Special Reports

ICEJ sponsors winter camps for Jewish youths

Young people play a large part determining not only the present, but also the future of a country. Therefore, it is very important for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem to support Jewish youth even outside of Israel, especially as a means to encourage them to build their own future back in the Promised Land.

However, especially in the case of the former Soviet republics, this often involves re-establishing the connection between the Jewish community and their religious and cultural roots, which were severed for several generations during the communist era.

“During the seven decades of the Soviet regime, the Jewish community of the former Soviet Union (FSU) experienced severe identity loss”, explains Roman Polonski, director of the FSU department for the Jewish Agency for Israel. “Thirty years after the regime’s collapse, only an estimated 20 percent of the 800,000 Jews across the broad expanse of what is now the FSU are meaningfully engaged in Jewish life. Russian-speaking Jews, therefore, have unique Jewish educational needs, both in the FSU and in other regions.”

In response, the ICEJ has been supporting Aliyah programs for Jewish youths for many years now, including our sponsoring of Youth Aliyah camps. In these camps organized by JAFI and supported by the Christiam Embassy, Jewish children starting from the age of seven learn about Israel and the opportunities that await them here. Through such programs as Naale and Sela, they also have the opportunity to continue their education and Jewish identity-building in Israel. These Youth Aliyah programs have been a huge success over the years in bringing Jewish children to Israel ahead of their parents and then helping their parents acclimate once they have arrived. Thus, it has been a great blessing for the ICEJ to support these unique and highly successful pre-Aliyah camp gatherings.

In fact, the ICEJ has just helped to sponsor two such winter camps in January 2022. One of them took place in St. Petersburg with thirty-four young people from ages ten to fifteen. They were joined by six trained counselors and enjoyed their camp experience in the historic city of Pushkin, a suburb of Russia’s northern capital of St. Petersburg. Activities which helped the participants embrace their Jewish identity and Israeli culture included creative workshops, games, and quests all held in a surprisingly warm atmosphere.

One winter camp attendee, 11-year-old Daniel Vulfovich from St. Petersburg, was thrilled to take part.

“I really enjoyed the winter festival this year”, said Daniel. “It’s great to be able to spend your holidays like this. The camp counselors made our holiday fun and productive. We studied the history, traditions and culture of the Jewish people, held various master classes and games. There was also a snowball fight. I would like to thank the sponsors who help in holding such festivals.”

Another ICEJ assisted winter camp took place near Minsk, in Belarus, enrolling fifty-two children along with their camp counselors. This camp was allowed to happen despite the Covid restrictions still in place. However, due to social distancing, twice as many busses were needed and urgent financial support was necessary in order to abide by Covid regulations. Thanks to our Christian supporters around the world the ICEJ could cover this need, as well as enable some of the parents from needy families to travel to the bus departure point and give their children a proper send-off.

Life in Belarus is very difficult, and parents want their children to make the transition to Israel, where they believe they will have a better life. We have had the privilege to witness more and more young Belarusians discovering and embracing their heritage after decades of concealing it. These camps are usually staffed by young Israelis, and it is very inspiring for the campers to connect with them as they learn about life in the modern Israel. For most children, the camp is their first genuine encounter with what it means to be Jewish, providing the foundation of their Jewish identity and nurturing the desire to make Aliyah.

Please continue to support our Aliyah efforts in helping more young Jewish people to find their future in Israel and be a blessing for their country. Give towards the Aliyah efforts of the ICEJ.

ICEJ helping youth-at-risk to walk a new path

There is no doubt that living on the streets is a harsh existence which no one would willingly choose. Yet for some young girls, desperate to escape from difficulties or even abuse at home, running towards the streets of Jerusalem seems like their only hope. Others may find themselves shamed and rejected at school or by family for not being able to conform to strict religious or cultural norms and behavioral codes.

Often these girls are as young as 12 or 13 years old. Upon entering street-life, frequently these young girls become the prey of predators in drug and human trafficking. Unfortunately, if not helped in time, some may get caught up in a web of prostitution and drug use. Often, any hope of furthering their education is completely shattered.

