Category Archives: Holocaust Survivors

Relief for Refugees from Ukraine

Shalom in His grace. I appreciate the opportunity each month to tell you about the good work God is doing through Your Mission to the Jewish People. With the post-COVID reopening of the United States and so many other countries where Chosen People Ministries serves, there is more happening in our efforts to reach Jewish people with the gospel than I can describe.

As you know, we have initiated a three-part campaign called Foundations ’22, in which we are “going back to the basics” of personal evangelism, discipleship, and deeper training for Jewish believers and our Christian friends reaching their Jewish friends and family. This campaign has progressed rapidly as the opportunities now abound. We had a tremendous month of Passover outreach. Our presentations of Messiah in the Passover online and in person in churches across the nation enabled hundreds of Jewish people to hear the gospel and be introduced to Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Yet with all this excitement, I still cannot escape the heartbreak of what is happening to the people of Ukraine, including hundreds of thousands of Jewish people who live there, as the countries of the former Soviet Union still have large numbers of Jewish people within their borders. The Ukrainians have suffered the attempted destruction of their country, without mercy on the part of Putin and his minions.

The tragedy of war fills me with sadness, and I am sure you feel the same way. We are doing all we can to alleviate the suffering of Ukrainians. It is especially terrible to watch as a generation of younger male leaders die defending their homes. Women and children are doing their best to get out of the country and escape to Poland and other nearby countries or eventually to Israel. This tragedy especially impacts children, as so many lost one or both parents or had to flee, leaving their father behind.

Mariupol, a city on the eastern border, was reduced from 450,000 people to less than 100,000, and most of their schools, apartments, and shopping areas were reduced to rubble. For years, we served a couple of Messianic congregations in this once-beautiful city, but now the Jewish believers have scattered. Yet, by God’s grace, many have found one another using WhatsApp, Telegram, and other social media tools. Along with Messianic Jews from other parts of Ukraine, they have regathered in western Ukraine in a safer city and have rebuilt a small community of believers. Some of the funds you have so sacrificially given enables them to survive, and our team also uses funds we provide to help non-believers as part of their ongoing outreach.

RELIEF IN JESUS’ NAME

We are focusing our ministries of relief and care on nations bordering Ukraine like Poland, Hungary, Romania, as well as on other European countries that have welcomed refugees. Much of our efforts are within Poland and Germany where a combined few million Ukrainian refugees have fled. We are working through our Chosen People Ministries staff and volunteers in these countries to support ministries in campgrounds, congregational facilities, and the homes of Christians. We are helping the refugees find safe housing and meeting some of their basic needs. We even brought in teams of Russian- and Ukrainian-speaking believers from Israel to help the refugees.

We are also assisting Ukrainian Jews wanting to move to Israel by renting some apartments in the Holy Land to temporarily house these new immigrants. During the last twenty-five years, God has done a wonderful work among Russian-speaking Jewish people. About 60 percent of the believers in Israel today speak Russian or Ukrainian as their primary language. Our staff in Israel have benefited from this movement of the Holy Spirit, and we have an abundance of Russian-speaking staff who can minister to these refugees.

So many of those moving to Israel are coming without husbands, sons, and brothers, as the men could not get out of Ukraine, where they are fighting the Russian invaders. Many of the men do not want to leave, choosing rather to stay and fight.

In the past, Chosen People Ministries has served the community of single mothers in Israel. Throughout the New Testament, we see Jesus helping those on the margins of society, and the Scriptures strongly encourage believers to help widows and orphans specifically (James 1:27).

One of my favorite passages is in Matthew chapter 9, in which we see our beloved Messiah focusing on the physical and spiritual needs of those who did not receive a lot of help from the rest of society. Matthew wrote:

Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” (Matt 9:35–38, emphasis added)

We are trying, by God’s grace and in the power of the Holy Spirit, to follow the example of the Messiah Jesus and minister to those in need, especially those who others might not be able or willing to help.

REPORTS FROM THE FIELD

Since the beginning of the war, we have received daily updates from our staff on the ground in Europe and Israel. Most of the emails are from Boris Goldin, who is coordinating our Chosen People Ministries work in Ukraine, and Maxim Katz, who is based in Israel but is currently working extensively with our Chosen People Ministries team in Poland. Please pray for them!

We also thank God for our German partners, Beit Sar Shalom (House of the Prince of Peace) and their director, Vladimir Pikman, who along with his wife, Inna, became believers through the congregation we planted in Kiev during the early 1990s. The teams in Germany are working day and night to meet the needs of the hundreds of thousands of refugees entering Germany and have attracted dozens of displaced Ukrainian Jewish believers who are now attending their congregations across Germany.

The email below from Maxim to our Israel director, Michael Z., is one example of the needs described during the early days of the conflict that encouraged Your Mission to the Jewish People to take action!

Misha shalom,

In connection with the war in Ukraine, I would like to inform you of what we are doing. Miraculously, the Lord opened up possibilities that we could not even imagine. A few days ago, the Sochnut1 turned to Ostróda (the place where we hold camps2 in Poland) to request to accept Jews from Ukraine. Today they contacted us through them, and together, we are coordinating the arrival of a group of Jews to Ostróda. I contacted my friend from the transport company, and the bus went to the Polish border to pick up 15 families. These are Israelis and new immigrants. They will be able to fly to Israel only after March 10. Until that time, they will live in Ostróda.

We were also asked for help in finding a place for 200 children from the Beit Chabad orphanage in Odessa. They are now in Romania and are looking for a place for a week. They are ready to stay at a Christian place but have asked to use as little symbolism as possible and to help with kosher food. I spoke with Dorin and his brother in Romania who is ready to help. I gave his coordinates to Sochnut and they already spoke. I hope everything will work out.

