Special Reports

From Jerusalem to the Ends of the Earth

Situated in the far east, just north of Japan, Sakhalin is the biggest island in the Russian Federation. The shape of this beautiful island resembles the Dead Sea, and its size is 4 times bigger than the entire State of Israel. Many years ago the Tsar (King) of Russia used Sakhalin as an exile, and there were no churches there until 40 years ago. Now the island is home to more than a hundred churches, most of them Protestant.

The ICEJ held a series of ten meetings on the island, to help the churches there understand Biblical teaching about Israel and the chosen people, and also to encourage people to attend the Feast of Tabernacles celebration. During one event, Pastor Elena Eremeeva of ICEJ-Russia was appointed as the official Representative of the ICEJ in Sakhalin Island, reflecting the increased interest in Israel among the local believers. 

First Fruit Offering

When the Jews went up to Jerusalem three times a year for the pilgrimage festivals, they were commanded to not appear before God empty-handed (Dt 16:16). Each feast was one of thanksgiving: For Israel to commemorate God’s provision during their history as a nation and in their personal lives by bringing a generous offering to Him. Even Paul the Apostle, who we know was in Jerusalem for these holidays (Acts 20:16), must have presented the gifts he collected from the churches across Greece and countries in Asia, to assist the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. 
I encourage you today to prayerfully consider a special contribution this year during the Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles). As you come up to Jerusalem for the Feast, it is your opportunity to be a blessing to many here in the land. Bring a special offering to the Lord from your family, company, home group or even church, and dedicate it to the work that God wants to do in Israel. But even if you can’t be in Jerusalem personally, the Feast of Tabernacles is still a special opportunity to bless Israel. 
Also, I want to encourage you to send us your prayer requests before the Feast. Last year we brought more than 10,000 individual requests to the Lord. We know that God hears the prayers of His children, and we want to intercede on your behalf here in Jerusalem also this year.        
May the Lord bless you richly out of Zion!
Dr. Jürgen Bühler
ICEJ Executive Director
To give a special Feast of Tabernacles gift to our work in Israel, you can do it on our website: feast.icej.org/feast-offering
Or bring the gift with you to Jerusalem!
To send a prayer request, please fill out the form on our website: 

All the Families of the Earth

“Now the LORD had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed’” (Genesis 12:1–3).

When God called Abraham, He assigned to him the most daring task: To impact all the families of the earth; every tribe, ethnic group and community on our planet – everybody! This is as inclusive as it gets! Very few people would accept such a huge mission for their lives.


According to biblical accounts, Abraham was born around two thousand years after Adam, the first man, was created, and was in the tenth generation after the flood in the time of Noah. By this time, the families of the earth were in a state of crisis. The account of Genesis 10 describes that Noah and his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, together with their wives, were the only survivors of the flood. After coming out of the ark they reestablished their families on earth and with that, repopulated the new world (Genesis 10:32).

According to Scripture, Noah and Shem were both alive when Abraham was born. Noah died when Abraham was 58 years old (Genesis 9:28) and Shem even outlived him (Genesis 11:11). Abraham, as the oldest son of his father, was the main patriarch of the Shemite clan. He may have personally heard the accounts of his great, great, great… great grandfather Shem, maybe even from Noah; stories of mankind’s rebellion against God and the devastating flood less than 300 years before he was born.


Both Noah and Shem were living witnesses of life in the pre-flood world. Before God’s judgment, people lived much longer (almost 1000 years). The very first humans, Adam and Eve, had personal and regular contact with their Creator – a privilege that was lost by the time Abraham was born. It was a perfect world: a crystal clear stream flowed from the paradise garden called Eden, and in the middle of it were two mysterious trees, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Man and woman were not allowed to eat from these particular trees, but from all the other trees and fruits they could eat as they pleased.

This perfect world changed when an evil force entered the garden. Satan deceived the woman and both she and her husband decided to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. As a consequence of their disobedience their direct contact with God was lost, and Adam and Eve were forever exiled from Eden. A dark shadow came over the earth. It impacted everything and the destructive influence of Satan was deeply felt by the first family of the earth.

