The Bible is written in a beautifully descriptive fashion. For example, “And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel had been established as a prophet of the LORD” (1 Sam. 3:20). The children of Israel would have instantly thought of Dan in the far north and Beersheva in the south and visualized the whole land of Israel.
Over the past ten years, Bridges for Peace has expanded our food outreach to cover the Land of Israel from Dan to Beersheva. Through our Adopt an Israeli Town program, we provide food for 1,800 families in 18 communities. This is a special program because we work through the mayor’s office in each town.
Arad is one of our towns, which I had the opportunity to visit recently. Mayor Tali Ploskov met with our group for over an hour and shared her story (in Hebrew). She came to Israel in 1990 as an immigrant from Moldova. She was part of the massive aliyah (immigration to Israel) from the former Soviet Union in the early 90s. She arrived as many others did, with her husband, two children, two suitcases, and US $10 in her pocket. She immediately got a job as a maid in a hotel by the Dead Sea. Soon, they discovered that she was bilingual, fluent in Russian and Hebrew, and within a short period of time, she became a manager, liaising between the Russian-speaking serving staff and the Hebrew-speaking management. When her family heard of her promotion, they joked that it wouldn’t take long before Tali was prime minister. Well, she is on her way! She is one of only five female mayors in Israel.
Arad is a desert town, which had always been viewed as a dusty place that wasn’t going anywhere. That has all changed. Today, new industry is moving into the community, new construction can be seen, and there is an air of hopefulness. This is great news for this development town and its 27,000 citizens, 40% of whom came as immigrants, mostly from the former Soviet Union.
Currently, we provide food for 150 families in Arad. The town’s social services department is assisting over 1,700 struggling families. This mayor knows what it is to be in need. She understands the struggles of being a new immigrant. It was so apparent to me that she has a huge heart for the people of Arad. She, like all mayors, is involved in developing the infrastructure of her community. She spoke of roads, railroad access, industry, and more. But her face really came alive when she spoke about her vision for the teenagers of Arad to have an after-school center to help them progress in their studies, socialize in a safe environment, and become model citizens.
When I told Mayor Ploskov about Christians around the world who give to provide food for Israelis and about our love for the God of Israel and His people, she was visibly moved. It is always our goal that every Israeli who receives assistance from us will know that Christians gave because of their love for the God of Israel and their desire to see His plans for Israel and the Jewish people succeed. Plaques expressing this in Hebrew are hung in every organization that we assist. Magnets, in either Hebrew or Russian, are given to each family who receives assistance so they can know about their Christian brothers and sisters who want to serve them in love.
At the end of our meeting, we stood to take pictures. When we were standing side by side, Mayor Tali took my hand and grasped it warmly. I knew that I was a symbol for Christians everywhere who love and support Israel.
Arad is just one of 18 communities that Bridges for Peace sponsors as part of the Adopt an Israeli Town program. Relationships are being built with all the mayors and social workers; people are being helped in their time of need; and Jewish people are learning about the love of God in action. Yeshua (Jesus) said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).
We are looking for individuals, churches, and schools who will sponsor an Israeli town through the Adopt an Israeli Town program. Your gift of $150.00 per month (one-year commitment) will enable us to reach out with Christian love to communities from Dan to Beersheva. We will send you a full-color biographical sketch of your town and mayor. Your one-time gift will help us to meet extra needs in the communities, like the youth center in Arad. We know that, as the people of Israel see our good works, they will glorify our Father in heaven.
Blessings from Israel,
Rebecca J. Brimmer
International President and CEO
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