I want to invite you to step inside the Bridges for Peace boardroom for our weekly Senior Leaders’ meeting, where our team recently had to make some difficult decisions.
First up was the news that due to the incredible spike in food prices in Israel, we simply do not have the funds available to give the customary 7-ounce (200 ml.) jar of honey as a Rosh HaShanah (Jewish New Year) gift to the more than 24,000 needy Israelis we feed every month. We’ve blessed these precious Israelis with this sweet treat every year, and although it seems like a small item, it makes a huge difference. In Jewish tradition, honey is eaten during Rosh HaShanah to signify a sweet new year. But when you can’t afford this holiday staple, receiving it as a gift—particularly from Christians as an outpouring of their love—makes all the difference.
Over the past year, the cost of honey has skyrocketed. As a result, the funds we have available would cover honey for the 1,027 Holocaust survivors on our program, but not for the rest. We had to make a tough choice. Because our recipients cherish this gift of honey as such a special blessing, we crafted a strategy to bless everyone with the special Rosh HaShanah treat—and committed to trusting the Lord to provide the funds we need.
The bad news was not finished. The head of the Assistance Center (Food Bank) informed us that the price of vegetable oil had risen above what we could afford. As a result, we would have to reevaluate the contents of the monthly food package that the recipients on our program receive. He presented us with two options: keep the oil and discard two tins of vital food, or remove the oil and keep the food. Although vegetable oil is a basic staple, we felt that the food was more important, so the oil was removed.
We have been feeding the needy in Israel for over thirty years. It has only been possible because God has ignited the hearts of Christians from around the world who love Israel. Some 25% of Israelis live below the poverty line, but for more than three decades, believers like you have made a difference by helping them put food on empty tables and feed their families.
Since 1948, Israel has absorbed millions of immigrants as prophecy is fulfilled and the Jewish people return from around the world. Hundreds of thousands of those immigrants were Holocaust survivors, people who had lived through the death camps and lost everything. Hundreds of thousands more came as refugees with nothing. The Lord is faithful to His covenant. He is returning them home, but has also called Gentiles to be a part of this prophetic reality coming to fruition. You are called to be part of His glorious plan! And Bridges for Peace has been called to stand in the gap with you. Together, we are partnering with the word of the prophets—God’s revealed word—to live out His purposes in our time. “Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I will lift My hand in an oath to the nations, and set up My standard for the peoples; they shall bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders” (Isa. 49:22).
Our world is changing and getting more difficult every day. Thankfully, God does not change (James 1:17) and remains on the throne. The God of Israel is calling Christians from the four corners of the earth to stand with Israel and feed her hungry. We have done this as your hands and feet for decades. Hearing the dire report from our Food Bank leader highlighted two agonizing realities we may face as food costs continue to rise. The first is the tragic possibility that we may have to cut the amount of food we provide to our recipients. The second is that by cutting the amount of food, it impacts all our faithful donors whose hearts’ desire for the Food Project is that impoverished Israelis would receive a nutritious and complete food package on a regular basis.
Each month, you and Bridges for Peace partner to meet the food needs of 24,240 Israelis who depend on us. That means a distribution of nearly 60 tons of food every month. The stark reality is that this vital gift of food, this blessing from Christians around the world, is being threatened. We know that God still wants us to comfort the people of this nation (Isa. 40:1), feed His earthly family and clothe the destitute (Matt. 25:37). I am appealing to you to seek the Lord, pray for Israel and consider making a generous donation to bolster our Food Project. Will you join in God’s plan to ensure that the monthly food parcels are not reduced? As we continue to serve the Lord in Israel and spread the love of God to the needy around us, I believe that together we will overcome this trial and fill the land of Israel with food for the poor! “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience” (James 1:2–3).
Blessings from Jerusalem,
Rev. Peter Fast
Photo Credit: Click on photo for photo credit
“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 bank in Jerusalem oversees the distribution of over nine tons of food every week. 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.
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!
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.
“‘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 80,000 Jews.
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.
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.
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.
In Matthew 25 Jesus (Yeshua) says we will be judged according to how we treated the “least” of His brothers (v. 40, 45). God’s heart of compassion to care for the vulnerable is a consistent theme in the Bible. In fact, Deuteronomy 10:18 describes God as the champion of the “fatherless and the widow.” Moreover, He invites us to partner with Him to “defend the fatherless” and to “plead for the widow” (Isa. 1:17).
Our Widows and Orphans Fund helps care for those who are often unable to care for themselves. Our food parcels help make ends meet and put food on empty tables. Will you join us to partner with God in defending the fatherless and caring for the widows in Israel?
Our International Headquarters is the hub where we work to connect the Church to Israel and Israel to the Church. Located in the heart of Jerusalem, it serves as the base for our education and international outreach initiatives and resources, including our publications, marketing, video and media departments. Your generous gift to this fund enables us to spread the message of what God is doing in and through Israel to the nations of the world.
A quarter of the nearly 200,000 Holocaust survivors in Israel live in poverty, which means that many of the precious elderly men and women who lived through some of the worst atrocities in recent history now spend their final years facing bare cupboards, lack and often loneliness. Bridges for Peace reaches out a hand of love to these survivors, who receive regular food gifts and visits from our Christian volunteers. However, what we do is about so much more than the food. Many Holocaust survivors believe the atrocities they experienced were perpetrated by Christians. Now, after the hurt, it is our privilege as Christians to carry sunshine with our food parcels into their meager apartments to bring unconditional love, comfort and companionship. Will you give generously today to ensure that we can continue to fill these precious Holocaust survivors’ final years with provision, light, love and joy?
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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We have several vans to help us do our work: for home repair, for pick-up and delivery of food both food in Jerusalem and around the country, 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.
The Bnei Menashe (literally “Sons of Menashe”) are descendants of one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel living in northeastern India and have steadily been fulfilling their dream of many generations to return to the Land from which they were exiled more than 27 centuries ago. Bridges for Peace helps the Bnei Menashe turn this dream into reality. We offer financial support for the preparation and the journey from the land of their birth to the Land of their promise, and once in Israel, we help them through the challenging period of settling into a new country and culture, learning the language and finding a job. The Bnei Menashe have come to know Bridges for Peace as the people who help and will turn to us in times of crisis.
By supporting the Bnei Menashe, you can tell these new immigrants who returned to Israel in fulfillment of God’s prophecies that they are not alone, that Christians around the world stand with them.
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