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Building Bridges

March 20, 2017

by: Rebecca J. Brimmer, Editor in Chief

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For the past half-century, beginning with our founder Dr. G. Douglas Young, we have been building bridges from the Christian world to the Jewish world. Our many projects are designed to communicate our love and respect for the Jewish world. Each time we provide food for needy Israelis we are saying, “Israel you are not alone—Christians are standing with you.” Every time we help an Israeli child succeed in school we are communicating love in action. Every time we teach Christians about Israel and God’s love for Israel, we are building another bridge.

At times the road has seemed one-sided, but today we are seeing bridges being built from the Jewish side. In recent times we have seen incredible overtures from the Jewish community.

Rabbi Riskin started the Center for Jewish Christian Understanding and Cooperation. Executive Director David Nekrutman now has weekly teaching sessions at the Bible Lands Museum for Christians to learn from rabbis.

Partnering with Rabbi Tuli Weisz, we helped 50 families who had lost everything in the Haifa fire. The families were invited to one of the city’s malls and given vouchers to purchase household goods, clothing and other commodities they might need.
(Photo: Michio Nagata / bridgesforpeace.com)

We have cooperated with Rabbi Tuly Weisz of Israel365 to bring assistance to victims of terror arson. Partnering with Rabbi Tuly Weisz, we helped 50 families who had lost everything in the Haifa fire. These families, 150 people including children, were invited to come to one of the city’s malls. They were then given vouchers that could be used at any store in the mall to purchase household goods, clothing and other commodities they might need. Together we will sponsor a celebration in honour of the 50th anniversary of the re-unification of Jerusalem.

The Knesset Christian Allies Caucus and the World Jewish Congress annually sponsor an event to honour Christian leaders. I was invited to be one of the speakers at the most recent event in January. What an honour to speak to such an auspicious group of Knesset members (members of Israel’s parliament), Christian and Jewish leaders.

Pillar and Cloud Company to bless Israel via Bridges for Peace

David Sterling: Founder of Pillar & Cloud

The newest overture from the Jewish community comes from the Pillar and Cloud Company, an American firm that was founded by David Sterling. On their website they describe their uniqueness, “Pillar and Cloud connects people of faith with best-in-class insurance and financial products. What sets us apart from other companies is that we tithe to charities in the US and Israel that align with our values.” They have chosen Bridges for Peace as one of two Israel charities!

The website goes on to say, “Pillar & Cloud tithes 10% of our profits to causes in the US and an additional 10% to charities in Israel. To make a profound difference in people’s lives around the world. We’re honoured to partner with organizations including Iris Global, Bridges for Peace and Leket Israel, to support their tremendous contributions in uplifting the Holy Land now, and for future generations.”

Imagine, Christians looking to obtain insurance can now also bless Israel through Bridges for Peace while paying competitive prices.

I thoroughly enjoy talking with David Sterling. In many ways his story mirrors mine! He lives in Long Island, New York. My husband and I, early in our married life, lived in Long Island. He remembers vividly watching the Six Day War on television and the sense of pride he felt to know that the Jewish people were no longer victims but could defend the Jewish nation. I also recall watching for six days in awe as the nation of Israel triumphed over enemies in such a decisive manner.

In 1969 David visited Israel for the first time at the time of his bar mitzvah (coming of age ceremony for 13-year-old boys). I also visited Israel for the first time in 1969 as a 13-year-old. David recalls a time when he experienced fear as Middle Eastern men questioned him about a sticker on his car displaying Israel’s flag. At the time he understood completely why Israel was important to the Jewish people. I recall a time when our lawn decoration, lighted Star of David, was turned into a lighted swastika. David told me about weeping after hearing stories from Holocaust survivors—something I have also experienced.

(Photo: pillarandcloud.com)

Pillar and Cloud is an exciting business because it is based on Judeo Christian values. David told me that he is especially excited because he can join his two passions—insurance and Israel. When I asked him about working with Christians like us, he replied, “You are the followers of Jesus; we are his family!” After meeting a number of Christians he has come to appreciate how very much we have in common. Like me, he wants to make a difference in the world. We spoke about tikkun olam, the Jewish concept of working to repair the world. “We will do it with an open heart and open mind,” David remarked.

I am rejoicing as I see how God is building a bridge between Christians and Jews. After nearly 2,000 years of negative interaction, we are entering a new era. As is always the case, pioneers are not always appreciated. So today I want to say thank you to David Sterling, David Nekrutman, Rabbi Riskin, Josh Reinstein, Rabbi Weisz and so many others, for having the courage to step into this growing relationship—to build a bridge! We are in a special time in history—a time of healing ancient wounds—a time to recognize that we have much in common with our Jewish friends—a time to work together to bring a revelation of the God of Israel to the world.

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