Haifa Theological Institute
by AuthorName, AuthorTitle, AuthorMinistry

For many years the leaders of Return to Zion Congregation longed for an effective way to help Messianic Jewish believers mature in their faith. The establishment of Haifa Theological Institute (HTI) in 2009 became an actualization of this vision. It provides Russian speaking Messianic Jewish believers in Northern Israel and elsewhere in the world with quality theological training.

One of the strengths of HTI has been its solid teaching on Messianic Apologetics, and how to share one's Messianic faith with non-believing Israelis. Most of the students come from Russian speaking Messianic congregations in the greater Haifa area, with additional online students mainly in Russia, Ukraine and Germany. The average attendance per course is between 25-40 students, not including online students.

Since 2010 HTI has been operating under the auspices of Return to Zion Congregation, with the academic help of Pastor Ross and the administrative input of the institute administrator, Olga.

Oasis HTI - Learning in the new
Return to Zion Facility
Interviewer: Olga, please tell us about yourself.

I immigrated to Israel when I was 15 as part of a student program that enabled Jewish teenagers to make Aliyah before their parents. My parents arrived a year later. The boarding school was also the place where I met my husband, Dima. Later I studied economics and management in addition to becoming a qualified math teacher for junior and senior high school. Now my duties consist of mothering our four daughters and administering Haifa Theological Institute (HTI). I am also involved in the children's ministry in the congregation.

Interviewer: What kind of courses does HTI offer?

The curriculum is divided into 3 main categories: Biblical Foundations, Historical studies, Leadership and Practical Theology.

Interviewer: Can English speakers study at HTI? Is the program meant for Israeli students only?

Currently we have two study programs: Messianic Studies and Biblical Studies. There are twelve non-accredited courses available for registered users on our website. Soon we aim to provide a fully accredited two-year distance-learning program. In the beginning it will be in Russian only, but we hope to eventually offer it in English and Hebrew too. One can also listen to individual teachings online upon registration. These programs are available to all on our website www.htinstitute.co.il. (At this point the site is only in Russian.)

Interviewer: How has moving into the new premises of Return to Zion Congregation helped HTI?

The move has given us a quiet lecture hall for the classes. In our old building, the music school was adjacent to the HTI classroom. The children attending the music school had to tiptoe in and out of their classrooms in order not to disturb the seminars.

Now that we have more room, we intend to start "reunion" style courses for our online students, who have never met their fellow students face to face. These visiting students would spend part of their time in studying the Word and the other part touring Israel.

Interviewer: How can ministry partners pray with HTI?

Interviewer: What can people reading this publication do to help?

If any of our readers speak either English or Hebrew in addition to Russian, we would value skilled translators who can prepare English or Hebrew subtitles for our Russian video lectures. They can also spread the word regarding HTI.

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