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Lights of Hope

Last Thursday The Jerusalem Post printed some stories of interest.

There is now a flag, 720 meters long, made up of 400,000 electric lights, that's been suspended from the top to the bottom of one side of the wall around the City of Jerusalem. Maybe three or four stories high, this was originally a wall for the defense of the city against medieval invaders. Foundations go back far earlier than that...

720 meters is a bit less than half a mile long. It's near the Jaffa Gate, which is the one I went through while I visited and stayed in the Old City.

So this is a massive thing. Rows upon rows of lamps. It's named "Lights of Hope".

It's put up as a fundraiser by ELEM-Youth in Distress, a group helping Israeli teens with their issues. For a donation you can "adopt a light bulb" which they will then switch on for you. The flag will continue to be lighted from Aprl 27 to May 10.

And the ELEM group held a forum on that afternoon. All sorts of issues were discussed, including suicide. Many youth attended.

Attempted suicides were reported in Israel at a rate of almost two per day, each day, in 2010. Many more went unreported. One of the teens attending the forum said: "don't just look for money for more therapists, we need to look for alternative ways for people who won't ask for help... make school more meaningful for them... the only reason I stay in school is my cinematography class. Find more options like that."

Cinematography. Making pictures move by writing with light.

Fiona Kanter is a mom, attending the forum, who lost her 16-year-old daughter in June 2010: she took her own life through drug overdoses. Fiona wants more informal coping programs located right in the neighborhoods, where they'd be very easy to drop into. "My daughter was one of the ones who fell through the cracks."

Kiota's work in her specialized alternative school, Lachan, and the personal tutoring and counseling she received, helped her get into college in America when she could not succeed in a traditional public school atmosphere. Her belief in her ability to achieve was reinforced all the time.

So I think what the Lights of Hope represent is very needed and very welcome.

Anything that can be done to change your direction away from dark cracks you can fall into, or where you've gone and it's hard to pull yourself out of, is vital. To help your direction toward the light. Whether it's a gleam on a wall or not.

May each of us be led to the Light we need. And the Hope.
Not just in one country, in all of them. And not just in this season, but as many as there are.

Blessings Be.

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kiota too late for the stars
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