ICEJ supports a beacon of hope to broken women in IsraelPublished on: 17.1.2023
By: Laurina Driesse
Tel Aviv, a sunny and thriving Mediterranean city, has a dark side often hidden to many tourists who frequent the beautiful beaches and enjoy its bustling night life.
Deep in the heart of Tel Aviv, many wounded women live in a parallel world of brothels and drug dealers. This is a place where merely existing is a daily struggle and many have fallen prey to prostitution, alcoholism, and drug abuse.
But there is a glimmer of hope. Situated in the toughest part of town is a center that offers a clean place for these women to come find solace and feel cared for and valued. Just taking a shower, resting for a while, or having a haircut helps lift their spirits and restores their sense of dignity.
Between 20 to 30 women frequent the center each day that it is open. There are the regulars, and sometimes new women arrive, while others may suddenly disappear without explanation due to a stint in jail or – more hopefully – perhaps they have gone to a rehabilitation facility. For others, the grim reality on the streets has sadly cost them their lives.
The ICEJ truly appreciates the opportunity we have to sponsor this center as a beacon of hope for broken women in Israel. The director, Anat Brenner, recently shared her hopes that they will be able to develop a team who can visit those in jail or in rehabilitation centers, so that a connection with the women will be maintained.
“The team offers basic aid, a listening ear, and a safety net for women still on the streets. It isn’t easy to do, but the hope is to encourage the women to come out of the cycle of addiction or prostitution and start a new life”, explained Nicole Yoder, ICEJ Vice President for Aid and Aliyah.
Recently, Anat, a woman of much compassion, strength and vision, shared a beautiful story with Nicole about one of the women who arrived at the center for the first time.
Roselita* came to the center with “homeless” hair. This is hair that has been unwashed for an extended period of time so that it has become very matted and unhealthy. She was looking for someone to help her deal with her hair. Anat graciously ushered her to the beautician’s chair and gently began the hard task of working on Roselita’s hair. As women will often do when getting their hair done, they got into a conversation and Roselita began talking about her life. Then, out of the blue, she said: “It’s time to come back to God.”
It quickly became clear that Roselita, originally from Cuba, had grown up knowing about God through the Catholic Church. Many years ago, she met and married an Israeli man and became a citizen of Israel. Sadly, life became difficult after her husband passed away and she turned to alcohol for comfort. Unfortunately, as things spiraled out of control, she eventually ended up on the streets.
Roselita’s deep desire to make a positive change in her life was evident when she followed through on this revelation and indeed chose to come back to God. Today, she is connected to a faith community that has provided practical care and encouragement. She is learning and growing once again in her faith in God. It is beautiful to see how she has blossomed and radiates joy as she walks along this new path towards a brighter future and freedom from alcoholism. The Christian Embassy longs to see such vulnerable lives restored and filled with hope. Thank you for your support, which enables the ICEJ to bless and comfort the people of Israel. Please continue to give to our “Future and Hope” fund at: give.icej.org/givinghope
*Name is changed to protect privacy