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Supporting Single Mothers

School is out and we are in the middle of summer break. It is difficult for a parent to both work and take care of their child. As a result, our single mothers are struggling.

The government doesn’t provide a summer education program, and the private school’s system is unreasonably expensive.

Our “single mother’s” department is busier than usual as single mothers continue to call and ask for help with the basic need of feeding their children.

We are doing everything there is to be done, to provide these wonderful mothers with the help they need, by giving food coupons and other necessary supplies.

Thank you for standing in prayer with us, and for your commitment to our ministry, you are the ones who make it all possible. To partner with us and help these single mothers, click here.

May the Lord bless you and your families.

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Holocaust Survivor Leaves Behind A Legacy

This week we lost a great woman. Eva Mozes Kor, a Holocaust survivor, passed away at 85-years-old. She left behind a legacy, a life demonstrating forgiveness, serving as an example for future generations.  

Eva was born in Port, Romania in 1934 to Alexander and Jaffa Mozes who were farmers. In addition to two other sisters, Eva had a twin sister Miriam.  In 1940, the family was transported to Auschwitz. 

Upon arrival, an SS officer noticed that Eva and Miriam were twins. After confirming with their parents that they were twins, Eva and Miriam were sent to take part in Josef Mengele’s cruel experiments. Josef Mengele was the notorious doctor at Auschwitz, also known as the Angel of Death, who performed deadly experiments on those in the concentration camp.  

According to Eva’s testimony, Mengele would experiment on children six days a week. They had various types of deadly tests conducted on them and lethal injections used as a means for spreading illnesses among the children. Despite this, she never gave up hope. She believed, imagined that she and her sister would escape alive.

In January 1945, the Soviet army liberated the camp, and Eva and Miriam went to live with their aunt in Romania.

Seventy years later in April 2015, Eva traveled to Germany to testify in the trial of former Nazi Oskar Groning. During the trial, the two shared an embrace and a kiss where Eva thanked him for his willingness at age 93, to testify to what happened more than 70 years ago. 

Eva chose to live a life of forgiveness, she saw that living in bitterness, and anger was negatively influencing her life. 

Here at CBN Israel, we support Holocaust survivors and provide a platform for those to speak up on behalf of those who perished at the hands of the Nazis during World War II. 

We honor those who lost loved ones to this horrific war. Through our partnerships with local congregations, we provide supplies, food parcels, medical support, and coverage for their basic needs.

This is all made possible by you, our faithful supporters. Thank you for your commitment and support to the people of Israel.

May the Lord bless you abundantly.  

 

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A Tree of Life

“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2).

Have you ever heard the sayings: you are what you think, and beware of the company you keep? The psalmist highlights that the blessed person is the one who watches the company he or she keeps and meditates upon God’s instruction all day. Those who we surround ourselves with effect and impact our thoughts and behaviors. Be careful, the psalmist warns. While we must guard ourselves from the negative influence of some, we must actively choose to meditate and delight in God’s instruction.

The one who does this, the psalmist compares to a “tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither” (v. 3). In the dry, hot climate of the Middle East, plants without sufficient water supply, exposed to the heat of the sun, wither and die. Those with ample water can sustain their life and will produce fruit. The psalmist uses the image of a well-watered tree to suggest that the one who acts as he outlines in verses 1 and 2 will thrive regardless of the weather conditions.

He further describes this tree as producing fruit. The Bible often uses the image a tree or plant producing fruit as a symbol of the actions of a person. The psalmist expects that a person’s meditation and delighting in the law of the Lord will not simply remain a cognitive or emotional reality. Rather, these meditations should lead us to act and behave in a manner consistent with God’s instruction.

He concludes his image of the fruitful tree saying, “whatever they do prospers” (1:3). We are responsible for our spiritual growth and maturity. We have to guard ourselves from potential corrupting influences around us. And, we have to make the instruction of the Lord something we delight to meditate on all day, every day. Such meditation should lead us to bearing good fruit.

Do people look at our lives and see a fruitful tree, or do our lives look like “chaff that the wind blows away” (Psalm 1:4)? Our intentionality to our spiritual growth will determine what they see. What do you delight in?

PRAYER

Lord, today may I guard myself from influences that can corrupt me from following You, and as I meditate upon Your law and instruction, may my life bear fruit to Your glory. Amen.

