Gil and Jenna Lewinsky Speak With Logos Post About Their Jacob Sheep Flock
When I heard the Jacob sheep were coming to Hamilton, Ontario in Canada, I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see these magnificent creatures. When I first read their about their story in a Times of Israel article months earlier, I never thought in a million years that they would be coming to my doorstep. I talked to Gil and Jenna Lewinsky, their owners, and they graciously agreed to let me come for a visit.
So, I drove two hours from upstate New York to Hamilton, Ontario. I couldn’t contain my excitement as I got closer and closer to Hamilton and began to see farmland.
When I arrived, Gil and Jenna were there to greet me at the door to the barn with warm smiles. I arrived around lunchtime (perfectly timed so I could avoid any delays crossing the border). Because it was lunchtime, the sheep were hungry, very hungry. Their “baas” filled the barn. Yes all 119 sheep were in the barn “baaing” at the same time. It was the sweetest sound ever, intermittently broken only by the sound of the American Pyrenees guard dog.
I watched as Gil and Jenna (along with their volunteer, David) fed them their grain, saying “graaaiiiinnn.” At that, the sheep erupted with even more “baas.” Perhaps it was louder because the sheep are in quarantine and are assigned to pens within the barn right now. It was a beautiful sound.
I felt the presence of God in that barn. I knew these were sacred creatures to the Lord. I felt his love and compassion toward them. I also enjoyed learning all about the Jacob sheep from Gil and Jenna. Here we were, perfect strangers, and they opened their barn to us. I felt like they were opening their home to us.
Isn’t that what Israel does? The nation opens its borders to those willing to come. Now they’re letting the sheep come home. Gil said that it’s the hand of God that protects those sheep.
I will be forever changed since meeting the Jacob sheep- and Gil and Jenna.
Because of both of our schedules, I just happened to visit on Tu B’Av (Jewish Valentine’s Day). Coincidence? No. It was God’s perfect timing. It says in God’s word that he loves Israel, loves the Jewish people, and of course, he loves his little creatures. In this case, the Jacob sheep. It almost felt sacred in their presence, knowing this was the ancient breed of sheep that lived in Biblical times. In fact, I was told by the Lewinsky’s that the ancient Jewish Shofars were actually made of Jacob sheep horns. Many believe Joseph’s coat of many colors mentioned in the book of Genesis was actually made of Jacob sheep wool. “This is the oldest breed of sheep in existence in the world,” Gil said.
In fact, speaking of God’s timing, I believe this is the appointed season for the Jacob sheep to return to Israel. It is close to the end of the year of Jubilee (which comes once every fifty years). It is also close to the end of the Shemitah year (which comes once every seven years). Both represent a time of God’s favor and a time when were are to rest in his presence. It also represents a time when debt is cancelled.
For the first time in 2,500 years, a flock of Jacob sheep will be resettling in their ancestral land of Israel. Many believe that the Jacob sheep became non-existent in the land after the Babylonian captivity. That will all change when the flock makes “baa-aliyah” in September. This is truly a story of restoration.
The door is open now. To be a part of this epic time in history, donate at the Friends of The Jacob Sheep website or their GoFundMe page. Gil and Jenna say they still need about $7,500 U.S.D. in financing to purchase crates for the airline and quarantine fees while in Israel. They also need to have grain when they arrive from their long journey.
El Al airlines agreed to subsidize most of the cost of the flight to Israel aboard one of their planes.
Once there, the owners hope to establish a visitor’s center in the Golan Heights.
Gil and Jenna told me they believe the return of the Jacob sheep will fulfill Biblical prophecy, specifically that which was foretold in Ezekiel 34. It specifically refers to the resettling of the sheep back to Israel from all the lands where they were scattered.
“For thus saith the Lord God; Behold I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so I will seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.
And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.
I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be; there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.
I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God.” Ezekiel 34:11-15
They believe the Jacob sheep were those mentioned in this scripture. No other breed of sheep in the world match the description of these ancient sheep, with bands around their knees, speckles and a “goat-like appearance.”
For the Lewinsky’s, they never gave up. “When we started this mission, we made a commitment to our sheep, we promised them that they would be going back to Israel, because we believe that’s where they belong,” Jenna said. She also told me they had to overcome great obstacles to get to this place. Now the only thing standing between them and being cleared for take-off are a couple weeks of quarantine. The sheep will also have to be quarantined in Israel for a short time when they arrive.
Some of the obstacles included logistics. They had to get the sheep from the West Coast of Canada (British Columbia) to the Eastern part of Canada (Ontario) so they could board their flight. So, they embarked on a 2,500 mile cross-country journey at the end of July, stopping in the Canadian Rockies, Alberta, Winnipeg and Thunder Bay, Ontario, Gil said in an email.
They finally arrived at their destination at a farm in Hamilton, Ontario. Hamilton is just west of Toronto, where they’ll be boarding their flight. This journey is even more special because Jenna will also be making “Aliyah” because she is originally from South Africa. Gil was born in Israel.
So, their journey is not over yet. They still have to fly nearly 6,000 miles to Tel Aviv. But, like Israel, which started out in 1948 as a small nation and has grown into a technological hub, with one of the best intelligence and military forces in the world and a landscape dotted with cosmopolitan cities, I too believe that when the Jacob sheep are established in Israel, they will grow and flourish in their native soil. Where God planted them.
I may never have the privilege of seeing Israel firsthand, but I feel as though I got one step closer this Tu B’Av.