“Bnot Yeshua”: A Forum for Women to Share Their Stories

Elisabeth E. Levy, Director of Caspari Center

The second Thursday of January was a stormy day. The locks of heaven had opened up and were showering down rain. When you live in Israel, you don’t complain about pouring rain. You are grateful for it, because there isn’t much water in Israel, and the demand is constant.

That evening, however, was to be the first meeting of our new women’s forum, “Bnot Yeshua” (“Daughters of Yeshua”). Though we’d advertized this event quite widely, still we wondered, “How many are going to brave this weather?”

Bnot Yeshua – or “Binat Yesua”, in Arabic – is an initiative of the Caspari Center together with Machaseh, a nonprofit charity association. Lena Levin, director of Machaseh, and I, desired to create a place where women could come together to share their stories. Not the story of their careers or ministries, which are already known, but their deep-down, real-life stories… the “behind the scenes” story. Every human being has a story: a story of joy and grief, of success and failure, of brokenness and restoration, a story with God. We wanted to create a forum to build bridges between women of all ages and backgrounds – for Messianic Jews, Christian Arabs, and other Christians who are neither Jew, nor Arab. All believing women are welcome.

Despite the storm, thirteen women arrived for the first meeting, taking refuge in the warm Caspari library. We set the chairs in a circle, because this was a peer group, not a lecture. I was the first to share my story. My story was not about my accomplishments in life, about being the director of the Caspari Center, or a bible translator, or a Hebrew teacher at university. My story was about the things I’ve gone through in life, how they formed me. It was about my faith in God, and of never losing sight of the fact that God has been in control of it all.

The second meeting of the women’s forum took place the last Thursday of February. This time, twenty-five women showed up. That evening, Sara* shared her story. A heavy silence fell upon us all as Sara began to speak. Most of us knew that her story would be difficult. Only a couple of months prior, she had lost one son to suicide. Family members and friends had been left to cope with it. But how do you cope when a close loved one, a son, commits suicide? Sara shared her story quietly, the tears never far off. Her comfort was that her son was now with Yeshua.

The women listened very carefully, then engaged in a discussion. Among this group of women aged 20 to 70 years, coming from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities, none of our differences mattered. We are all trying to live our lives despite sometimes tremendous challenges, in the presence of God. And we will help one another out and build one other up by sharing our stories.

* fictitious name