Adam and Eve soon became the first dysfunctional family when their oldest son, Cain, murdered his younger brother, Abel. Not much later the ‘sons of God’ (fallen angels) left their heavenly abode and established perverted families with the ‘daughters of man,’ producing a new form of super humans, which the Bible called ‘giants’ of the ancient world (Genesis 6:4). Without a direct relationship with their Creator God, mankind was pulled deeper into destructive lifestyles. God regretted creating mankind and wanted to destroy it (Genesis 6:7). However, God saw Noah, a righteous man who ‘walked with God,’ and he and his family found grace in the eyes of God and were spared.

Nevertheless, Abraham knew that even the descendants of the three surviving clans did not learn from their own history, as they soon built the Tower of Babel. One Jewish tradition even states Abraham personally witnessed how his compatriots wanted to establish their independence from God and searched to gain a new Eden on earth. In their selfish ambition they tried building their own empire, so God scattered the families around the earth. Because of this breach in communication, some of Abraham’s ancestral families lost contact with their related clans. This divine interference formed the languages of the world.


When Abraham’s story begins, the families of the earth lived without hope for the future. Abraham knew that he belonged to a lineage of sinful and broken families who had lost contact with God and lived in a state of rebellion against Him. The moment when God intervened in Abraham’s life everything changed. God decided to establish a new family clan with Abraham. He chose a land for them to live in and protected them in a special way. ‘If people around you bless you I will bless them too,’ God said. ‘And, if they attack you, they will have me as their enemy.’ Then came the great mission statement: ‘Abraham, in you and your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’

From every perspective this was a radical turning point in human history. The Apostle Paul considered it to be the first proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, ‘In you all the nations shall be blessed’” (Galatians 3:8). When God called Abraham he established the eternal calling of the Jewish people. The main beneficiaries of this calling, however, were not the Jews themselves. On the contrary, this calling came at the cost of their enmity and persecution throughout their history. The main focus of the blessing was "all the families of the earth." Abraham and his descendants became God’s tool to bring back His light into a world that had become progressively darker.

From the beginning, Israel was a conduit of redemption for all mankind and a light to the nations. Instead of another flood that would cover the earth with judgment, God envisioned a flood of redemption to such a degree that the “knowledge of the glory of the Lord” would cover the earth as waters (Isaiah 6). Former ICEJ Executive Director, Rev. Malcolm Hedding put it beautifully in his book, The Great Covenants of the Bible: "The Abrahamic covenant is the covenant of God’s decision to save the world and as such it is the most fundamental of all covenants."

This covenant put a process into motion that lasts until today. Through the descendants of Abraham we received the Bible (Romans 3:1) as well as the greatest blessing of all: God’s only Son, the Redeemer, who was slain for the sins of the world. For this reason, Mathew starts his account of the Gospel with “the genealogy of Jesus Christ… the Son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1). The land promised to Abraham, and Jerusalem in particular, has become the hub where all the blessings of Abraham’s covenant were unleashed. Here our Savior Jesus Christ was crucified, resurrected, and rose to heaven. Here He poured out His Holy Spirit. From Jerusalem He sent out His disciples to bless all the families of the earth. And, to Jerusalem, Christ will one day return.

The final outworking of this Abrahamic calling is to bring fallen mankind back into the presence of God, giving them access to paradise. Like Adam, one day we will live in a garden-city called Jerusalem. As in Eden, a stream will flow out of the city, with the Tree of Life at its very center. The fruit of the trees will heal the nations and the broken families of the earth, and God Himself, will be constantly present (Rev. 22). Interestingly enough, it was exactly this vision of the heavenly Jerusalem which kept Abraham going and served as his constant source of strength: “for [Abraham] waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10).