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Meeting God in Darkness

“And the people stood at a distance while Moses approached the deep darkness where God was” (Exod. 20:21). We usually associate God with light. He drives out darkness. Yet, Moses entered the dark cloud where he met God. The greatest revelation of God Moses received came in the midst of thick darkness. God was there even in the darkness. Do we expect to find God in the darkness? Often, we look for Him to show up and deliver us from our darkest moments, but do we seek to find Him in it? It’s interesting that Exodus describes God as being in the dark cloud, and Moses entered, and there he met God. There is a profoundness about this verse. When we find ourselves or others in a period of darkness—whether a period of difficulty, uncertainty, or despair—our typical response is to prescribe two Bible verses, rest, and you’ll feel better in the morning. This is more than that: God resides even in the darkness, and we can find Him there. The psalmist asked, “Where can I go from Your Spirit, and where can I flee from Your presence? If I rise to the heavens, You are there, and if I make my bed in Sheol, there You are” (139:7-8). Do we expect to find God in our depths? Not as a means of escape, but do we allow ourselves to find Him in our darkest moments as an opportunity for revelation? Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, speaks about two spiritual concepts: consolation and desolation. He states: “I call consolation every increase of hope, faith, and charity, and all interior joy which calls and attracts to heavenly things and to the salvation of one’s soul, quieting it and giving it peace in its Creator and Lord.” Desolation, of course, is everything contrary to consolation. Neither consolation or desolation refers to our external circumstances; they both pertain to inner attitudes where our focus is God. Ignatius recognized that we could find ourselves in a period of darkness but still experience the inner comfort and support of being close toGod. “Moses approached the deep darkness where God was.” When we realize that God resides also in the darkness, then we can find ourselves expecting to meet Him there, looking to Him for consolation, and even gaining a new revelation of Him. And this is an incredible realization—God is there even in our darkest moments.

Father, even in the midst of my darkest moments, help me to experience Your presence and to trust You to provide the consolation, my soul, longs for. Amen

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The Classroom of Humility

“Now the man Moses was very humble, more so than anyone else on the face of the earth” (Num. 12:3). We remember Moses as God’s chosen leader for the children of Israel to bring them out of Egyptian bondage and through the wilderness to the edge of the Promised Land. But what was Moses’ occupation? For forty years before appearing in front of Pharaoh, he shepherded flocks in the desert. Moses’ time shepherding flocks in the desert prepared him to lead God’s people, shepherding them through the wilderness where they faced harsh physical conditions and threats from enemies. In the harsh climate of the deserts of the Middle East, the shepherd cared for the flock making sure they found water, food, and shelter, as well as protecting them from potential threats. Moses’time as a shepherd prepared him for the role that God chose for him to deliver and lead Israel. In the same way, however, Moses’ time in the desert herding sheep and goats formed his character: “Now the man Moses was very humble.” How so? The climate of the desert is incredibly harsh. Temperatures can fluctuate as much as eighty degrees; the scorching heat of the sun can give way to the cold of the desert night. Water and food are not found in ready supply; the sheep and goats rely exclusively on the shepherd to find them sustenance. The desert presents the threat to a flock of enemies, both four-footed and two, that the shepherd must protect them from. These are the brutal conditions faced by the shepherd in the desert. His life and that of his flock faced imminent dangers within its wild expanse. The desert served as God’s classroom in the Bible. God takes people into the desert to teach them and build their character. One of the principal lessons that He imparts to them in the desert: humility. There are no “self-made individuals” in the desert. Lone rangers cannot exist there. You cannot overcome the harsh and threatening conditions by yourself. It humbles a person. Moses spent forty years in the desert, and he learned this lesson well. He understood the need for decisive action in leading the children of Israel, but he also recognized his need to take advice and rely on others. He was humble. He learned the lesson of the desert: one cannot survive alone. Community is essential. The lessons of the desert often fly in the face of the rugged individualism we honor in our Western culture. That individualism often spills over into our spirituality where we view things Asus and God. Such attitudes are absent within the spirituality of the Bible. God still leads us into the wilderness to teach us humility and the foolishness of self-reliance. He used Moses mightily for His purposes and glory because Moses learned humility. Do we allow Him to build the same character within us by leading us into the desert?

Father, in every place You lead, may I learn to rely upon You and others. May I never become arrogant or self-reliant in anything I do. May I always recognize my dependence upon You and those around me. Amen
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The End from the Beginning

ELY Israel has had the privilege of aiding and supporting many new immigrants to Israel, especially those with unstable family situations and are facing crisis. We are privileged to act as the hands and feet of Messiah for vulnerable women and children through our Families Department. For many of these women who live in Israel, or have been through grueling circumstances to immigrate (make Aliyah), their future feels so unsure, but many find faith through the small acts that ELY can provide to know that God has a plan for them, for He “declares the end from the beginning”.

