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Change Is Coming

September 20, 2010

by: Rev. Cheryl Hauer, International Development Director

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David: We are living in miraculous times! The Jewish people have returned to Israel and become a sovereign nation. And there are those who are acknowledging that the God of Israel is still around and His promises endure!

Cheryl: Christians are often horrified to learn that the Church actually committed heinous atrocities against the Jewish people throughout history, but we are definitely living in a period of change. More and more Christians are rejecting replacement theology [Israel replaced by the Church] and affirming that God’s covenant with Israel is eternal.

David: What is astounding is that Christians are coming and praising God during the Feast of Tabernacles in fulfillment of Zechariah 14:16. During the intifada [2000–2005 Arab uprising with suicide bombings], Christians came and declared “We are with you!” The Song of Moses is being fulfilled in our times: “Sing out praise, O you nations for His people” (Deut. 32:43, Jewish translation).

Yet, for many Jews, 2,000 years of pain prevent any move to accept Christian friendship. It is less threatening to say that Christian support has a hidden agenda, either conversion or Armageddon. Should we accept the extended hand of friendship? Certainly! Fellowship between us can only pave the way for better relationships and understanding.

Cheryl: We understand the hesitancy Jewish people experience when confronted with this new phenomenon, and we are thankful for the courageous members of the Jewish community who have embraced that hand. Rabbi Riskin has done groundbreaking work in that regard, and we are grateful to have been able to participate in it.

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Chief Rabbi of Efrat (www.israelimages.com/Israel Talby)

David: In 2008, I joined Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Chief Rabbi of Efrat [southwest of Bethlehem in the West Bank], to open the center, even though many in his world considered it unacceptable to enter into theological dialogue with Christians. It is the first Jewish–Christian relational organization based in a yeshiva[religious school] campus.

Rabbi Riskin is one of today’s most significant leaders within the Orthodox world. Twenty-five years ago, he left his Manhattan rabbinical career to develop the city of Efrat in Israel. He took a barren land, and with God’s guidance, built a home for 11,000 Jews. He is a modern-day Nehemiah, who has defied many to stand firm in his support of Christians.

Cheryl:Rabbi Riskin has publicly stated that Christians are part of the Abrahamic covenant, and this has had a profound impact on thousands of Christians worldwide. We know he believes that if we actually sit down and talk with one another, we will find more that unites than divides us, and we agree.

David: The rabbi and I have witnessed great miracles in forming fellowships with Christians. We have hosted over 5,000 Christians in Efrat and traveled around the world speaking in churches, delivering a message that reconciliation between our faiths is possible.


Our mission is simple: “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord…”(Isa. 1:18). It is a place where we can learn from one another without fear of compromising theological beliefs. We have the opportunity to remedy the past, and our faith communities can say to the world that our shared monotheism is a force to advance humankind.

Cheryl: We are indeed living in amazing times. The day is at long last here for Christians to take their place as friends, supporters, and intercessors for the nation of Israel and the Jewish people. Thanks to the work of Jews and Christians over the past three decades, as well as that of Rabbi Riskin and the center, the bridge has been built. Now we need to use it.

David: It is ourwish to become yourWatchmen on the Wall in reciprocation for your long-standing support for us. It is our hope that Christians visiting Israel will remember that there is a place where they can study biblical texts with rabbis and tour places such as the Path of the Patriarchs [ancient path taken by Abraham to Moriah] and Gush Etzion [block of West Bank Jewish communities established since 1967].

I am grateful for the friendship of Bridges for Peace. Their entire staff are true servants of God in helping Israel and the Jewish people without ulterior motive. Since the center’s opening, BFP has been on the forefront in promoting our cause and has allowed us to host their groups, including its regional directors and board of directors.

Cheryl: The restoration of the relationship between Jews and Christians is sending a strong message to the world. As we go forward together in honesty and sincerity, we are demonstrating God’s true character. We congratulate Rabbi Riskin for his work in rebuilding those relationships. It is our privilege to be a part of that process.

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