New Beginnings
by Leon Mazin, Shavei Tzion Messianic Center, Tents of Mercy Network

We began in November 2001 with the simple idea of branching out from Tents of Mercy and planting a daughter congregation in nearby Haifa. This attempt to establish a new work in the name of Yeshua has yielded good results, evidence of God's handiwork. These 12 years have not been easy - lots of work; lots of prayer; lots of travel and lots of trouble. But then again, that's life. 

It is God who enabled us to serve Holocaust survivors and the needy, to invest in Messianic education and media evangelism, to develop musical talents and other ministries - all drawing from gifts God instilled in His people at Shavei Tzion.

Now we have received the resources to acquire and renovate a facility, to press onward, but also to make a new beginning. We don't have enough good words to express our appreciation for the dedication, work and service of the staff, congregants and elders in our congregation, nor others who were involved. We were not alone in purchasing and renovating this building. Friends from Israel, USA, Holland, Finland, Germany, Russia, Kazakhstan and Canada lent a helping hand - some with money, others with hammers and nails.

Eitan and Leon standing
by the "pillar of fire"
The main architectural motif of the facility is the pillar of fire and cloud in the sanctuary. This unique rendering was designed by an artist and architect husband and wife team from our congregation and carried out by a master carpenter volunteer friend from abroad. Inside of the "pillar of fire" is our torah scroll - the Word of God. Descending from the ceiling is the "cloud". These serve as a constant reminder that God's Word and His presence must be the focus of our sanctuary, of our congregation, of our lives.

The building is located in a central, highly accessible location in downtown Haifa. It previously housed public courtrooms. Now it is a dwelling place for God's mercy and forgiveness.

The dedication of our congregation's new home took place on Rosh Hashanah (the "Head of the Year"). This is the day of the Biblical Feast of Trumpets and also the traditional new year celebration in Israel and brings with it the atmosphere of new beginnings. So this year, Rosh Hashanah was a double feast for us. We had the privilege of inviting guests to celebrate what God miraculously gave us, and also to celebrate His biblical feast day. We blew the shofar (ram's horn) and invited God Himself to visit the land, to visit our hearts, to make a new beginning, to prepare us. The humble, simple opening day became very joyful. The Tents of Mercy network of congregations came together in a reunion of dancing, singing and the glory of God.

Now our prayer is that the hand of the Living God will continue to guide us in taking the next steps, by His indwelling Spirit, with the right words, to the right people, to help restore faith in Yeshua in Israel in our days.

Twelve years of history stand behind us. God's will stands before us all the more. Shavei Tzion means those who are returning to Zion. It also means those who are returning to God. This is the vision that we want to realize together with you - our friends. Shana Tova! Happy New Year!

Support from the matriachs Reading the "binding of
Isaac" from Genesis
Network leaders pronouncing
the final benediction

All five network congregations gathered in celebration

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