At our Feed Tel Aviv outreach center in south Tel Aviv, our doors are open to all. We routinely serve people from all walks of life: Arabs, Jews, African migrants. For those who aren’t familiar, observant Jews and Muslims have careful dietary restrictions. Muslim dietary laws restrict pork, alcohol and inhumane slaughter practices. For observant Jews, the requirements are much more strict, and those who keep kosher are very careful about where they eat. The observant Jews and Muslims who come to our outreach center know us well and the fact that we keep a kosher kitchen, for both Jewish and Muslim requirements, even thought we may not have a kosher “certificate” from the rabbinate—they would never give us one anyway because of our faith in Yeshua!
For me, it is beautiful to see Muslims, observant Jews and refugees from the nations sitting together at the same table, receiving food, hospitality and the love of God from us. In the Middle East, hospitality is an essential part of our culture, both for Arabs and Jews, and God has called us to offer His hospitality to the neediest of the needy in our city. Often when I look at the table at the outreach center and see society’s outcasts from all different backgrounds gathered together there, I am reminded how the Messiah shared a table with society’s “undesirables” and was sharply criticized by the religious authorities for it:
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at this glutton and drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’
A little love goes a long way
Here are just a couple stories of many people who have shared our table and whose lives have been touched by this outreach:
Haled is an Arab man from a Muslim village in Samaria who ran away from his village years ago and eventually landed on the streets of Tel Aviv. A few years ago, we witnessed to Haled, and he ended up praying with us to receive the Yeshua as Lord. Haled makes his living by collecting glass and plastic bottles for recycling, and, according to him, our outreach saves him from going hungry. Whenever Haled comes to the outreach for a hot meal, he brings a bag with him so we can send a couple more portions with him which help him get through the week. Haled also comes to the outreach center to discuss his faith and to get more discipleship and prayer.
Sasha, a man in his thirties, ended up on the streets just recently. He told us, like many others we have met, that with the increase in food prices and a sudden rise in his rent, he was unable to make ends meet and pay his bills. When Sasha first came to us, he was so happy to get food and clothes from us. He told us that we are doing a great “mitzva” (good deed) and said that he prayed “the Holy One blessed be He” would bless us. Because he has so little money and is trying to cut back wherever he can, Sasha said that he has lost more than 10 kilos (22 pounds) since he’s been on the streets.
I shared with Sasha about our outreach and what we believe. He was deeply moved by what I shared with him, and he asked me to pass on his thanks to all who support this ministry. Sasha shared that recently he had been in a dark place and was deeply depressed, but meeting us gave him hope that there is still light in the world.
We want to thank all of you who support this outreach! You are with us out there touching the lives of these precious people with the love of God!