Unrolling the red carpet for the neglected – Israeli beauty shop becomes safe place
How a small beauty shop is dispersing the darkness of south Tel Aviv
The most pressing issues in this world are difficult in and of themselves, and still, majority of them are even more complicated when you look under the surface.
Tel Aviv, apart from being the tech capital in this part of the world, holds also some very dark secrets. When one takes up the challenge of standing against abortion which is very prevalent in Israel, it is impossible to detach it from its complexities.
In Tel Aviv unwanted pregnancies are strongly linked with the issue of human trafficking.
This was the realization of an Israeli couple, Ishai and Anat, who were moved to take action against abortion by providing practical help to troubled mothers, but also felt a heavy burden in their hearts to reach out to women controlled by mafia and human traffickers.
They started an organization called Chaim Beshefa (Hebrew for ‘Abundant Life’) where they are surrounded by dedicated staff and volunteers who share in their mission.
A turning point came when Anat got a phone call from a social worker in Tel Aviv old bus station area. She asked Anat to meet and care for a victim of sex trafficking from Uzbekistan who was also a drug addict and just gave birth to a child she could not support. Thus a new avenue of work was initiated for Chaim Beshefa: reaching out to women in prostitution by the old bus station in Tel Aviv.
The southern neighborhood of the city near the old bus station is home to brothels and drug hangouts, dealers and crime – a place where many women have long abandoned the dream of leading a free and comfortable life.
Chaim Beshefa team stepped into this miserable place with a novel, and possibly risky, idea: let’s open a beauty shop! The center, ingeniously named “Red Carpet Nail Center,” offers manicures, pedicures and hairstyling free of charge. But more importantly, it is a safe space for the women to enjoy a hot meal, take a shower and receive counseling.
The main goal is to send them to rehabilitation centers, to move from their current situation and experience true breakthrough.
Men are not allowed inside, so even Ishai, Anat’s husband, does not enter the center during its opening hours, and guards the entrance instead. The Red Carpet center gives them an escape from their weary lives, where local and international volunteers show them care and are willing to pray with them.
They offer the mistreated women of the slums something they may have never experienced in their lives, respect and unconditional love.
The stance of Chaim Beshefa is straightforward: each woman who enters the center is a king’s daughter, precious and loved, who is stepping on a red carpet to meet the King of Kings.
This article originally appeared on FIRM and reposted with permission.
Estera Wieja, born and raised in Poland, moved to Israel in 2010. She is a journalist and in 2018 joined the staff of Fellowship of Israel Related Ministries (FIRM) in Jerusalem.
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Messianic senior citizen home in Israel looking to expand
Here in Israel, many Messianic believers and ministries run establishments including guest houses, schools and performance centers, and the list goes on. However, there is currently only one home for the elderly – Ebenezer.
Established in 1976 by the Norwegian Church Ministry to Israel, the Ebenezer Senior Citizens’ Home in Haifa is currently home to 27 residents, all of whom are more or less independent.
The home, however, is now raising funds for much-needed renovations – including the addition of an underground space for use during war time and a nursing ward – in order to meet governmental requirements and so that a greater number of elderly Messianic believers can live at Ebenezer and receive adequate care.
The need for a new nursing ward became evident in 2012 after an inspection by the Welfare Ministry. The ministry deemed Ebenezer’s current facilities and staff insufficient to meet the needs of some of its residents and recommended that Ebenezer’s residents be relocated to an assisted living facility. But Ebenezer was able to make short-term changes in order to keep the residents there while also planning urgently needed structural and staff changes.
Because Ebenezer has always received top ratings during inspections by the governmental ministries of health and social welfare, the government is giving the organization some time to implement the changes.
Johnny Khoury, Ebenezer’s manager since 2003, has finalized plans for the expansion and is now raising money for the project.
“The new ward will be built and equipped according to the requirements and standards of the Ministry of Health (larger rooms and bathrooms with wide doors, etc.),” he said. “The rooms the residents live in at the moment are designed according to the residents’ personal taste and are furnished with furniture brought from their homes. For practical reasons, residents living in the nursing ward will be limited in their ability to design their rooms according to their personal taste.”
So far, less than 20 percent of the estimated 25 million shekels needed for the project have been raised.
Ebenezer is raising funds through attendance at conferences, exhibitions and charity concerts, and interviews on radio and TV stations abroad. Another unique fundraising effort was the participation of 50 locals in the annual Tel Aviv Marathon on Feb. 22. The runners were sponsored by friends, family members and local companies.
Raising money for these essential changes has presented bureaucratic and legal hurdles, but with God’s help these have been sorted. And in the meantime, non-believing neighbors and government representatives have encouraged the project.