Twenty-two-year-old Sara bravely shared with our team the story of how she ended up being homeless and on the streets. The eldest of eight siblings, Sara grew up in a religious community in Jerusalem.

When she was 14 years old, she was accepted to a very prestigious high school seminary. However, she struggled with the regulations, the teachers and even with friends. “Every time I broke the rules, I was sent home. Often without explanation. After a brief time, I was expelled and found myself at home, without school for more than a month,” recalled Sara.

Another seminary school accepted her, but she was expelled again. “I began to get used to the freedom at home and then I started working though I was still less than 15 years old. I began cleaning stairs in buildings in my neighborhood and naturally this caused my parents and family to feel ashamed” explained Sara.

As Sara started earning money, she bought herself a smart phone and was exposed to social media and dating sites, making friends with people outside of her own community. Gradually, her dress changed from modest Orthodox attire to wearing the latest styles. “Eventually it became very difficult for my parents… and for me. I got tired of seeing them hurting, scared and worried that I may be a bad influence on my younger siblings. At this stage, I made the decision that the best was for me to leave home,” said Sara.

The day came when she packed her suitcase and sought shelter by going from one friend’s home to another. “Each night I slept at the home of a different girlfriend, and after I exhausted my options, I moved on to the streets. I was 15 years old without a normal place to sleep on the bitterly freezing streets of Jerusalem. I began to learn about the way of the street. I needed to survive. I discovered a world that exists behind the shadows of the nice city. I smoked and drank” shared Sara.

The place where she lay her head to rest was a storeroom shared with Sudanese migrant workers. Managing to find work in a supermarket, Sara often worked 18-hour long days, as she tried to escape her thoughts, all the while longing for home, a nice hot meal and contact. With her supermarket wages, she was soon able to acquire an apartment to rent.

“For more than a year and a half, my life routinely involved parties and an extravagant night life. When I was 16 and a half, I met a man six years older and moved in with him. We did drugs and went to parties. He took advantage of me day and night. It was an obsessive relationship, and I had no contact with my family” recounted Sara.

“Eventually he was arrested and went to jail. This was traumatic for me…. Once again, I fell and for almost another year, I abused drugs and alcohol. I was a hurting young girl who moved from place to place and was destroying my life” recalled Sara.

This is where the International Christian Embassy comes in, as caring for children and youths at risk is a key aspect of the ICEJ’s Giving a Future and a Hope program.

“When we heard of an initiative that has been running since 2010 to help these youths-at-risk to meet their psychological and educational needs, the Christian Embassy embraced the project with arms wide open!” said Nicole Yoder, ICEJ Vice President for AID and Aliyah.

“The work of this project ensures that these young girls have a safe place to meet away from the prying eyes of the street. Here, they receive a hot meal, a warm shower, get clean clothes, obtain feminine products, and receive medical attention if they have been beaten-up on the streets” noted Nicole.

This safe place opens its doors three nights a week to approximately 250 girls. As time progresses, the girls start to build a trusting relationship with the staff there. Together with the support of social workers and therapists, the girls are slowly able to navigate their way to a brighter future. This future includes completing their high school education, or enrolling in professional certificate courses to obtain employment in sought-after professions like video editing, photography, book-keeping, and cosmetology. They step into a new street; one which leads to healing their brokenness and rebuilding their self-image.

One Thursday night, Sara’s life changed forever. As she and other youths-at-risk sat at a popular square drinking before heading to a party, two ladies approached them with cookies and hot tea, encouraging them to accompany them to a safe place where they could receive a hot meal. Although they initially dismissed the ladies, the thought of eating a hot meal was compelling. That evening Sara became one of the 250 girls to regularly walk through the doors of this safe place to a new life!

In time, as a trusting relationship grew with one of the workers, together they contacted Sara’s mother. “Gradually, I renewed my relationship with my family. I even met a little brother whose name I didn’t even know”, said Sara.

