Reunited in Love of Israel

What a blessing to reunite with dozens of like-minded friends who love Israel! I’m in Washington DC, joining a couple hundred fellow graduates of the Christian Friends of Yad Vashem Leadership Conference.  Those Leadership Conferences, held at the Holocaust Museum and Research Center in Jerusalem, seek to bring together Christian leaders from around the world to study specifically about anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.

At last night’s reception, I counted at least 15 of my 27 classmates from 2015, and we had a great time catching up with one another.  Most of us are actively involved one way or another in sharing the truth about anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.  We were greeted by Dr Susanna Kokkonen (Director of Christian Friends of Yad Vashem) and welcomed by Shaya Ben Yahuda (Yad Vashem International Relations Director), both very dear friends of ours.  We were also welcomed by Cary Summers from Museum of the Bible, a supporting partner in the Conferences, as well as these Reunion/Refresher events.

During the evening, we were reminded that anti-Semitism is on the rise and, though painted with a different brush, is still the same picture the world ignored prior to the Holocaust.  After that, the world said, “Never again,” yet the BDS movement and Jewish hatred on college campuses (often sparked by radical Palestinian agendas) are rampant.  Friends, as Christians we cannot be silent.

As the evening progressed, we were treated to a special live production of “Portrait of Courage: A Call to Action,” performed by volunteers of Operation Exodus.  This was a depiction of what life was like in Jewish communities in Europe prior to the Holocaust, how covertly things changed, and the life-saving results of a few non-Jews who took action (sometimes at the risk of their own lives) to rescue Jews from the rampage of the Nazi killing machine.  It was quite moving and very well done, and certainly served as a call for us not to be silent in the current state of affairs.

Operation Exodus is dedicated to fulfilling a mission the prophet Isaiah described this way:

Thus says the Lord God,

“Behold, I will lift up My hand to the nations
And set up My standard to the peoples;
And they will bring your sons in their bosom,
And your daughters will be carried on their shoulders.
~Isaiah 49:22

Indeed, God is calling the nations to bring His sons and daughters home.  Yes, we have a responsibility in that!  Given the current rise of anti-Semitism, there is a growing call for American Jews to return home.  Most seem very happy and content in America (just as they were in Europe), but I wonder…will the same sudden destruction, brought about by American anti-Semitism, overtake them like a storm, as the German version in the 1930’s did?  God forbid!

Those ignorant of past mistakes are bound to repeat them.  Let’s not be part of that crowd.

At the end of the program we saw a short video about a group of young men who individually made aliyah (return to the homeland).  More tomorrow, but I leave you with this:

Headed to DC for Christian Leaders Reunion/Refresher

Two years ago I spent just over a week at a Christian Leaders Seminar at Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and Research Center in Israel, studying under the world’s premier Holocaust experts.  It was an incredible experience, and I learned more about the Holocaust, its perpetrators, survivors and onlookers than I could learn in a lifetime otherwise.

Christian Friends of Yad Vashem now hosts those seminars multiple times each year, and I encourage anyone sincerely interested in learning, then sharing, the truth of the Holocaust with others to consider attending.  (Find out more here.)

This weekend, I’ll join a hundred or more American graduates for a reunion in Washington DC, where we’ll reconnect with some of our beloved instructors.  The Museum of the Bible co-sponsors the seminars and reunions, and is in the process of finishing their high-tech, world-class museum in DC.  We’ll get a “behind the scenes” tour of the soon-to-open museum while in DC.  We toured the construction site last year and found it to be absolutely incredible!

So, I’ll do my best to provide interesting updates, and perhaps a picture or two from the seminar and tour.  Meanwhile, here’s a feature video about Yad Vashem.  Enjoy!

Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon’s Assessment of US Ambassador Nikki Haley

Kenesset - Danny Danon (DM) - cropped

Danny Danon addressing our group in 2010

Several years ago, I had the privilege of hearing Danny Danon talk about the importance of the US-Israeli relationship.  At the time, Danon was a Deputy Minister in Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration.  Since then, he has risen to become the Israeli Ambassador to the UN.

BTW – during that meeting, Mr Danon expressed deep thanks for American Christians for standing strong with Israel.

Earlier this week, US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, paid a visit to Israel.  Between meetings with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Reuvin Rivlin (among others), Haley paid visits to places close to my heart: Yad Vashem

E Kaye - YV Tour

Instructor at Yad Vashem Seminar

Holocaust Museum and the Western Wall.  I will forever be touched by a week-long leadership seminar hosted by Christian Friends of Yad Vashem, and I view the Western Wall as the most bittersweet place on earth.  (Sweet to see Jewish people so fervent in their prayers and yearning for God; yet bitter because, though they are so close, they are so far from recognizing the Messiah.)

A couple days ago, Danny Danon wrote an editorial piece for The Jerusalem Post entitled Welcoming a Friend: Nikki Haley.  It is so good to see Israeli and American relationships growing so deeply at very important governmental levels.  Haley has spoken firmly about the UN’s disparagement of Israel, and at least to some degree, the world is hearing that message.  Praise God for bold Americans who stand on the right side of God’s blessings and curses!

“I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
~Genesis 12:3

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Friends, I invite you to join millions around the world in observing International Holocaust Remembrance Day today.  January 27 commemorates the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration and death camp, and is marked by an official observance at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and Education Center.

Anti-semitism continues to rage across the world and it is important that we “never forget” the human atrocities and loss of 6 million human lives. For that reason, Christian Friends of Yad Vashem is teaming up once again with the National Religious Broadcasters to broadcast A Nation Remembers, the official state ceremony. Both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin are scheduled to speak, and the program will also include survivor stories, poetic reading, music, and ceremonies.

In late-2015 I had the rare privilege of attending a Christian Leaders Conference at Yad Vashem, where I met Dr Susanna Kokkonen and became familiar with her work at Christian Friends of Yad Vashem.  Hear her remarks about A Nation Remembers:

You can catch the ceremony on NRBtv (DIRECTV 378) on Friday, January 27th, at 7pm Arizona time (9pm Eastern), or look for it online at A Nation Remembers.