Standing on Victor's Shoulders
by Eitan Shiskoff, Executive Director, Tents of Mercy Network

By Eitan Shishkoff

Victor and Suzy Smadja came to our home in suburban Maryland nearly 25 years ago, when we were preparing to make aliya (moving permanently to Israel). Enjoying an evening together, I was impressed with their deep strength - as of pioneers blazing a trail. Their eyes shone with passion for the restoration of Jewish faith in

Victor passed from this life into eternity on December 25, 2014. He was 83. I can think of no other Jewish believer in his generation who so influenced the resurrection of the national Messianic Israeli community.

Born and raised in Tunisia, Smadja discovered the Messiahship of Yeshua after reading the Bible for two years. At that time he was the only Jewish believer in Jesus in that largely Muslim nation. The Smadjas moved to Israel in 1956 motivated by the vision of enabling Jewish people to find Yeshua as Israel's Messiah. Though often persecuted for his (at the time) unheard of faith, Victor did not budge, but undertook numerous historical, practical initiatives: camps to train children and young adults in New Covenant faith, a Messianic congregation in Jerusalem, a printing press to distribute Biblical teaching and testimony in Hebrew, and the vital concept of economic self-sufficiency for Israeli believers.

The last time I saw Victor, we pulled up in our van to receive thousands of books from his publishing headquarters in Jerusalem - at no cost. He stood erect, smiling in his printer's apron. With unmistakable pleasure he pointed to one stack of books after another - "Here, take these. And don't forget those; they'll be helpful to you." We and almost every Messianic work in Israel are still distributing books Victor printed - introducing Israelis to Yeshua and discipling believers to be fruitful. May we continue his legacy with the energy and devotion that became his hallmark.

Several weeks ago Tents of Mercy Congregation celebrated Hanukkah by gathering our families together for a night of recognizing and empowering them. The original Hanukkah victory was sparked by one family in 167 BCE as Mattathias and his five sons stood united against the idol worship the Greek oppressors were forcing upon Israel. Then many others rallied to them. Remarkable, miraculous victory was attained.

In our day as well, we believe that each family holds the key to victory. If our families are victorious, our congregations will be victorious.


Our jovial music composer/conductor/pianist Leonid continues to lead the congregation's choir and orchestra activities.

It is a joy to see creative worship from elementary school aged children all the way up to golden retirement age singers, in unison making a joyful noise unto the Lord

See this Hanukkah segment on video on YouTube.

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