Sara was encouraged to go to a special school to help her make up for her lost years of study. With dedication and hard work, she completed her high school education. Sara then decided to stay on to complete a post-high school program and begin to take responsibility for her life. “My life took on meaning and I learned to be aware of my strengths. For the first time in many years, I felt safe and in good hands with people who only want to help me to rebuild my life” recalled Sara.

Through therapy, Sara acquired the tools to help her mend her life and a year later began to return to her faith. “I recognize that God is my best friend. I learned who I am and what is right for me,” said Sara.

Today Sara is married to a wonderful man who understands, accepts, and supports her as she continues her journey of rebuilding herself. Her relationship with her family is restored and she currently works supporting girls who are walking a similar path to the one she walked.

Through your generous giving, the Christian Embassy can Give a Future and a Hope to many similar vulnerable youths-at-risk seeking to walk on a different life path. 

 

 

ICEJ Helping Immigrant Doctors Get Licensed in Israel

For several years now, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has sponsored a program launched by The Jewish Agency For Israel to provide new immigrant doctors with the licenses and tools they need to continue their medical careers here in Israel. At the same time, this program infuses Israel with the invaluable resource of added practitioners to help staff hospitals and clinics around the nation – an even greater need in the time of coronavirus.

This Doctor's Licensing Program helps level the playing field for immigrant Jewish doctors by providing them with the unique credentials and skills (especially language abilities) essential to their successful absorption in Israel.

Before the corona crisis hit, Israeli hospitals were already experiencing severe overcrowding and a growing shortage of physicians, as many doctors had reached retirement age, and there was an insufficient number of medical students to take their place.

Meanwhile, many talented men and women from the former Soviet republics have been making Aliyah eager to continue their medical career in the Jewish state. Among these olim (newcomers) are doctors from a wide range of fields whose valuable medical backgrounds are urgently needed in Israel. But they must first pass a medical relicensing exam before they can practice here.

Thus, the ICEJ has been supporting this Doctor's Licensing Program, which helps bolster both the Israeli medical field and these new immigrants. The program provides ongoing support in helping them adapt to life in Israel, obtain a license, and even find employment in Israeli hospitals.

Danyl Godim is a medical doctor from Ukraine who made Aliyah in 2019 with his wife Ana, a nurse, and their two children. The arrival of the Godim family marked a milestone for the ICEJ, as Dr. Godim marked the 150,000th Jewish immigrant assisted by the ICEJ over the past four decades. To celebrate the occasion, the Christian Embassy invited the Godim family to receive special recognition during our Israeli Guest Night at the Feast of Tabernacles 2019.

“We are grateful for all the assistance we have received, and could not have made Aliyah without it”, Danyl recently said as he warmly remembered their evening as our special Feast guests.

Danyl and his wife decided to make Aliyah because they felt Israel is their true home and a place where they can give their children a better future.

"Life in Ukraine was good, but we wanted to advance in the professional field and completely immerse ourselves in it”, said Danyl as Anna Godim concurred.

“Looking back today, there is no doubt that we made a good decision to take this opportunity for ourselves and for our children and we thank all the people who were involved in helping make this happen", he added.

Danyl came on the “Profession for a New Life” program for medical doctors, supported by ICEJ. This program lasts up to two years and at the end of the program, graduates receive a medical license in Israel, and begin the process of specialization and integration in the various positions in the Israeli health system.

Through in-depth Hebrew language studies focused on learning field-related terminology, and a unique course to prepare newcomers for the Israeli medical relicensing exam, this project provides an effective solution for newcomers who want to move their lives and careers to the Jewish homeland.

Despite his youthful looks, Dr Godim had already served for 20 years as an anesthesiologist at a large hospital in Ukraine and as a lecturer at a nursing school. Since arriving nearly three years ago, he has been eagerly awaiting the day he can fully practice here in Israel.

"I am currently doing an internship as an anesthesiologist at Laniado Hospital after years of working in this field in Ukraine", he said. "The moment I finish my internship will be an amazing moment marking the fulfillment of my dream – I will be a legitimate doctor in Israel."

