“In another 10 or 15 years, we will no longer have Holocaust survivors in our midst. This is the time we need to care for them.” I was speaking to Erez, a man with a vision and a burden. It is his responsibility to provide affordable housing solutions for Israel’s elderly with extremely limited resources. So far, he has succeeded in offering safe, comfortable housing units to 7,000 elderly Israelis, the majority of them Holocaust survivors from the former Soviet Union. Yet 27,000 more remain on a waiting list, desperate for a limited supply of public housing.
At the end of 2018, there were 221,000 Holocaust survivors in Israel. The number shrinks every month, as the population grows increasingly elderly and frail. The Holocaust ended in 1945. The survivors today were young people at that time. Now, after living through the horrors and heartbreak, they are in the final chapter of their lives.
At Bridges for Peace, it is our honor and privilege to lovingly assist many survivors, bringing them food, brightening their lonely days and being the hands and feet to meet their needs.
Shelly is one of the precious Holocaust survivors we help. She immigrated to Israel with her husband, and the couple relied on each other for love, companionship, strength and comfort. Of course, Bridges for Peace was there to fill empty cupboards and put food on the table, seeking to make the dear couple’s golden years as comfortable as possible.
Shelly’s husband passed away a year ago, leaving her without her source of companionship and comfort. Since the couple was registered for Bridges for Peace’s deliveries under her husband’s name, she was petrified that she would no longer receive the food parcel they depended on to survive and that she would have to face the cold winter months alone, hungry and afraid. What a blessing to reassure Shelly that Bridges for Peace would continue to be there for her and that she could depend on us—as she had done in the past.
Now that Shelly is a widow, she needs more help than before. When our volunteers knock on her door, she is always waiting with a list of favors—things an elderly lady cannot do herself, things her husband used to take care of. It is our privilege to take care of her list for her.
This month our delivery to Shelly contained more than her regular food package. We also brought a birthday basket filled with delicious treats and a beautiful hand-knitted blanket made by a Christian in Australia. Shelly now knows that she will not live out her final years alone. Thanks to Bridges for Peace and Christians from around the world, she will have love, support, sustenance and companionship.
Many Holocaust survivors came to Israel after World War II and have built lives and families here. Many others, however, were trapped in the former Soviet Union when the war ended. When it finally became possible to come to Israel, they began to arrive. This group of immigrant Holocaust survivors—many of them Russian speakers—are in great need of assistance. When they arrived, they were already senior citizens and often had no financial reserves. They forfeited their small (usually US $80 or less per month) pensions from their former countries when they came to Israel. Israel gives them a small pension (welfare payment) of around US $800 per month. The tiny pension is, however, not nearly enough to live on. The rent for even small, poorly equipped apartments in desperate need of repair costs more than US $1,000 per month. In order to make ends meet, five or six of these elderly survivors often live together in a small apartment to afford housing costs.
Israel is trying to resolve this difficult situation by building elder homes all over the country. One-bedroom apartments for an elderly couple or a studio apartment for single survivors will be provided to them at highly subsidized costs. They will pay only US $75 per month plus their utilities. This will allow them to use their limited funds for medical needs and food. We went to visit one such building in Jerusalem. While small, the apartment was well equipped and clean. The residents are provided with dignity and assistance if they should need it.
The Israeli government and the Jewish Agency covered 82% of the costs of these new buildings. A further 18% is needed from donors around the world. Bridges for Peace has been asked to help. Each of the apartments costs US $75,000.
Now is the time to show our love to Holocaust survivors, while they are still with us. Many, like Shelly, are immigrants, all alone and living with the haunting memory of the Holocaust. Any one of those situations would be difficult to overcome. Imagine dealing with such trauma. At Bridges for Peace, we are committed to love them, feed them, fix their apartments, bring presents and visit them. Now we will also help provide them with a home where they can live in dignity and safety.
Your gift to our Holocaust Survivor Fund will show these people that Christians love and care for them. “Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (Matt 25:40).
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.
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 50,000 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 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.
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 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.
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