Misha, I think if you let me fly to Poland . . . and serve on site, I think it will be a fruitful help and ministry.

Thanks,

Maxim

Your prayers and support are so important to us, and I pray the Lord will guide you to support these efforts to bring the love of the Messiah to those suffering the ravages of war. I am praying about the rebuilding of the Ukrainian Messianic community throughout the globe, and your gifts of support will help in these rebuilding efforts wherever they will take place…Ukraine, Israel, Poland, Germany, as the Lord leads and allows.

I will send further updates as the Lord enables.

Your brother in Messiah,

Mitch

P.S. I was able to see the crisis firsthand during a recent trip to Poland, and my heart is just broken. Again, your prayers and financial support enable us to do more to help both Jews and Gentiles suffering in what can only be described as a modern humanitarian disaster. Thank you for your love and partnership.

1 The Jewish Agency, which coordinates the aliyah of Jewish people around the globe

2 Camps for children from Israel and Holocaust survivors

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Pray for Ukraine

I am writing with an urgent plea for prayer for the people of Ukraine, including many who are Jewish and who Chosen People Ministries currently serves.

Unfortunately, Russia and Ukraine have entered into a regrettable time of war. This conflict may have devastating effects on the people we love and to whom we minister as well as on their families, their friends, and their congregations.

Since the 1990s, 1.5 million Jewish people from the former Soviet Union have emigrated to Israel from their countries of origin. We have also seen an incredible movement of the Holy Spirit that has impacted the Jewish people and has opened ministry opportunities in Israel, Ukraine, and Russia.

Over the years, our staff team has provided leadership to a network of Messianic congregations in multiple cities in Ukraine. The first congregation in Kyiv, Beit El-Gibor, planted by Chosen People Ministries, celebrates its thirtieth anniversary this year.

Through these congregations, we work with youth, children in orphanages, families, prisoners, substance-abuse victims, and elderly people, including Holocaust survivors. Presently, we also have more than two dozen Ukrainian- and Russian-born missionaries on our staff serving across the globe.

Many Chosen People Ministries staff members still have family in Ukraine. They also have many friends and ministry leaders there with whom they have worked over many years.

Our hearts break for those now in the midst of the tragedy of war, which we hope and pray will be short-lived.

In addition to praying for God’s wisdom upon Ukrainian leadership and for protection for all people—especially in targeted areas—please join us in praying specifically for the Lord’s safeguarding of the roughly 200,000 Jewish people in Ukraine and for the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is also Jewish and subject to the violence of war.

Please also continue to pray for peace in Ukraine, safety for those we have been serving, and that God’s hand of mercy will permeate the region.

We have just established a relief fund for Jewish victims of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

We will use a portion of the funds to help with food, housing, and transportation for those fleeing to the western part of Ukraine. We even hope to help some of these precious war-torn souls find their way to Israel. The needs abound, especially among the elderly, those who have young children, and others who cannot access their limited bank accounts.

We are especially heartbroken and burdened for those who are part of the small Messianic congregations we have been helping in eastern Ukraine. They need our prayers and support immediately!

If the conflict ends quickly, whatever we do not use from this fund will help our ministries among aging Holocaust survivors in Israel.

Thank you so much for your sacrifice, prayers, and generosity.

Most of all, please join us in praying for this tragic situation TODAY.

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A Renewed Focus on Personal Evangelism and Discipleship

Chosen People Ministries, now in our 128th year of ministry, will continue to build on the solid foundation laid by our founder, Rabbi Leopold Cohn, and the hundreds of missionaries and servants of the Lord who preceded today’s staff family.

Jesus emphasized this need for a firm foundation when speaking to His disciples after giving the Sermon on the Mount: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matt 7:24).

Jesus is the foundation and cornerstone of our faith!

The psalmist pointed to the One who, though rejected, would be the cornerstone of the kingdom: “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes” (Ps 118:22–23).

Chosen People Ministries is built upon the foundation of Jesus the Messiah and the Bible—the word of God. Paul wrote to believers in Ephesus about this foundation:

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. (Eph 2:19–22, emphasis added)

We learn a lot from the Apostle Paul about building a solid foundation for the Lord’s work. He was an experienced ministry builder and wrote quite a bit about the importance of a solid foundation.

Wherever Chosen People Ministries staff have gone and whatever we have done throughout the years to build the Lord’s work among the Jewish people, the foundation is always the same—the Lord Himself and the Bible. We make Jesus known for all He is and what He did, and we teach and preach the Bible to those with genuine spiritual hunger.

The Great Commission also never changes. We are called to proclaim the gospel, lead others to faith in the Messiah, and make disciples of all who believe (Matthew 28:19–20; Acts 1:8). This foundation includes the importance and priority God places on Jewish evangelism (Romans 1:16), if one takes the words of Paul literally!

The Goal of the Foundations ’22 Campaign

Our goal for the Foundations ’22 campaign is to build Chosen People Ministries for the future—until the Lord returns! To do this, we need to return to and embrace the very foundation of our ministry and reaffirm the basic elements of our work.

This clarion call to evangelize, disciple, and train others to do the same grows out of the Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19–20, emphasis added).

The task never changes!

The opportunities and circumstances of the day might influence how we carry out the commission and the tools we use. But our message and work is always the same!

