Here in Israel, many Messianic believers and ministries run establishments including guest houses, schools and performance centers, and the list goes on. However, there is currently only one home for the elderly – Ebenezer.
Established in 1976 by the Norwegian Church Ministry to Israel, the Ebenezer Senior Citizens’ Home in Haifa is currently home to 27 residents, all of whom are more or less independent.
The home, however, is now raising funds for much-needed renovations – including the addition of an underground space for use during war time and a nursing ward – in order to meet governmental requirements and so that a greater number of elderly Messianic believers can live at Ebenezer and receive adequate care.
The need for a new nursing ward became evident in 2012 after an inspection by the Welfare Ministry. The ministry deemed Ebenezer’s current facilities and staff insufficient to meet the needs of some of its residents and recommended that Ebenezer’s residents be relocated to an assisted living facility. But Ebenezer was able to make short-term changes in order to keep the residents there while also planning urgently needed structural and staff changes.
Because Ebenezer has always received top ratings during inspections by the governmental ministries of health and social welfare, the government is giving the organization some time to implement the changes.
Johnny Khoury, Ebenezer’s manager since 2003, has finalized plans for the expansion and is now raising money for the project.
“The new ward will be built and equipped according to the requirements and standards of the Ministry of Health (larger rooms and bathrooms with wide doors, etc.),” he said. “The rooms the residents live in at the moment are designed according to the residents’ personal taste and are furnished with furniture brought from their homes. For practical reasons, residents living in the nursing ward will be limited in their ability to design their rooms according to their personal taste.”
So far, less than 20 percent of the estimated 25 million shekels needed for the project have been raised.
Ebenezer is raising funds through attendance at conferences, exhibitions and charity concerts, and interviews on radio and TV stations abroad. Another unique fundraising effort was the participation of 50 locals in the annual Tel Aviv Marathon on Feb. 22. The runners were sponsored by friends, family members and local companies.
Raising money for these essential changes has presented bureaucratic and legal hurdles, but with God’s help these have been sorted. And in the meantime, non-believing neighbors and government representatives have encouraged the project.
“[A]s a Messianic organization, we have a responsibility before God and people to do everything in a worthy manner,” Khoury said. “We thank God that not long ago we also successfully completed a long process of an in-depth audit by the Registrar of Amutot [Non-Profit Organizations]. The process itself was tedious, but it was an opportunity to examine ourselves and improve – all for the Lord’s glory and honor.”
If you’d like to support Ebenezer’s expansion project, please visit https://www.ebenezer.co.il/donate.