Jerusalem Center for Bible Translators:

The Home for Bible Translators since 1995

Growing impact of Jerusalem Center of BT

August 13, 2017

Dear friends,

Greetings from Jerusalem Center for Bible Translators!

Warm winter greetings to our friends in the Southern Hemisphere. Cool summer greetings to our friends in the Northern Hemisphere. Indeed, there are former participants of JCBT (or HBT) long term courses (some 150) and short term courses (some 240) – all around the globe! What a privilege it has been to introduce the land of the Bible, the context of the Biblical text to those working at bringing its full message to so many. As you know, this has been achieved by an amazing amount of God’s grace, His Hesed.   


A reminder: it was in the Spring of 2010 when a new study program was launched by then HBT to serve Bible translation consultants. They carry the main burden of ensuring quality translations of the Bible for the nations. But they could not afford the time or money to attend our comprehensive five-month semester program, which gives the full benefit of studying both language and the land in Israel.

Accordingly, a two-week intensive Land of the Bible study program was inaugurated. Its declared emphasis is on experiencing the TEXT in its original CONTEXT. During the study trips, the land becomes a kind of a visual experiential ‘dictionary’ of the geographical, botanical, climatic and other concepts in the text when the text is read in the location where the events occurred. The Bible terrain is no longer a flat map, but a three-dimensional reality.

In fact, it is this new course which eventually caused our name change from the more intimate name of the “Home for Bible Translators” to the new name: Jerusalem Center for Bible Translators. Most of the short-term courses were first organized by HBT with individual participants from different organizations, but then requests came from major organizations to serve their people, such as SEED company, IBT (Moscow), DOOR (sign language) and Biblica.

A recent development was the Memorandum of Understanding with the United Bible Societies (2016). This came with a request to conduct at least four short term study groups a year serving UBS translators and consultants from different areas of the world. The first of these courses this year was for 34 translators from Anglophone Africa.

June 2017 UBS course for Global Translation Advisors 

More recently came the challenge of the June course for twenty senior Ph.D. Global Translation Advisors of UBS. These experienced high level consultants are the ones who give exegetical advice to a translation team during their projects. Finally, they are the ones who approve the translation and give the OK for the Bible to be printed after it has been thoroughly checked for accuracy, clarity and naturalness.

Brian and Halvor were the main academic guides for these high-level consultants, and did their best. The program was supplemented by Hebrew University professors such as Gaby Barkay (Archeology), Emanuel Tov (the Hebrew text of the Bible), Wayne Horowitz (Ancient Middle East), and others. The participants experienced the grand variety of the Land, from the flat coastal plains to the Jerusalem hills to the Rift Valley of the Jordan River (with the lowest spot on the surface of the globe) – all of which creates an irreplaceable, incomparable impact of the riches of resources in the Land.

Lecture in Rock Chapel.jpgThe consultant course was taking place while the long-term Spring Semester course of 2017 was yet in progress. So JCBT arranged a common biblical meal for the GTAs together with our students at our ‘Rock Chapel’ hall, so each group could meet the other. This was followed by a session of valuable feedback from the experiences of the UBS consultants. Note: we are always interested to get feedback to help us to serve even better.


Graduation ceremony in Hebrew University.jpgOn June 22, our semester students were granted the certificates of completion of their 5-month course at a ceremony at the Faculty Club of the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus. This closely-knit community of students (from seven different backgrounds!) were a joy to behold as they celebrated their achievements – for example by reading a verse from a Psalm translated the first time into a new mother tongue! What a privilege to serve these translators and consultants who are involved in the most important task there is – to provide the full scriptural message to their people.

Back now in their home countries, some of them in remote areas, the translators need our prayers for protection and inspiration. One of the student wives wrote these touching words: “I am very much impressed by the whole setting of JCBT. I cannot stop telling people about the Home whenever I have the chance. Each time I share I find something better to tell. JCBT is really a Home for Bible Translators and we praise the Lord for both of you, for your vision. We will continue to pray that God will give you good health and a long life. Even with such a small number on the staff it is just amazing how each staff person coordinates and works together to make everything so perfect. The dedication of each one is commendable. What a strong team the Lord has provided for the JCBT.”

IBT (Moscow) – August 2017

We have now here in the land a group of 16 translators from the Institute of Bible Translation. They represent needs in the former Soviet Union, which has some major languages, with millions of speakers, without a translation in their own mother tongue. The course, which is taught in Russian, allows a much better understanding of the biblical context to those who are responsible to convey the Biblical message to their people.   

Growing interest in Hebrew studies

There is a definite growing interest in translating directly from the Hebrew Bible (rather than from European languages as is yet the dominant practice). Just consider the importance of this work when there are 1300 New Testament translations without the Old Testament – not to speak of the 4000 languages that have not a word of Scripture. It is therefore so very gratifying to note the growing understanding that the best translation is one that is done from the original language and done by a national, if at all possible. Twenty-two years ago, when HBT started its work in training nationals in the land and language of the Bible, this view was not so prevalent. Other organizations, new and old, are now waking up to this challenge.

