks to present God’s Word in ways that are meaningful and relevant. In this spirit and during this presidential election year, we’ve produced a series that compares the success or failure of ancient kings of Israel and Judah, uncovering lessons in Godly leadership and principles that still apply to the leaders we choose today. This eight-part series, Kings and Kingdoms, debuted the first week in May and continues through June. (You can watch missed episodes on levitt.tv — for free.)

At the beginning of the year, we had no idea that the biggest story of 2020 would be a global pandemic causing the death of thousands and resulting in billions of people around the world sheltering in place. When the shelter order came in our area, the ministry office closed to the public and workers began working from home.

The production office also sent home those who could work remotely. Those who could not developed safety protocols and rotations to prevent infection. (So far, so good, thank the Lord!) Fortunately, we continued operating under the media exemption. Otherwise, all our weekly programs, news updates, YouTube, and other social media postings — everything — would have come to a complete stop in less than fourteen days.

The week before the shelter-in-place order was issued, we had recorded Dr. Seif’s teaching segments for a new prophecy series Revelation: Unveiling the Visions. But we hadn’t yet filmed the segments featuring David, Kirsten, and Jeff together in the studio. How can this be accomplished if the studios are not reopened in time? Or if the ten-person gathering limit is still in effect? We know that Revelation’s July debut could be in jeopardy if we are unable to get everything filmed by Memorial Day.

Clearly, it is time to think “outside the box” and consider alternatives. Perhaps your local TV station also practices social distancing — with only one person in the studio while others participate from home. We have seen this technique followed in several TV specials: One person occupies the screen at a time, each from a different location, and most of them from their own homes.

Following this pattern, our “studio” segments could be recorded remotely. We are making preparations to do just that so we can continue providing relevant, timely programming. As our slogan says: “Bible teaching with an emphasis on Israel, prophecy, and the Jewish Roots of the Christian faith.”

Time will tell what long-term effects linger after COVID-19; some changes have already occurred. We know that God is in complete control and definitely on the move. So, please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we seek to continue to serve Him in these uncertain times.

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March 2020 — Our Jewish Roots Production Update

Like many of you, we had no idea a virus would cause such disruption and turmoil on a global scale. Ever since last fall, we had been planning a March trip to Israel to produce another television series. We were busy with content discussions, coordinating with our Israeli producer, deciding on locations, scheduling interviews, meetings with Dr. Seif and more. The series we wanted to do would include dramatic reenactments by Israeli actors. We held screen tests to find the best actors for the project when we were in Israel last fall. We made our selections, sent them their scripts and they have been memorizing their lines and growing their beards in anticipation of our arrival.

However… with only a couple of days till our flight was scheduled to depart, the Israeli government imposed a mandatory 14 day quarantine for all people coming into the country. That firmly closed the door on any production in Israel for the near future, but (LORD willing) we are making plans to return to Israel this fall and begin production on the series on the Apostle Peter. But what to do in the meantime? We prayed about it (always a good idea) and remembered we have been talking about doing a series on prophecy for a while now. With the scary situation brought about by Covid-19, we thought now the time was right to create a series that looks toward the future. Here is a photo of the set we put together in one of our office rooms:

In “Revelation: Unveiling the Visions, Dr. Seif goes through each chapter of the last book in the Bible, searching for the main themes and lessons that would apply to the original readers (approximately 95 A.D.) and for us as well. The book of Revelation is chock full of tribulation, darkness and judgment but the Lamb of GOD begins and ends the book. We need to see our current circumstances in light of GOD’s will and HIS word. So, we are busy working on this series and hoping to debut it in July, right after our series on godly leaders and leadership “Kings and Kingdoms.”

As you can tell, the turnaround time for a new production is long. It has been made even longer with the requirement for Closed Captioning (a good thing but it takes time) and most of our networks and stations want to have our program in their hands at least two weeks prior to it’s airing. So, we are just not able to deal with time sensitive issues on our weekly television program. That is why we encourage you to join us on our social media outlets: Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter for extra content and timely topics.

We continue doing our best and working unto the LORD. This contagion merely motivates us more as we realize the prophetic clock is still ticking and moving closer to the end times. May we all not grow weary in well doing as we (the bridesmaid) prepares for our groom. Come quickly LORD JESUS.

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Update from Sandra Levitt

How lovely to learn that viewers and ministry supporters remember me and want to know how I am doing.

