Occasionally we get letters from our friends asking if Israel really needs our help. Since Israel is a first-world country, producing so much high-tech and technological breakthroughs, how can they possibly have a poverty problem—they question. They are absolutely right; Israel is blessed as a nation. The high level of ingenuity is amazing. We are blessed to see how God has brought the Jewish people home to their Promised Land and has established them and raised them from nothing to a prosperous nation in just 69 years. At the same time Israel has a high poverty rate. Roughly one quarter of Israelis live in poverty. How can this be? Let me share a couple of reasons.
First, Israel has great security needs. News of incursions, missile fire and terror attacks are a regular part of the landscape here. The day I wrote this letter, four rockets were fired into southern Israel from Egypt and one from Syria in the north. Israel has never known the luxury of peace. This requires her to maintain a large army and to spend a large portion of the budget on military and security needs. As a result, taxes are high, meaning people have to live on a much smaller piece of their income than most in the developed world.
Second, Israel absorbs large numbers of Jewish immigrants each year. Most of them need help for a few years. Those who come from South America, India, Ukraine, Russia and countries which were once part of the former Soviet Union, usually arrive with very little. They come with a couple of suitcases, fragile hopes and no cash reserves. They don’t speak Hebrew. Often they have to retrain in professions before they are able to work in Israel. The retraining programs are wonderful, but are taught in Hebrew. Medical practitioners (doctors, nurses, dentists) must obtain Israeli licenses before they can practice in Israel. This process can take years. In the meantime, they have to eat, pay rent, school fees for their children, transportation costs, etc. They may get a minimum wage job which does not require language skills; they may receive a small welfare check from the government; they may save on costs by sharing a small apartment with another family; but they will struggle.
A large number of those we help through our food programs are immigrants. They will succeed in this amazing country—but first they need a lot of assistance. Generally it takes a few years before they are truly absorbed into the society. In addition to our food program we also help Jewish people return home through our Project Rescue and when they arrive, we help them adjust to life in Israel through the Adoption Program, the Feed a Child program, the New Immigrant Fund and the Immigant Welcome Gifts program. We feel privileged to be able to help these precious souls that God is bringing home.
Baruch and Rivka made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) in the spring of 2016. They had a good life in the Ukraine; Baruch was the office manager at their synagogue and Rivka was a teacher in the Jewish school. They both enjoyed what they did very much. They came to Israel because Baruch has kidney failure but because of the war, they left Ukraine without anything. Their house and car were left behind and could not even be sold.
Here in Israel, their biggest concern is Baruch’s health. He cannot work and is on disability. They both studied in an ulpan (Hebrew language school), but eventually, Rivka had to quit so she could care for her husband.
Although life is not easy for Baruch and Rivka, they love life in Israel. They love the relationships and attitudes of the people in Israel. Their biggest dream is for Baruch to have a successful kidney replacement and be well just like before. They also want to be fluent in Hebrew, get good jobs and settle well in Jerusalem. They are still searching for a community that they can feel attached to and truly apart of; a good community life is important for their family. They loved to go fishing and dream of doing that in Israel. Baruch and Rivka appreciate prayers from their Christian sponsors from all over the world. Please pray for them as they settle in their homeland. Pray for God’s healing hands upon Baruch and their finances.
So, the answer is yes, Israel needs us! Immigrants like Baruch and Rivka count on us each month. Providing food for new immigrants is one way we can show the people of Israel that they are not alone. Every action we do to bless them is an act of love to the God of Israel. We recognize His hand at work in restoring Israel, bringing the Jewish people home and revealing His nature to the world. What a privilege to partner with Him in the days when He is fulfilling His prophetic promises to the nation and people of Israel.
Please join us in feeding the people of Israel. Your gift makes it possible for us to provide food to more than 22,000 people each month, the majority of them new immigrants.
Blessings from Israel,
Rebecca J. Brimmer
International President and CEO
“If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness…” (Isa. 58:10)
The BFP food banks in Jerusalem and Karmiel together process over three tons of food every working day. The food is heading to the homes of Israel’s needy. Purchased in Israel, the food meets the kosher requirements and contributes to the GDP.