Anna, an experienced nurse back in Ukraine, added that, "When we arrived in the country in 2019, I focused on caring for our children during our absorption in the country while Daniel spent most of his time in the program to get his medical license and continue the practical training he is carrying out these days.”

“It has now been two years since we arrived and we are now acclimatized to Israel. So, I am now planning the entry and integration process as a nurse here in the Israeli health system. It is a big dream that I am waiting to fulfill”, she said with excitement.

The ICEJ has just renewed our commitment to continue funding this special program for more physicians and nurses moving to Israel this year. It has a high rate of success among those taking the medical relicensing exam, plus it is a great blessing for these new Jewish immigrants and indeed for the whole nation as they help close the growing deficit of doctors in Israel.

Please give generously to this and other Aliyah and Integration efforts carried out by the ICEJ. Together, we are gathering the Jewish people and helping to build up Zion according to all that God has promised.
 

 

 

Handiworks that warm the heart

When Jewish families are celebrating Shabbat around the table on Friday evenings, observant fathers bless their children and then recite from Proverbs a blessing over their wife. “An excellent wife, who can find? … She looks for wool and flax, and works with her hands in delight… A woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” (Proverbs 31:10, 13, 31)

For many years, the ICEJ has received boxes filled with beautiful handmade quilts from the USA, designated for Holocaust Survivors. These blankets are made with love and dedication, involving many hours of work, to bless the people of Israel. ICEJ Homecare worker Corrie van Maanen recently delivered some of these quilts during her weekly visits to elderly and disabled Russian Jewish immigrants to Israel.

Mirjam was born in Belarus and is now in her eighties. She suffered severely during the Second World War. She remembers being the princess of her father, and how he could lift her up high above his head, filling the room with giggles and joy. This young father left his family during the war and never returned to his wife and daughter. Mirjam’s mom was suffering from heart disease but did everything she could to care for her little girl. At the beginning of the war Mirjam and her mother fled by train to Siberia, enduring a time as refugees that was filled with fear and hunger. When the war was finally over, they moved back to Belarus but had no money and no father in the home. Who would provide? The mother could not afford to rent anything more than a cold, damp basement room. There were no tiles on the floor and the rats were running around, especially in the night. The trauma of her childhood lingers with Mirjam until today. When Corrie visited and gave her the quilt, Mirjam responded with tears: “This love is touching my heart!”

Luba, now 96, made aliyah from Moscow in the 1990s, living independently ever since in a small apartment in Jerusalem. She often feels lonely and has many concerns for her only son, who is very ill. She tries to help him as much as she can, in spite of her age. With the new quilted blanket in hand, her fingers gently touching it, she was impressed with the work and beauty of it. “When you give me a gift, it is always beautiful. It leaves me happy and feeling precious.” For that moment, her sense of being love took over her sorrow.

Or as elderly Jewish immigrant Sara states it: “It shows love and attention, and that we are not forgotten.”

The Finnish people have a very special relationship and long history of love for the people of Israel. It is most certainly love in action when we think of the Aliyah from the Former Soviet Union and the vital role which Finnish Christians have played for so many decades in this work of compassion and prophetic fulfilment. A great faithfulness has been displayed in these believers who, with quietness and dedication, have done the work their hands have found to do.

Love is displayed as well in the boxes full of handknitted woolen socks which ICEJ regularly receives from Finland. The socks are shared not only with the Homecare patients whom Corrie visits weekly, but also with soldiers in the army. Young men and women who must give their best years to service and protecting the nation of Israel. Young men and women who are often in difficult places, where courage must rule over fear to complete the missions they are called to do. When a group of soldiers receives the warm socks, many shouts of joy and words of ‘thanks’ fill the air.

