Aid for Jews from the Former Soviet Union Who Have 'Returned' to Israel is Being Provided by Christi
Aid for Jews from the Former Soviet Union Who Have 'Returned' to Israel is Being Provided by Christians in America
"For Zion's Sake" has been established in Jerusalem to assist needy immigrants as they return home to Israel from the ends of the earth
By Dan Wooding
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL (January 18, 2001) - Hundreds of Thousands of Jews from the former Soviet Union, who have "returned" to Israel, are being helped by a Christians in America with food, clothes, medicine and even rent money, to give them a new start in their new homeland.
American-born Bradley Antolovich, has established "For Zion's Sake" ministry to help assist through Humanitarian aid some of the one million Russian Jews who have immigrated to Israel since 1988. "Statistically, It's as if you put the entire nation of France in the middle of America and said find jobs and housing for all these people," said Bradley
"On May 2, 1999, we opened the first stage of our Warehouse Distribution Center, concentrating on gathering and distributing humanitarian aid for Olim (new immigrants) with an emphasis on furniture distribution and other helps amongst the needy," explained Bradley Antolovich, who comes from Huntington Beach, California.
"The majority of the Olim arrive in Israel with only the clothes in their suitcases and the physical needs are staggering. They are also struggling with a new language and, until their language skills improve, unemployment. The Jews from the former Soviet Union continue to return in their thousands each and every month. Already, the social welfare infrastructure of Israel is overwhelmed and they clearly cannot handle to pressure of absorption alone. So that is where we come into the picture.
"Our goal is to facilitate humanitarian donations from abroad directly to the new immigrants through our warehouse based in Jerusalem. Our first major shipment of humanitarian aid came by the way of a 40 ft. container from Food for the Hungry in Arizona. We (and the Olim) were very blessed by our first shipping experience as we learned first hand the bureaucracy of port authorities and customs officers. We realize that the shipment of humanitarian aid by containers to Israel is one of the vital ways of meeting the needs of the poor."
FIRST MOVED TO ISRAEL IN 1990
Bradley Antolovich was initially sent out from Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, California, in 1990. "I moved to Jerusalem and began to minister amongst the Russian Jews that were pouring into Israel by the tens of thousands each month," he said. "They were, and still remain, the most open group of people in Israel to the Gospel."
In the fall of 1990, he accepted a volunteer position with a ministry called "Bridges for Peace" as Project Co-coordinator of their Soviet-Jewish department.
"During this time we visited over one thousand Jewish families to welcome them "home" to Israel in the Name of the Lord. After a year with Bridges, and shortly after the Gulf War, the Lord directed me to Russia for the next four years," Bradley explained.
"The focus of my calling in Russia was Aliya (immigration) and teaching the Word of God amongst the Jewish communities throughout the former Soviet Union. It was during this time that I met and married my Jewish wife, Marianna, a professional Violinist from the Moscow conservatory. It was always in my heart to return to Israel one day, and soon after my marriage I began to see God leading me back to Jerusalem to establish a work through Calvary Chapel.
"In April of 1995, Marianna and I immigrated to Israel to begin our new lives as Israelis, now I couldn't imagine living anywhere else". Bradley and his wife Marianna have three daughters: Yael (7), Lirit (4) and Yonit (2). "I feel very fortunate indeed to be able to minister in Jerusalem with my family and serve the people of Israel.
During my recent visit to Jerusalem with my wife Norma, We were able to see first-hand the humanitarian distribution warehouse of "For Zion's Sake" ministry.
"This aid distribution provides us an obvious platform in our outreach to the many new immigrants who have come home from the four corners of the earth," said Bradley. "We believe that a viable way of expressing the true love of the Lord is in providing tangible and practical means for the special needs of the new immigrants, not only for those that have already moved to the land, but also for those that God has promised to bring. Please pray for them to not be discouraged in difficult circumstances."
NEWS SERVICE PROVIDED
Bradley said that another aspect of "For Zion's Sake" Ministry is their news service sent out over the World Wide Web. "It is a way to communicate the facts of events from Israel from many Israeli sources here, as well as from first-hand eyewitness accounts," he said. "Many newsworthy items are neglected or promoted that often cast a biased view on what God is doing in Israel.