The first month of the Jewish year, Nisan, is widely known as the official start of spring and above all, for the wonderful holiday that it hosts – Pesach (Passover). Pesach has a special place in the Biblical calendar. Not only is it the first holiday that was ever celebrated by the Israelite people as a nation, but it also marks the crucial event in history when Adonai, our God set His people free from the chains of slavery.
It is customary to carefully and thoroughly prepare for Pesach, by removing bread and any other form of leavening from our homes according to the Lord’s instructions: “let no leavened bread be seen among you, or any leaven, in any part of your land” (Exodus 13:7). The sundown of the 14th of Nisan marks the beginning of Pesach, and as such the whole family gathers for a festive dinner known as the Pesach Seder. This special gathering includes a collection of the stories and prayers passed from generation to generation, through thousands of years of remembering the awesome miracles the Almighty did for His people – bringing us out of Egypt, the house of slavery.
In the holiday of Pesach, we can find it all: history and traditions, love and justice, miracles, faith and hope for what is to come. In the pages of the Torah we can find countless prophecies about Yeshua the Messiah who was to come and become the perfect Lamb, the perfect Sacrifice and Atonement for our transgressions. Adonai’s plan of salvation was accomplished when His only Son gave His life on the cross on Pesach day to bring redemption to His people and to all nations from the slavery of sin. Just like centuries ago, when the blood of the lamb on the doors of our Jewish ancestors saved them from the Angel of Death, likewise now, the blood of the Lamb (Yeshua) sanctifies all those who choose to believe in Him.
Festive Pesach Dinner for Holocaust Survivors
With this in mind, the Return to Zion Messianic Congregation considered it an important time to help those in need and to bring some joy to their lives. On April 23rd, the congregation held a festive Pesach dinner in honor of Holocaust survivors, with the help and support of the “Beit Sar Shalom” Ministry.
In addition to the friendly, relaxed atmosphere and festive dinner, everyone who came (about 70 people) received a heart-warming gift from the organizers of the event and a heartfelt blessing from above to hold on to.
This holiday of Pesach has an even more significant role for Holocaust survivors. These special people who have passed through the unimaginable horrors of the Holocaust can deeply identify with Pesach, as they have personally experienced and thus truly understand the meaning of the word “slavery.” For them, more than anyone else, it’s important to pray that Yeshua will heal the wounds of their hearts and bring the miracle of salvation and true deliverance to their lives.
Welcoming New Immigrants to Israel
In the same period, the Return to Zion team followed up with an event held especially for new immigrants (olim) in Israel, with the main theme being “Passover – A Feast of Deliverance.” Fifty new immigrants came, many of whom heard for the first time the story, traditions and true meaning of Pesach and the central role of Yeshua in it. In order to provide the participants with a better understanding and visual material, the coordinators prepared a PowerPoint presentation covering all the materials being discussed. The event came to a close with an invitation to join a 6 week ‘Aleph’ (the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet) Course. This course aims to ease their integration into the Israeli society and to provide them with a better understanding of the Tanach (the Hebrew Scriptures) and of the history of their ancestors. This way, all those interested get the chance to dig deeper into spiritual matters and to get a better picture of the Jewish roots of the Bible.
At the event, the new immigrants were warmly invited to join the discussion and to ask questions or request clarification about any points that they did not understand. The ensuing discussion was very lively and dynamic, and it raised the interest of many of them to search for answers to the questions that they are scared to ask, such as the meaning of life for man on earth and the nature of the world to come. Following the Pesach event, seven of the participants took this curiosity even further and decided to join the Return to Zion Shabbat service. A family that immigrated to Israel just five days before the event, asked for a Bible. The elders of the congregation assisted them with all their inquiries after the service and had some quality conversations with them.
Lastly, the new immigrants were also invited to contribute if they felt like doing so, by helping to unload the trucks containing humanitarian aid supplies. These returning exiles play a key role in the salvation of Israel as a nation and in the return of Yeshua, and that is why it is crucial to pray for them and to support them. Adonai has promised “…I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land” (Ezekiel 36:24).
Care for the Needy and Children Suffering from Cancer
One other activity that the Return to Zion Ministry was very involved with, was helping the needy of the population in the city of Haifa, cooperating together with various social workers and with the Welfare Ministry. In total, 120 people received food baskets and Pesach supplies in order to facilitate their ability to better enjoy this holiday season with their family and loved ones. Additionally, the team also paid special attention to the local Hospital and provided food baskets and delicious treats to 30 children suffering from cancer, with the hope of bringing a glimpse of joy to their days.
A Collective Call to Prayer
Whether it’s Holocaust survivors, children sick with cancer, the needy or simply new immigrants looking to start anew in the Holy Land, they all are in great need of prayer and support, both spiritual and moral. Prayer has the power to transcend the dimensions of time, space and matter and is the engine that keeps the body of Yeshua running. The Return to Zion Ministry will continue its activities to support these groups of people, and to offer them not just material aid but also the opportunity to choose to begin a new life through the One who is “the Way, the Truth and the Life.”