Abraham’s perspective of his calling was incredibly broad. Although keenly aware of how paradise was lost for the families of the earth, he saw a vision of those families being restored, just like John saw some 2000 years later: “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb’” (Revelation 7:9–10)!


This grand call to "all the families of the earth" affects everyone’s destiny. You and your family members are perfect candidates for the blessings of God, regardless of your past! The price to return back to God has been paid by the greatest Son of Abraham, Jesus Christ. Accept it in faith.

"All the families of the earth" is also an eternal reminder that it was the physical descendants of Abraham, the people of Israel, that ushered in this blessing for us. They were persecuted and hated for it like no other nation. Thus Paul calls us debtors to the Jews and instructs us to bless them in return.

The Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem serves as an incredible sign for our present and future redemption, and this year’s theme "All the Families of the Earth" is a timely reminder of Abraham’s blessings to us. The prophet Zechariah saw “the families of the earth coming to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles” (Zech. 14:16-16). I cannot count how many times pilgrims attending the Feast in Jerusalem told me afterward: “It feels like a foretaste of Heaven!” Coming to Jerusalem is like coming home. Jerusalem connects us like no other place on earth, both with our history and, more importantly, with our future.

May you be blessed with the blessing of Abraham and I look forward to welcoming you at the Feast of Tabernacles, when ‘"all the families of the earth" are invited to celebrate their Creator in Jerusalem.

Holocaust Remembrance Day

For the rest of the world, Holocaust Remembrance Day is every January, when the Allied armies liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. In Israel, however, this occasion is held in the spring. For Israelis, this year’s Yom HaShoah– Holocaust Remembrance Day – falls on the 5th of May; since the date is fixed in the Jewish calendar, it changes from year to year in the Western calendar. 

Inaugurated in 1953 and anchored in a law signed by the Prime-Minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion and President Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, the originally-proposed date was the 14th of Nisan, the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising (April 19, 1943). The timing was problematic, however, because it fell right after Passover. So the date was moved to the 27th of Nisan, eight days before Israeli Independence Day.

Every year on Yom HaShoah, ICEJ hosts a special ceremony at our Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors, which is attended by many dignitaries from Haifa and other cities, including Rabbis and political figures, groups of students, soldiers and other Israeli servicemen and women.


Yudit Herskowitz:

I lost all my family in Auschwitz. When we arrived in Auschwitz, we were separated and we saw smoke, but we had no idea what was happening. I am the only one of my whole extended family that came out alive. I’m still trying to find out what happened to each one of them. Every year at Holocaust Memorial Day I am glued to the TV, hoping to see if I might find something out about my family.On this day is when I hold a personal memorial for all those I lost.

Genia Swartzbert:

Every week I light 5 candles. Three for my family that perished and two for the Russian women who saved my life. We should not forget the good things, and we should not forget the bad things.

Chava Herzkowitz:

It is a very difficult day. When my children were little and still living with me, I tried not to be with them when the sirens went off [for one minute of silence], because I would always cry. We didn’t want to burden our children with our past and wanted them to be happy, so for many years we never told them the things we went through. It is a day I think about my family that was murdered and I say the mourner’s prayer.  It is like visiting their grave on that day.

Amit, Social Worker:

It is a very difficult day for the Survivors. In a way, they relive the Holocaust every day. The Memorial Day gives them permission to mourn and it gives the people of Israel [an opportunity] to become one with their pain.

Shimon Sabag:

All of Israel is one and remembers what happened on Yom HaShoah. One third of the Jews in Europe were killed. On this day we remember the families who were murdered. Many have no grave to go to and mourn. It is an important day to learn from - they wanted to destroy the Jewish people, and the world didn't believe it would happen. We hear these voices even today. We need to be alert and learn from the past, so it will never happen again.


We are thankful for every donation that we receive for our unique Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors. Make your contribution by visiting www.icej.org/haifa


Blessed Passover in the Land of Israel

Shoshana opened the door with a huge smile and, with a warm Shalom, invited the ICEJ volunteers into her apartment. She is one of the many people who heard a knock on their door this April, and were greeted by representatives of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, carrying gifts and food coupons for the Passover holiday.

