Barry and Batya Segal, Messianic worship leaders and founders of Vision for Israel (VFI) and The Joseph Storehouse humanitarian aid and emergency relief center, will host an annual Succot Celebration in downtown Jerusalem from 18-20 October 2016. The venue for the conference is the Pavilion hall inside the Clal building at 97 Jaffa Street.
“Succot” (meaning “booths”) is the Hebrew term for the Feast of Tabernacles (or booths), a major Biblical feast that commemorates the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt by God’s hand:
You shall keep it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. – Leviticus 23:41-43
The VFI Succot Celebration has been an annual event for the last 16 years.
Batya says:“Our vision for the conference comes from the Scripture in Zechariah which says: And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of booths (Zech. 14:16).
“For me, this Scripture refers to those people who love the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who follow Yeshua and love the Jewish people.” She adds: “We want to welcome them to the Land of Israel.”
The celebration has been attended by local believers and by believers from many other nations including Holland, Britain, USA, China, Latin America and India. This year some 300-500 people are expected to participate.
Batya, who was born in Israel and who came to faith in Jerusalem in 1978, explains: “We felt we needed to initiate something to strengthen the connection between Israeli and international believers. We thought it would be nice for the local believers to express their connection with the nations in a Jewish way.
“Before the existence of the modern state of Israel Jewish believers in Yeshua were called Hebrew Chrisitians. Now, though, they have a country of their own and they have found a Jewish expression of their faith.” Additionally, Batya reports: “Gentile believers, too, are discovering the importance of finding the Hebrew roots of their faith in Yeshua.”
Batya confirms: “Our ministry, Vision for Israel, is an umbrella organization that includes providing humanitarian aid through The Joseph Storehouseת but we also teach non-Jews about the Hebraic roots of the Bible.” Barry and Batya are itinerant teachers who have taught in places as diverse as Eastern and Western Europe, Canada, Russia and South Africa. They are also well known in the Messianic community as accomplished, published worship musicians,
Looking back over 16 years of Succot events, Batya observes: “I see a change for good because there is a much wider and bigger community around the world that recognizes the importance of having a conference like this. More nations have got involved, and some of these are even third world countries.”
This year’s conference speakers are Allen Jackson, David Herzog, Malcolm Hedding, Victoria Sarvadi, Rev. Jones Boateng and Alistair Scott. “We will have wonderful dance teams too, ” Batya confirms.
Other conference highlights will be worship music from Barry and Batya, Alyosha Ryabinov and Lee Behnken among others. Batya states: “We also want to open up the conference to young worship leaders and to the young people generally.”
Benjamin, one of the Segal’s three children, heads the IT, development and marketing side of VFI. He shares: “I think the celebration is a great opportunity to connect with people around the world and to hear their stories about what it is like to be a believer where they are. China, for instance, is a very closed nation, and it is interesting to learn how the believers live out their faith there. In turn, we can share how it is to be a believer in Israel and how we cope with challenges here.”
There is a special reduced conference price for Israeli residents and for international volunteers associated with a recognized group or organization. Batya says: “We want to encourage everyone to come and show support to the local people that are participating. I know people are sometimes tired of going to conferences but it is a key thing to show support to local believers.”
As Benjamin sums up: “It is really exciting that many connections are made between the nations and Israel through this conference. I hope a lot of people will be blessed by the event.”
For information about the Succot Celeberation, and for registration, please click here.