Stewart and Chantal Winograd were married in August 1979. They have four wonderful children and eleven beloved grandchildren.
Stewart grew up in New York City. He was raised in a secular Ashkenazi Jewish family with ancestral roots across Europe, including Austria, the Bukovina region of Romania, and Belarus. In his late teens, he developed a desire to discover the purpose of life. At the age of 25, he found his answer in a place he never expected to… the Bible and the resurrection power of Jesus (Yeshua), the promised Messiah of Israel.
Chantal was raised in a non-Jewish secular family in Montreal, Canada. She was introduced to the concept of a personal relationship with Yeshua when she met Stewart in 1979. Through her relationship with Him, Yeshua gave her a great love and appreciation for the Jewish people and a heart like the Biblical character Ruth. The Jewish people have become her people just as the God of Israel (who is God of all) had become her God.
Stewart and Chantal moved to Belarus with their four children in response to what they believe was a calling and commission from God to restore Biblical spirituality to the Jewish people and all in Belarus. They lived in Belarus from 1995–2007 and through them, God birthed four Messianic Jewish Congregations, the Comfort for Holocaust Survivors Initiative you read about in the book, a Compassion for Orphans initiative, Camp Chalutzim for children and teens, and more. As of the date of the writing of this book they continue to oversee the work in Belarus and visit the country regularly.
Stewart is an ordained Messianic Jewish Rabbi. He and Chantal are co-founders of Reach Initiative International, a Messianic Jewish ministry serving in Israel, Belarus, India, and North America.
Title by Stewart & Chantal Winograd
Behind the Curtain, the Candles Burn
Recovering the Lost Stories of the Holocaust Survivors of Belarus
Released: August 2022
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, a calling from God led Stewart and Chantal Winograd to move their family from upstate New York to Belarus, in order to minister to the Jewish people. One Shabbat dinner with a group of Holocaust survivors led to over two decades of friendship as the Winograds’ lives became intertwined with hundreds of survivors. This book was written to honor some of their dearest friends by telling their stories.
Stories of unimaginable suffering, but also courage, hope, and redemption.
Behind the Curtain, the Candles Burn chronicles the stories of fifteen individuals who were in their youth when their country was attacked by the Nazis. Their idyllic lives in thriving Ashkenazi Jewish communities on the eastern edges of Europe were transformed overnight into the living hell of the Holocaust. Their carefree childhoods were replaced with the terror of life under Nazi occupation.
Suffering the overwhelming sorrow of losing many loved ones, they fought to survive amid deprivation and starvation in the ghettos or while hiding in remote forests. After the war, they found themselves trapped in the grim, oppressive, atheistic Soviet Union, facing antisemitism and a new set of challenges as they attempted to rebuild their lives. These stories, after being hidden behind the Iron Curtain for decades, are finally being told. Through them, readers will discover the amazing possibility for hope and the redemptive work of the Messiah of Israel in the aftermath of great suffering and loss.