In the Netherlands, there is a city near the North Sea which is well-known for their longstanding love for Israel. A group of women there knit the most beautiful baby clothes throughout the year. When a box arrives, Homecare shares the packages with an organisation in Tel Aviv and one in Beersheba which protect unborn babies. When women – sometimes very young or in difficult family situations – become pregnant, an abortion is often the advice they receive. But the people of these organisations want to help these women in crisis pregnancies by protecting the unborn life and providing material and emotional help. Both Jewish and Arab women find help from the dedicated workers. The women are especially assisted in working through the process from rejection to acceptance of themselves and their young child.

Receiving a package of hand-made items that someone has crafted with love is a source of comfort and healing. “These small acts of love often have a far greater effect than we often realise,” said Oxana, who leads the work in Beersheba.

Today, the Christian Embassy wants to shine the light on all those supporters around the world who give of themselves in very personal ways to bless and show love to Israel. Besides these displays of handiwork, we need many others to continue giving towards the work of ICEJ Homecare – your extended hands and feet here in the Land of Israel. Please consider doing your part to comfort these precious sons and daughters of Israel.

 

Bringing Comfort to Israel

As we take our first steps into this new year of 2022, we want to remember the Lord’s goodness toward us over the past year and, with expectancy, trust in His faithfulness for this year ahead, as we continue to walk in the mandate given to the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem in 1980!

The ICEJ’s founding mandate is based on Isaiah 40:1-2 “Comfort ye, comfort ye My People” “Speak comfort to Jerusalem and cry out to her, that her warfare has ended....”

For over forty years the ICEJ has embarked upon this journey of giving comfort to Israel. This journey has involved deeds of compassion, and every town, village and city has been impacted in some way by our benevolence ministry in helping the poor, encouraging children, caring for the elderly, and assisting Jews to return to their biblical Homeland.

Our ministry currently is focused on four main spheres of practical aid and comfort. Together with your support during 2021, we were able to impact the most needy and vulnerable in Israeli society.

Here is a summary of the ICEJ’s many AID projects which show how you helped make a difference in Israel in our four main areas of work:

Israel in Crisis

During March, the ICEJ carried out the largest-ever Passover holiday distribution to the poor and disadvantaged Jewish families who were hard hit by the Corona crisis, while delivering Easter gift baskets to Arab Christians throughout the land.

In May, Israel found herself under severe rocket attacks from Gaza and the ICEJ was able to spring into action by immediately ordering 15 new portable bomb shelters, delivering protective vests and fire-fighting suits to first responders in the front-line border towns.

With the “cease-fire” remaining fragile on the southern border with Gaza, and an additional threat on the northern border with Lebanon ever lurking, the ICEJ continued to purchase bomb shelters throughout the year, for placement in vulnerable communities near the borders. An additional 36 portable shelters were purchased while other underground shelters saw renovations made to them.

Giving a Future and a Hope

Our “Giving a Future and a Hope” program strengthens Israeli families, provides education and economic empowerment, cares for children and youths-at-risk, and extends to Arab/Jewish coexistence efforts throughout Israel. Throughout last year, we were overjoyed to see many lives impacted through this program. You can read the encouraging personal stories of lives transformed in the following articles:

Giving hope to the struggling side of the Start Up nation

Igniting creativity in Israel’s elderly  

ICEJ Helping to mend Israeli families

ICEJ restoring hope to vulnerable single mothers

ICEJ extending love to orphaned children

New life is a heartbeat away  

Aliyah and Integration

We are bringing the Jews home and helping them to settle in their Land.

Despite corona travel bans, the ICEJ started out the year by bringing hundreds of Ethiopian Jews to Israel, including one young Ethiopian boy who received life-saving heart surgery once in Israel. Between December 2020 and March 2021, the ICEJ sponsored flights for over 500 of the 2,000 Ethiopian Jewish immigrants who arrived in the “Operation Rock of Israel” airlift.

In total, the ICEJ provided Aliyah and Integration assistance to nearly 4,000 new Jewish immigrants to Israel from over 20 countries worldwide last year, including sponsored flights for more than 1,500 new arrivals.

