The first open brethren assembly that was established in Israel was in the city of Haifa at the year of 1926, later on the Jaffa assembly was established. As far as we know, the Jaffa assembly was the first Hebrew speaking assembly in Israel, which was local and autonomous. The founder of the Jaffa assembly was the brother Isaac Solomon Ostrovsky.
Brother Ostrovsky was born in the Ukraine in 1902 to a traditional Jewish family. When he was a teenager he saw his father killed in front of his eyes in the brutal pogrom against the Jews in Russia. After this terrible experience he joined his relatives on their way to Israel. They arrived to Kishinev, Bessarabia, where brother Ostrovsky met the well known messianic Jew Leon Averbuch, who was a leader of a small group of Jewish believers. Later on he bought the New Testament and read it carefully and after a period of inner spiritual struggles he received Yeshua (Jesus in Hebrew) as his saviour, Lord and son of God. At the age of 16 brother Ostrovsky became a believer and at the year of 1919 he arrived to the land of Israel at the age of 17.
In the years 1919-1923 he worked for the “Mount Carmel Bible School” in Haifa. From 1924 to 1929 brother Ostrovsy lived in London in order to study the bible in a small bible school. In the early 1930’s he returned to Israel and settled in Tel-Aviv-Jaffa. In the year of 1932, when brother Ostrovsky was at the age of 30 he married the sister Sarah, who was his wife for the next 60 years. In the early 1930’s brother Ostrovsky started to arrange meeting especially for local Jewish and Arab believers. He used a building that belonged to the German Templars and he called this small fellowship: “Peniel Hall”. The meetings were held in the Hebrew language and the Russian language. Often new immigrants from Russia came to the meetings and also British civil servants and soldiers.
The main meeting was on Saturday afternoon beginning with the Lord’s supper and ending with a lecture from the scriptures. On Wednesday they had a prayer meeting. The building next to the assembly hall was a believer’s clinic with a believing doctor and believing nurses. This clinic helped Jewish and Arab, believers and unbelievers. The state of Israel was established at 1948, and from this year all proerties of the German Templars were sold to those who paid the highest price. Therefore, brother Ostrovsky had to find a new place for the fellowship. In the early 1960’s the small assembly could afford to purchase a new hall at Yefet Street in Jaffa. Next to the assembly hall brother Ostrovsky opened a small Bible shop. The opening of this shop caused the religious Jewish organization, called: “Yad l’achim”, to arrange demonstrations in front of the shop. Even the newspapers wrote about the missionaries in Jaffa. Brother ostrovsy did not close the shop only till 10 years later.
In the year of 2001 brother Ostrovsky died and went to be with the Lord at the age of 98, two years after his wife Sarah died. The Jaffa assembly hall is still in Yefet street number 42 in Jaffa and now it obtained the legal status of an “Amuta” – a recognized non-profit entity.
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