Nina's Heart for the Hungry
by AuthorName, AuthorTitle, AuthorMinistry

"Nina, this soup is delicious!" I exclaimed while sitting in her kitchen tasting her spicy borsch. The family recipe has slowly evolved over the decades from a smooth Ukrainian soup to a hot Mediterranean meal. The new flavor is well suited to the ethnic diversity of Middle Eastern cuisine.

Nina Mazin is no stranger to hosting guests and feeding people beyond her core family. She is a true example of someone practicing biblical hospitality. In addition to caring for her immediate family, Nina also oversees Return to Zion's two non-profit soup kitchens in Haifa and Upper Nazareth. The kitchens provide both hot meals and dry food packages, and often receive referrals from the local municipal social services.

One would imagine that Nina, a mother of six, would be busy enough taking care of her own home. But that is not the case. Her heart "compels" her to practically embrace the vision she shares with her husband Leon. They both see the acute need to reach out to residents of impoverished neighborhoods. So began the soup kitchen ministry of Return to Zion Congregation; first in Upper Nazareth (in 2004) and later in downtown Haifa (in the spring of 2008).

Q: Nina, what gave you this heart for others?

A: My mother taught us as children not to ignore the plight of the needy, if it was in our power to help them.

Q: How is a busy pastor's wife like you able to manage her time between domestic duties and those of a ministry?

A: I don't serve alone. I am blessed with practical help from my children and from our extended family. We believe that ministry is a natural part of family life in which everyone serves each other and the Lord. God calls us, as individuals, as families and as a congregation, to be a testimony to the world around us.

Even in addition to the other secular and Orthodox aid agencies in the area, it is quite evident that the task of feeding all the poor in Haifa, as well as in Upper Nazareth, is too big for Leon and Nina, or for Return to Zion Congregation, to accomplish on its own. If you would like to increase the Messianic testimony in Haifa and share Nina's and Leon's vision for reaching the needy, you are welcome to participate! For further details please contact or visit our website at

8-10 servings

3 fresh beets
1/2 head of cabbage
4 carrots
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 - 2 sticks of celery
1 hot pepper
8 cups of water
3-4 bouillon cubes*
2 bay leaves
3-4 tbsp. tomato puree
Lemon juice (about 1 tbsp.)
Salt and Pepper to taste

*The bouillon flavored water can be replaced with homemade chicken or beef broth.

Wash and cook the beets in boiling water (with skin) for 15-20 minutes. Let the beets cool; remove the skins, grate and put aside for later.

Grate the cabbage, carrots, large onion, garlic cloves, hot pepper and celery in food processor. Bring the water to a boil and stir in the bouillon cubes until dissolved.

Add the grated vegetables (except for the beets) and cook for about 1/2 hour. Then add the beets, bay leaves, tomato puree, lemon juice salt and pepper and simmer for another 1/2 hour. May be served with a dollop of sour cream. Enjoy!

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