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.
Interviewer: Olga, please tell us about yourself.
Oasis HTI - Learning in the new
Return to Zion Facility
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?
God's blessings on the staff, students and administration
Wisdom to select suitable lecturers and the ability to cover some of
A smooth transition into the distance learning program
Good quality translations into English
Time and resources to edit the audio and video material
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.