Presently there is great need for Hebrew teachers to reach out to train translators in basic Biblical Hebrew in their home countries before they ever come to Israel. Such training ahead of time makes the stay in Israel more efficient since students can absorb more when in Israel and can reach a higher level of Hebrew at the end of their studies.

‘Hebrew to the Nations‘

Hebrew to the Nations in Mongolia.jpgA new informal project, “Ivrit leAmim”, ‘Hebrew to the Nations‘, was started in association with JCBT. Its plan is to send trained Israelis to teach the applicants enough Biblical Hebrew for them to pass the Biblical Hebrew test which is the condition for being accepted to the JCBT long term courses. In fact, two Israeli ladies, did recently go to Mongolia, where they taught Hebrew to four prospective translators who plan to attend the 2018 course here in Jerusalem. This kind of training was done also earlier by JCBT associated Hebrew teachers whom we sent to Mexico, China and India.

SEED COMPANY consultants course: August 20 – September 16, 2017

The SEED COMPANY organization asked JCBT to plan a one month course of Biblical Hebrew in the the land for their senior consultants. Brian Migliazzaand Bob Carter planned the course in cooperation with Mirja Ronning and Adam Van Goor from JCBT. Bob has a strong background both in Hebrew and in land with an M.A. in Hebrew from the Jerusalem University College in Jerusalem. We will be welcoming the participants of this course to the log house dormitory in Yad HaShemonah on August 19th. The previous day comes a team of three Finnish volunteers to serve as a cook, house mother and driver for them. 

Note: We all join Bob and Amy Carter, parents of Josh Carter, in thanking God for the miraculous recovery of Josh from a rare deathly disease he caught while serving in the Far East; it left him almost paralyzed and in the hospital for several months with thousands of people praying for him. Now the good news is that Josh, although still weak, is able to walk and has been released from the hospital in Singapore to go home to USA.

Important news: 

Brian and Shoshi Kvasnica and the whole family is now in USA for 3-5 months. Their plan is to travel around USA with the children in a motor home and at the same time create a support group to cover the family’s financial needs by designated contributions in his name to JCBT. This will be a similar arrangement as is the custom with the non-profit organization of Wycliffe Bible Translators. We encourage you to consider this option of supporting a worker of JCBT. Adam and Nikole Van Goor, who joined JCBT a year ago, serve JCBT under such an arrangement of finding their own support.

Brian can be reached at: and USA phone #585 737 8617

Brian will be happy to share the exciting and blessed vision of JCBT – introducing the land and language of the Bible to mother tongue translators. Brian is an American as well as Israeli citizen; he lives permanently in Israel with his wife, Shoshi, and seven children. Do consider inviting him to speak about JCBT and about a variety of Biblical and Israel related topics – especially if you are contemplating to create or join a study or pilgrim tour to Israel


  • In September 10–23, there is UBS course for 28 Francophone Bible translators. Urgent prayer is needed once again for the processing of visa applications in time for the students to get their tickets to come. This time seven of the applicants are from Mali (not known as a friend of Israel), and they need a special security clearance which is usually a lengthy process. Please pray for speedy and positive answer for them.
  • Please pray for Brian to get the funds he needs for his 3–5-month time in USA and for a good support package for his family’s needs in Israel.
  • Please pray for the now limited staff of Halvor, Mirja, Adam and Wilma to manage with the challenges of serving the needs of (Anna is returning at the end of August):
  • The Russian group with us now
  • The Seed company consultant group August–September
  • The French speaking UBS group in September
  • The UBS CEO group in October
  • The 3-week group for Ethiopian translators organized by Ronnie Sim
  • 2018 SEMESTER COURSE: JANUARY – thru JUNE 2018.
  • Join us in praying for the 16 translators and consultants that JCBT hopes to be accepting to the 2018 course. There is a test in Biblical Hebrew on August 31. Those translators who pass the test will be accepted to JCBT/Hebrew University accredited course in Jerusalem for the unique five-month semester program for translators. The program is planned in consultation with Professor Steve Fassberg of Hebrew University who oversees our programs. We believe in quality translations for every nation.


The $9.300 fee covers the total comprehensive land package. This 5-month semester program gives the student the necessary tools for beginning an excellent, accurate and natural translation for his people. ANY AMOUNT will be greatly appreciated as frequently translators come with meager or no fees and need a full scholarship – with your help. Your investment will bear fruit in the lives of whole nations who presently do not have a full Bible.

JCBT is a nonprofit organization which depends on contributions of individual supporters. Hopefully you will become such a supporter or continue to enjoy the blessings of being one already. MOST HEARTY THANKS!



JCBT will be represented by Brian, who gives a paper and by Halvor and Mirja who will make a poster presentation. See you there! We will also be visiting the Houston area. 

With gratitude to you and to the Lord for His provisions. 


Halvor and Mirja and staff

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Updated: August 13, 2017 — 8:00 pm


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