Meanwhile, our Homecare program marked 25 years of faithfully continuing to serve the elderly Russian immigrants with regular visits, giving gift packages and providing nursing care for those with physical disabilities.

Holocaust survivors

As Israel marked ‘Yom HaShoah,’ its annual Holocaust Remembrance Day in April, several leading Israeli media reported on the ICEJ’s special Home for Holocaust Survivors in Haifa. The news outlets highlighted the daily work of our team of Christian nurses and volunteers at the Haifa Home, while one of the main Israeli TV channels aired a two-hour telethon to raise funds for the Home.

Then in July, the ICEJ was thrilled to join with charitable partners to open Israel’s first National Call Center to serve the urgent needs of Holocaust survivors nationwide. The center is located near our Home for Holocaust Survivors in Haifa.

Thank you for your prayers and for sowing your seed in good soil! These are only a few highlights from our many AID projects which have flourished because of your support.

In 2022, the Christian Embassy will remain being your hands in extending Christian love and comfort to the people of Israel. May you be blessed as you continue to partner with us in reaching the most vulnerable in Israeli society.

Read more  
 

Blessing a future generation

Is there a sound more enjoyable than that of happy children playing together?

Their excitement was ecstatic as loud laughter burst forth from their little mouths. Today, Israeli children at a daycare in the Galilee would be playing in a new playground!

At the dedication ceremony, Nicole Yoder, ICEJ’s Vice President of AID and Aliyah, was almost bowled over by the energetic youngsters ready to storm the new playground.

The daycare is a unique learning center for children of local Israeli believers in the city of Tiberias which was sorely lacking a modern, inviting outdoor recreational facility.

As Nicole chatted with the pastor of the fellowship which runs the learning center, she heard how it has a long history connected to Finland. Some of the children playing there are fifth-generation descendants of Kaarlo Syväntö, a Finnish Christian who came to Israel in 1946 with a great calling and vision to help the Jewish people. He and one of his sons lived in the very building which currently houses the daycare center.

 

Amazingly, the upgrade of the children’s play area with colorful new playground equipment was made possible through generous support from our faithful Christian donors in Finland.

“We want to thank your donors for being an ongoing part of history”, remarked Pastor Daniel Yahav at the dedication. “The vision that was started back then is continuing today. We all have the privilege of joining in and continuing this chain of saints and donors and prayer supporters over so many years. So, a big thank you on behalf of all these kids who will continue by God’s grace to enjoy this place.”

“This is very exciting, and we are very glad to be a part of it”, responded Nicole as she watched the children scramble up the jungle gym and race down their new slides. “It is wonderful to be able to walk with you and be a blessing to your community.”

Thanks to your support, the Christian Embassy is able to carry out this and many other Aid projects which give a hope and a future to Israeli communities. Please continue to give towards the work of the ICEJ by donating to our “Future and Hope” fund.
 

 

Christian Embassy brings 65 South African Jews home to Israel

On Thursday (16/12/21), the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem sponsored a rescue flight for 65 South African Jews who were allowed to make Aliyah to Israel even amid the current tight travel restrictions. The flight tickets were funded through a special donation of the ICEJ-South Africa branch, and marked our second emergency Aliyah flight for South Africa Jews this year, following a group of 87 immigrants who landed in July in the wake of nationwide riots and looting.

This latest flight caps an outstanding year for the ICEJ’s Aliyah and Absorption efforts, as we have assisted nearly 4,000 new Jewish immigrants from over 20 countries worldwide in moving to Israel, including our sponsorship of Aliyah flights for over 1,500 olim (newcomers) from all around the world. These figures represent about 13% of the estimated 27,000 Jews who immigrated to Israel this year, and it also means that the ICEJ helped on average about 10 Jews per day move to Israel in 2021.

Among the highlights of our Aliyah activities this year, on the very first day of January 2021 the ICEJ helped fund a flight of 300 Ethiopian Jews who arrived as part of “Operation Rock of Israel.” The urgent airlift brought a total of 2,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel over a four-month period, and the Christian Embassy sponsored flights for more than 500 of these new arrivals. One of the passengers on the plane was a young Ethiopian boy who immediately underwent live-saving heart surgery for a congenital heart defect.

