Believing ministries that help the poor in Israel – Part 3
One for Israel Passover food distribution in Netanya, Israel (Photo courtesy)
In Part 3 of KNI’s series on believing organizations that help the poor in Israel we highlight the humanitarian work of Christ Church Jerusalem Mercy Fund, One for Israel, Joshua Fund and Dugit.
Israel’s National Health Institute reported last year that some 1.8 million Israelis live in poverty. Here’s how the believing community is reaching out to them.
Founded in 1838 Christ Church has a long history of serving the poor and needy in Jerusalem and surrounding areas. These days the church community has a Mercy Fund to help those who “fall between the cracks” of society, systems and bureaucracies.
Under the guidance of church Rector David Pileggi, the Mercy Fund team assesses needs and allocates funding and material goods as the Lord provides it. The fund supports a wide variety of the population including Israelis, Arab Christians, Messianic Jews, those who are escaping the sex trade and ministries of reconciliation such as Shevet Achim.
“People come to us from Bethlehem and Ramallah in the West Bank as well as from in and around Jerusalem,” fund coordinator Kayra Niebur told KNI. “We really want to connect as a bridge and never be one sided. We are the Lord’s people and we try not to be political.”
The fund helps individuals in need and also supports ministries or people who, in turn, help others. In January CCJ was delighted to purchase a water boiler for an elderly woman.
“Being able to dedicate so much to a single person demonstrates how Christ focuses on each of us,” the Mercy Fund prayer letter explained.
But the organization doesn’t only provide physical needs.
“Sometimes people just need someone to listen to them, pray for them and encourage them to keep going,” Niebur said.
The fund also features a project of the month in which it assists a ministry that is serving the poor, such as Be’ad Chaim, Israel’s believing pro-life association. The project for March 2018 is Oasis of Hope, an organization that reaches out to Christian Arabs in Jerusalem who struggle with addiction.
Based in Netanya, One for Israel is a grassroots organization comprised of Jewish and Arab believers focused on sharing the Gospel in Israel through its media center. The ministry also runs the only Hebrew language Bible College for educating new Israeli believers.
However, One for Israel also helps the poor through humanitarian relief. The team works with the Netanya municipality to identify and help those in need, including many Holocaust survivors.
As they visit the lonely and impoverished bringing food and other goods, One for Israel staff members also bring “comfort, encouragement, and love in the name of the Lord.”
With a warehouse and distribution centers in Israel, the U.S. based Joshua Fund was founded in 2006 by author Joel Rosenberg and his wife Lynn who wanted to move Christians to “bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus, according to Genesis 12:1-3.”
The Joshua Fund works with Jewish and Christian groups in Israel and other parts of the Middle East and the world. Partnering with local Israeli congregations and other organizations, the fund uses a large portion of its finances to order, stock and transport food to distribution centers across Israel. The food is then given to those in need.
Since its inception the Joshua Fund has raised millions of dollars to help the “elderly, single mothers, homeless people, widows, orphans, and other poor and needy Jews, Muslims and Christians” in the land.
Dugit – “little fishing boat” in Hebrew – is an evangelistic outreach center in downtown Tel Aviv. The center was opened by Israeli-born Avi Mizrachi, Messianic leader and pastor of the Adonai Roi congregation.
A key purpose of the Dugit center is to create a welcoming environment for Israeli Jews and Arabs to learn about Yeshua over coffee and a chat or through live music and fellowship evenings.
Dugit, however, also provides material relief to the poor through its Distribution Pantry. Eligible families receive monthly food parcels as the Dugit staff “do everything they can to express the agape love of Yeshua to the poor of Tel Aviv.”
In addition to prayer and donations, volunteers are welcomed to help with practical matters such as organizing shelves, folding clothes and cleaning.
“Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes or daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?” – James 2:15-16
Read part 1 of this series: Five believing organizations that minister to the poor in Israel
EDITOR’S NOTE: This list is not exclusive. Many other Messianic ministries serve the poor in Israel. Click here to visit the KNI Directory of Messianic ministries in Israel to find other such organizations.
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Karen Faulkner is a British Israeli citizen. She has a Master's degree in Human Rights & Transitional Justice from Hebrew University, Jerusalem.