Western Alumnus Shares Update From Israel

Oct. 11, 2023

Western Seminary recently received the following update from alumnus Eli Birnbaum about the recent attacks on Israel. Eli is the Israel Director of Jews for Jesus. 


This Hebrew greeting, often synonymous with 'Peace' and 'fullness,' takes on a deeper meaning in these trying times. My shalom to you today is a prayer for God to manifest His presence and peace during these broken days.

I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for your prayers for us. Knowing that brothers and sisters are lifting us up in the name of Jesus provides a measure of reassurance. While I wish I could say that it fills us with unshakeable faith and confidence, the reality is that we are still in a state of shock.

Each day, the harrowing stories of families torn apart by the ravages of war flood in through the media. Each story seems more devastating than the last. It's difficult to tear our eyes away from the news. Each morning, I find myself taking a few moments to shed tears before starting the day. One of the most heart-wrenching aspects is hearing about families desperately searching for loved ones who have been captured or whose whereabouts remain unknown.

It was an instinct, for us to open our doors and try to offer hope. We began reaching out through texts and calls to the people we know, especially the soldiers serving and their families. In times like these, people need to know that they are not alone. As we speak with men and women, we provide them with a platform to express their thoughts and fears, and we pray with them. I wish I could report that everyone is doing well, but the reality is far from that.

Even within our staff, we've experienced the heart-wrenching loss of friends and the pain of family members lost to the madness that you undoubtedly witness daily in the news. Yet, amid these dark moments, there have also been hundreds of instances of love and appreciation. People have expressed their gratitude and relief, knowing that someone is thinking of them. This includes the soldiers we've reached out to and even directly assisted by making runs to their bases and delivering essential items.

We established a collection center at the Rosen Center, and the Florentin neighborhood responded wholeheartedly, pouring in items for the soldiers who hastily grabbed the basics before heading out to their units. We received requests from those on the frontlines and supplied them with what they needed, mobilizing volunteers to make these deliveries. We are continually exploring ways to minister to those in need during this challenging time.

In this moment, we grieve alongside our nation. We hold onto the hope of Yeshuah, and we fervently pray for healing to come to our land. May God's boundless love encompass all of this land. Please, I implore you, continue to stand with us! Through prayer, advocacy, and generous giving, you are an integral part of our efforts. Pray for the safe return of all those held hostage and continue to pray for the salvation of the Jewish People.

Shalom to you and to Israel!"

-Eli Birnbaum, Israel Director of Jews for Jesus.

The Western community grieves with Eli and joins him in prayer for God's boundless love to encompass all of those impacted by these evil acts.