In March, a group of 226 Jewish immigrants from across the former Soviet Union landed at the re-opened Ben-Gurion Airport on a ‘rescue flight’ arranged by The Jewish Agency for Israel and sponsored by the Christian Embassy.

In April, the Christian Embassy funded a special Aliyah evacuation flight from Kazakhstan with 102 Jewish immigrants on board.

In May, the ICEJ welcomed some 250 Jewish immigrants from a dozen countries who were part of a special ‘Aliyah Super Week’ arranged by JAFI just days after the latest Gaza rocket war ended.

Other Jewish immigrants arrived on ICEJ-sponsored Aliyah flights over the summer, including 32 immigrants from France in June, plus 87 from South Africa and 30 from the USA and Canada in July.

In October, the ICEJ provided Aliyah flights for 105 young Jewish students from the former Soviet republics who were part of the Naale and Sela programs offered by the Jewish Agency.

In addition, this year the ICEJ also assisted with several large Aliyah flights bringing 212 members of the Bnei Menashe community from northeast India, in conjunction with JAFI and Shavei Israel.

Meantime, the ICEJ provided assistance to more than 2,000 other Jewish immigrants this year at the pre-Aliyah and Absorption phases. Our assistance with pre-Aliyah preparations included sponsoring summer youth camps, Aliyah Weekends, Hebrew classes, connecting flights, and transportation to airports. After arrival, the ICEJ helped many of these new immigrants with quarantine costs, scholarships for students, certification classes for professional licenses, home computers for remote learning, furnishings for apartments, and many other means of assistance.

Overall in 2021, the ICEJ helped to bring new Jewish immigrants from Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, India, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States and several other countries.

Looking ahead to 2022, the Christian Embassy is currently poised to help with the urgent airlift of 3,000 Ethiopian Jews out of war-torn Ethiopia, according to the plan recently approved by the Israeli cabinet. Please consider a generous gift to help with this historic and humanitarian operation to airlift Ethiopian Jews out of danger and reunite them with their families already in Israel.
 

THE YEAR IN REVIEW

As we look back at the past year, there were many unique challenges to our ministry in 2021 both here in Israel and worldwide due to the continuing impact of the global pandemic. But with your support and prayers, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was able to accomplish so much more than we could have anticipated.