ICEJ volunteers visited three cities in three days and met with dozens of families throughout Israel. Like many others, Shoshana received her Passover gift with tears, pouring out her gratitude with a warm hug.

“Everyone is different and everyone reacts differently,” said Pnina, an ICEJ representative whose fluency in English, Hebrew, and Russian was invaluable. Many of the povertystricken Israelis are Russian-speaking and they count on our support. Nevertheless, Pnina is happy to visit the families not because of her language skills, but because she enjoys being with the people and recognizes helping the poor as being obedient to God: “[If] it is important to [God], it is important to us.”
Jannie Tolhoek, ICEJ volunteer from Holland, also visited many families in mid-April with gifts from the ICEJ. In one household, she met Adina (name changed) a mother of six children, three of which have special needs, whose husband only works temporary jobs. In the middle of their living room stood a sewing machine, which Adina uses to make small clothing repairs for neighbors, family and others, in order to help with the constantly growing demands of her large family.

Jannie shared what a joy it is to meet people like Adina, who really need our help: “The fact that people who didn't even know her would care about her and her family put a big smile on her face.” The ICEJ’s annual Passover distribution is made possible by the generous support from Christians around the world. We are grateful for every donation we receive! 
- by Isabella Henkenjohann, Yudit Setz

You can continue supporting our compassion work among the poor in Israel. 

A Modern Day Miracle

With increasing numbers returning every year, today we are witnessing one of the greatest miracles of modern history: After more than 2000 years the Jews have returned to Israel. Never before in human history has a people been dispersed for centuries to the four corners of the earth, only to return to that same ancient homeland and re-establish an independent state. But, it is happening now.

Here in Israel, this return of the Jews is referred to as Aliyah, which literally means “to ascend.” For Jews around the world, returning to Zion is considered a spiritual ascension since it is the spiritual center for all Jews where the very presence of God dwells.

In biblical times, the ascension, or traveling to Jerusalem, was described as going “up to the Mountain of the Lord” (Is. 2:3). Psalms 120-134 are entitled The Songs of Ascension, or in Hebrew Shir Hama’a lot, and were sung when Jews made pilgrimage (or ascension) to Jerusalem three times each year during the high holidays. 


Today, Aliyah mainly refers to Jewish exiles returning to the Promised Land. The very first wave of modern day Aliyah was Russian Jews fleeing the pogroms of Czarist Russia at the end of the 19th century. Prior to 1948, a total of five waves of Aliyah brought Jews to Israel, the fifth and final wave was Jews from central Europe escaping Nazi persecution.

Only three years after WWII, on May 14, 1948, David Ben Gurion declared the state of Israel to be established, and literally overnight, Jews returning to Zion had a state of their own. As the Psalmist declared: “When the LORD brought back the captivity of Zion, we were like those who dream.… Then they said among the nations, ‘The LORD has done great things for them’” (Ps. 126:1-2). It was indeed like a dream. The people who just escaped the gas chambers of Nazi Germany now had a homeland.

Once the State of Israel was established, Jews continued to arrive. Between 1949 and 1950 almost the entire Yemenite Jewish community was airlifted out of Aden. This operation of over 380 flights of British and American transport planes was referred to as Knafei Nesharim, or “on eagles’ wings” referring to Isaiah 40:31: “But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles….”

Operations Ezra and Nehemiah in 1950-1951 airlifted some 125,000 Jews out of Iraq. The largest contingent, however, came from Morocco. By the mid-sixties, a massive influx of a quarter million Moroccan Jews returned to Israel, which today represents a strong cultural constituency within Israel.

Ethiopian Jews, who trace their ancestry back to the tribe of Dan, returned in two clandestine missions in 1984 (Operation Moses) and 1991 (Operation Solomon), and are still returning even today.