New immigrants benefit, as well as those who have been here for a longer time. Holocaust survivors, poor children—both in the Jewish and Arab sectors—orphanages, and Jewish community centers are all on our list of recipients. Let us turn your contribution into much-needed food.
“‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when men will no longer say, “As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,” but they will say, “As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where He had banished them.” For I will restore them to the land I gave their forefathers. But now I will send for many fishermen,’ declares the Lord, ‘and they will catch them’” (Jer. 16:14–16a, NIV)
Many of the neediest Jews in the countries of the former Soviet Union are unable to come to Israel because they simply cannot afford the cost of passports, exit visas, ground transportation, and lodging for their trip home. We send “fishermen” who search for hopeless Jews who long to go home to Israel. Without help, they cannot move to Israel.
With your assistance, we can literally rescue our Jewish brothers and help them fulfill God’s Word. Thus far, we have helped rescue over 50,000 Jews.
This center was established in 2008 and is our first facility outside of Jerusalem. Food is distributed to northern Israel through our Karmiel food bank. The warehouse also contains over 500 tons of food stored for times of crisis. This means that in case of a war or natural disaster when food supplies become scarce and food prices skyrocket, we would have enough food to continue to feed our recipients for eight months, as well as respond to special requests. Great care is taken to ensure that no food reaches its expiration date before being distributed.
Thousands of Israeli school children live below the poverty line and cannot afford to buy lunch, even at a subsidized cost. Your sponsorship for a one-year commitment will provide the following: a hot lunch every day at school, gifts on their birthday and holidays, help to purchase school books, a backpack filled with supplies, and funds for special needs during the summer.
Through our Adoption Program, you have an opportunity to sponsor a Jewish family or individual in Israel for a year, helping them through a critical time in their lives. We provide much needed emotional support as well as a large food package (fruits, vegetables, chicken, milk products, canned goods, and paper products), bus tickets, and financial assistance for special needs.
Those who benefit from the program are new immigrants to Israel; native Israeli families suffering from terror attacks, major medical crises, or loss of a job; Holocaust survivors; and college students who are alone in Israel. We are friends helping friends get on their feet, so they can live productive lives.
Sponsors receive a picture and a profile about the person/s they sponsor, and close relationships are established through letters, which our staff translates for both parties. As you change a life, you too will be changed!
This project reaches out to many Jewish people in the former Soviet Union who either will not or cannot immigrate to Israel. Many are elderly or in poor health. Most are destitute; many are Holocaust survivors.
Increasingly, we are finding Jewish people who are starving and don’t have heat in the winter. Some have died from exposure. We have established soup kitchens to feed them, so they receive one hot, nourishing meal each day. We also purchase heaters and meet other needs as possible.
Are you zealous for Israel? Pass the fire to the next generation (ages 18–30)! Help them catch the vision by bringing them to Israel on tour! Each year Zealous8:2 sponsors two tours: one in January and one in June. It is a life-changing experience, and you can help make it happen.
Living in Israel can be very expensive. With additional funding, our team members are enabled to continue their work in Israel. We also draw from this fund to subsidize special activities from time to time for our volunteer staff. This is your opportunity to bless those who have sacrificed much to live and work far from home.
You can also support a specific team member through this fund. When you do so, your donation is passed on to that person to meet their particular needs.
“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted…” (Isa. 61:1)
Our cheer basket is filled with delicious cookies, candies, dried fruit, nuts, flavored teas, and several other items that are specifically selected to bring hope and encouragement to Israel’s shut-ins, elderly, and anyone else who is discouraged and needs a tangible expression of God’s love.
A cheer basket is also given to immigrants on the Adoption Program for birthdays, including special ones for the children. This is often the only birthday present many receive.
Bless a new immigrant family and let them know that they are welcomed in Israel by Christians who believe God’s promise to bring His people back to His Land.