For example, Chosen People Ministries has confronted two world wars, various global economic disasters, the Holocaust, the establishment of the State of Israel, and the multiple wars in the aftermath of 1948 (i.e., 1967, 1973, its Lebanon Wars, and two intifadas). These challenges impacted the ways in which we carried out our Jewish gospel mandate and led to creating new tools to reach and serve the Jewish people. God used our staff, particularly in the aftermath of the Holocaust, to help Jewish people who survived the Holocaust re-settle in Europe and Israel and feed the poor survivors as they returned home to their European communities.

We have helped immigrants from the former Soviet Union, many of whom were Holocaust survivors as children, but today, of course, are elderly and have so many needs. The greatest of these needs is hearing about Jesus, and over the last two decades, we have served these dear people and have shared the message of hope through Jesus with hundreds. By God’s grace, many Holocaust survivors have given their hearts to the Lord.

The recent pandemic also required us to shift strategies as so much of our effort was focused online, which was the best way for Chosen People Ministries to enter the homes and lives of Jewish nonbelievers and believers alike. We needed to limit our usual method of meeting with people in person during the pandemic, but we were still able to carry out our ministry goals.

Now, it is time to get back to in-person meetings and to even greater involvement in the lives of those we serve.

This year, we will strengthen our ministry in three areas, which should come as no surprise. First, we will emphasize direct personal evangelism as we are able. We will also disciple those who come to faith and help them grow in their faith and become part of congregations. Additionally, we will train the next generation of Jewish and Gentile believers to serve the Lord with greater depth and expertise.

Your Partnership in the Foundations ’22 Campaign

You can partner with Chosen People Ministries through prayer and personal involvement.

Prayer

Please pray that Chosen People Ministries missionaries remain faithful and effective in proclaiming the gospel of the Jewish Messiah.

Pray that the seeds of the gospel land on good soil and produce much fruit.

Finally, pray that the Lord raises up more Jewish and Gentile believers from the next generation to minister to future Jewish not-yet believers!

Personal Involvement

1. Introduce us to your not-yet-believing Jewish friend. 

We need your help identifying Jewish people we can talk to about Jesus. Use the enclosed card to provide their information, and we will be happy to send your friend a free copy of my book, Isaiah 53 Explained, and ask if they would like personal contact with one of our ministers.

2. Connect us to Jewish believers you know. 

We would like to reach out to Jewish believers you know and encourage them with the various growth and service opportunities available to them through Chosen People Ministries. We have materials, retreats, mentors, and so much more to help Jewish believers grow in their faith. You can also help us identify those called to full-time Jewish ministry as missionaries or as support staff, such as writers, graphic designers, and administrators.

3. Join us in training for Jewish ministry.

We have many training opportunities available that you can be part of and also promote these to your congregation, church, or Bible study groups. For example, you might know those who would appreciate our short-term mission trips or consider taking a course through our new online video-based Bible institute, which begins soon. Our Charles Feinberg seminary program is also available in person and online for those who want graduate-level training for credit and are more serious about either joining the staff of Chosen People Ministries or serving in their local community as a volunteer.

As I mentioned, we will describe some of the specifics of the Foundations ’22 campaign in the months ahead. I will begin by sharing vital information and fuel for your prayer life about some of the hard-to-reach Jewish communities with whom we are already engaged and hope to serve even more effectively in the future as part of our Foundations ’22 campaign.

Thanks for caring, praying, getting more involved, and supporting our ministry among the Jewish people.

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A New Year of Ministry

I love this time of year as we reflect upon God’s goodness and grace. I hope you had a joy-filled Christmas and were able to give more thought to the dozens of Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in the New Testament. Last month, I highlighted a number of these prophecies that have impacted the messianic expectations of my Jewish forefathers. I am excited to share more with you about some of them.

One of my favorite prophecies describes the promise of God to David through Nathan the prophet:

“When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. . . . Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.” In accordance with all these words and all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David. (2 Samuel 7:12–13, 16–17)

We know the baby born in Bethlehem, in fulfillment of the prophecy in Micah 5:2, would be the promised Davidic King and sit on his throne forever. But those meant to be His subjects—my Jewish ancestors—did not accept Him. As John wrote, “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him” (John 1:11).

As a Jewish person, I wish my Jewish ancestors had accepted Him as Messiah.

We will not realize the complete establishment of His glorious kingdom until my people—the Jewish people, His chosen people—declare their loyalty to the one true Messianic King of Israel. Paul wrote of that day, “And so all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26).

I believe that day is coming. According to the word of God, the emergence of this glorious and literal Davidic kingdom is unstoppable! As sure as He came once, so He will come again! Luke wrote:

And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:10–11)

Maybe we will see Him face to face in 2022!

FIRST TO DIE

Jesus fulfilled a hidden and more mysterious element of messianic prophecy in His first coming as His journey to the Davidic throne included suffering and dying for our sins.

Isaiah wrote in chapter 53:4–5, “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.”

I recognize that this rejection by many first-century Jewish leaders was part of God’s plan as it would lead to His death for our sins. We understand that the Son of God was born to die so that the sons of men might become the children of God—through His finished work at Calvary.

But this is not the end of the story.

He would also rise in triumph by resurrecting from the dead and then, one day, taking His rightful place as King of Kings and Lord of the nations.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1:2–5, “. . . which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake.”

We pray that God will use you and our 127-year-old mission to reach today the remnant of Jewish people who will come to faith in the promised Messiah.

We also believe the calling of Chosen People Ministries is to stir the hearts of our Jewish people to prepare them for their end-times turning to Jesus, which will initiate the final series of prophecies related to His return. Again, the apostle wrote in Romans 11:25–26, “For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved.”

