Helping Israelis Celebrate Passover—God’s Appointed Feast

January 1, 2014
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Photo by Isranet

God’s connection to the Land of Israel makes it unique among countries and people groups. As a matter of fact, it has been said that all other nations were created by acts of man, while Israel was created by an act of God Himself. In the Bible, He repeatedly promises Israel that they will be His treasured possession forever, and though they will be dispersed from the Land for a time, He will bring them back. They will live in their ancient homeland again, and through His relationship with them, God will reveal His faithful, covenant-keeping nature to the whole world. We are privileged to be alive today as witnesses to the fulfillment of those prophecies, and awed that He has invited us to participate with Him as He fulfills His promises to Israel.

The Bible tells us that Gentile believers in the God of Israel will come alongside His chosen people as His hands and feet in bringing His word to fulfillment. They will be the ones to help the Jewish people on their journey back to the Promised Land. They will love and support with His heart, and through their practical witness will help to turn the hearts of many back to Him.

Bridges for Peace has been involved in helping Christians show their love and support for the Jewish people and the nation of Israel in very real and tangible ways for nearly 40 years. Through our assistance programs, nearly 50,000 Jewish people have come home to the Land. Our food distribution programs provide 65 to 70 tons of food each month to needy Israelis in 54 communities throughout the Land of Israel. Our Feed a Child Program provides hot meals, school supplies and other necessities to 350 needy school children each month. Through eleven different projects, Israelis from Dan to Beersheva (a biblical idiom which means the whole land from north to south) are experiencing the love of Christians, many of them for the first time in their lives.

Wonderful Country with Great Needs

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The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said recently that while Israel enjoys rapid economic growth and low unemployment, it has the highest poverty of the group’s 35 member states.

“Israel’s output growth remains relatively strong, unemployment is at historically low levels, its high-tech sector continues strong, but the incomes of about one in five Israeli households fall below the (relative) poverty line,” the report said. The report further indicates that in some areas of Israeli society, nearly 50% of the population lives in poverty. While there are many reasons, one of the groups with the greatest needs is immigrants. For the first few years they struggle until they learn the language, get jobs and become established in the country. It is our joy to be the servants of God, helping them to become fully functioning members of society with hope for a better future.

While Bridges for Peace is committed to assisting needy Israelis at all times, many of those needs become painfully intensified during holiday seasons. Although Israel is often referred to as a “secular” state, the vast majority of its Jewish citizens keep Shabbat (Sabbath) and observe the holidays prescribed by God in Leviticus 23, including fasting on Yom Kippur and celebrating Passover.

For those who live in poverty, procuring the special items needed for holiday rituals is often an impossibility. As Christians, we consider it a blessing and a privilege to provide what is needed for Israelis as individuals, families and as a nation, to acknowledge the God of all Creation on those days that He Himself set apart for them.

Passover Outreaches

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Program Participants: During the Passover season, Bridges for Peace provides additional food including bottles of grape juice and packages of matzah, or unleavened bread, to the 7,000 families (nearly 30,000 individuals) on our  food programs, enabling them to participate as families in the celebration of Passover.

Additionally, we are being approached with pleas for assistance during the Passover season from many. We know that over the next two months these requests will multiply. We long to be able to meet more needs, but unless we have a significant infusion of additional funds we will be unable to help them.

Who is asking?

Medical Corps: Those training in Israel’s Medical Corps are the medical professionals of the future. Most of them are able to go home to their families for holiday celebrations. Those that have no families in the Land, or whose families are suffering in poverty, however, find the holidays a devastatingly lonely time. We have been asked by Israel’s Surgeon General to provide food vouchers for 125 this Passover. Most of them are new immigrants who came without their parents to build the nation of Israel. With these extra funds they will be able to purchase what they need to celebrate the holiday and turn their hearts to the God of Israel with the rest of the nation.

The Blind of Haifa: This residential institution in Haifa cares for 400 blind people. Each year they request assistance during Passover and are always extremely grateful to receive special assistance from Bridges for Peace during the Passover season.

Organizations Reaching Out to Needy Families: Already we have been asked to help 333 families who are not on our program but have great needs.

Can You Help?

Please consider a larger than normal gift to our food outreach program so that we can meet the normal needs of the nearly 30,000 people we assist monthly, as well as reaching out to the others who are in need. We are praying and asking the Lord to pour out a magnificent financial blessing to enable us to encourage the people of Israel to keep His appointment with them—the Passover. We would greatly appreciate your prayerful consideration to help us reach the people of Israel with Christian love this Passover Season. We also pray for you, that as you bless the people and nation of Israel that you will see an increase in your family budget. “I will bless those who bless…” (Gen. 12:3)

Blessings from Israel,

Rebecca J. Brimmer
International President and CEO