Capturing grace in israel during the week of orphan shabbat


Orphan Shabbat

Today is Saturday November the 9th and I am so excited to be in Jerusalem, photographing Orphan Shabbat, Israel’s counterpart to Orphan Sunday. Orphan Shabbat is a global initiative within the church in Israel to raise awareness for orphans and vulnerable children.

This week, my friend Gary Schneider and I have joined hands with our new friends here in Israel, Isaac, Rebecca Rikhi and Evan Lavine of Hatikva Families. Together we have worked and worshipped in events leading up to Orphan Shabbat.

Hatikva Families has a vision – “We believe that caring for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) is a mandate for the global Body of Messiah and one of the purest expressions of the Gospel. HaTikva Families equips families to respond to the OVC crisis in Israel through adoption and foster care and encourages the Israeli Body of Messiah to take a leading role in this effort. Hatikva Families is a department of Hatikva Project. I Invite you to learn more about Hatikva Families on their website.

Gary and I have witnessed that vision expressed this week as we attended Prayers From Zion on Thurday and as we served together at Neve Michael Children’s Village the day before.

The following photographs are from this years Orphan Shabbat service

Prayers From Zion
What an amazing time of prayer it was in Jerusalem, to witness God moving on the hearts of people to intervene for orphans and vulnerable people around the world.

Prayers from Zion is a collaboration among ministries to engage people of faith worldwide to pray for orphans and vulnerable children as part of the weekend observance for Orphan Sunday/Orphan Shabbat 2019.

This was a prayer event hosted from Israel by HaTikva Families and Revive Israel with guest Gary Schneider, co-founder of Orphan Sunday, interceding for vulnerable children worldwide on the eve of Orphan Shabbat/Orphan Sunday weekend, November 9th, 2019.

The following photographs are from this years Prayers from Zion service.

Neve Michael Children’s Village

Today Gary Schneider and I worked alongside Rebecca and Isaac of HaTikva Families on a work project at Neve Michael Childrens Village in Pardes Hanna, Israel. After hearing all the amazing stories from my friend Jodi Tucker about the director, Hava Levene, Gary and I were excited to serve at this children’s home that dates back to the holocaust. During that time children were taken in who had lost everything, and everyone. I feel like we are on holy ground, we are very grateful to be here.

About where we served today –
Located in Pardes Hanna, Israel, Neve Michael truly is a haven, serving at-risk children ages 5-18 years old from all over Israel. Some of these children are brought to Neve Michael’s doorstep at a tender age and under traumatic circumstances. Some have suffered mental, physical, and/or sexual abuse. In many cases, the parents of these children are afflicted with a mental illness or drug and alcohol addictions.

This is where the Children’s Village comes in. The Neve Michael Children’s Village is the only multidisciplinary children’s home in Israel which houses facilities on-site such as Family Homes, a 24-hour Emergency Crisis Center, and the first teen Girls Crisis Center in Israel. Our programs are also on-site, making a daily routine easy to manage.

More importantly, these children come to Neve Michael feeling afraid and alone. We provide Family Homes in the children’s village, which consist of a married couple with their biological children who live with a group of children from the village. We provide a home-like atmosphere for the children, meeting their physical, emotional, therapeutic and educational needs and enabling them to have positive role models as “parents” and to experience living in a family framework.

The housemother or housefather, and National Service girls, are in charge of providing the at-risk children with a functional, daily routine of getting up and ready for school, eating breakfast, making sure they go to the main dining room for a hot lunch, assisting them with their homework, making sure the children go to afternoon extracurricular activities and therapies, preparing dinner and helping them to prepare for bed.

The following photographs are from our time at Neve Michael Children’s Village.

Information about Orphan Sunday –

On Orphan Sunday, Christians stand for the orphan. We are a people called to defend the fatherless…to care for the child who has no family…to visit orphans in their distress. Each event is locally-led. Sermons and small groups, concerts and prayer gatherings, shared meals and youth activities—each rousing believers with God’s call to care for the orphan and what we can do in response.

In 2015 I had the privilege to photograph for Every Orphans Hope in Zambia, becoming good friends with its founder and CEO, Gary Schneider. Since then, God has allowed Gary and I to serve together in various capacities around the world.

Meeting Gary in Israel and photographing Orphan Sunday events in Jerusalem (Orphan Shabbat) and Jordan during November was a dream come true.

For churches in over ninety countries around the world to set aside the second Sunday of November is a miracle, a dream that God placed in Gary Schneider’s heart 18 years ago as he stood in a tiny village church in Zambia.

On that day, Gary witnessed a local Zambian pastor plead with his congregation to give from their hearts to the orphans of their village. As widows and others with very little came forward and gave what they had (their own shoes, a head of cabbage), Gary’s heart stirred for what could happen if churches around the world would call their people to do the same.

Now this yearly event is changing the lives of orphans in ninety countries around the globe. I am so excited to be a part of these two services and witness what God is doing in this part of the world through those whose hearts beat for the least of these.

A very big thank you to mine and Gary’s hosts here in Israel, Isaac, Rebecca Rikhi and Evan Lavine. Thank you for all you are doing to stand for orphans and vulnerable children in Israel and around the world.

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