We are back where it started. In Haifa, the Bible Society has now opened its third Bible Center (together with the one in Jerusalem and in Tel Aviv). It gives us new opportunities to spread the gospel about the Messiah to northern Israel, to be a Scriptures Resource Center for the Messianic congregations in the area and advocate for the Word of God in the society – all of which are so much needed today.
Haifa is the third largest city in Israel. Over a million Israelis live in Haifa and its surroundings. It’s a blended city with both Jews and Arabs and five different religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Bahai, and al-Tawhid (the Druze religion). Each December they celebrate “the Feast of Feasts,” a celebration arranged by the municipality where Christmas, Hanukkah and more holidays are put together. We have often gone to Haifa during previous years and put up a table with free bible literature during this festival in partnership with local Messianic congregations.
Economically, the new shop is not viable. We pay rent, salaries, municipal taxes, etc. for an additional place, and the sales are far too few to cover the costs. But we decided to take this step in faith when the opportunity presented itself. It is the only bible center in the city. Establishing this center gives us new opportunities that we otherwise wouldn’t have.
Curious visitors wonder who we are and what we believe. It gives us the opportunity to share our faith – the good news of the gospel. Our Bible Center manager in Haifa has had many interesting conversations. In some cases Christian Arabs have visited and were surprised to see the New Testament in Hebrew. They didn’t even know that Messianic Jews existed. They learn that we have something in common.
The Bible Center also gives us a way to keep better contact with the Messianic congregations in the north and improve our cooperation. We can more easily bless these congregations with Bibles and Bible study resources in the various languages they need. There are many Russian immigrants in the area, and there are a number of Russian speaking congregations.
When the Bible Society in Israel was officially established in 1949 and took over from the British Bible Society, it was established in Haifa. Haifa was a port city while Jerusalem had become a divided city, and a “dead end.” The Bible Society didn’t come back to Jerusalem until 1979, to our current address on Jaffa Street 17. Back then, my predecessors probably thought that it was amazing to be back in Jerusalem after 30 years of absence. Today, when our main offices and center is in Jerusalem, and as the local body of Christ is growing, we think that it is His amazing grace to be back in Haifa after 40 years of absence and serve the body of Christ and our Society.
Pray for this widening of our operations. Pray it will open new doors which gives us more opportunities to share and sow the Word of God. Please also pray that we will have the economic ability to keep this presence in northern Israel and prayerfully consider supporting us.
And indeed, whenever you visit Israel, please don’t forget to visit one of our Bible Centers:
In Jerusalem – on 17 Jaffa Street.
In Tel Aviv – on 81 Ben Yehuda Street.
In Haifa – on 15 HaTzionut Street.
We would love to meet you and serve you.
To learn more about our ministry and to support it, please visit our website at www.biblesocietyinisrael.com