One of the best teachings I have ever heard came from Jeff Seif while we were on tour with our pilgrims on the Sea of Galilee. Most teachers, when they’re on the Sea, talk about how troubles come up from nowhere, swirl around us, and then leave. But, Jeff’s take was that when trouble comes, we forget to breathe! We are so anxious, so worried, and so consumed by our troubles that we take short breaths, and this practice is not healthy. When we can’t think of anything but our troubles, we do not see life around us. In short, we forget to live. We forget to love. We think all is lost, so what is the use?

Jeff’s final words were: “Breathe again; take a deep breath or two, and really breathe. Live again. Remember the good that is in our lives everyday: the simple things, such as a sunrise. And lastly, love again. Take another chance.”

I wrote these words in my Bible and held them dear to my heart. I read them over and over. After Zola died, I had thought that I would never breathe, or live, or love again.

I don’t know if anyone knows this, but we were filming Zola’s tribute only six days after he died. I had rarely been on TV before, and I was grieving. But, Ken Berg (Zola’s producer) said, “We have plenty of tape and plenty of time.” His kindness was a real comfort.

God handed me a significant role in Zola Levitt Ministries so that I could breathe again. Jeff and I were a good team leading tours to the Holy Land. Israel was and will always be my heart. I could breathe when I was there. I lived because of the plans God gave me. I started small and really looked at what was around me, at the simple things that showed how I was blessed each and every day. I got to share the teachings I had learned from Zola, and that helped me heal, knowing that I was helping others understand the Jewishness of the Bible.

And finally, God sent me love again. I remarried and now live in Northern California. My husband, Dan, is a wonderful man. I am blessed to love and be loved again.

 

 

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Rev. Myles and Katharine Weiss of Zola Levitt Ministries Lead Television Production Team to Poland and Israel to Film Holocaust Series

Rev. and Katharine Weiss (4th and 3rd from right) with other members of the production team at the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp / photo: Ken Berg -- Zola Levitt Ministries (far right)

Rev. and Katharine Weiss (4th and 3rd from right) with other members of the production team at the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp / photo: Ken Berg – Zola Levitt Ministries (far right)

This past spring, the ECA’s (Evangelical Church Alliance)’s Rev. Myles Weiss and his wife, Katharine — of Zola Levitt Ministries (www.levitt.com) and co-hosts of the weekly television program Zola Levitt Presents — led a television production team to film the series Beauty for Ashes on location in Poland and Israel. Set to air in September (2016), this labor of love comprises eight programs and includes footage and on-site Bible-based teaching from Auschwitz-Birkenau, interviews with Holocaust survivors, and further teaching from reborn Israel that features the nation’s marvel of agriculture and artistic breakthroughs, and interviews with high-tech leaders from of the land of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The haunting words ARBEIT MACHT FREI (German for “Work sets you free”), shown in the photo above, mockingly greeted the doomed inmates who were systematically murdered at the concentration camp. This phrase originated in the title of an 1873 novel written by Georg Anton Lorenz Diefenbach, a German nationalist, novelist, philologist, lexicographer, librarian, and pastor. Diefenbach’s novel expressed the theme that degenerates could redeem their virtue through labor, and these words from its title found a diabolical and convenient use by Nazi perpetrators 70 years later. 

Myles and Katharine invite you click on www.GG2GG.org — Golden Gate to Golden Gate — to learn about their various ministries and greater vision, in their words, “dedicated to bringing the message of God’s heart for Israel and the Jewish people into alignment with the Church. Our message is proclaimed through television, in print, online, and via our two Messianic Congregations, Beth Shalom and Beit Abba.”  Myles and Katharine ask for your prayers and support. They are available for speaking opportunities; their contact information is available on the Golden Gate to Golden Gate website, www.GG2GG.org.

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On My Knees

I have been asked to update you on the process, progress, and regress of my left knee. Knowing that many of our friends, supporters, and prayer partners suffer with more serious issues, I have delayed this note.

However, I need you to know that after attempts at conventional and alternative treatment modalities, I will have a complete knee replacement in July.

My surgeon is a sparky scalpel veteran with thirty-six years of experience. He is Armenian. Knowing what his Christian forbears suffered at the hands of the Muslim Turks, I figured he had a praying grandmother; his face was priceless when I greeted him with some newly acquired Armenian phrases!

Just as we say “Two Jews, three opinions,” I was also taught as a young boy that “Jews only have MAJOR surgery.” Of course, the sarcasm is pointed at our Jewish penchant for drama. Nonetheless, I have enjoyed great health, and this is a first in my new “senior advantage” years.

So, please keep us in prayer, as Katharine will be playing nurse during the up-to-eight-weeks of rehabilitation. She and I are praying for our various ministry placements, knowing that they will be covered by quality, seasoned people and not “miss a beat.”

