Love Changes Lives in Israel
Shalom! As you are reading this letter, I am in Israel preparing for the Isaiah 53 Campaign, meeting with our staff, and sharing the Gospel with Israelis.
Once again, I am so impressed with the faithfulness and dedication of our staff members in Israel! They are a wonderful team of God's servants, doing His work with passion, joy, and a deep conviction of their calling to reach Israelis for the Messiah. So, please pray for our staff - for their health, safety, children (more than 25 little ones!) and for God's blessings on their ministries.
Let me bring you up to date on some of our work in Israel - especially our ministries in reaching the poor.
Ministry to the Needy
Recently, one of the elderly Russian Jewish people who comes to our soup kitchen and dry food distribution center expressed her gratitude in the most amazing way with great spiritual meaning. She said, "Each time I come to your facility, it is like a fresh water experience - like going under the waters of the Jordan River and coming up refreshed."
Another recipient (who is also a Holocaust survivor), commented, "The physical food and bread that you provide in the soup kitchen are important, however, the way you present it, with your personal touch and music, is like fresh bread for our souls."
These are the types of responses that encourage our hearts and motivate us to serve the poor and elderly in Israel. As you know, by Israeli law, we cannot link the preaching of the Gospel to the distribution of food and other types of aid... but when you extend love in tangible ways to a needy person, they naturally ask the question, "Why do you care?"
And then we are free to tell them about the One who loves them with an everlasting love.
We continue to serve the poor, elderly and immigrants to Israel through ministry centers in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Sderot (a little town bordering Gaza), Netanya, Ashdod and in various other Israeli cities. We also befriend many of these Russian Jewish people and lonely Holocaust survivors by bringing them on trips, such as to Poland - where many have not been since the days of the Holocaust. Polish Christians meet with these dear folks, showing them God’s love and grace, and even asking for forgiveness. This is a powerful witness to people who never would have traveled if our staff had not been demonstrating love for them day in and day out.
Our staff in the Holy Land is doing all they can to let needy Israelis know that the God of Israel loves them and sent His only son, Yeshua, to be their Messiah.
Rachel and Steve D., Michael Z., Maxim K.
"Thank you for helping us reach the poor and needy in Israel."
The Jewish Poor
Some might wonder if there really are poor Jewish people in Israel, the United States and other countries. In fact, because there is such a large segment of the Jewish population that is aging, the challenge of poverty and caring for the elderly is a big issue within the Jewish community and in our hearts as well.
Due to some uninformed stereotypes, there is a widespread perception that most Jewish people are wealthy and that economic pressures faced by others do not impact the Jewish community.
Unfortunately, these stereotypes have fueled centuries of antisemitism! Despite the common perception of Jewish affluence, poverty is a real problem for many Jewish people. In Israel, 14% of the Jewish population lives in poverty. A recent study demonstrates that poverty is an even more significant issue in the Jewish community of the United States. Present calculations indicate that 20% of New York City's Jewish population lives in poverty.
If these studies are accurate, between the United States and Israel approximately two million Jewish people live below the poverty line.
Brian and Racheli S.
"Thank you for your love and faithfulness."
Poverty in Israel
Poverty drastically impacts Israel in many ways, but here are three of the most significant:
Poverty affects a large portion of Israel's growing elderly population. According to some estimates, as many as 25% of Israel's elderly people are in desperate need of food, medicine and affordable housing. A significant part of this population includes thousands of Holocaust survivors. Those few who miraculously escaped the terror of the Nazi camps and found hope in the Jewish homeland are now hard-pressed to obtain their basic daily necessities.
Poverty plagues Israel's growing immigrant population. After the Soviet Union's collapse, almost one and a half million Jewish people fled the failure of Communism to seek a brighter future in Israel. Unfortunately, many of these immigrants have not found the prosperous life they imagined; rather, a significant segment continually struggles below the poverty line. Poverty is particularly prevalent among Ethiopian Jewish immigrants, 14,000 of whom came to Israel through an airlift known as "Operation Solomon" in the 1990s.
Poverty has an overwhelming impact on Israel's children. Many within the Orthodox community live below the poverty line, and most have rather large families. This results in an alarming number of young people living in poverty. Over 25% of Israel's children have gone days without food. Some are unable to go to school and do not have adequate clothing, particularly in the colder winter months.
I am heartbroken for those Israelis who are living in poverty as well as living with the constant threat of war! I hope you will pause for a moment to PRAY and consider how YOU can make a difference in the lives of God's chosen people.
Jesus tells us that our concern for the poor is evidence of our love for Him (Matthew 25:42-45).
Jason and Janice R.
"Thank you for caring for the marginalized in Israel."
I am grateful for the many Chosen People Ministries prayer partners and financial supporters who have given sacrificially to help us in our ministry among the Jewish poor in Israel.
One of our major points of entry in ministry to these precious people is our Tel Aviv Center. I especially want to thank those who have given towards the $10,000 per month we need to support this center, which is located in the heart of one of the poorest communities in Israel.
I wish you could see what I am seeing today in Israel. As I walk around the streets of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other cities, I not only see the very spots where the promises to the Jewish people were made - I see the present needs of so many Israelis who are physically hungry, and many more who are spiritually famished. We want to be able to have the staff and facilities to minister to both the spiritual and physical needs of Israelis.
Your gifts allow us to continue this ministry in Israel! It is simply impossible for our staff to raise support within Israel itself, as there are very few churches in the Land that are able to support ministries outside of their own small congregations. I pray for the churches within Israel to grow and prosper so that they will be able to support additional mission work - but this will take some time. Until then, we cannot continue this work without your help.
Would you consider giving a generous gift towards reaching Israelis for Jesus?
Your gift will be used for the general operations of our Israel work, feeding the poor and hungry, and for the Isaiah 53 Campaign, which is planned for early next spring.
Thanks so much for your partnership - and I pray that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who promised to bless those who bless the Jewish people, will fill your home with His presence, power and blessing. (Genesis 12:3)
Your brother in the Messiah,
P.S. Our goal is to raise $50,000 to provide relief to poor Israelis, and if donations exceed this total they will be used where needed most to reach Jewish people for the Lord.
Eugene and Vicka L.
"Thank you for your help in reaching the unreached in Israel."