“So he told her everything. … I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb.” (Judges 16:17)
For their “significant contribution to the protection of mothers and children,” saving the lives of more than 1,500 people, Jewish and other, the Israeli Knesset has recognized and awarded Be’ad Chaim, a Messianic pro-life organization based in Jerusalem.
Be’ad Chaim (literally, Pro Life) director Sandy Shoshani says that one of the primary reasons Israelis choose abortion is financial poverty. (Israel Today)
In 2013, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reported that 20.9 percent of Israeli population lived below the poverty line —that is the highest poverty rate in the developed world. As well, half of Jerusalem’s residents, one-third of Israel’s children, and half of Orthodox Jews live under that poverty line. (JP/ TOI)
“We ask the women if they would keep their babies if they knew that the baby’s stroller, crib, diapers and other needs would be provided for during the first year. Almost all of them say yes, they would,” Shoshani said.
“So we developed the concept of Operation Moses where we find sponsors to pray and provide for Israel’s babies until their first birthday,” she elaborated.
Whereas Messianic Believers were at one time marginalized in Israel in many respects, Shoshani explains that Be’ad Chaim assists those who are being marginalized in their fight for life.
“The largest pro-life organization in Israel will not assist non-Jewish mothers and children, including many Russian immigrants, we help them all,” she says. “Sudanese, Arab and Jewish mothers all come to us.”
Shoshani also noted that, “We even have many Orthodox Jewish women coming to us for assistance when they are pregnant out of wedlock. They do not want to be recognized by their own religious communities.”
When a Jewish woman is pregnant from an adulterous relationship, incest, or other unlawful unions, the child is considered to be mamzer (born of a forbidden union) and will lose certain communal rights.
For instance, in Deuteronomy 23:3, it says that “no one born of a forbidden union [mamzer] may enter the assembly of the LORD.” This is interpreted by Rabbinic law to mean that a mamzer is not allowed to marry a Jewish person who is a non-mamzer. (Jewish Virtual Library)
The Talmud (Rabbinic commentary) says that a mamzer must receive equal respect with non-mamzer Jews based on merit, not their birth status.
Even though out of wedlock babies (born to two unmarried, unrelated persons) are not considered to be mamzer and have equal marriage status to other Jews, the rabbis of the Talmud make it clear that such a union is forbidden in their eyes, and, therefore, the unmarried mother and father could experience some social stigma in their assembly. (My Jewish Learning)
Whether or not the unborn child is mamzer, Arab or any other nationality and religion, “we offer sensitive and caring assistance in a loving atmosphere,” Shoshani added.
Since Be’ad Chaim’s start in the 1980 as a prayer meeting and information center that targeted “the shedding of innocent blood” in Israel, it has expanded into 12 offices and the organization’s Operation Moses currently supports 450 mothers and their babies, according to Israel Today.
“It is very significant in our short history that a Messianic Jewish organization is now recognized as a well-known, humanitarian organization in Israel,” Shoshani said. “I am humbled, honored and appreciate all those who went before me.”