“[A]s a Messianic organization, we have a responsibility before God and people to do everything in a worthy manner,” Khoury said. “We thank God that not long ago we also successfully completed a long process of an in-depth audit by the Registrar of Amutot [Non-Profit Organizations]. The process itself was tedious, but it was an opportunity to examine ourselves and improve – all for the Lord’s glory and honor.”
If you’d like to support Ebenezer’s expansion project, please visit https://www.ebenezer.co.il/donate.
Violet moved to Israel in 2013. She lives in Haifa with her husband and their daughter.
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Press Release: Reconciled Identities – Israeli and Palestinian Disciples of Jesus Share the Search for Peace
Messianic Jewish and Palestinian Christian disciples of Jesus met in Antalya, Turkey, February 14-17, 2019 for the 5th conference of the Lausanne Initiative on Reconciliation in Israel/Palestine (LIRIP). 27 participants from Israel, the West Bank and Gaza met in Antalya, Turkey, for three days of prayer, study and discussion. Their focus was how to make a difference through practical demonstrations of the reconciling love of Jesus across the boundaries of intractable conflict and the seemingly irreconcilable dividing walls of politicised identities. The group was comprised of Jewish and Arab disciples of Jesus, including participants from Muslim, Orthodox Jewish and Orthodox Christian backgrounds, all committed to working together to achieve peace. Together they affirmed their unity and commitment to work for reconciliation and a just peace in Israel/Palestine.
The conference was sponsored by the Lausanne Initiative for Reconciliation in Israel/Palestine (LIRIP). Its vision is “to promote reconciliation within the body of Christ and our wider communities in Israel and Palestine by creating a network that encourages, under the auspices of the Lausanne Movement, models of gospel-based, Christ-centered reconciliation that will have prophetic impact in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
Under the theme of “Exploring our Conflicting Identities” participants gave presentations on Israeli and Palestinian identities and our reconciled identities in Christ/Messiah. Presentation topics included identity theory, Palestinian identity in Israel, Christian focus on Palestinian nationalism, an exploration of Zionism, contested issues in Palestinian society, military service in Israel, and being a Palestinian in Israel under the new Nationality Law. The legal and practical implications of this recently passed law (an Israeli Basic Law which specifies the nature of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people) were discussed in frank, open and at times heated discussion, with respectful acknowledgement of the various and differing positions held.
The three groups – Palestinians living in Israel, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, and Messianic Jewish Israelis – discussed how their own identities challenged them to be more accepting and understanding of others, and to recognise the issues needing to be addressed in their own identity construction. The three groups met separately to discuss their own group’s weaknesses and identified what each group saw as the weaknesses of the other group, subsequently presenting their views to the full group. Challenging discussions followed in an atmosphere of openness and respect.
The fifth conference of the Lausanne Initiative on Reconciliation in Israel/Palestine built on the momentum of previous meetings. The Larnaca Statement and Cape Town Commitment affirm the need for peace-building and justice in ethnic and political conflict. Future meetings will involve joint activities, mutual hospitality and theological consultations. The group plans to further address the many theological, social and practical challenges that arise in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Lisa Loden, co-chair of the Initiative, said “We see each other across the walls and barricades of two separated communities. We are divided amongst ourselves and across our communities yet we are here to seek peace and pursue reconciliation. Living in the context of the intractable Israeli –Palestinian conflict, together we are choosing to cross the divides and build bridges of understanding, trust and mutual commitment; to stand together for justice, peace and reconciliation. Our faith in Jesus as Messiah and Saviour of all unites, empowers and calls us to action.”
Botrus Mansour, co-chair of the Initiative, said: “As followers of the Messiah in the land we are called to be a prophetic voice calling for justice and equality regardless of our conflicting identities in the midst of conflict. We have shared candidly with empathy how we can do that.”
Grace Matthews, previous Vice-Chair of the Global Board for the Lausanne Movement, thanked the participants “ . . . for taking the time to be here at a time when there seems to be increasing polarisation between denominations, religions, governments, and races. It is good to see a group gathering together, to reconcile differences rather than to live in the animosity of estrangement. We are called to love even our enemies. As Christians we can no longer afford to be silent in a world crying out for honest voices. My fervent prayer is that we can continue to chart a course that will glorify the redeeming love of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
For more information and details of future meetings, contact:
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Pray for our leaders and the April elections in Israel
Our nation has elections coming up on April 9, 2019. Whatever your political allegiance might be, God’s word instructs us to pray for those in authority.
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. –1 Timothy 2:1-4
When the first believers prayed together the ground shook and captives were set free.
Starting on the March 1, I challenge you to commit to pray for the next 40 days for our nation and the upcoming elections. Pray for integrity in our leaders. Pray for righteousness. Pray that our leaders would seek God’s wisdom and follow God’s paths. Pray for favour for the Messianic and Christian believers. For more suggestions, request a free copy of the pdf prayer guide 28 Days of Prayer for Nations from firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to pray with other believers, we will be meeting online from 8-8:30pm every day. Join when you can. It’s a team effort, and we value your prayers for our nation. We are not praying for a political party or agenda. Praying in Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, English and Amharic welcome!
