Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Why I'm in Israel with Jews, One Year After Being Here With Evangelical Christians

I am too tired and jet-lagged to make a long and elaborate post today. I have gotten less sleep in the last three nights than I usually get in one at home. Dead dog tired.

But I want to say why I'm back in Israel today with Jews, exactly one year after being here with Evangelical Christians.

Last year at this time, I came to Israel with my daughter and other Christians on a tour of renewal, led by Lon Solomon of McLean Bible Church outside Washington, D.C. We visited dozens of Old and New Testament sites and it profoundly deepened my faith and commitment to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

I will never be the same.

But a funny thing happened to me on that trip, in the Istanbul airport. Little did I know at the time, I was about to be given an opportunity to live this renewed faith in a way I could never have foreseen at the time.

I met a lovely woman, an Israeli cardiologist named Malka Yahalom, who slowly inspired me through friendship and e-mails over the last year, of war and peace, to change---to take my mental support of Israel to a new level---a hands on, real interaction with the land and people I have known since my earliest childhood. A land and people I had known of since I was a toddler --about the time Israel came back into being in 1948.

It had only been 1900 years since the diaspora of the Jews, when the Romans had destroyed Jerusalem, the Temple and dispersed the Jews to the ends of the earth in 70 AD. And now, against all odds, against hate and centuries of persecution, the holocaust, Israel was born again into the land of its fathers.

And my generation was born to see this miracle unfold, and unfold, and unfold, and unfold.

Through faith and friendship, I have been inspired to finally put my support and money where my lazy mouth and mind has been for a long time. Today I am traveling with the Jewish Federation of Lehigh Valley of Allantown, PA, an organization that supports---with friendship and money--some of the more needy and less glamorous charities in Israel today.

This support includes the little hospital with a big heart up on the Lebanese border where Malka lives and works. It sustained more katyushas from Hezbollah last summer than any hospital in Israel.

Today I had the privilege of going to Nahariya with the JFLV and seeing my new friends at Western Galilee Hospital. It is an amazing story.

But that's a story for tomorrow. For now, let it suffice to say, I am happy to be back in Israel with new friends who support the country's right to exist and defend itself.

And, at this time in history, Israel needs our hands-on friendship and support---from Jews and Christians---more than we can ever know.

1 comment:

Jungle Mom said...

Oh, I am so envious( in a good way!)
I trust your trip is successful in every way.