Jesus promised this end-of-days turning of the Jewish people to Himself when He spoke to the Jewish leaders during a pivotal point of His ministry, “For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’” (Matthew 23:39).

I take great comfort in knowing that the day will come when the Jewish people will welcome Him, and He will reign forever. This eternal reign is our biblical hope.

UNTIL THEN . . .

In the meantime, we will work tirelessly to bring the message of the King to the Jewish people. As I think about all the Lord accomplished during 2021, and what He is doing today, my heart is encouraged, but we need your prayers and partnership more today than ever before! We hope and pray that Chosen People Ministries will emerge from the pandemic strong as we draw closer and closer to the day of His return.

Allow me to share some of the blessings of this past year and some hopes for the future:

  • In Israel, we recently took about two dozen Holocaust survivors to Haifa on a retreat, which was a first over the last eighteen months. We prayerfully hope the landscape will change in the coming months in Israel, allowing us to fully reopen our Ramat Gan and Jerusalem Centers to meet in person without restriction.
  • Last month, we took forty young Israelis for a retreat in the desert for fellowship, and several seekers joined us for the trip.
  • Our Charles L. Feinberg Center for Messianic Jewish Studies initiated our first virtual class in Israel through Zoom! Dr. Gregg Hagg taught Hermeneutics and Bible Study Methods. This addition to our seminary program is an exciting step forward in making disciples in the Land!
  • We are developing a brand-new and innovative website in Hebrew to reach younger Israelis. This site will cover many of the challenges that younger and more secular Israelis face regarding relationships, education, the stress of serving in the Israeli army, and other emotional issues like loneliness.
  • We are also getting ready to begin our new “Hosting Israelis” network in the United States and other countries where Christians can invite Israelis traveling after their army service to spend a few days in their home. This network will give Israelis an opportunity to see what a Christian family is like and it will provide our hosts the opportunity to talk to these precious young people about the Lord.
  • We are developing other digital media tools for evangelism, including a new animated “gospel tract” for Facebook and other social media platforms.
  • We had great success with our online Hanukkah and Christmas outreach as thousands responded and requested our booklet, The Gospel according to Hanukkah!

ADVANCING TOWARD HIS GLORIOUS FUTURE

By God’s grace, we have certainly experienced the Lord’s blessings throughout 2021, but I believe 2022 will be a year of more incredible progress in sharing the gospel with the Jewish people. We plan to continue our advancement strategy focused on three areas: training a new generation of Chosen People Ministries staff; expanding our ministry through social media, videos, and websites; and growing our exciting work in the Holy Land as we continue to add new young staff members.

I so appreciate your help, prayers, and generous support throughout 2021 and hope you will continue to stand with us in 2022.

The encouragement and trust you have shown me and our staff reflect your heart for this ministry and your continued commitment to making the gospel known among God’s chosen people.

Please pray for our efforts in working with hundreds of local churches by marking January 16, 2022, as “To the Jew First Sunday.” We have provided videos, various books and booklets, and other resources to make this a special Sunday for God’s work among the Jewish people. For more information on “To the Jew First Sunday,” please visit chosenpeople.com/priorityinfo.

May the Lord fill your heart and home with great joy during this new year. Zhava and I and the Chosen People Ministries worldwide staff wish you a happy and hopeful New Year.

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Serving in the Land of Yeshua’s Birth

I am writing to you at a time when Israel is again battling against the new coronavirus variants, shutting down Ben Gurion Airport to visitors and restricting various everyday activities for all Israelis.

The pandemic hit Holocaust survivors in Israel harder than most as they are physically vulnerable and already some of the most emotionally traumatized people on the planet.

We all know the pandemic made life difficult for everybody, in every country, every community, and household. But imagine what it would be like if you were an eighty-six-year-old Holocaust survivor living in a cramped apartment for a year and a half without a computer or knowing how to use modern technology.

Israel went into lockdown because of the rapid spread of COVID-19, which resulted in the closing of the state-funded social clubs for Holocaust survivors in an effort to protect them from the spread of the disease. This created an opportunity for our staff at Chosen People Ministries—Israel to show His love by serving the survivors. Our staff received special permission from the government to visit these precious souls in their homes and provide them with food and other supplies. But almost more importantly, these visits provided personal connection, prayer, and comfort as our staff was able to share the good news of the Messiah with those who were open.

Our team sprang into action, and we taught dozens of Holocaust survivors how to use computers and even Zoom for virtual meetings. From Bible studies to live online concerts with worship music and teachings from Scripture, we provided a steady stream of hope and personal contact through Zoom events designed for those unable to leave their apartments. We must also remember that, during some of this time, the survivors lived in terror as missiles from Gaza were regularly flying overhead, and some of the rockets that were not stopped by the Iron Dome hit the ground near their apartments, which are very close to the border.

Maxim Katz, who leads our ministry to Holocaust survivors in Israel, described to me the ways in which hardship opened doors for ministry among hundreds of elderly Holocaust survivors and their families.

I am sorry to say that many Holocaust survivors whom Maxim and his team served, approximately seventy in total, passed away during the last year. To make matters worse, Maxim recalls that none of our staff were able to attend the funerals as only a few close family members were permitted to attend. This brought us to tears.

ANSWERS TO PRAYER

What encouraged us the most during this season were the hundreds of phone calls we received from Holocaust survivors and their curious, unbelieving family members asking for prayer. We spent hours upon hours talking with and praying for people over the phone.