A recent testimony from one of the single mothers ELY has provided on-going assistance for was especially striking, as her whole journey was riddled with unknowns for her and her family. A few years ago, M made Aliyah to Israel with her young child. She was Jewish, but only on her paternal side, therefore her elderly mother was forced to remain in their home-country in Eastern Europe. The separation was agonizing, but everyone agreed it was necessary for M and her son to have a chance at a leading a better life. Time passed, and M received word that her mother had fallen seriously ill, and was at severe risk alone. In a panic, M made arrangements for her mother to be brought to Israel for better medical care. The stress of her condition became so heavy, as M was forced to take out loans to finance her mothers’ treatment. In the end, the financial debt she accumulated and the emotional burden was too much, so M, her mother and child made the fateful decision to return to their country of origin without future prospects to return to Israel.

Their hearts were broken to leave the land they loved, but feared that if they returned to Israel the debt M had accrued there would be crushing, and she may even be at risk of arrest if she reentered the country. However, as time passed, M realized she was willing to take the gamble, as she would rather sit in jail than never return to Israel. With only her faith propelling her forward, she knew the Lord had put Israel on her heart for a reason, and that His provision would be her solace. She thanks God that she was never arrested, but M still faced problems of finding work to pay down her debt. Once again she found herself facing the brink of no longer being able to remain in Israel when she was contacted by an ELY representative who delivered a miraculous message. ELY Israel wished to stand alongside M, to assist with her debt, help her prosper and provide for her family.

Immediate support included gift cards and vouchers for her to pay for food and necessities. It was the first month in such a long time that M did not have to worry about affording basic needs after her monthly debt portion had been paid off. Secondly, ELY Israel contracted a lawyer to advise M with her financial issues, and with the help of God, she was absolved of her debt within the year! Once she was out of crisis ELY Israel did not dissert her, instead they invested in M’s future with career counseling, which led to her receiving a scholarship for a tourism and travel agent training course. Today M is at the end of her studies, and is already working in her field of choice! She says that she feels the ultimate success was that she not only can provide for herself and her child with dignity, but she has also been liberated from emotional and financial burden. She is a living testimony of faith and liberation for at-risk women who see no realistic way of getting out of their current circumstances. M’s deepest appreciation goes to ELY Israel for “seeing my problems in all of their complexity, and helping to lift me out of my lowest point”. It is difficult to see that the Lord has a plan and a path to deliver us from our most difficult life circumstances, but with an abounding faith, and employees to show God’s love to those who are struggling, women like M have found better futures in the Holy Land.

 

(Names altered for privacy purposes)

 

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First Fruits

“You shall count seven weeks; begin to count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain. Then you shall keep the festival of weeks to the Lord your God, contributing a free-will offering in proportion to the blessing that you have received from the Lord your God. Rejoice before the Lord your God—you and your sons and your daughters, your male and female slaves, the Levites resident in your towns, as well as the strangers, the orphans, and the widows who are among you—at the place that the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his name. Remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and diligently observe these statutes” (Deut. 16:9-12). Moses outlined for the Israelites the ordinances of the Festival of Weeks (Shavu’ot or Pentecost). This festival commemorated the harvest seven weeks and one day(50 days hence Pentecost)after the first Sabbath after the festival of Unleavened Bread. The festival was to be a celebration marked by a free-will offering, an offering “in proportion to the blessing that you have received from the Lord.” The festivals and rituals that God gave to the Israelites served as reminders of His participation in their daily lives. Agriculture did not depend upon the farmer and his ingenuity or the luck of the weather; rather, God, Himself, blessed and provided for the daily needs of the people. The rituals and festivals functioned as reminders of God’s nearness and called upon the Israelites to give thanks, to rejoice. The Israelites celebrated Pentecost not only within their families but with their communities. Three groups of people are specifically identified as participating in the celebration of the festival—strangers, orphans, and widows. These three groups lacked a legal advocate within ancient Israel, which is why God often describes Himself, the just Judge, as the defender of these three groups. In the midst of the celebration, God calls on the Israelites to remember those on the fringes of their society and to bring them into the festivities. The basis for this action: “Remember that you were a slave in Egypt.” You were once an outcast, someone at the bottom of the social world, so remember and bring those at the bottom of your world into your celebration of the Lord’s blessing. Do we see God’s provision and care in every facet of our lives? Do we celebrate it and remind ourselves to rejoice at His provision? Do we share our blessing and bring into our celebration those on the fringes of our society? This was God’s expectation of the ancient Israelites when they celebrated Pentecost. He expects the same from us.