For details on how to join the online prayer, please contact Wendy Halloun email@example.com
Wendy Halloun lives on Mount Carmel with her husband Sharbel and their four children. She is passionate about the Word of God and equipping fellow believers to be anchored in the Word of God and flowing with the power of the Spirit. Her book, Identity in Messiah is releasing February 2018. Find out more on wordsofclay.com
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How to cope with turbulence and uncertainty, according to an Israeli soldier
“Get up! Get up now!” The soldier had become somewhat used to being woken up like this in the middle of the night, but the shock never wears off. Eli HaiTov was serving in the Search and Rescue Brigade in the Israeli Army. They needed to be trained to be ready for action at a moment’s notice, and so the “surprises” came thick and fast.
Even when it would more natural to be groggy with sleep, they would obediently jump up, put on their uniform – orange berets and black boots, along with a heavy vest of equipment – and off they would go. Most often they had no idea what would be waiting for them, or how long it would take. They plunged into the dark, into the unknown.
The Search and Rescue Brigade is a highly skilled force trained to execute special search and rescue missions, both in Israel and abroad. In order to maintain the high standards necessary, the training was tough. These are the ones that other soldiers and civilians depend on for help in an emergency.
Dealing with the unknown
One of the toughest parts of the training was deliberately throwing the soldiers into the total unknown – a complete lack of certainty. They did not know where they were going, or what they would have to do. One time they were dropped Eli and his unit off in an abandoned wasteland for three days. They learned to survive on four hours of sleep. It was important that they were fully trained and experienced to deal with situations that are very challenging for the human mind.
Uncertainty, instability, insecurity… whichever word you choose, a lack of clarity is difficult for every human being to deal with. But just as the IDF drills soldiers by plunging them into the unknown, so God trains us to walk with him, asking us to trust him without knowing the details.
God girds us with strength for battle in our minds by stretching our faith muscle. Here’s how David expressed it in Psalm 18:
God girds me with strength
and makes my way straight.
He makes my feet like those of deer
and makes me stand on my heights.
He trains my hands for battle,
so my arms can bend a bronze bow.
You gave me the shield of Your salvation.
Your right hand upholds me,
Your gentleness makes me great.
You broaden my steps beneath me,
so my ankles have not slipped.
God, like a good commander, plunges us into situations that develop our ability to cope, come what may. We might feel as if he is withholding help, information, or provision from us. But perhaps he is not taking away from us, but rather GIVING to us. He furnishes us with skill to endure as he teaches us how to walk with him. He makes our feet like those of a deer, able to stand in high places.
By taking away our safety nets and our crutches, God forces us to depend on the only reliable source of strength and help: Himself. And suddenly we find capacity beyond what we even thought was possible.
For with You I rush on a troop,
with my God I scale a wall. (v.30)
Keep your eyes on the horizon
As has become something of a tradition for an Israeli soldier, Eli went traveling after his army service. It was while he was exploring Norway’s beautiful lakes that he discovered that he gets sea-sick. He was in a boat, and in the dark he was unable to fix his eyes on any stable point. The turbulence got the better of him. As anyone who has suffered with motion sickness will know, the internal conflict your body experiences and loss of inner balance can be very unsettling. Your body doesn’t know what is going on, and nausea ensues.
The solution is to find a stable point, and keep your eyes fixed upon it. The horizon is usually the answer.
So in life, we realise sooner or later that nothing is stable. Nothing is certain. There is no secure place that we can truly rely upon other than God himself. When uncertainty and insecurity swirl around us, and unsettle our souls, fear can arise.
Insecurity is basically fear. And the opposite of fear is faith.
But the author of Hebrews confirms that the way to strengthen our faith muscle is to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
Jesus is our horizon.
He is our source, and he is our destiny. We are encouraged to fix our eyes on the final outcome, just as Jesus himself did when contemplating the cross.
As true disciples, we are here to serve in God’s army – we are not civilians – and we are being trained to withstand whatever may come. We are subjects of an unshakable kingdom, and our future is 100% certain. We might protest at the rigorous regime God puts us through, but when we are made strong for him, we can serve like a well trained soldier in his elite search and rescue team.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)
Today Eli HaiTov works with ONE FOR ISRAEL, as a researcher and writer for our Hebrew-speaking audience. Eli loves to worship God, and you can listen to his music here.
This article originally appeared on One For Israel and is reposted with permission.
ONE FOR ISRAEL strives to be the leading organization in sharing the Gospel of Yeshua the Messiah with Israeli Jews and Arabs in the Hebrew language. Our staff is comprised of both Jewish and Arab Israelis, with the shared belief that true peace in the Middle East can only come into existence under Yeshua.