One sweet ninety-year-old lady called Maxim and asked for prayer for her grandchildren, who are now in the army. The next day, Maxim received a phone call from an officer in the military who was this lady’s grandson. “My grandmother said you prayed for me,” he remarked. “Who are you, and why are you praying with and helping my grandmother?” he added. Maxim shared openly that he was a Jewish believer in Jesus and told him about our ongoing work among Holocaust survivors. Maxim’s testimony touched the man, and days later, he received a message from this officer saying he—an unbeliever—wanted to support the ministry financially! Not only that, but he continues to call Maxim to this day, asking questions about faith and sharing about his own spiritual journey.

Another precious lady in her late eighties called and asked us to pray for healing from cancer. Maxim and the team prayed for her and offered practical help as well because she had no family in Israel. She accepted Jesus as a result of our prayers and practical support. It was a beautiful picture of Jesus’ words: “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

CHANGE AND ENCOURAGEMENT

Recently, an eighty-six-year-old man asked Maxim, “How did you come to the faith? How did God find you? Because you weren’t born a Christian. So, what happened?” After two hours of Maxim and even some other survivors sharing their testimonies, the man came to faith in Jesus!

Pray for these precious Holocaust survivors. We try to help them spiritually and practically, but we are also fighting the clock as many, especially during the pandemic, have passed away. Please pray that God will continue to open the hearts of the survivors and that He will send additional laborers to serve on our team who can especially help with home visits. It requires a lot of time to make these personal visits as the survivors are often so lonely.

The harvest is plentiful in Israel among Holocaust survivors! But the time is short. Matthew wrote, “Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest’” (Matt 9:37–38).

So, please pray for new laborers and think about sharing financially in this urgent ministry so that we can take on some new workers for this effort…again, the time is short.

You can help us in this wonderful ministry through your prayers and support of new workers!

MAXIM’S TESTIMONY

Maxim was born in Siberia, Russia, in 1976 to a traditional Jewish family. Due to a problem at birth, he could not walk until he was nine years old, which made his childhood very difficult, especially making friends with other children. When he reached adulthood, he became very attracted to the world.

After some time, Maxim decided to move to Israel under the Law of Return, which allows Jewish people to immigrate to the Holy Land. He settled in the resort city of Eilat in the south of Israel with other immigrants from Siberia. But instead of finding a new life, he quickly became attracted to alcohol and chose the wrong kind of friends who were also heading down a path to nowhere!

But the Lord had His holy hand on Maxim and began drawing him to the Savior. He met some godly believers in Eilat and began to understand that there was a God who loved him. Going nowhere on his own, he prayed and asked for God’s help. Still, life became more difficult, and he ended up on the streets. Then, one day, Maxim called out to God for help as he knew that Jesus alone was the answer to ALL of his problems.

Eventually, God called Maxim to serve Him full-time, and he has been serving with Chosen People Ministries since 2002, teaching Bible studies, assisting the director of the work in Israel, and sharing the good news of Messiah with all who are willing to hear.

The Lord also brought Maxim a beautiful wife, Slavna, and together they minister for the Messiah in Israel among Holocaust survivors and among children as Maxim also leads our very fruitful camp programs.

THE ISRAEL PROJECT

Your Mission to the Jewish People has more than twenty staff members in the Holy Land serving the Messiah among His chosen people. Our Centers in Jerusalem and in the greater Tel Aviv area are again up and running, and Maxim and our other staff members are busy reaching Jewish people in Israel: Holocaust survivors, young adults, children, soldiers, and many others!

During this season of the year, when we think deeply about His miraculous birth and generosity toward us (Romans 5:8), please join me in prayer for the work of Chosen People Ministries in Israel.

Merry Christmas, and may He be glorified in all things!

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God’s Work in Israel During COVID-19

Shalom, dear friends!

You have been on my heart and in my prayers. I pray that you are staying
safe and healthy. Even if the coronavirus has not impacted you directly, I am sure that you are feeling its economic and social consequences. We need to pray fervently for one another and rely upon the Lord and His Spirit, not only to survive but to thrive during these difficult days.

We recently celebrated the final spring feast, Pentecost, or Shavuot in
Hebrew. It is the day commemorating the giving of the Holy Spirit. According to the book of Acts, it is the Holy Spirit that empowers and encourages us to be witnesses for the Lord “even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Evangelism has been a little more difficult these days with limited travel, let alone to the ends of the earth.

However, I recently heard the lockdown referred to as “confining but not
defining.” Our circumstances motivate us to find new ways to accomplish
the tasks to which the Lord calls us. You could even call our quarantine an
opportunity of the tallest order! We might be speaking to more people about Jesus by way of Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime than we did before the pandemic began!

A THORN IN THE FLESH

I cannot help but think of our current predicament as a proverbial thorn in
the flesh.

Paul wrote about his thorn. He referred to it as his weakness. But rather
than dwelling on whatever that weakness was, he wrote, “I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me”
(2 Corinthians 12:9b). And many other verses allude to the same principle—
that in our weakness and in our limitations, God reveals Himself to be strong.

As we use the creativity God has given us to find solutions, the Lord
Himself is glorified, and our ministry is magnified. I believe this is what Paul was encouraging us to do.

I have not seen the Apostle Paul’s dedication and passion for the gospel
so clearly replicated in recent years as I have seen expressed by a Russianspeaking, ex-homeless person living in Israel and serving among elderly Holocaust survivors—who now also has a brand-new kidney! One of the high honors I have had in serving the Lord among the Jewish people is working with Maxim.

