They were told to drop everything and meet at the entrance of the community—immediately. The sea of flames that had been raging in the forest surrounding Mevo Modi’im in central Israel was now lapping at the edges of the village. There was no time to pack a bag, grab important documents or gather favorite keepsakes and treasured pictures. Residents evacuated with the clothes on their backs, praying the blazes would be quenched so that they could return home. It was not to be. The fire burned up 40 homes and destroyed Mevo Modi’im. Now the charred shells of homes and cars stand as the only reminder of a once thriving life. However, in the midst of the devastation, the community praised God because not a single human life was lost. I was immediately reminded of Isaiah 43:2: “When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.”
At the end of May, Israel battled a series of devastating wildfires raging across the country. The heat was sweltering, as Israel was in the grips of a scorching heat wave. In a 41-hour timeframe, a staggering 1,023 fires ignited, translating to a new blaze sparking every two-and-a-half minutes. Firefighters and volunteers battled around the clock in temperatures soaring above 118ºF (48ºC) in some areas to bring the flames under control. Their tireless efforts bore fruit. Nearly two days after the first blaze ignited, authorities declared that the last fire had been quenched.
The battle against the blazes has been won, yet the damage inflicted is horrendous. Some 7,940 dunams (1,962 acres) of forests, orchards and fields were reduced to smoldering ashes. More than 3,500 Israelis were evacuated. Fifty homes were burned up in the sea of flames—40 in Mevo Modi’im alone. The fire stole more than furniture, cars, clothes and keepsakes. Treasured memories, a sense of security and the foundation of life as they knew it also vanished in smoke. Our friend Shruly told us that his 150-year-old Torah (Gen.–Deut.) scroll that survived the Holocaust was now ashes. A musician, Shruly also lost his studio, most of his musical instruments and irreplaceable handwritten musical scores. All that remains for those who lost everything in the fire is the heartbreaking reality of rebuilding what was destroyed.
They will not face this task alone. Bridges for Peace stands with them, providing comfort, compassion, the physical means and the helping hand they need so desperately. Mere hours after the blazes were quenched, we had the opportunity to visit Mevo Modi’im and walk with the residents through the charred remains of their lives. Never before in Israel’s history has an entire town been utterly decimated. Apart from ruined homes, cars and furniture, all the infrastructure, electric wiring and plumbing have burned up too. Even those whose homes survived the blaze cannot move back because of the destroyed infrastructure. Despite the devastation, the residents remain resolute, even singing praises to God among the blackened ruins.
When we asked the residents what they needed right now, they told us that they didn’t have time to take their laptops before evacuating. We immediately contacted our computer supplier and ordered 50 computers. Two days later, we delivered them. Shoshanna was so happy she sang her thanks as she danced around the room saying, “You are angels!” Hannah’s eyes were filled with tears as we hugged. She and her husband, Danny, escaped with their four young children and not much else.
A few days later we cooperated with Rabbi Tuly Weisz to organize a mall outing. We provided dinner, entrance to the play area for the children and a NIS 500 (US $140) gift card each for 300 people.
The process to rebuild their lives will likely take two years. It is our desire to stand with them at each transition. Once they get into temporary homes (caravans), they will need furniture and appliances. Literally everything must be replaced.
Will you join us in this mission? Your generous gift to our Crisis Assistance Fund will bless an entire town with Christian love expressed in practical ways. Your gift of love will help Israeli families restore the lives, homes and security that went up in smoke.
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:
email@example.com 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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