A remarkable thing happened seventeen months ago, when the First B’ney Yosef National Congress convened in Ariel, Israel. At that time a people who had not existed as a people for over 2,700 years came back from the ash heap of history. The people of the House of Joseph (Yosef) – Ephraim, those “Lost Tribes” of Israel’s northern kingdom – assembled in Samaria, the territory of their ancient ancestors, and acknowledged their belief in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to accomplish His Word to bring their people back as a nation and join them with the Jewish part of Israel (the House of Judah) in fulfillment of His covenant.
It was a modest beginning; only a little over 130 people attended, representing 12 countries. We made no bold declarations, but humbly whispered to one another and to the world that we were ready to answer the Father’s call and walk out the return of the Prodigal. Humble indeed, but astounding nevertheless. Certainly no less astounding than the reestablishment of the State of Israel in 1948 after 1,900 years of dissolution.
The momentum of that First Congress has carried into the Second B’ney Yosef Congress, which is now in its third day. The Congress convened on the evening of October 26, 2016, and will continue until Monday, October 31. The venue once again is the Eshel Hashomron Hotel in Ariel. The numbers of delegates are about the same, but this time there are some significant differences.
For one thing, the number of nations has grown to 15. Not surprisingly, the United States has the largest number of delegates, comprising about half of the total. What is surprising is that the second largest contingent is from one of the world’s smallest countries: the Netherlands. Over 20 Dutch Ephraimites are here, imparting a beautiful Dutch accent to all the proceedings. Also represented are Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, Fiji, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, Peru, South Africa, Sweden, and Switzerland. A central feature of the Congress has been reports from each of these countries, as well as video and proxy reports from Finland, Pakistan, Uganda, and India.
These reports build a mosaic of the Hebrew Awakening happening across the globe. In Pakistan, for example, Pastor Qaiser Ilyas shared by video his work in building Hebrew language and Torah teaching programs in Urdu for children and adults. Valerie Bulkunu, representing the Aboriginal people of Australia, shared the revival that is beginning among the youth of her people, and the awakening among Aboriginals to their Hebrew roots and Israelite identity. A similar phenomenon is happening among the Mizo people of northeast India, as Margot Crossing related in her report about the descendants of exiled Israelites who migrated across the Silk Road into South Asia. These developments are happening simultaneously with the better-known Torah awakenings in Europe and North America, and in time will have an even more significant impact as tens of millions of Ephraimites come into the understanding of their covenant identity.
Readers of The Barking Fox may have noticed that the blog posts have become sparse recently. Why is that? To paraphrase Tevye of Fiddler on the Roof, “That I can tell you in one word: Transition!”
Big changes are happening this summer in almost every area. In the space of about six months, we will have seen one child graduate from college, another one get married, and both of them relocate to new residences. We also are relocating after four years in Texas; early in September we will set up housekeeping in Charlotte, North Carolina. About a month after that, we set off for Israel to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), followed immediately by the Second B’ney Yosef National Congress.
Why the big changes? Our connection with B’ney Yosef North America (BYNA) is the main reason for many of these transitions. Although our leadership is spread out across the US and Canada, most of the Executive Council live in the Southeastern US. Since we have the opportunity to relocate this year, it makes sense to set up housekeeping nearer to the people with whom we work, and Charlotte is a great central location. We will miss Texas, but we look forward to being able to meet face-to-face with many of our Executives and Elders on a more regular basis.
And what exactly is happening with BYNA? Much that you will learn about very soon! We are in the process of updating our website. If you go there (http://bneyyosefna.com) you will see some interesting new features:
- A new “FAQ” page with answers to frequently asked questions about who BYNA is and what we do. (http://bneyyosefna.com/faq/).
- A “Videos” page under our “News and Updates” tab. The first video we have posted is an interview with Batya Wootten conducted at the 2016 BYNA Summit. Look for more videos soon! (http://bneyyosefna.com/category/videos/)
- Bios of the Elders and Executives. Want to know who these people are? Click on “The Leadership of B’ney Yosef North America” under the “About Us” tab and you’ll find links to our leaders’ bios, as well as the position descriptions for the Council of Elders and the Executive Council so you can know what they do. (http://bneyyosefna.com/about-bney-yosef-children-of-joseph/about-the-leadership/)
These are the first of a number of exciting developments that will be unveiled in the next several months. As they become available, The Barking Fox will pass on the news – while at the same time continuing to post commentary on current events, Scriptural topics, and other items of interest.
Thanks to you, readers, for your patience and your encouragement! Even in the midst of this great transition, it is a joy to be the voice behind the Fox!