"At the age when most grandmothers are retiring and relaxing these women chose to leave their homes in the former Soviet Union and make aliyah (immigrate) to Israel together with their families."

Within the last few months Tents of Mercy congregation has bid farewell to three of our esteemed matriarchs: Stella, Miriam and Diana. All of them were born and raised in the Soviet Union during the time of the Second World War when their nation was caught up in a life or death struggle with the Nazi war machine. In addition to the general threat of Nazi victory, Jews and Christians were also faced with the risk of being singled out by the Soviet government of Stalin for special persecution.

At the age when most grandmothers are retiring and relaxing these women chose to leave their homes in the former Soviet Union and make aliyah (immigrate) to Israel together with their families. Over the years, Stella, Miriam and Diana became an integral part of our congregation. Their children and grandchildren are among the "pillars" of Tents of Mercy, thanks in no small part to the character and values that these ladies carried and instilled in their families.

The lives and personalities of each of these women were very different from the other. Each was a unique soul - precious to God and her family. We will sorely miss them, but rejoice in the knowledge that they are now in the presence of the Lord they loved and served so faithfully here on earth.

Stella Brauhinski (1923-2012)

Stella was the only child of a Jewish couple that lived in a Jewish community in Ukraine. In her late teens she travelled to another city to study at university. This decision miraculously saved her life because during her time away, the Nazis invaded her town and killed all of the Jews who lived there. This left Stella tragically alone and without family. Over the years she married and had a son, but she remained essentially a lonely and isolated person.

In 1992 her son and daughter-in-law shared their new found faith in Yeshua and after some time, she too became a believer and in 1997 came to Israel together with her children and grandchildren. Here she at last found a home and a community of faith and had the joy of seeing her family become established in their ancient homeland.


Miriam Rabin (1929-2013)

Miriam had the unique blessing of being born and raised by believing parents (unusual in the FSU). She married Natan in 1953 and together they raised nine daughters! Early in their married life, she had to forego her husband’s company for many months while he was imprisoned in a Communist jail for believing in Yeshua. In spite of persecution, the Rabin family persevered in their faith. Eventually the opportunity arose for them to come to Israel. Here they grew and prospered, with Miriam providing loving spiritual guidance to them all.

At Miriam’s memorial service, Miriam’s husband, daughters and grandchildren described her as an “example of gentleness and pure love from God. She brought people together. She knew how to listen. She did not speak ill of others. She spoke the truth in love and taught her daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren to follow the Lord.


Diana Zaytzev (1927-2013)

Diana was from St. Petersburg, the eldest of three children born to a poor Jewish family. Like many others, they survived the Nazi invasion by waiting out the war in Siberia. Diana grew up to be a wife, mother of two and a teacher of literature. She loved to read and to impart her passion for books and literature to the young people that passed through her classroom during 39 years of teaching.

In 2000, Diana and her husband joined their children in Israel and that very same week attended Shabbat services at Tents of Mercy with their daughter. They became faithful members of the congregation and were immersed in the Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee). After a lifetime of atheism, Diana discovered a love for God and the Land that He promised to His people.

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15:45 29Mar13 Patt Koenenman -
Loved the story about the grandmothers from the former Soviet Union. Israel is in my heart. Jeshua is Lord

120:33 29Mar13 Maxwell Legg' -
What beautiful stories of these three lovely ladies have given, and teaching from the other four. I was in Israel in 2007 and loved the country. While having a coffe at a cafe in Jerusalem I looked down a descending path from where I sat and my eyes were opened to a vision of Jesus walking up the path carrying the cross and blood all over him. All of a sudden my guide said to me, Max ... there is good proof Jesus actually walked up this lane carrying the cross. I was overwhelmed with his great love, and so grateful for what Jesus had done for us all.

23:55 29Mar13 Anon -
Thank you for sharing these stories to us. They make me feel like part of the family of our heavenly Father.

Also in this issue of the newsletter:
Daniel Juster: Preach Good News to the Poor
David: Is There an Intelligent Designer?
A Page from our Congregational Calendar
Asher Intrater: Authority, Discipleship and the Great Commission