Christian group backs Israel


There was a quote that was heard over and over again Sunday night.

“And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curseth thee; and in thee shall all the families of the Earth blessed.”


The line from Bereishit (Genesis) was a common refrain at “A Night to Honor Israel,” hosted by Life Christian Church and attended by representatives from Destiny Church, Twin Rivers Worship Center, and Christians United for Israel, among others.

Dr. Billye Brim, the founder of Prayer Mountains in the Ozarks, and Migdol Regional Director of Christians United for Israel, was the guest speaker of the evening, and drove the point home by emphasizing the Christian community’s devotion to helping support Israel, especially in these trying times.

Pastor Rick Shelton, senior pastor at the Life Christian Church, said the purpose of the evening was to “exhibit the love Bible-believing Christians have for the Jewish community,” as well as to be “the beginning of something that will be a beautiful growing relationship honoring the Jewish community here, and standing together with them as our friends.”

Barry Rosenberg, executive vice president of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, said he too saw the evening as “a historical and momentous occasion which I sincerely hope will open a new chapter in Christian-Jewish relations in our region.”

“We live in a world filled with conflict and division,” Rosenberg said, “and it is so important to rise above our differences and work together and identify those areas that unite us, and we are truly united in our love, our support, and our advocacy for Israel.”

Ushers walked up and down the aisles collecting donations from the audience, of which Shelton said “every penny will go to the Israel Emergency Campaign.”

Steve Low, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Southern Illinois, thanked the speakers and those in attendance, stating that, “For us, who are a tiny minority in our communities, and who often struggle to explore our faith and devotion to Israel to our non-Jewish neighbors, your commitment to understanding, and your support is especially gratifying.”

Low said the funds raised by the campaign will be used for a variety of purposes, from providing counseling for those traumatized by the terrorist attacks, to providing money to help businesses rebuilt, and “help others to help themselves,” to rebuild infrastructure that was damaged by bombs and build bomb shelters as well as temporary housing, and to help subsidize many other repairs that need to take place throughout the state of Israel.

Dr. Andy David, deputy Israeli consul general in Chicago, summed up the atmosphere in Israel with the words “worry,” and “rage,” but said Israel is at a turning point in that it has gained support from the other nations to defend itself, and received much applause when he asked for the audience’s help in securing support from the nations, so that it should “be clear to everyone who is the good guy and who is the bad guy in this story.”

“If (Israelis) all lay down our arms, we will all be slaughtered,” David said. “If the other side all lays down its arms, there will be peace.”

Holocaust survivor Ilse Altman told her story to the group, and remembered for the group her mother’s certainty that their neighbors would take their family in. But they did not.

“These were our good friends,” Altman said.

Altman thanked the group for their support, and said, “Even though we said ‘Never again,’ I don’t know. Will it happen ever again? Your love and your kindness will make sure there will always be a place for Jews to go; there will always be an Israel.”

Debra Peppers, an author and speaker and the emcee for the evening, said, “We repent for those who did those atrocities, we repent for those who did nothing, and we’re asking God to give us a second chance.”

The event was part of what the St. Louis Jewish Federation has declared as Solidarity September, in hopes to help reach set the 2006 Federation Annual Campaign goal of $10.8 million, and the Israel Emergency Campaign goal of $2.5 million.

Keren Douek, assistant editor of the Jewish Light, can be reached at [email protected]