After 1989, when the Soviet Union’s iron curtain was torn down, more than a million Jews flooded into Israel from the “land of the North.” Many view this as a direct fulfillment of Isaiah 43:6: “I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ And to the south, ‘Do not keep them back!’ Bring My sons from afar, And My daughters from the ends of the earth….” the ICEJ continues to assist Aliyah from Russia, Ukraine, and other states.

As a result, modern day Israel is a fascinating mix of cultures. Once exiled to Europe, Africa, North and South America, China, India, and other nations around the world, Jews adopted many of the cultures and ethnic features of their home countries. Although Chinese, Ethiopian, Indian, or European in physical appearance, Israeli Jews are united by their common roots, which trace back to the twelve sons of Jacob. Every Passover they rekindle the hope of celebrating Passover “next year in Jerusalem,” and that one day they would return to Zion. The Israeli government estimates that today more than half of the world’s Jewish population lives in Israel and numbers continue to grow. In the last year alone, more than 30,000 Jews arrived in Israel. 


The vast majority of evangelical Christians today see this return of the Jews back to their promised land as proof of God’s covenantal faithfulness to Israel. This understanding is almost as old as the Reformation started under Luther and Calvin. Unfortunately, the early reformers believed God was finished with the Jews. “The Jews cut off from themselves all hope of restoration to the mercy of God,” wrote John Calvin in his commentary on Ezekiel.

But, as the Reformation reached England, and the Puritan movement emerged from it, this began to change. Through studying Scripture, some believers realized that God was not finished with the Jews, and His plan was clearly to restore them as a nation back to their homeland.

From the late 16th century onwards, countless books addressed the biblical restoration of the Jews, even inspiring the Pietist revival movements back on the European continent, like the Moravians under Count Zinzendorf. It became such a prominent theme that great preachers like Charles Spurgeon frequently referred to it. In 1855, for example, during a sermon in London’s Metropolitan Tabernacle, Spurgeon declared: “I believe in the restoration of the Jews to their own land in the last days. I am a firm believer in the gathering in of the Jews at a future time. Before Jesus Christ shall come upon this earth again, the Jews shall be permitted to go to their beloved Palestine.” 


The return of the Jews back to their homeland is deeply rooted in Scripture, and runs as a central theme through the Word of God. More than 70 passages promise their return to Eretz Israel (Land of Israel). Beginning with the Law of Moses (Deut. 30:1-10), it is referred to by almost every prophetic writer and was even part of Israel’s songbook, the book of Psalms. The hope that God would “return the captives of Israel” became a part of the liturgy of Israel’s worship. In Psalm 147 the Psalmist declares, “For it is good to sing praises to our God: For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.” and immediately explains why: “The Lord builds up Jerusalem; He gathers together the outcast of Israel.”

Jesus himself referred to a dispersal of the Jews from Israel: that Jerusalem would become desolate for a season, “until the times of the gentiles are fulfilled” (Lk. 21:24), indicating a future return of the Jews and a rebuilding of Jerusalem. As Jesus stood on the Mount of Olives, he wept over Jerusalem and foresaw its destruction (Mt. 23:37-39; Lk. 19:41-44). At the same time, he also anticipated a restored Jewish city whose inhabitants would someday welcome him with a Jewish Old Testament greeting Baruch haba b’Shem Adonai (blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord). Baruch haba! (Blessed is he who comes) is even used in modern Hebrew to say “welcome.” So Jesus, who foresaw dispersion, clearly expected a Jewish presence at his return who would welcome him in Hebrew.


The prophets wrote the majority of the references regarding Israel’s return from exile. More than 50 prophetic passages refer to a return of the Jews from exile. Although many prophesies do refer to the Babylonian exile and return during the times of Cyrus, Nehemiah, and Ezra (539-440 BC), most of them saw the return from Babylon as a partial fulfillment of even greater events foretold by Scripture.

