Testimonies from those who attend our Thank God for Israel Days demonstrate its influence and effectiveness. I am most encouraged that these events touch and impact both Jewish and Christian attendees. Jewish people who have attended have said that our event has touched their hearts and encouraged them greatly because they never expected to see such love, support, and affirmation for Israel and the Jewish people. As an Israeli soldier who spoke at one of our events said, “Not many people are thankful for the Jewish people!”
At our Thank God for Israel Day events we celebrate the Jewish people, the nation of Israel, and the God of Israel. We have Jewish music sung and played during our meeting, including the national anthems of the United States and Israel. The tables are decorated with Israel and United States flags. When our event involves a meal, we offer a kosher meal for our observant Jewish guests. Our program usually features a speaker from a Jewish organization or from Israel. We have had speakers from Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, Zionist Organization of America, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), Simon Wiesenthal Center, StandWithUs, The Israel Project, Israel Consul General of the Midwest, CAMERA, HonestReporting.com, Friends of Rambam Hospital, Walk for Israel, Kaplan Medical Center, and others.
As an Israeli soldier who spoke at one of our events said, “Not many people are thankful for the Jewish people!”
One year I asked the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) about providing a speaker who participated in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) rescue operation in Haiti following the earthquake in January 2010. In that horrible event, Israel was the first to arrive, and they set up a first-class field hospital complete with an operating room, obstetrics unit for women giving birth, and more; its quality of care was overwhelming. FIDF provided us with Major Liron Shapira, the officer who was second in command of that operation. We want to provide speakers our Christian and Jewish guests can learn from and appreciate.
Some of our first-time Jewish guests come with a sense of skepticism and uncertainty. They have been conditioned to think either that we as evangelical believers only want to proselytize them or that our event will disrespect them or Israel. However, it does not take long for them to realize their fears are unfounded, and they relax and enjoy the day. As one Jewish friend told me, “I have attended other events like this, and there was a tension. But here, it feels comfortable.” I believe they feel comfortable and at ease because they sense the Spirit of Christ in us. As one Jewish woman said, “I believe it’s because of God.” I agree! Our event allows Christians and Jewish people to connect; to get beyond fears and misgivings, even misunderstandings about each other; and really begin to talk with each other and learn to appreciate and love each other.
Our event allows Christians and Jewish people to connect; to get beyond fears and misgivings, even misunderstandings about each other; and really begin to talk with each other and learn to appreciate and love each other.
After one recent Thank God for Israel Day I observed a heartwarming scene. Many of our guests milled around and talked with each other long after the event concluded. It seemed that no one wanted to leave, as they were enjoying each other’s company so much. That illustrates the point of our event so powerfully, that we hold it as a day of celebration of Israel and the Jewish people and a day for Christians and Jewish people to connect. It begins to remove the barriers from the hearts of the Jewish people toward other Christians and to our Savior, whom we want them to come to know.
Two of my Jewish friends introduce me to their friends by saying, “This is my friend Tim, and you have got to see the program he puts on, a Thank God for Israel Day. It’s like something you have never seen before!” When I hear those words, I praise God, because it shows we achieved our aim of celebration and connection with our Jewish friends at our Thank God for Israel Day.