How it All Began
Although the Ebenezer Home was built in 1976, its history could probably be traced back to the 1940s. The Rev. Magne Solheim and his wife Cilgia were working in Romania as part of their work in the NCMI, the Norwegian Church Ministry to Israel (which was based on a ministry the German Lutheran Prof. Franz Delitzsch had started back in the 1871). After having built, with the help of the Lord, a large Jewish Messianic fellowship in Romania, the Solheims were expelled from there and arrived in Israel in 1949. But soon, very surprisingly, and after the prayers of many believers around the world, the new Communist regime in Romania had opened their gates for Jewish immigration to Israel in the late 40s and early 50s. Rev. Solheim and his wife were only too happy to welcome former
Rev. Magne Solheim
members of their church from Romania to the port of Haifa. This was the beginning of the Elias Church
(or Beit Eliahu as it is now called), which is adjacent to the Ebenezer Home.
The Need and the Vision
As the years went by, the need arose to find a home suitable to the needs of the aged Holocaust survivors of Beit Eliahu and also for elderly Arab and other non-Jewish believers in the Land. The Lord had put on the hearts of many, both local and foreign, believers to pray for a home for the now elderly, lonely, and sometimes ill and dependent people, who had suffered much during their life and were seeking to spend their last years in a believing environment, with devoted staff that would take care of all their physical, emotional and even spiritual needs.
Things Start to Move...
In a joint effort of both local and especially foreign aid, the strings were pulled for the formation of an international board which would supervise the construction and the management of such a home. Until then the NCMI would be the key factor, together with other individuals and organizations, in the raising of such a project.
Building Beit Ebenezer
Showers of Blessings
In 1963, at a women's conference in Bergen, Norway, Cilgia Solheim spoke about the need for the Home. The women, who already gave an offering earlier, donated over $15,000 at that meeting, and several other large donations came later as a result of it.
Many Christians from around the world were moved to contribute to the raising of this much needed home. Donations varying from $1 to $50,000 and more started to come in; one cheque of $21 arrived from believers in Brazil, and even a student from Tasmania, who couldn't afford one penny, sent a letter promising to pray for the Home regularly.
A Norwegian architect voluntarily made the plans for the Home, and they were carried on by an Israeli architect from Haifa, Mr. N.T. Yellin, who had previously designed the Beit Eliyahu premises. The construction of the Home started in 1974 with clearing the site and laying a cornerstone.
Dedicating Beit Ebenezer
Finally, on the 24th of February 1976, the Home was officially opened and, with the help of God, within the few following weeks it had running hot water, electricity for the refrigerators, an elevator, a washing machine, an oven, a telephone line, and its first two residents! The Home was inaugurated by the late Rev. Harcourt Samuel who was the president of the International Hebrew Christian Alliance (today called the Messianic Jewish Alliance). It was he who chose the verse "Hitherto hath the LORD helped us" for the Home, from I Samuel 7:12. He said that the completion of the Home was the result of meticulous planning and very hard work. But above all, there had been a vision and people who were faithful to it. He prayed that God, through His Spirit, would complete the work and make the house a real home.
First Residents of the Home
Ebenezer Home Today
Since the Ebenezer Home opened its doors for the first time, over 150 people came to make it their last home. Today the Home houses 29 residents, both Jewish and non-Jewish (most of whom were married to Jewish believers), from different cultures, backgrounds and countries: Arab, German, Finnish, Romanian, Dutch, American and others, all united under Yeshua - Jesus Christ the Lord. Although we are not ecumenical in our views, still Ebenezer is a Home to all who call upon the name of Jesus, without denominational discrimination. In the early years, about eleven languages were spoken inside the Home. As of today, the six main languages of the Home are Hebrew, Arabic, English, Russian, German and Dutch.
Over the years, the building has undergone several major changes and additions to ensure compliance with local regulations and to provide the most comfort for the residents. A dedicated team of professionals ensures that everything runs smoothly on a day-to-day basis. The residents are encouraged to participate in many diverse activities to make heir life interesting and full. We do everything to provide the highest standard of physical and spiritual care. There are devotions in several languages during the week, Bible studies and prayers.
Remember What God Has Done
A book telling the story of the Home and its residents, the story of fleeing from the Nazis and of building the State of Israel was written especially for the 40th anniversary of the Home. It is titled "Remember What God Has Done". Read more about the book on our blog (Ebenezer Home Turns 40!). It is available only in English.
If you'd like to purchase the book, we'd be happy to airmail it to you. Please see the details of how to order the book on our "donate" page.
To know more about what's happening in the Home, read our biannual
and follow our current