JANUARY
Over 700 pastors and ministry leaders from around the globe took part in the ICEJ’s Envision conference in January, marking our highest-ever participation rate at this annual gathering. Envision was held as primarily an on-line event, streaming out a timely, enriching series of Bible teachings, current affairs briefings, visits with Israeli officials, and panel discussions with local Jewish and Arab pastors.
FEBRUARY
Despite corona travel bans, the ICEJ started out the year by bringing hundreds of Ethiopian Jews to Israel, including one young Ethiopian boy who received life-saving heart surgery once in Israel. Between December 2020 and March 2021, the ICEJ sponsored flights for over 500 of the 2,000 Ethiopian Jewish immigrants who arrived in the “Operation Rock of Israel” airlift.
MARCH
With scores of Israelis struggling financially due to corona, the ICEJ carried out its largest-ever Passover holiday distribution to poor and disadvantaged Jewish families across Israel, while also delivering Easter gift baskets to Arab Christians throughout the Land.
APRIL
As Israel marked ‘Yom HaShoah’, its annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, several leading Israeli media reported on the ICEJ’s special Home for Holocaust Survivors in Haifa. The news outlets highlighted our team of Christian nurses and volunteers working at the Home, while one of the main Israeli TV channels aired a two-hour telethon to raise funds for the Home.
MAY
When Hamas in Gaza launched yet another rocket war on Israel, the Christian Embassy sprang into action by ordering 15 new portable bomb shelters, delivering protective vests and fire-fighting suits to first-responders in the front-line border towns, and staging pro-Israel rallies worldwide. And despite the conflict, the ICEJ welcomed Aliyah flights with some 250 Jewish immigrants from a dozen countries just days after the fighting ended.
JUNE
The Christian Embassy welcomed the move of the Embassy of Honduras to Jerusalem and delivered our prestigious Cyrus Award to visiting President Juan Carlos Hernandez for his principled decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
JULY
The ICEJ joined with charitable partners to open Israel’s first National Call Center to serve the urgent needs of Holocaust survivors nationwide. The center is located near our Home for Holocaust Survivors in Haifa, and plans are underway to open another call center in Jerusalem.
AUGUST
This year the ICEJ marked twenty-five years since the launch of our Homecare program, which provides in-home visits and nursing care for elderly and disabled Russian Jewish immigrants. In the lead-up to the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana), ICEJ Homecare delivered holiday baskets to dozens of our elderly and handicapped patients across Israel.
SEPTEMBER
The ICEJ hosted its annual Feast of Tabernacles celebration as an online event, offering a Sukkot journey to key biblical sites across Israel. Many of our Feast participants worldwide built their own sukkahs (booths) to mark the holiday.
OCTOBER
The ICEJ continued to assist Jews making Aliyah to Israel at a record pace this year, including support for a group of 275 Bnei Menashe immigrants from India who arrived this month, along with more than 100 high school graduates from Russia and other former Soviet republics. Other recent arrivals on ICEJ-sponsored Aliyah flights included 32 immigrants from France in June, plus 87 from South Africa and 30 from North America in July.
NOVEMBER
ICEJ delivered some of the 36 new portable bomb shelters donated by Christians worldwide since the Gaza conflict in May, with a focus on protecting vulnerable Israeli communities along both the Gaza and Lebanese borders.
DECEMBER
The Christian Embassy worked with Israeli authorities to prepare for an urgent airlift of 3,000 Ethiopian Jews. In 2021, the ICEJ provided assistance for Aliyah and integration to more than 4,000 new Jewish immigrants to Israel from over 20 countries worldwide, including sponsored flights for more than 1,500 new arrivals.

These are examples of our many projects, events and ministry highlights over the past year. With your support, we are bringing Jews home, helping settle them in the Land, caring for Holocaust survivors, protecting vulnerable Israeli communities, and impacting churches and nations around the world.

‘Tis the Season for Christmas Holiday Gifts

During the Christmas season this December, the ICEJ is taking part in holiday distributions to local Arab Christian families throughout the Holy Land. Recently, a group of Embassy staff visited Nazareth where they worked with a local church to pack some 450 beautiful gift bags for delivery on Christmas Eve to children from underprivileged Israeli families in Nazareth and Haifa. In all this holiday season, the ICEJ is funding gift packages for 1,000 children, plus food baskets for 100 Arab Christian families and gift cards for 88 more families in need, from the Galilee down to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. You can join us in showing love to more deserving Israeli families by donating to our “Giving a Future and Hope” campaign.

ICEJ surprises Ethiopian families with popular teff bread

Due to the civil war and worsening famine conditions in Ethiopia, it has become difficult for the Ethiopian Jewish community in Israel to obtain a daily staple of their diet – teff flour for baking their traditional flat bread. The special grain is only grown in the Horn of Africa, but exports from Ethiopia to the community in Israel have recently stopped. Yet this week, the ICEJ had the chance through a key contact to purchase a ton of teff flour and distribute it among 200 Ethiopian immigrant families at a gathering arranged by Israeli social workers in Netanya. The flour is so popular among the Ethiopian community here in Israel that the event turned into a very festive gathering, with a musical performance, a clown for the children, and a large communal meal featuring everyone’s favourite – teff bread!

The ICEJ is continuing to assist with the historic return of the Ethiopian Jewish community to Israel by sponsoring Aliyah flights, as well as supporting new Ethiopian immigrants during their often long and difficult integration process into the country. Please help with our Ethiopian Aliyah and Absorption efforts by giving at: on.icej.org/aliyah