A Jewish American with Russian roots, Don Horwitz, believes God called him to lead the Christian ministry, Christians Care International (CCI), to help bolster impoverished Jews of the former Soviet Union (FSU). After numerous visits to Russia and witnessing neglect and abuse of Jews, Horwitz adopted three daughters from a Russian orphanage, and founded a group in Moscow to help other orphans. Now, as CCI's executive director, Horwitz just managed an expansion of the organization from Europe into the U.S., including a new website. The organization formerly was known as 49:22TRUST, taken from the biblical verse in Isaiah.
"Today we are living in a world that is filled with hatred and violence. Anti-Semitism is rising at an alarming rate. Jewish people around the world are being targeted, hunted down and killed. But it's not just the Jewish people who are being persecuted, Christians are also being persecuted as well," said Horwitz.
"Israel is not just the hope for the Jewish people, Israel is the hope for the entire world."
He said he believes Jews and Christians have a shared destiny in fulfilling biblical prophecy. "The time is now for Christians to stand up with their Jewish brothers and sisters, and let them know we are there by their side, as we wrap our loving arms around them, and help them to not only rise up to Israel but also to rise up as individuals," said Horwitz. "We can together bless them just as God has called upon us to do."
CCI's charitable services generally fall within the following seven areas: assistance for transitioning Jews to Israel; vocational training for new immigrants to Israel; emergency rescue; children's care and rehabilitation; psychological services; emergency shelters; education; senior care; and humanitarian aid in the form of food, clothing, safe shelter and daily medication.
Before CCI, Horwitz said he had no intentions or desires to change his work or direction in life.
"It was God who touched my life, took me through a lifetime of training and called upon me to lead CCI. What I thought were many coincidences in my life were not coincidences at all. It was truly God's will. Why else would a Jew be leading a Christian ministry?" posed Horwitz, who is a former television industry professional who owned a production company.
It was through his work on international TV commercials that Horwitz was introduced to CCI.
"God led me through a remarkable path in my life I was not even aware that I was being led down," he said.
"From growing up in a Jewish family where many of my relatives were either lost in the Holocaust or survived the concentration camps, to adopting my three severely abused and neglected daughters from an orphanage in Siberia. Then God led me to Phil Hunter, the founder of 49:22TRUST, a Christian man who taught me more about Judaism than I had learned in my Jewish upbringing."
Horwitz, who operates from Kensington, Md., said the land of Israel is about the word of God. "God refers to Israel as He does to no other land on Earth. When God promised Abraham his decedents would occupy the land, that promise was not meant to be up for debate among politicians. We are at a critical moment in time where Christians need to answer God's calling and take a stance with Israel and the Jewish people."
Horwiz told The Gospel Herald the situations for the million-plus Jews in the FSU are now the worst he's seen since working there over the past 17 years.
Elderly Jewish people, Holocaust survivors, are starving to death because they do not have money to buy food, he said. "Jewish individuals are dying at rates never seen before simply because they cannot afford basic medical care. There is no infrastructure or social services available. The Jewish people of the FSU are facing a humanitarian crisis, and they desperately need our help."
CCI has helped more than 87,000 Jews to make "aliyah" (move to Israel) and forge meaningful, new lives there. The group's funding comes from individual Christian donors and church leaders from around the world.
In 2017, Horwitz said CCI will have more than 1,700 Jewish orphans and underprivileged children in their rehabilitative programs, and 250-plus underprivileged Jewish teens in their schooling programs.
"We will feed, rehabilitate and provide medical care for over 150 elderly Jews in our new senior care services program in Bila Tserkva, Ukraine. We will assist hundreds of Jewish individuals to make aliyah and train over 125 new immigrants to Israel in our vocational training programs," he said.
CCI always will be grounded in the calling of Isaiah 49:22, where God calls upon the nations to bring His children home, said Horwitz. "In 2017, we will be expanding our Kalaniot Emergency shelter and children's home to other locations, as we have had great success with our children in the program. Kalaniot is a great model of a small therapeutic home where six to 10 severely abused and neglected children live in a loving and caring environment."
To join this ministry initiative, individuals can become CCI ambassadors in organizing prayer groups for the cause or can make financial donations.