For example, the prophet Amos declares: “‘I will plant them in their land, and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them,’ says the LORD your God” (Amos 9:15). Isaiah speaks to a restored Israel: “They shall inherit the land forever…” (Is. 60:21), and Jeremiah declares “…and I will bring them back to this land; I will build them and not pull them down, and I will plant them and not pluck them up” (Jer. 24:6). These prophets clearly saw a great and final return to their land after which the Lord would never exile them again. Obviously, this was not the case after the Babylonian return, since Israel was once again dispersed by the Romans 500 years later.

In addition to Israel’s ingathering being permanent, almost all the prophets understood it would be accompanied by a spiritual revival and even reformation for the entire nation, most clearly seen in Ezekiel. After declaring the Lord would take Israel from the nations and gather them “into your own land” (Ezek. 36:24), he then beautifully described Israel’s spiritual awakening: “I will sprinkle clean water upon you … I will give you a heart of flesh … I will pour my spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes ... you shall be my people and I will be your God...” (vv. 25-31). (See also Is. 43-44; Jer. 31; Joel 3.)

Israel has not yet experienced a national, spiritual revival of this magnitude. After the return from Babylon, the prophets Zechariah, Malachi, and Haggai recognized this spiritual renewal of Israel had not yet taken place, but was still to come. The Apostle Paul understood that although only a remnant would be saved (Rom. 11:5) during his lifetime, he foresaw a future national revival when “all Israel shall be saved … and the Deliverer shall come out of Zion” (Rom. 11:26).

The prophets also saw a future messianic kingdom established with Israel (Jer. 23) living in perfect peace (Is. 32:17; Ezek. 38:8), and the nations coming to Jerusalem to worship the Lord (Is. 2:1ff, Zech. 14:16). All this and more still waits for its final fulfillment.


As the prophets foresaw this end time restoration of Israel, they also expected Gentile nations to play a central role. As the prophet Isaiah declared: “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; …’” (Is. 49:22). The return of the Jews is a divine banner, a sign of God to all the nations (see also Is. 11:12) which the church cannot afford to ignore. God declares to us: “Get involved!”

Today, hundreds of thousands of Jews have returned to Israel with the help of Christians and churches worldwide. The ICEJ has been involved in bringing over 120,000 Jews back to Eretz Israel. It is one of the greatest privileges of the church today to be actively involved in this fulfillment of biblical prophecy.

One more thing: this is a message that needs to be preached from our pulpits. Jeremiah declares: "Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, And declare it in the isles afar off, and say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him, And keep him as a shepherd does his flock’” (Jer. 31:10). The return of the Jews to Israel is a truth, which should be discussed often in every church and denomination today.  


The work of God in returning the Jews to Israel is still ongoing, especially in many countries of the former Soviet Union (e.g. Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Belarus), France and the Bnei Menashe from India. The Jewish Agency recently asked for our assistance with the final wave of Jews from Ethiopia.

One of our greatest privileges at ICEJ is to be actively involved in this prophetic work and I invite you to join us. All these projects are exciting opportunities to be part of what God is doing in Israel. Pastors, prayerfully consider joining us and have your congregation sponsor one or more Jews in their return to Israel. As God is faithful to his promises regarding his people Israel, I know He will be faithful to abundantly bless you in return.
- by ICEJ Executive Director, Dr. Jürgen Bühler

Please join the ICEJ in assisting Jewish people who want to return to Israel.

Remember. Acknowledge. Act.

Jews and Christians gathered together in Stuttgart, Germany, earlier this year to mark the International Holocaust Memorial Day. Many dignitaries from Jewish and Christian communities and political representatives came together in a time to, as the event’s theme suggests, “Remember. Acknowledge. Act.”

Gottfried Bühler of ICEJ-Germany spoke at the event. Honouring the many victims of the Holocaust, Bühler also emphasizing the importance of taking a stand for Israel and the Jewish people today. Speaking out against the BDS movement and the labelling of Israeli products from the disputed territories, Bühler said: “For many Jews, this is a painful reminder of the Nazi slogan, ‘Don’t buy in Jewish stores’.”

