Legacy: The Mizrachi Family and Rabbi Daniel Zion
When the Chief Rabbi of Bulgaria, Rabbi Daniel Zion, came to faith in Yeshua as his Messiah during the 1930s in Sofia, Bulgaria - he had no idea that his legacy would continue to this day in the streets of Tel Aviv-Jaffa.
Not only has Rabbi Daniel created a legacy of faith in Yeshua, he was also instrumental in saving the whole Jewish community of Bulgaria when he petitioned the King to resist Hitler and not deport them to the death camps of Poland. Rabbi Daniel decided not to convert to Christianity but to follow Yeshua as a Jew, living an Orthodox Jewish life - observing the Torah and continuing to serve as chief Rabbi of Bulgaria. At the end of 1948, he immigrated to Israel with the majority of the Bulgarian Jewish community.
In Israel, Rabbi Daniel was accepted as the Rabbi of the Bulgarian Jews and established a synagogue in Jaffa. After the traditional morning and evening synagogue prayers he would open his home for whoever wished to come and study the Scriptures both the Old and the New Covenant (Testament). His commitment to follow Yeshua though put him at odds with the Jewish religious leaders and he faced considerable difficulties defending his position and reputation, but he continued to serve the Bulgarian Jews in Jaffa. He stated that he had not left Judaism, he was simply a Jew who had found the Messiah. He kept the laws of the Torah, and believed that there was no contradiction between the written law and the teachings of Yeshua.
Adonai Roi Congregation, Tel Aviv
Your People My People was honoured to sit with Avi Mizrachi, the Director of Dugit Ministries and founder of Adonai Roi Messianic Congregation, and hear the story of how his family were impacted by this Rabbi .
After the Israeli War of Independence, there was a period of austerity when life was very difficult. Women had to queue for hours to receive meagre rations. Without refrigeration at home, this became a daily challenge. Rivka, was one of these women, struggling to care for her toddler daughter and probably suffering from the trauma of the War of Independence where she herself fought and lost many close friends, began to suffer from depression. At the age of 25, the depression had become so bad she decided the only way out was to end her life. Before she went ahead, she decided to talk to Rabbi Daniel Zion. Carrying her young daughter, she walked to the Rabbi’s synagogue in Jaffa and waited outside for him. When he saw her, he asked in Ladino, the language of the Bulgarian Jews, “What is it, my daughter?” She told him that she did not wish to live.
He asked her to wait while he went to get something. He returned with a book and urged her to read it before doing something she might regret. Rivka respected the Rabbi and agreed. The book was the New Testament and she was surprised to find that this forbidden book was full of Jewish references and quotations from the Hebrew scriptures. After reading the whole book, she went back to the synagogue with many questions for Rabbi Daniel. After this encounter, Rivka met Yeshua, her Messiah and chose to live!
The woman was Avi Mizrachi’s mother. She continued to grow in her faith in the Messiah and even became Rabbi Daniel’s secretary.
No one knows how many came to know Yeshua their Messiah through the ministry of Rabbi Daniel Zion but we know that the Mizrachi family have continued to serve the Lord through the generations. In the 1980s, Avi Mizrachi opened Dugit (pronounced doo-geet), an outreach cafe that would share the Good News in Hebrew (and other local languages over the years) in a relaxed Israeli style, over a cup of coffee. Many groups from overseas would come alongside Dugit to help serve the local Israeli Believers. Dugit continues to preach the Gospel to this day. Adonai Roi (The Lord is My Shepherd) Messianic Congregation was born out of the need for an indigenous, Hebrew speaking congregation with an emphasis on the Jewish identity and culture for the new Believers coming out of the ministry of Dugit. Adonai Roi meets every Saturday in Tel Aviv. Last year, Avi transferred the leadership of the congregation over to his son-in-law and daughter and it continues to thrive.
We loved hearing about the legacy of Rabbi Daniel Zion. Pray that the Good News of Yeshua the Messiah will continue to bring life and freedom to local Israelis. Pray for the witness of Dugit that many will drop in for a coffee and chat and meet Yeshua. Pray for Adonai Roi Congregation as they build a worshipping community in the city of Tel Aviv.
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