How It All Started

It was a day like every other work day, in the hot Texas summer of 2002.

Our Maoz website was having a “makeover” by a wonderful Messianic Israeli web designer, and he was going to show me his progress, via the Internet.

He had been working on an offline site, so he asked me to go to, a site he owned, to view it.

And that’s when the “God” bells and whistles went off!

The minute I heard the name of the website, I knew it was a domain name that God could use for His purposes. I asked the web designer how he was using the site. He said he had recently bought the domain, but really didn’t know yet how he could use it to its maximum potential. I jumped on it.

I didn’t sleep much that night, my mind racing with thoughts about how we could use that website to raise funds for the poor, the victims of suicide bombings, the needy, the orphans, the Israeli believers who were struggling as they immigrated to the land, and a host of other possibilities to bless the Jewish people.

At that time, our American president was asking children to give a dollar to help children in Afghanistan, and Iraqis and Palestinians were rewarding families of suicide bombers with cash and fame. But no one seemed to be focusing on helping the families of the innocent Jewish people who were being murdered on the streets, in the pizza parlors, and on the buses in Israel by senseless homicide bombers.

I knew I could make a difference, and help them.

So the next day at lunch, we sat down at my kitchen table (at that time, the Maoz office was in my home). There were 5 of us in all—Shira, myself, my mother Barbara (she worked for Maoz), Ayal (Ari and Shira’s son), and Jonathan Bernis (President of Jewish Voice Ministries International).

I shared my idea of using the website to help the poor and hurting in Israel, and one by one, each one at that table got excited! Yes, they all concurred that it truly was a God idea. was birthed. From that day forward, we worked with the original owner of the name and made an agreement with him. Then we began building a website, preparing guidelines for the disbursement of the funds (through the Messianic leaders all over Israel), and thus IstandwithIsrael  became a reality!

We unveiled the website just a couple of months later, in September 2002 (which happened to be my jubilee birthday). I’ve always considered it my special jubilee birthday present from God.

Not only has IstandwithIsrael been able to touch lives of victims, orphans, widows, and countless poor, but it has also helped Messianic leaders get homes, get out of debt, pay medical and dental bills, and opened up the doors to stronger relationships within the Israeli Messianic movement in Israel. We’ve been able to put furniture in homeless shelters, stock shelves in humanitarian pantries, help acquire special training to get a well-paying job, fund Hebrew language school for immigrants, and assist Israeli firefighters and soldiers. In short, IstandwithIsrael has been able to distribute over $5,000,000 since 2002 with help from partners all over the world!

Thank you, God, for YOUR ideas! They are priceless!

International Administrator