Hope and help for the persecuted

Dr. Dan Shaham, Israeli consul general for southern Germany, commended the unique friendship between Germany and Israel after the “unparalleled disaster” of the Holocaust. He called this development a “sign of hope” for many nations and people, but also urged the audience to remember our continuing duty to help those who need it most. In that context, Dr. Shaham highlighted the plight of persecuted Yazidi and Christian communities in the Middle East.

Josef Aaron, a German-born Holocaust survivor who now resides in Jerusalem, recounted the horrors he went through. Even after arriving in Israel at the age of ten, Josef was homeless for eight months, keeping himself alive from other people’s garbage. “What helped me through every trial was my faith in God, who was and is always with me.” He invited everyone to visit Israel, which he described as “the most beautiful country in the world.”

German pastor Jobst Bittner challenged the audience to carry their personal responsibility in the fight against anti-Semitism. Before lighting memorial candles, he encouraged them to always let their light shine. “Even the smallest light can diffuse darkness.” Six memorial flames were lit on an illuminated Star of David. 

Young Druze Innovators

The ICEJ HQ recently hosted a group of budding young entrepreneurs from the local Druze community. The teens, accompanied by their school principal, project supervisor and community elders, presented an innovative, prize-winning science project to the ICEJ staff. Earning first place in the northern Israel school district qualified them to compete in the upcoming nationwide LEGO League Competition in Tel Aviv.  

Juha Ketola, ICEJ’s International Director, introduced the students to the ICEJ and thanked them for their visit. “You have a great future ahead of you and we want to continue working with you and the larger Druze community too,” expressed Rev. Ketola. A Druze community elder then thanked the ICEJ for their support and explained a little about their culture.

The project involved the use of “compost worms called Eisenia Fedida to decompose crude olive cake (waste).”  In Israel, a byproduct of the olive harvest is tons of cake waste (left over after extracting the oil). Subject to rapid spoilage and proper disposal, cake waste presents a significant environmental challenge. “The students came up with the project themselves,” explained Dr Kamal Sharaf, a Druze scientist who served as a supervisor to the team. “I simply guided them and informed them of the various environmental issues that need solving.”     

One by one each child stood and briefly explained the aim, purpose, results of their project: Special compost worms break down the cake waste and produce organic matter which serves as a rich chemical-free fertilizer. The produced fertilizer was scientifically evaluated, and proved superior at growing plants than the average on the market.

The research for this and other school projects was made possible thanks to an ICEJ-sponsored computers and libraries. “We want to give our heartfelt thanks for your generous support for our program and in general for the Druze community;” said the school principle. “You are investing in the leaders of the future.”

ICEJ Aid director Nicole Yoder presented each student with a certificate and a gift from the ICEJ, and a new donation was also made to their Selaf Felek Druze community.

When asked about the future application of their research, one of the girls answered, “We hope to have a small factory which produces commercial environmentally friendly fertilizers.”

The students of the school are already working on their dream. To partner with the ICEJ in assisting with similar educational projects in Israel please donate at  www.icej.org/aid

From a NIghtmare to a Dream

Born in a small town in Poland bordering Germany, Miriam remembers the day the Nazis arrived. Just five days after their initial attack on Warsaw, Nazi troops marched into town, closed all Synagogues, executed the first Jew and assigned the rest of them to hard labour. Miriam and other young girls had the gruelling task of clearing snow and stones off a field, only to be ordered to put the stones back the very next day. Anyone not working hard enough, in the eyes of the Nazis, was ruthlessly beaten.   

Before long, Miriam and the others were transported to Ghetto Lodz. They lived there for a month: Sleeping in the cold, winter streets on makeshift straw mattresses before being marched back to town, where another Ghetto had been prepared. One by one, Miriam’s sister, brother and grandmother were sent off to different camps; she never saw them again. Miriam can still recall the sounds of wailing and sobbing as family members were separated.

