We came to visit Jeremy Gimpel at his Arugot Farm in Judea this week. It is definitely a must-visit destination for lovers of the Bible from around the world, but now, due to COVID-19, if you can not come to Judea, so Judea will come to you!
The farm is located in the Biblical mountains of Zif which are mentioned in the Book of Joshua (15:55). This area is where King David served as a shepherd and where he escaped while being pursued by King Saul.
“The Arugot Farm is for people who want to touch the history of Israel and get a feeling for the destiny to come. We are literally building the vision of the prophets and turning the barren land into a garden of Eden-like oasis.” At the heart of the Arugot Farm is a spiritual retreat center geared to spiritual tourism focused on prayer, music and Torah that are connected to the Land of Israel.
“According to Jewish tradition, most of the Book of Psalms was written here in these very mountains by David before he became the king. Psalm 23 – ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not fear’ was written right here when David was still a young man tending to his flock.
“Creating a center based on prayer and music simply unveiled what this place was destined for long before we ever arrived here,”Gimpel shared.
When COVID-19 froze tourism to Israel, the Arugot Farm went dark.
“When the coronavirus hit Israel and all international flights were banned, it felt like a death sentence for me, my family and my work. I don’t remember being so confused, anxious and lost in long time,” Gimpel told The Heart of Israel.
The darkness eventually passed, and in its place came a dynamic inspiration. “If I can’t bring people to Judea, I will bring Judea to them!” Gimpel declared. “It’s where I felt I was being led. There are prophecies and guidance in Tanach (Hebrew Bible) that encouraged me on the way.”
“For in those days it will happen that ten men from the nations will grab hold of the corner of a Judean man saying ‘Let us go with you for we have heard that God is with you.’” (Zechariah 8:23)
From this inspiration was born The Land of Israel Fellowship. With people around the world banned from, or nervous about attending, their local houses of worship because of the coronavirus, the Land of Israel Fellowship offers a virtual replacement.
Gimpel elaborated, “We are pioneering a new way in the world. The Land of Israel Fellowship is a virtual house of prayer for all nations. People from all over the world, from different religious backgrounds, looking for something real and something different, have joined.”
He and Abramowitz have been translating the universal wisdom of Torah for international audiences for many years. Now they are applying their experience and personal charisma into a soulful weekly virtual fellowship anyone with an internet connection can join. Already, hundreds of people representing 28 different countries have participated in the live Sunday broadcasts.
Fellowship member Levi Schwiethale, a young, Israel-loving Christian living in Colorado told The Heart of Israel, “We are purposely meeting every Sunday morning with a group of about 15 people to learn from Rabbis Jeremy and Ari. We call it our ‘church’ and we begin prior to the lesson by reading the Torah Portion for the new week. We feel like we are redeeming, in part, two millennia of Sunday church teachings against the Jewish people and the Torah by centering our ‘church’ around lessons from Jewish rabbis and the Torah.”
Gimpel explained that, “So far we have agnostic, atheist, Orthodox and even a Buddhist Jew, Christians from all backgrounds including a Catholic nun and a Muslim member. [The Fellowship] is forcing us, as representatives of the Jewish people, to create a universal language that makes the Torah accessible and meaningful for all of humanity.
“Our Fellowship is the virtual reality of our physical reality in Judea, and the members of the Fellowship are the agents who are facilitating the manifestation of this vision into the world.
“It’s not our vision, but the ultimate vision of the Bible. We are witnessing and participating in the beginning stages of Biblical prophecy being fulfilled in the Land of Israel. Without the values and spirit of the Bible, the world will perish. Look at America today, disconnected from God.
“Our mandate is to be light unto the nations. It is time for the Jewish people to take responsibility for the world and share the Torah from Zion and the word of God from Jerusalem, as the prophet Isaiah says:
And the many peoples shall go and say: “Come, Let us go up to the Mount of Hashem, To the House of the God of Yaakov; That He may instruct us in His ways, And that we may walk in His paths.” For instruction shall come forth from Tzion, The word of Hashem from Yerushalayim. (Isaiah 3:2)
“As I see the vision of the prophets unfolding in Israel, the Jewish people and the righteous among the nations who are participating in this experiment are the next step in the process of redemption,” Gimpel articulated.
The Land of Israel Fellowship meets live every Sunday 18:00 Israel time and has hundreds of people tuning in live from dozens of locations worldwide, including Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Hawaii and Idaho.
“Seeing my new friends wake up at 3 AM to join us live from New Zealand and seeing all the faces from all over the world praying and learning at the same time is exhilarating. It feels like we are, in our very own way, fulfilling prophecy by covering the whole world with prayer and Torah,” Gimpel enthused.
Since they have been welcoming Bible-loving non-Jews to Israel for many years, Gimpel and Abramowitz are very familiar with Christians who celebrate the Biblical feasts. Starting in late August, they will focus their mastery of Jewish texts specifically to teach non-Jews how to prepare for the Biblical feasts alongside the Jewish people.
“The Fellowship is opening its virtual gates to people from all backgrounds who want to prepare for the Biblical feasts alongside the Jewish people, while learning authentic Torah wisdom from the Land of Israel.
“The prophet Isaiah says the nations will stream to Jerusalem. I never knew that prophecy meant live streaming on Zoom!” Gimpel joked.
To join the Land of Israel Fellowship and deepen your understanding of the Biblical feasts click here. In addition to future sessions, new members receive access to all previous sessions, along with direct access to Jeremy and his wife Tehila and Ari Abramowitz.