Jerusalem, Israel …. [Mark A. Kellner/ANN]

Hebrew-speaking residents of Israel can now learn about the Gospel of John from the 2004 “Sabbath School Quarterly,” which, for the first time, has been translated into the language of the patriarchs and prophets by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

“For us it is a very important step in the process of sharing the good news with the Jewish people,” said Pastor Richard Elofer, president of the Adventist Church in Israel. “In Israel we have felt the lack of contextualized literature for this population,” he added.

It was a year-long effort to translate, edit and print the weekly Bible study lessons in Hebrew, and the move is the first production of the Adventist Church’s new publishing house in Israel, “Chaim Veshalom,” which is Hebrew for “Life and Peace,” inaugurated in early 2003.

Pastor Elofer said care had to be taken to make sure that the Hebrew translation met the highest standards of grammar.

“We have [used the services of] a professional translator who has been working for a long time as translator for Messianic Jews in Israel,” he said. “I have worked very closely with him to be sure that the translation is really according to what was written in the original.”

He noted that contextualization also required a close reading and editing of the lessons.

“I also have read very carefully the lessons before the translation to be sure that there is nothing ‘politically incorrect’ concerning the Jews and Israel,” he told ANN.

Translating the quarterly is the first in a series of planned publishing projects that will bring the Adventist message to Israel, where the church has ministered for 107 years.

“We have already translated a set of 15 Bible studies written by Dr. Jacques Doukhan from Andrews University. This will be published by the end of January 2004,” Elofer said. “We have translated ‘Steps to Christ’ by Ellen White and ‘Enjoy it,’ a book about health. We are in the process of translating ‘Patriachs and Prophets’ by Mrs. White and some other projects are on a waiting list.”

Reaction to the publication of a Hebrew-language Sabbath School quarterly has been enthusiastic.

“I think it’s great,” said Clifford Goldstein, editor of the lessons for the world church. “This simply reflects the growth of the church in Israel and I would like to commend Pastor Elofer for this accomplishment.”

Present in the Holy Land since 1896, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has, in recent years, grown its ranks to about 2,000 people, many of them immigrants from Europe and the former Soviet Union.

Copyright © 2003 Adventist News Network.

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