In 1942, Miriam was sent back to Ghetto Lodz, a place of starvation, sickness and constant death, only to be taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau two years later. The chaos which greeted them and ensuing months of living constantly surrounded by death were, in Miriam’s words, “beyond the realm of human language” to describe. Thankfully, this nightmare ended when the camp was liberated in the spring of 1945.

Miriam’s parents and all but one of her siblings did not survive the war. Once freed, Miriam began her journey to the land of Palestine – soon to become Israel – on the ‘Biria.’ In this ship, the Jewish passengers were packed together like sardines with hardly any access to food, but the hope of arriving in a Jewish homeland kept them alive. Upon arrival, British troops detained Miriam and the other passengers on charges of traveling to Palestine illegally, but as British rule in Palestine was withering, the war victims were eventually released.

Miriam recalls dancing in the streets on the day Israel declared statehood. After years of living in a nightmare, she was now witnessing a dream: The Jewish people finally had a home! Today Miriam is a proud mother of three, grandmother of nine, and great grandmother of seven beautiful children.

Miriam is a resident at the Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors. As her health diminishes, she is grateful for the care and companionship she enjoys at the Home. You can contribute to this work which ensures these precious survivors are surrounded by love in the remaining years of their lives.

Far Away yet near at heart

Over 7,000 kilometers away from Jerusalem, the small community in Kaifeng, China, never lost their Jewish identity. Today, Kaifeng’s young people desire to reconnect with their Jewish roots and come home to Israel.

Twenty-seven year old Li Jing is the oldest of five Kaifeng residents who recently made Aliyah. “Ihaveknown since I was very little that I am a Jew,” says Li. “My father told us our ancestors came from Israel. Still, I have a lot to learn. When my father first told me I was filled with pride. But then I was a bit puzzled. I mean, what does it mean to be a Jew?”

Growing up, Li’s parents did their best to retain their Jewish identity. “We kept the Sabbath and celebrated all the holidays –Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Hanukkah, Passover – all according to Jewish Law,” she says. Although isolated from the rest of the Diaspora, they managed to preserve their faith.

The history of the Kaifeng Jews began 1,000 years ago, when the first Jewish community from Persia or India took root in Kaifeng, a busy city off of the main trade route. Europeans knew nothing of the existence of these Chinese Jews until 1605, whenan Italian priest came across a Jew from Kaifengwho told him about his flourishing community. The collective, which began to erode in the 19th century due to assimilation and intermarriage, currently contains approximately 100 Jewish families totaling about 500 people who, like Li, are rediscovering their Jewish roots.

In 2010, seven men were the first Olim (new immigrants) to arrive in Israel from Kaifeng. Six years later, the happiest moment of Li’slife was the arrival of her letter of permission to make Aliyah. As Li now settles into her new life in Israel, she is confident her journey will positively impact her fellow Kaifeng Jews, many of whom take Hebrew language courses and religious studies in preparation for moving to Israel.

Please consider making a contribution to ICEJ’s Aliyah work which assists the Kaifeng Jews who long to come home. They depend on our support! www.icej.org/aliyah





S ons of Manasseh come home!

Biblical prophecies are being fulfilled today, because Christians from around the world are listening to the voice of God.

In the late 1970s a small people group in Northeast India began to research their heritage and origins of their ancient traditions, which led to an ancestral connection to Israel! Under the Persian rule, their ancestors had travelled through the Silk Route of modern day Afghanistan, Tibet, and China, finally settling in India. This group, called the Bnei Menashe (Sons of Manasseh), is believed to be part of one of the lost tribes of Israel.

And now, members of the Bnei Menashe are coming back to their ancestral home in Israel. Your financial contributions provide flights for them to return, just as the Prophet Isaiah foretold: The nations bring Israel’s sons in their arms and carry Israel’s daughters back to their land. (Is 49:22)

The ICEJ is committed to supporting their journey and your financial partnership makes this possible! Support us today to bring Jews home to Israel: www.icej.org/donate/bnei-menashe


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