We give a generous gift package: a copy of the Tanach (Gen.–Mal.) in Hebrew alongside Russian or Spanish, blankets, school kits for the children, and a set of new pots and pans, utensils, and a cutting board.
This one-time gift is a great help to immigrants who most often come from their home countries with very little.
“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name, welcomes Me.”(Matthew 18:5)
This kit contains many needed school items, including pens, pencils, sharpener, glue, scissors, markers, a carrying case, and more. We not only distribute these to new immigrant children but make them a part of the school supplies we give to our Feed a Child students.
There are many needs in the Christian Arab community. This community is becoming smaller as many choose to reside in the West rather than being a small minority in the predominantly Muslim Arab communities. Increasingly, they face persecution from their Muslim neighbors. Your gift helps us to minister the love of the Lord as we give them food.
“He has sent me…to comfort all who mourn…” (Isa. 61:1–2)
We minister to anyone touched by war or terrorism, delivering special cheer baskets to the wounded in hospitals after a suicide bombing and to the bereaved. Special needs, such as wheelchairs, food vouchers, and financial assistance for medical bills are provided for those in long-term rehabilitation.
“Those from among you shall build the old waste places; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.” (Isa. 58:12)
God has blessed us with skilled construction workers. Teams are busy renovating homes of the poor and elderly; some of them are Holocaust survivors. Many of these homes are one-room hovels in buildings over 100 years old. We fix leaky plumbing, replace broken windows, paint, plaster, rewire, repair or install cabinets, put on new roofs, and do general fix-up work.
Some of our workers have told us that this is the best job they have ever had in their lives. They get many hugs, plus a lot of tea, coffee, and cake from very appreciative Jerusalemites. Your gifts supply the raw materials to get the job done.
Bridges for Peace sponsors 18 Israeli towns—from the Galilee to the Negev—that are experiencing severe economic hardship. Working through the mayor’s office and the social welfare network, we give food to needy families, many of them new immigrants. Sponsors give a monthly donation (for a one-year commitment) and receive a frameable, full-color biographical sketch of the community they “adopt.” We arrange visits to the communities for sponsoring church groups visiting Israel.
Israeli health insurance does not cover dental, 100% of the cost of prescription medications, or medical apparatuses such as wheelchairs. Often the needy, many of them immigrants, must choose between vital health needs and food. We can bring a smile to the faces of those who suffer.
We have several vans to help us do our work: for home repair, for pick-up and delivery of food both in Jerusalem and Karmiel, and for postal pick up and other administrative needs. When they wear out, we draw from this fund to purchase or lease new ones, which is very expensive in Israel.
Bridges for Peace has national offices in eight countries that are staffed by sincere and dedicated individuals working selflessly on behalf of Israel. By reaching out to the Church with information and educational opportunities, building relationships with local Jewish communities, advocating for the nation of Israel, and raising the funds necessary for us to continue our projects in the Land, our national offices are the hands and feet of Bridges for Peace the world over.
Often working on a shoestring, their efforts are foundational to our ongoing work of building bridges to the Jewish people through practical expressions of Christian love. Your gift to the national office of your choice helps to insure that their work of blessing Israel and the Church, at home and in the Land, can continue.
This developing educational center is located in Jerusalem at our International Headquarters. Our desire is to promote a Hebraic understanding of biblical culture to visiting tour groups. Our teaching room is designed to look like the inside of a first-century home, and guests are dressed up in first-century costumes. Biblical themes are taught through drama and interactivity, such as building a sukka (booth) in our garden during Feast of Tabernacles.
To learn more, read our Dispatch article, “Reconnecting Christians To Their Hebraic Roots”.
To book a reservation for you or your tour group:
firstname.lastname@example.org or call our Jerusalem Headquarters at 972-2-624-5004 (FAX: 972-2-634-6622)
Our educational programs enable us to fulfill our God-given mandate. Helping the Church understand Christianity’s Hebraic roots, modern Israel’s prophetic significance, historic and current events is critical to building a worldwide network of Christians who love and support Israel. Donations will facilitate the creation and implementation of programs globally.
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