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Speaking with Don Horwitz

The Executive Director of Christians Care International, Don Horwitz, speaks with PneumaReview.com about anti-Semitism, the relationship between the Church and Judaism, and his own journey to help the vulnerable and abused in the former Soviet Union.

 

PneumaReview.com: Please tell us a little about yourself, your religious background, family, and your involvement with Christians Care International.

Don Horwitz: As the grandson of Russian Jewish immigrants who fled for their lives from Ukraine in 1917, I have always maintained a strong connection with my family’s heritage. Many of my family members were lost, or survived the concentration camps of the Holocaust. During repeated visits to Russia and Ukraine, I witnessed the horrific humanitarian crisis that was taking place in the former Soviet Union. People of all ages, including orphans and the elderly, were suffering from neglect and abuse, with no hope for a healthy future.

Don interacting with children at a Christians Care International’s special education center in Odessa, Ukraine.

After much thought and prayer, I decided to act by adopting my three daughters from an orphanage in Irkutsk, Russia in 1997. All three of my girls suffered from deep psychological scars resulting from years of severe abuse and maltreatment.

Here in the U.S., I was able to get help for my daughters, but I was deeply troubled about the thousands of children left behind, trapped in cold, heartless orphanages in the former Soviet Union.

I decided to create a charity in Moscow to help children aging out of orphanages acquire therapeutic services, independent living skills and job training so that could move forward with their lives. With a professional background in film, I also began producing a series of films and TV programs for Phil Hunter, the founder of Christians Care International, formerly known as 49:22TRUST, about the suffering of Jews in the former Soviet Union. This was my first exposure to the work of Christians Care International.

 

PneumaReview.com: How did you, as a Jewish man, come to lead a Christian ministry, Christians Care International?

Don Horwitz: A Christian man, Phil Hunter taught me more about Judaism than I had learned from my own family. Phil became a father figure in my life and I worked with him for several years making films before he became terminally ill. After Phil passed away, his family asked me to take his place in leading Christians Care International.

Before saying “yes,” my first reaction was, “How can a Jew run a Christian ministry?” After many hours of prayer, I realized that it would be a unique opportunity to strengthen the relationship between Christians and Jews, and that as a Jew, I would be able to open new doors for the ministry within Israel and the Jewish communities the organization serves.

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Category: Living the Faith, Winter 2017

About the Author: Don Horwitz is the Executive Director of Christians Care International. As the grandson of Russian Jewish immigrants who fled for their lives from Ukraine in 1917, Don has always maintained a strong connection with his family’s heritage. After repeated visits to Russia and Ukraine, Don saw first-hand the countless children, orphans and adults left suffering from neglect and abuse. Don decided to act – adopting his three daughters from Russia, founding a charity in Moscow to help other orphans, and helping make documentary films about the humanitarian crisis facing vulnerable Jews of the former Soviet Union. It was his experience making these films for the organization that would become Christians Care International that eventually led to his answering the call to lead the organization as its Executive Director. For more about Christians Care International and Don Horwitz, see: www.christianscare.org/about.

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