Compassion for Jacob's Children
According to the account written in Exodus 2:11–12, “When Moses was grown … he went out to his brethren and looked at their burdens. And he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren. So he looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.” Moses looked upon the suffering of his people and felt he needed to do something. What he did may not have been the right thing, but he had a heart for the welfare of his people, and he felt he needed to act. I believe it was because of this desire for the welfare of his people that God chose him to deliver the Jewish people from Egypt. Time after time, he interceded on their behalf. He couldn’t do otherwise, because he loved his people.
It is this same desire for the welfare of the Jewish people that is the foundation of Chevra to do the work we do. It bothers us greatly that elderly Jewish people in Israel and the former Soviet Union go to sleep at night, not knowing if they will eat the next day. It bothers us that they don’t have warm clothes in the winter, or the medicines they need just to sustain their lives. This is the reason we speak out to you on their behalf, that we might bring them food and medicine and clothing.
Winter is coming and the needs are far greater at this time of year. We need your help. Our funds are low, but we are committed to doing the best we can for our people. We know there are many good and worthy organizations out there, but if you can help us at this time, we would be grateful. Your giving makes a big difference, so we ask that you be as generous as you can. At the time of this writing, I am getting ready to go to Crimea in Ukraine, where we are seeking to establish another soup kitchen. We are not sure we have enough funds to keep it going, but we are going to try. A one-time gift helps a great deal, but if you can commit to regular giving, it helps us as we keep our people fed.
In addition to opening a new soup kitchen in Crimea, we are continuing to support food distribution programs throughout Ukraine, as well as visiting and ministering to the needs of many of our people. When I go to visit these places, people line up for me to pray for them and bless them. As I look into their faces, I see despair and need. I seek to give them words of hope to go with food and their other needs. I am quite aware that I go as your representative, because if you weren’t giving, it would not be possible for me to do this work.
Someone asked me what things they could do to help support our work. First, regular giving helps a great deal. There are other ways to be creative to do fundraisers for Chevra. For example, have a garage sale. The funds may not seem that much, but they make a difference to us. A second way to help would be to set up a tzedaka box, and drop a coin in it, every time you pray. This is an old Jewish tradition, and it’s appropriate to give to the hungry. A third way, is to have me come and speak to your congregation or group, and share our vision with your friends. As long as my travel expenses are covered, I would gladly come for a love offering.
Thank you all for your continued support and interest in the work of Chevra. If you, like Moses, have a heart for the welfare of the needy of Israel, please stand with us. We need you now more than ever.
Dr. Michael Schiffman,
We recently visited several families in Ukraine:
1. The family of a former police officer and his wife – they are lonely people who live in very modest circumstances. They had to sell their house to get money to help their sick daughter. In the end, they lost their daughter and their money. Ida, the wife, had found her Messiah, and as a Jew joined the Messianic community. Her husband Gavriel had worked all his life as a policeman. From as far back as 1947, he visited houses of children and orphans, who live without hope, and encouraged them to sing as he was playing guitar (photo 1). Today they are living in a very small room and in horrible conditions.
2. Another example of the people we are helping is Nina, who is 67 years old and who has a difficult life (photo 2). She is a widow. She survived the evacuation during the war, escaping from the Germans as a small child with her mother. Miraculously, she survived raids, evacuation, and hunger. After the war, she returned with her mother. Her father was killed in the Second World War.Nina used to work in administration. She has two sons. A few years ago, her husband got a message that his mother, who lived in Ural, was very ill. He went to help her, and at the moment he came to her, his mother died.
Nina lost contact with him. For a long time, she had not gotten any message from him. After a few months of waiting, she got information that her husband had died. At the same time, her son, who was for several years in Israel, was supposed to come for a visit to his parents in Ukraine. A few days before his trip to Ukraine the mother lost contact with him, and after long searching and waiting, she got news that he was killed by anti-infantry mines in Israel. Nina lost her husband and her son at the same time. Today she is a member of the Messianic Congregation. They support her spiritually and physically.
Trip to Lviv
1. We were visiting Ludmila Pavlova (photo 3), who is suffering from cancer. She is aged 45 and needs medications and treatments. We had helped her financially.
2. We bought a sewing machine for a family named Lysenko (photo 4). The mother herself keeps two daughters (she is not receiving any social help). The older daughter already has a job, and the other is a junior in high school. We would like to give them the chance to help themselves by buying a sewing machine for them.
3. A visit to a new family, a Jewish father of three children. We supported them financially so that the children can have what they need.
4. We visited a family in the small town of Ciszki near Lviv, whom we support regularly.
5. We also supported triplets (photo 5) in a large family. We had supported the purchase of clothing for winter.
We appreciate your help as we try to meet the needs of our people. You really do help make it possible.