Father, thank You for Your daily provision in my life. As a sign of my Thanksgiving, may I share Your blessings in my life with others. Amen.

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To Hear and To Do

“Then he [Moses] took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they [the children of Israel] said, “Everything that the Lord said, we will do, and we will hear” (Exod. 24:7; emphasis added). This event occurs after Moses has been on top of Sinai and received the covenant from the Lord. When he comes down to the people and reads the covenant to them, they respond “we will do, and we will hear.”The phrases “to hear” and “to do” appear frequently within the Bible: “And now, Israel, listen unto the laws and statutes which I am teaching you, to do them, so that you will live, and enter and possess the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, gave to you” (Deut. 4:1; see also Deut. 5:1; 6:3; 7:12). Elsewhere we read, “Only, if you will certainly listen to the voice of the Lord your God, to keep and to do all of these commands, which I am commanding you today” (Deut. 15:5). The context of these passages indicates that the biblical authors drew a connection between hearing God’s word and doing it. In fact, that was their definition of obedience: to hear and to do. Often when we say that we “hear” someone, it does not necessarily translate into action. In fact, the phrase, “I hear you,” can serve as our response meaning a certain level of inaction. Yet, within the Bible, obedience required action, both parts were necessary. To not hear and do meant for the writers of Scripture that judgment was imminent. The author of Kings identified the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel as due to their disobedience: “Because they did not listen to the voice of the Lord their God, they transgressed His covenant and everything He commanded Moses—the servant of the Lord; they did not listen and did not do” (2 Kings 18:12). Failure to listen and do resulted in Israel transgressing the law of the Lord. In the New Testament, Jesus also emphasized our hearing and doing. He compared those who hear and do His words as like one who built his house upon a rock; while the one who only hears but does not do, he is like one who built his house on the sand (Matt. 7:24-27). Paul likewise states that it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous, but the doors of the law who will be justified (Rom. 2:13). Do we spend time listening to the word of God? And do we translate what we’ve heard into action? If we are going to obey as the Bible intended, then we must both hear and do.

Father, as I seek to draw closer to You, may I obey You by hearing Your word and doing it. May Your name be glorified through my obedient action to You and Your word. Amen.

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The Meaning of Shavuot

What is Shavuot? For being one of the most sacred holidays in Judaism, many Believers around the world know very little about this holiday, and why it is also important to their faith! In Israel, this holiday begins at sundown on the 5th of the Hebrew month of Sivan, and ends the following evening, and in the diaspora this holiday will last between the 8th and 10th of June this year. The holiday commemorates the end of the period of ‘Omer’, which is the 7-weeks’ time between Passover and Shavuot, as dictated in the Book of Leviticus. “Shavuot” means “weeks” in Hebrew, and delineates this period of time from when the Jewish people were liberated from Egypt, began their Exodus, and arrived at Mount Sinai. On the day of Shavuot, Moses receives the Torah from God, and thus the Jewish people as a nation are given their holy scripture and laws, which were studied, honored and glorified for the more than 3,000 years that followed. The word “Shavuot” also means “oaths”, as this granting of the Torah was a divine covenant between the Lord and his chosen people.

Thus, celebration of Shavuot both commemorates the ending of the Omer period, as well as the sacred oath between God and the Jewish people. From sundown to sundown is a dedicated time for Jews of all persuasions, from ultra-orthodox to traditional, to study and revel in God’s word that was given on Mt. Sinai, and the teachings that succeeded it. It is a time for renewing the devotion and oath with God, as though He is newly granting us His word every year for the first time. The holiday begins with the lighting of candles, and a special prayer to usher in the evening of study. It is customary to stay up all night studying the Torah. Oftentimes there are special seminars, lectures and learning groups created for this night. Among many teachings, there are of course special synagogue services to recite and learn about the Ten Commandments.

Shavuot is also considered a harvest holiday, as during the times of the Temple, wheat loaves were given as an offering along with the first and most select fruits from the harvest (these are referred to a “bikkurim”). Another holiday observation is the eating of a dairy-only meal on the first day of Shavuot. Because the Jews were given the Torah on this day, the Kosher laws were also bestowed upon them, and they began their observance immediately. However, because the laws were given on Shabbat, the Jews were unable to slaughter animals, so the Israelites ate a meal of dairy alone, which is why modern Israelis and Jews across the world also observe this custom on the first evening of the holy day. In modern times, it is not a sacrifice though, as Jews have perfected their recipes for cheesecakes, pastries and other celebratory foods for the event. This custom has also become symbolic, with the comparison between the nourishing power of the Torah and the sustaining nature of milk.