THE GOSPEL GOES FORTH IN ISRAEL

Despite a mandatory lockdown in the Holy Land, many logistical obstacles, and a very recent kidney transplant, Maxim has found new ways to continue bringing the good news of Messiah Jesus to the Jewish people of
Israel.

I could tell you all about it, but I would very much like you to hear about the amazing work that God is doing in Maxim’s own words. He recently sent me this update:

I hope you had a lovely Passover holiday. I also hope you are staying healthy and well during this difficult time. With God’s help, we will get through the crisis. We pray for your situation in America.

In Israel, we are still under quarantine. Most people are staying at home. It is not easy, especially for older people. Each restriction is tough on those who are vulnerable or “at risk.” We are not allowed to visit them in person. Despite that, we keep serving these people. Every day we make dozens of calls, talking to the elderly, supporting them, and sending them videos via WhatsApp. With some of them, we are also able to do video chats.

In Haifa, we are doing Bible classes online with the elderly group there. For Passover, we prepared and distributed food packages to those in need. We also stay in touch via phone.

In Tel Aviv and central Israel, we recently distributed more than sixty packages of food to the elderly. We talk with them on the phone every day, as well

Because of my surgery, I must avoid contact with people. I am so grateful that my wife, Slavna, and our friend, Luda, took my responsibilities upon themselves. In Jerusalem, we, along with our volunteers, distributed protective masks that were sent to us by our friends in Hong Kong for people in the retirement homes. We also distributed food packages to those in need and stayed in contact with those we served.

Now, we are working on a new four-week ministry project. Every week, we plan on doing online concerts with different worship teams. The presentations will include many of the songs loved by these people, worship, and a message. We hope to stream them to all of our regions.

Despite all the difficulties, we are trying to do something to support our people. We pray for the future when we will finally be able to meet them again in person. We also pray for the possibilities of bringing a group of our elderly people somewhere to rest after the quarantine is over, maybe by taking a trip or at least some kind of tour. With all of the stress brought on by the isolation, relaxation is vital and much needed, so we hope God will provide something like this. Please also pray for the families of our Holocaust survivors. Many of them have lost their jobs and are now facing challenging times. We are trying to stay in touch with them and help them whenever possible. Due to the current situation, there are many new opportunities to reach out to people who have been closed-minded in the past.

Unfortunately, we also have had some sad news. Devorah* from Sderot passed away. She was the leader of the Sderot Holocaust Survivors Club. Because of coronavirus, nobody was allowed to attend the funeral. She was buried on Saturday at 11:00 p.m. by people from the funeral home. Her only family, a son who is very mentally ill, was unable to provide anything for the burial site. However, we hope that when we have the finances, we will be able to get a headstone for her.

We are thankful to God that, even in this difficult time, He gives us possibilities to serve and share the good news. We thank you and all of your friends who help to make ministry possible here.

Blessings from Jerusalem,
Maxim

*not her real name

CONTINUING THE MINISTRY

It is so encouraging to hear how God is working despite the circumstances! He is strong and able when we are not, and nothing can thwart His plans and purposes, not a virus, wars, economic hardship, or governmental restrictions. All it takes is a passionate heart devoted to Jesus, like that of Paul or Maxim, to be used by God in the power of His Spirit.

In the power of God’s Spirit, He provides for Your Mission to the Jewish People.

Thank you for your faithfulness.

Blessings in the Messiah,
Mitch

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Holocaust survivors experience “heaven on earth”!

Zhava and I recently returned home after being in Israel for most of June. I am amazed by the wide range of people we are reaching for Jesus in the Holy Land. Our dedicated staff of about 25 workers, most of whom are Israelis, focus on reaching students and young adults. But they also conduct children’s camps and minister to very elderly Holocaust survivors.

It reminds me of the words of the prophet Joel who told us of the marvelous things the Lord would do for Israel and the world: “…I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions” (Joel 2:28).

God promised through His prophet that His Spirit would touch the lives of people of all ages! Here is an update from one of our staff in Israel, Maxim Katz, who is leading many of these important ministries:

We just returned from Poland, where we spent ten days together with a group of twenty-three Holocaust survivors. This year marks the tenth year we have been bringing these groups to Poland. Many have not been back to Poland since the days of the Holocaust! You can only imagine the personal pain these mostly non-believers face on these trips. The Polish Christians who serve as volunteers are committed to giving the survivors an experience of God’s love by providing food, company, activities, and of course, some Bible studies. What an incredible testimony for the Lord! 

Even though it takes a physical toll on us, we persist because the need is urgent. The survivors are passing away at a rate of about 15,000 per year, which will only grow, and we think we have no more than five years for this ministry! 

During our worship and Bible study times, there was not one dry eye in the room! It is not insignificant to be shown love simply because you are Jewish, especially since they were once hated for the very same thing. This little group from Israel was provoked to jealousy, just as the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 11:11.

One lady even shared, “I did not expect to experience heaven on earth.”

Maxim and the Israeli staff are doing an incredible job of sharing the love of Messiah with so many who have lived lives of such profound loss. But as I mentioned earlier, they are not the only ones served.

In addition to our ministry to Holocaust survivors, we also minister to children, young adults, and families—both in Israel and abroad as they travel. We could not reach Israelis of all ages for the Messiah Jesus without your prayers and generous support.

Your love and faithfulness mean so much to us!

Yours in Messiah,
Mitch Glaser

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Ministry Update from Israel

Shalom from Israel!

As I write to you, I am looking out over the beautiful Dead Sea. I am in Israel for several weeks to encourage our twenty-five staff members serving the Lord in the Holy Land. What a joy to see the power of God unleashed in Israel today.

