Streams in the Desert

Providing “a Place to Call Home”


“I will bring back My People, Israel and Judah, and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their Fathers.”
Jeremiah 30:3

“I will bring back My People, Israel and Judah, and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their Fathers.”
Jeremiah 30:3

The Vision

The vision of Streams in the Desert is to provide a place to call “home” for elderly Jews already in Israel or who are planning to emigrate to Israel.

There will be three main departments:

  • Nursing home, to which the Triage Centre will be attached
  • Care home/assisted living
  • Apartments for independent elderly

Two Organisations With a Common Goal

“The Streams in the Desert Trust” – known as “Streams in the Desert”

Registered Charity in England and Wales no. 1043034

The trust was formed in 1994, when Helen Mears first had the vision for housing elderly olim in Israel.

There are currently five trustees, two of whom manage the charity with occasional help from volunteers.

Streams in the Desert is responsible for the database of supporters of both organisations, for keeping them informed and for any publicity.

“The Open Gateway” is a registered Amuta in Israel, no. 58-034-946-2

The Amuta was first registered in 2000, prior to the purchase of the first two houses in Beit Shemesh.

The trustees of Streams in the Desert are all members of the Amuta, and some serve on the Executive Board which is elected annually. The majority of the members are Israeli citizens.

A part-time administrator manages the current building and its one remaining resident.

Helen Mears is currently the director of both organisations.


Between 1997 and 2013 we provided shared accommodation for 100 independent elderly Russian new immigrants. We supported another organisation in Jerusalem for 12 years. In 2000 we began our own project with houses in Beit Shemesh.

We work in Israel under the name “The Open Gateway”.

Our aim is to provide a multi-purpose centre in Israel to accommodate elderly new immigrants, including those with various health needs.

It is almost impossible for an elderly Jewish person in Diaspora, especially the former USSR, to be granted permission to go to Israel, unless they have a relative who will take care of them. Understandably officials are concerned that they would be a financial burden on the State of Israel, but by law they have the right to return.

Our project will include a Triage Centre, to which we can officially invite those wishing to make aliyah (emigrate to Israel) thus opening a door for them that is otherwise closed. New immigrants arriving in Israel can be assessed for their health needs, before moving on to the appropriate place for them, or even out into the community.

Why Israel?

Why should we encourage elderly people to leave their countries and move to Israel, and why should we specifically help elderly immigrants in Israel?

Is there really enough room for all the Jewish people in the Land of Israel? Is it not too controversial to bring Jews to Israel, with disputes over territory and the threat of terrorist attacks and war? Who does the Land belong to anyway?

Joel 3:2 says that the nations ‘have divided up MY land’, and yet God gave the land to Abraham – “for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants FOREVER” (Genesis 12:7; 13:15; 15:18), Isaac (Genesis 26:3) and Jacob (Genesis 35:12) – with no conditions attached.

God says many times in His Word that He will bring His people back to the land He gave to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is the Lord who has put it in the hearts of His people to go to Israel. There is no other explanation as to why so many elderly people would want to uproot from their environment and move far away where they would not know anyone, could not speak the language and were unfamiliar with the culture.

The Apostle Paul said in Romans 15:27 that it is the duty of Gentiles to minister to the Jewish people in material things, because we are partakers of the spiritual blessings of the Jews – i.e. Yeshua (Jesus) was Jewish and it is through Him that we are blessed.

All that we have is the Lord’s and it is always a privilege to give it back to Him.

Isaiah 41:8-10; 17-20

“But you, Israel, are My servant,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
The descendants of Abraham My friend.
You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth,
And called from its farthest regions,
And said to you,
‘You are My servant,
I have chosen you and have not cast you away:
10 Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you
with My righteous right hand.”

17 “The poor and needy seek water, but there is none,
Their tongues fail for thirst.
I, the Lord, will hear them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
18 I will open rivers in desolate heights,
And fountains in the midst of the valleys;
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
And the dry land springs of water.
19 I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree,
The myrtle and the oil tree;
I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine
And the box tree together,
20 That they may see and know,
And consider and understand together,
That the hand of the Lord has done this,
And the Holy One of Israel has created it.