We trust the Lord to make up the difference during this period of lost income, helping us emerge stronger than ever.

God bless all of you who understand us and the message we have been carrying for decades:

  • Yeshua at the center of it all
  • The importance of Israel and the Jewish people
  • The emerging the “one new man” of Ephesians 2
  • The danger of jihad

We love you and thank God for you,

Myles, Katharine, and the Weissguys (Jonathan and Stephen)

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Update on the Gog-Magog Confrontation

By Todd Baker

My good friend David Hitt reminded me that Libya — also mentioned as one of the nations in the Ezekiel 38-39 coalition that will eventually invade Israel from the north — has been fighting on the side of the rebel forces in Syria since 2012. Now Turkey (Togarmah and Gomer) and what the Bible in Ezekiel 38 calls Cush (known as Ethiopia in Ezekiel’s day) must join this coalition.

Cush covered the regions of Ethiopia and the Sudan in Ezekiel’s day, so any nation in those areas of Africa could conceivably be a part of the coalition. However, Sudan is the most likely nation to join the Gog-Magog coalition as it is the most fiercely Islamic and the most Israel-hating nation in Africa. Furthermore, Sudan has been sending arms to the rebels in Syria since 2013.  

Turkey ( Togarmah and Gomer) has been letting the Kurds go into to Syria to fight the war and is pondering whether it (Turkey) should also enter this war. Eventually, all these nations may determine to take out Israel from the north. If that happens, then the nations that are north of Israel will be aligned for the first time since Ezekiel gave God’s prophecy in chapters 38-39 2,500 years ago! 

Keep watching, and look up … Jesus is coming soon!

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The Battle of Gog and Magog — prophesied in Ezekiel 38-39 — may be forming!

By Todd Baker, ZLM staff theologian

Iranian troops are now in Syria assisting Russia! They are mentioned as “Persia,” along with the Russian Gog leader, in the prophecy of Ezekiel 38 concerning the end-time invasion of Israel.

Wow, wow–this could be the fulfillment of that ancient prophecy! Time will tell.

Libya and Turkey must eventually join the present alliance (see Ezekiel 38:1-6) and, then, if they attack Israel from the north (the Golan Heights), we will be watching the ancient prophecy of Ezekiel 38-39 historically fulfilled.

God said that this battle will specifically take place in the Latter Days within the context of the regathering of the Jewish people into the land of Israel (Ezekiel 38:8). Hold your breath, you eager and watchful students of Bible prophecy, This could be it.

And we know how this battle ends, Beloved: God will supernaturally rain hail, fire, and brimstone out of Heaven to destroy these wicked, anti-Jewish armies so that the unbelieving secular world may finally wake up know that He is the true God, the God of Israel (see Ezekiel 39:6-8).

Iranian troops arrive in Syria ahead of major ground offensive

By Reuters

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Photo: AP

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
Photo: AP

Hundreds of Iranian troops have arrived in Syria in the last 10 days and will soon join government forces and their Lebanese Hezbollah allies in a major ground offensive backed by Russian air strikes, two Lebanese sources told Reuters.

“The (Russian) air strikes will in the near future be accompanied by ground advances by the Syrian army and its allies,” said one of the sources familiar with political and military developments in the conflict.

“It is possible that the coming land operations will be focused in the Idlib and Hama countryside,” the source added.

The two sources said the operation would be aimed at recapturing territory lost by President Bashar al-Assad’s government to rebels.

It points to an emerging military alliance between Russia and Assad’s other main allies – Iran and Hezbollah – focused on recapturing areas of northwestern Syria that were seized by insurgents in rapid advances earlier this year.

“The vanguard of Iranian ground forces began arriving in Syria: soldiers and officers specifically to participate in this battle. They are not advisors … we mean hundreds with equipment and weapons. They will be followed by more,” the second source said. Iraqis would also take part in the operation, the source said.

Thus far, direct Iranian military support for Assad has come mostly in the form of military advisors. Iran has also mobilized Shi’ite militia fighters, including Iraqis and some Afghans, to fight alongside Syrian government forces.

Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran, has been fighting alongside the Syrian army since early in the conflict.

The Russian air force began air strikes in Syria on Wednesday, targeting areas near the cities of Homs and Hama in the west of the country, where Assad’s forces are fighting an array of insurgent groups, though not Islamic State, which is based mostly in the north and east.

An alliance of insurgent groups including the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and powerful Ahrar al-Sham made rapid gains in Idlib province earlier this year, completely expelling the government from the area bordering Turkey.

Posted in Bible History, Breaking News, Dr. Todd Baker | 3 Comments