12 Ministries Making a Difference in Israel

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Chosen People Ministries

Founded 120 years ago in Brooklyn by a Hungarian immigrant and now directed by Dr. Mitch Glaser, this ministry seeks to evangelize, disciple and serve Jewish people. It operates in 13 nations with programs that equip churches to do Jewish evangelism, support messianic congregations, print messianic materials and participate in benevolent distribution.

Representatives of Chosen People Ministries also conduct "Messiah in Passover" presentations in churches across the U.S. The ministry hosts an annual messianic Jewish retreat in Maryland and leads tours of the Holy Land annually.

The Joseph Project

The Joseph Project is the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America's humanitarian-relief arm. The alliance, which will observe its centennial anniversary next year, has distributed more than $100 million in aid to the poor of all faiths in Israel.

The ministry collects, ships and distributes more than 75 tons of clothing, furniture, household goods, medical supplies and other aid annually. It supplies this assistance through a network of 35 relief aid centers, more than 100 Israeli partnering organizations, and messianic congregations.

Donations have increased in recent years, with the Joseph Project tripling the number of 40-foot containers it shipped to Israel between 2010 and 2013, when aid totaled more than $5 million.

A Divine Mission

Those involved in ministry to Israel cite numerous Scriptures to buttress their support, particularly Matthew 25:31-40, which Segal says in context is a reference to helping Jews. They also cite Genesis 12:1-3, Job 29:11-17, Job 31:16-22, Isaiah 11:11-12, Isaiah 43:5-6, Isaiah 49:22, Isaiah 61:1-3 and the 36th chapter of Ezekiel.

"Ezekiel 36 speaks about how God's name is profaned as the Jewish people have been scattered," Cristofaro says. "God is mocked, and people think He can't fulfill His promises. He reveals himself to the Jewish people and the nations with this (aliyah) process. We have a choice: to sanctify or desecrate His name."

Hoelzle sees encouraging signs that more Christians are warming to the message of support for Israel, saying Ezra International has more churches helping finance the ministry than it did a decade ago. He thinks that stems from more awareness of ancient prophecies about Israel being fulfilled in modern times.

Indeed, during his ongoing trips to Israel, Bernis senses the same kind of openness to Yeshua that he saw among American Jews during the heyday of the Jesus People in the 1970s.

Bernis, whose work in recent years has broadly expanded to establishing a network of medical clinics for Jewish communities in India and some countries in Africa, says he has talked to Orthodox Jews in Israel who have embraced Yeshua after supernatural experiences.

"There is a growing expectation of Messiah," Bernis says. "We believe that ultimately the Jewish people—and particularly those in Israel—will cry out: 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord'" (Matt. 23:39).  

Ken Walker is a freelance writer, co-author and book editor from Huntington, W. Va., and a regular contributor to Ministry Today and Charisma.

4 More Ministries Impacting Israel

Here are some other ministries that are making a difference for the people of Israel:

Dugit: Simply the name of this organization in Tel Aviv is intriguing. The word "dugit" is Hebrew for "fishing boat," like the ones used by the disciples on the Sea of Galilee. Established in 1993 by Avi and Chaya Mizrachi, Dugit likes to refer to itself as "fishers of men" in the heart of Tel Aviv.

The Dugit Messianic Centre has been reaching Israelis with the gospel of Jesus Christ for more than two decades, discipling them to become stronger believers and grounding them in the Word. With 20 percent of Israelis living in poverty, Dugit's Agape Distribution Center helps to provide food and clothing to the needy. Families are sent to the center by social services, including Holocaust survivors and those unable to work for health reasons. During the major Jewish holidays, Dugit distributes "baskets of love," and the organization hands out free Bibles and testimony books in Hebrew, Russian and Arabic to quench spiritual thirst.

Succat Hallel: In the mold of the many sites of the International House of Prayer in the United States, Succat Hallel is a place where anyone can come to worship and pray 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Americans Rick and Patti Ridings were summoned by God to Jerusalem in 1999 and began worship services in their living room. In 2004, the Lord opened the door to Succat Hallel to relocate to a facility overlooking Mount Zion and the Old City of Jerusalem. In fall 2006, a second private prayer room opened in the City of David where the original Tabernacle of David stood. Since 2007, Succat Hallel has hosted a youth/adult conference known as ELAV, which means "Unto Him."

Jerusalem Institute of Justice: This organization is dedicated to cultivating and defending the rule of law, human rights, freedom of conscience and democracy for all people in Israel and its adjacent territories. Founded by Calev Myers in 2004, JIJ was established to provide pro-bono legal assistance for those suffering from illegal religious discrimination, including Messianic Jews. Myers immigrated to Israel in 1992, graduated from Hebrew University of Jerusalem and became a licensed member of the Israeli Bar Association. Since 2007, JIJ has strived to free men, women and children trapped in the sex trade and has been working to change legislation in Israel, which currently allows both the sale and purchase of sexual services. Additionally, JIJ focuses on Palestinian human rights.

Bridges for Peace: Bridges is a Jerusalem-based, Bible-believing Christian organization whose desire is to see Christians and Jews working side by side for better understanding and a more secure Israel. Founded in 1976, BFP is a ministry of hope and reconciliation, giving Christians the opportunity to actively express their biblical responsibility before God to be faithful to Israel and the Jewish community. Its many programs include bimonthly publication of pertinent and positive news from Israel; its monthly teaching letter to bring fuller meanings of biblical concepts from the Hebraic roots of the Scriptures; its Chai Night prayer and study groups, which is a monthly intercessory prayer program for those desiring to pray for the peace of Jerusalem; and Operation Ezra, including a food bank and assistance to Jewish immigrants, Israel's elderly and its poor.

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