But first of all, let me thank you for praying for Chosen People Ministries. We could not do this work without your love, encouragement, prayers, and faithful support!

I believe our ministry is in good health in all areas: spiritually, financially, theologically, and strategically. I thank God daily for the wonderful sense of unity within our ministry, from the board level to the staff. We have so much to be thankful for over the course of more than a century of ministry.

Our staff continues to be filled with vision for the future and an enduring passion for the salvation of our Jewish people. The heartfelt cry of those who serve with Chosen People Ministries resonates with the words of the great Apostle Paul who wrote: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them (the Jewish people) is for their salvation” (Romans 10:1).

Please allow me to reflect for a moment on some of what the Lord has accomplished through our dedicated staff this past year in His Land!

We maintain two outreach facilities: one in Jerusalem, which we own, and another in greater Tel Aviv, which we rent—the Ramat Gan Messianic Center. Through these facilities and others, we distribute food and relief across the country, sponsor concerts, Sabbath meals, Bible studies, and ministries to young parents and their children.

Our Isaiah 53 online campaign continues to reap good results in Israel. During this past fiscal year, we received more than 3,000 requests for the Isaiah 53 Explained book in Hebrew. Of these requests, 90 percent are from non-believers.

We continue a robust program of children’s camping programs in Israel, as well as trips for Israeli children to Poland and Germany. During this past year, we had more than 600 children and teens in our programs, with dozens of decisions for the Lord among the young people we are serving.

Our ministry among Holocaust survivors continues to thrive as we serve this rapidly diminishing community throughout Israel. We sense an urgency for this ministry, as Holocaust survivors will not be with us for much longer. Maxim Katz, our dedicated staff member who needs a kidney transplant, is the one who leads this ministry. He continues to need our prayers.

We are also serving the next generation of Israeli Messianic leaders by training them through our Living Waters mentoring retreats each summer. We usually take a group of 35–40 leaders, which includes husbands and wives, and oftentimes children. We usually go to a hotel on the beach for a retreat and provide a speaker from the United States who addresses a relevant topic. It is our vision to help equip both vocational Christian workers as well as those in a variety of occupations, including army careers, to develop in their leadership as they serve the Lord through their local congregations or in some type of ministry.

Our Partnership
Thanks so much for your prayers and faithful support. Without you, none of the above would be possible. We are partners in the gospel! We are looking forward to the most intensive outreach we have ever had as we bring more than 125 people to serve on the streets of New York City from July 27 until August 10, 2019.

Again, Zhava and I are grateful for the opportunity to serve with Chosen People Ministries in the United States and around the globe in reaching our Jewish people for Jesus! The fiscal year 2019 was a year of good growth and celebration of our 125 years of faithful service to the Lord, and we look forward to continued celebrations through the end of December. We are especially looking forward to our November 15 banquet in New York City, which is part of our Chosen People Ministries heritage weekend. For more information, please visit chosenpeople.com/anniversarygala.

Thanks for caring, and have a blessed remainder of the summer!

Your brother in the Messiah,

Dr. Mitch Glaser
President, Chosen People Ministries

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The Holocaust Remembered

Shalom in our Messiah, Jesus. I am so grateful for all those who have sent us messages of goodwill in honor of our 125th anniversary as a ministry. I am also very grateful for those who have given to our CPM 125th Advancement Campaign.

We have already engaged with more than 75,000 individuals online. To be specific, we now have their names, home addresses, and e-mails for follow-up. By God’s grace, two thousand of them are Israeli non-believers who we met through our Hebrew Isaiah 53 campaign.

We are expecting to meet thousands more as 125 staff and volunteers will pour out into the streets of New York City during the last week of July and first week of August for our Shalom New York outreach! The volunteers are subsidizing themselves, but we are providing the funds needed for our staff to come from across the globe. We will even have a team of Israelis from Israel reaching Israelis in New York City.

If it sounds exciting—it is! Our local New York missionaries, congregations, Bible studies, and disciple-makers are ready to do the follow-up with those seeking the Lord. So please pray often, give generously, and consider joining us for Shalom New York! There is still space available for you. Visit shalomnyoutreach.com for more information!

Holocaust Memorial Day

The United States Congress established May 2 as Holocaust Remembrance Day. Many of us have expanded this to the entire month of May and are holding various lectures and memorial services to commemorate this terrible moment in Jewish history.

As a Jewish person, I grew up under the dark shadow cast by the Holocaust. My grandparents were pre-Holocaust European Jewish immigrants to the United States. Like so many others, they never talked about those tragic days. They did not walk through it personally but knew a lot more than they would ever tell us. Perhaps they wanted to spare us from the horrific details of this nightmarish chapter in Jewish history. I was raised with photographs of my aunts and uncles that I would never meet because they died in the Holocaust.

As a Messianic Jew, I wondered if my relatives who lost their lives in the midst of Nazi terror ever heard of God’s grace through Jesus the Messiah—either before or during the days of the Shoah (Holocaust). Knowing the answer to this question became somewhat of an obsession for me over the years.

I began to wonder if there were instances of God’s presence during the Holocaust. As the president of Chosen People Ministries, with access to our archives stretching back to 1894, I knew that our Mission had a significant ministry during those desperate days.

I began looking through these documents to try and discover what transpired through our ministries in Europe at that time.

I was astounded by what I found. I want to share these amazing accounts of grace and mercy with you. There are so many stories of how our ministry served Jewish people during the Holocaust.

