Mina Brody grew up in a secular home in the sleepy agricultural community of Migdal, known as the birthplace of Mary Magdalene. Migdal was a small pioneering village then. Mina spent her childhood surrounded by farm animals, raising chickens, and caring for her family’s many pet cats and dogs. There is no doubt this environment shaped Mina into the animal-loving pioneer she is today.
With no religious ties to the land, Mina moved to Sweden to attend university after serving in the Israeli army. As a student, a work opportunity, preparing girls for their Bat Mitzvah, presented an uncomfortable reality: Mina, who grew up in Israel and celebrated all the Jewish holidays, did not know anything of substance about Judaism. Ironically, as she learned about the Jewish commandments and customs in order to teach her Bat Mitzvah students and avoid embarrassment, she found herself coming closer to God. She slowly began observing the commandments and eventually became an Orthodox Jew. But as she delved into the Biblical texts, another uncomfortable truth became apparent to Mina – she belonged in Israel.
Back in Israel, Mina continued growing in her religious observance, attended a women’s Bible college, and eventually met and married her husband, an American who had come to Israel to study in a yeshiva (Bible academy). Wanting to contribute to the Zionist dream, the enthusiastic young couple looked for a religious community where they could impact Jewish life and help develop the Biblical Heartland. While visiting friends in Maale Levona, a tiny community on a lone hilltop near Ancient Levona and Shiloh, the idealistic pioneers of Maale Levona urged the young couple to join them in their pioneering struggle. While the Brody’s enjoyed the vibrant religious atmosphere in the community, they were concerned by the rawness of it all: “With only thirty families living in small mobile homes, it was a bare mountain, with no homes or trees,” Mina recalls. But the Brody’s answered the call!
Once there, Mina took on the role of ambassador of her new community, traveling to absorption centers around Israel to recruit new immigrants to help settle Biblical Israel and join the community. “Native Israelis joined new immigrants from the United States, Russia, France, and South America in settling Maale Levona, modeling the fulfillment of the ingathering from the four corners of the world,” says Mina, quoting Isaiah 11:12.
As manager of the local daycare center, Mina dedicated her career to nurturing the community’s little ones. Still, she wanted to do more. Reminded of how caring for animals in her youth shaped and enriched her childhood, Mina decided to establish a petting zoo in Maale Levona, to foster compassion and kindness in the children, and enrich community life. While the project started small, with a few sheep, rabbits, and chickens, it quickly attracted visitors from all over the region. Several years ago, when the zoo faced closure, you – our generous CFOIC Heartland donors – stepped in, helping to improve and maintain this lovely spot. While Mina is now semi-retired, she still runs the petting zoo, which has grown and expanded over the years. The community’s children take an active role in caring for the animals and
enjoy visiting and riding the donkey. In addition to regular family visits, the zoo also provides activities for preschools, camps, and special-needs children from the entire region. Mina is deeply grateful for the friendship of CFOIC Heartland supporters over the years.
Mina has always been the face of Maale Levona, greeting visitors from all over the world. And she has always enjoyed the visit of CFOIC Heartland groups. Mina has organized local families to host Christian tour groups in their family sukkahs (temporary huts) during the Feast of Tabernacles, where they learned about the holiday, socialized with locals, and enjoyed refreshments. Following two years of COVID, the community is looking forward to hosting visitors once again in the coming months. Mina is grateful to CFOIC Heartland supporters who understand the importance of the Jewish people’s return to Biblical Israel in fulfillment of prophecy. “Witnessing the Biblical prophecy fulfilled in our days serves as a wake-up call for Jews and Gentiles alike of the approaching redemption, inspiring action,” Mina says.
As a young woman, Mina was unaware of the spiritual significance of the Land of Israel. Today, she believes with all her heart and soul that Jews play a role in advancing Redemption and bringing Messiah by building homes and developing Biblical Israel. Brody believes that Christians who are eager to act and partner with us, can help Israel with global public opinion, influencing international leaders, and creating a groundswell of support for Israel. “As foreign governments pressure Israel to halt construction in Samaria, and Arabs build illegally under the dark of night, our Christian friends can partner with us in advancing the final redemption.”