CBN Israel was happy to support one of our many partners in hosting holocaust survivors for a special Shavuot event this week in Jerusalem. 127 beneficiaries attended a musical performance and a special rabbinical Shavuot service. The event was hosted at Christ Church near Jaffa Gate at the entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem; the beautiful marble walls echoed with music and the charismatic imparting of the teaching. CBN provided food vouchers and a catered lunch for all attendees, to celebrate the coming holiday, and host a special social gathering for the elderly group. The event was a blessing to all, and beneficiaries left with smiles on their faces.

From Jerusalem, the CBN Israel team wishes everyone a blessed Shavuot. Whether Jew or gentile, it is a wonderful reminder to renew our devotion to God, and dedicate our lives more fully to living in accordance with His word, and his teachings.

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Living Waters, Living Mission

Situated in the mountains of Northern Israel, only 40 kilometers from the Lebanese border, is the Karmi’El Messianic Congregation, aptly named Rivers of Living Water (RLW). A drive through the verdant winding landscape, which leads to this Northern town is a showcase of some of the most majestic landscapes in the Holy Land. Despite their distant placement, far from the country’s center where most the Israeli population resides, they have been able to facilitate enormous outreach efforts, and touch the lives of many. Named for Jesus’s proclamation during the Feast of Booths in the Book of John, this congregation is trying to live out their namesake. “Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’” (John 7:37). In this, Jesus is speaking of abundance in the Spirit flowing forth from his Believers, and being a source for others who are thirsty for divine love and revelation.

This congregation’s mission is clear, to be an overflow of God’s love, like Living Water, to those in need. Therefore, CBN Israel is proud to partner with this congregation in supporting holocaust survivors in the periphery. This week, RLW hosted one of their largest social events to date. Inviting nearly 700 holocaust survivors and their families, to attend a cultural theatrical event in Karmi’El. This was a monumental occasion, seeing as the local municipality allowed the congregation to utilize their performing arts center to host the event, and maximize their occupancy capabilities. This was a huge display of faith on the municipality’s part, as it is very uncommon for Israeli towns and cities to support or promote Messianic-run events, such as this one. The congregation leader, and host of the evening, Irene Friedman was beaming after the performance, and said “it is only God who can open doors like this, we do our best, but He is what makes the impossible possible”.

The performance was a combination of singing, dancing and short teachings from the Tanach. A violinist and accordion duet were a favored act, playing poignant pieces from Schindler’s list and other known compositions. The performance was special in that it catered to Russian and Hebrew-speaking beneficiaries, most of whom were born in the Soviet Union, and made Aliyah fleeing pogroms and the holocaust many decades ago. Through music and story-telling, they worked to illustrate a tale in which ‘God is the light within the darkness’.

As the lights transitioned to a pale hue, an image of Jerusalem was projected across the stage, and a harmony of voices snag out from the audience to sing a blessing over Jerusalem. Elderly voices hummed rhythmically, and a few tears were shed with the recognition of their deliverance, when so many were not as lucky. A slideshow and song accompaniment showed the establishment of the state of Israel, through war and peace. It displayed the state as a fulfillment of prayer and prophecy; Flashing forward to modern times, we see that The Land is still under threat from enemies of the Jewish people, but a hopeful note shows that together we can overcome, with the blessing of the God of Israel. Lastly, the show illustrated Israel’s numerous ‘aliyot’ (waves of immigration) and their technological boom, from agricultural successes in the Kibbutz movement to the Israel of today, which is a hub for start-ups and research and development.

CBN Israel was proud to provide 8 tour buses for transporting survivors from Northern cities like Tsfat, Nazareth, Nahariyya and others. There was such a large demand to attend the event, but many of the elderly are without means to travel outside of their homes very often due to lack of financing and physical capability. Events such as this one are celebratory milestones that are vital to mental and emotional well-being, which is why CBN and RLW feel so strongly that outreach efforts are critical to fostering a sense of support and community.

CBN has been in partnership with congregations like RLW to provide on-going monthly provisions to needy holocaust survivors throughout the Galilee region. Irene stated that, “[CBN] is providing food parcels to holocaust survivors in 6 cities in the areas of the North and Galilee, so it is through this that CBN really helps us establish connections and trust with many of the survivors, and many came to the event”. We are so grateful to find partners like Irene Friedman and Rivers of Living Water Congregation who also share a vision for blessing elderly holocaust survivors. Irene said that their mission is clear with this population, “This is what God has laid on our hearts, and because these are people who went through extreme hardships and need much comfort, we want to show them God’s love in this stage of life”.

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