Chosen People Publications

The publications reflect the writings of Joseph Hoffman Cohn, the son of our founder, Rabbi Leopold Cohn. Joseph became the director of the Mission after the death of his father. The reports are from before, during, and after the Holocaust and are drawn from The Chosen People newsletter and The Shepherd of Israel, an evangelistic publication.

If there was one outstanding lesson I gleaned from these stories, it was simply this—the Lord uses tragedy to draw us to Himself. The story of the Jewish people during the Holocaust can be compared to the Book of Job. God created and chose the Jewish people to be His light in a dark and broken world. He made promises to our forefathers that He would never allow His people to be destroyed (Jeremiah 31:31–37, Romans 11:28–29). God confirmed His Word again through the prophet Jeremiah: “‘If this fixed order departs from before Me,’ declares the Lord, ‘then the offspring of Israel also will cease from being a nation before Me forever’” (Jeremiah 31:36).

The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob assured us that He will be faithful to His promises.

Hitler murdered at least six million Jewish people, but never completed the job he started, as God would not…and could not…allow it!

God’s grace is sometimes hidden in the midst of life’s greatest difficulties. Tragedy opens our eyes to His presence in ways that good times never will. It is during the difficult times that we recognize He is always present and powerful, and that even death and destruction cannot keep us from Him. This is why the Apostle Paul writes so powerfully,

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

Remembering the Holocaust

It is good to remember the Holocaust and evil intent Satan has in mind for God’s ancient people. The Devil still wants to destroy the Jewish people to prevent God’s promises from unfolding. This should motivate us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and to remember His grace in the midst of life’s difficulties.

We must never lose hope as He is still Lord and in control, even though humans and Satan himself are guiding humankind on a path to total destruction.

In reading these stories, you might very well be brought to tears. I was! I also hope you discover the Lord of all comfort who will point your heart and soul to His goodness and the salvation He brings through the death and resurrection of His only begotten Son. If we learn one thing from the cross, it is that great suffering leads to even greater glory.

God’s best for Israel and for the Jewish people is still ahead, as Paul promised,

For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written. (Romans 11:25–26)

I pray you will find the reports meaningful and that you will oppose antisemitism whenever and wherever you see it! Thanks again for your faithful prayers and generosity!

In His grace,
Mitch

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Holocaust survivors in Israel are hearing about Jesus

Holocaust survivors in Israel are a very special community of Jewish people who understand the meaning of deliverance in ways that you and I will never be able to comprehend.

This group of elderly Jewish people is about 200,000 strong — and by one means or another these brave souls made their way to Israel over the last 68 years. Many of them immigrated to the Holy Land during the last two decades from various parts of the former Soviet Union.

These Holocaust survivors are now passing away at the rate of about 30,000 per year, and we cannot wait one more moment to present the Good News of eternal deliverance to these precious people.

Your Mission to the Jewish People, Chosen People Ministries, lovingly serves this community of Holocaust survivors in Israel in a variety of ways.

  1. We help them with practical concerns: food, clothing, repairing and cleaning their apartments, and much more.
  2. We spend time with them—taking them on trips so they can get out of the house, helping them celebrate the Jewish holidays, including Hanukkah, of course!
  3. Most of all we try to counter their loneliness by investing our time to sit by their side, to listen to them reminisce, and enjoy wonderful moments of conversation about the deeper matters of life.

Of course, in the midst of developing these wonderful relationships, the conversations naturally lead to discussions about God, everlasting life, and ultimate deliverance.

Incredible Stories of Deliverance

I have had many conversations over the years with Holocaust survivors about the ways in which God delivered them from certain death at the hands of the Nazis.

Some fled just moments before they were going to be taken away and sent to a concentration camp and, still today, they cannot figure out how their timing was so perfect. Others were about to be shot, and guards were distracted and somehow they ran into the woods and were saved by Gentile families who took them in and hid them from the Nazis.

As I have listened to story after story—it is so clear to me and to the survivors, that God reached down from heaven and saved them from death. Naturally, recognizing this leads to the question, “Why do you believe God saved you?”

It took several years of investment in their lives before the doors were open to having deeper spiritual conversations and before some of these precious Holocaust survivors began giving their lives to the Lord—but it is happening.

Chosen People Ministries’ staff have prayed with over a dozen Holocaust survivors to receive Jesus as their Savior in the land of Israel! It is impossible not to be moved by the stories of these Holocaust survivors!

Holocaust Survivors Are Seeking the Lord

Many of these special people are in process—raised as atheists in Eastern Europe, now in Israel, they are ready to begin seeking and talking about faith and what their future holds!

During this wonderful season of the year—all I can really think about is deliverance, redemption and the joy that comes from knowing the One whom to know is life eternal (John 17:3).

He is our joy, our hope, our comfort, our message and reason for the delight we take in celebrating this season of the year!

So let me say to you, personally: Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and thank you so much for your prayers and support and for being a part of our Chosen People Ministries family!

Without you, we could not be used by God to touch the lives of Holocaust survivors, religious Jewish people in Brooklyn and Jerusalem, and the secular Jewish people in New York City, Los Angeles, Toronto, Chicago, and all across the globe.

On behalf of the Chosen People Ministries staff, I want to thank you for standing with us in the great work of reaching His chosen people for the Messiah throughout 2016.

We believe the best is yet to come, as Jewish people are becoming more open to the Lord and as we draw closer to that great day when the Jewish people as a nation will turn to the Messiah and embrace Him as Lord.

As the Jewish apostle writes,

For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.” This is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins.

(Romans 11:25-27)

Yours in Messiah,

glaser-m-full-300x65

 

 

Dr. Mitch Glaser
President of Chosen People Ministries

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