History of Israel Course Review (REL392)

I took this course in the fall semester, as I was coming back to school ‘fired up’ for Israeli history. One thing I got was the harsh reality that what I had been hearing was true, most people don’t support Israel, most don’t understand and some won’t even recognize the country by it’s name.

I have never had to bite so my tongue so much in a class, I found it to be very challenging to sit still during some of the lectures that directly bashed Israel and it’s current leadership. Of course, there are no perfect countries! I know Israel has flaws, but I couldn’t believe how bias my professor was and I was very disappointed in the statements he made to the class as “factual”. What saddened me was that unless the other students had extensive background knowledge in the subject before the class, all twelve of them most likely walked away thinking poorly of Israel.

So many times I wanted to stand up and announce to the class what they were hearing isn’t true, but in that environment and with that professor I could not do so. I understand as a leader you should stand up for what you believe in, but I also believe timing and technique to reaching the people is important. If I would have stood up, I would have received a low grade in a class I took simply as an elective. At some points I wish I did say something, and other parts of me are confident that it was just best to bite my tongue in that situation. Nonetheless it was definitely my first experience where I faced harsh opposition about this topic. In my final essay I did let my professor know most of my feelings about how Israel was portrayed through his course. On that He moved my grade down to an A- and I knew that I deserved more, so I fought for my grade and ended up with an A. Leaders don’t give up.

Although the class was not what I expected it to be or wanted it to be, I was able to study biblical references in relation to the history of ‘Canaan’ and the ‘Israelites’, watch interesting documentaries on land and I did learn some new information. I also became more aware that I need to filter ideas before I accept them as true. Essentially I need to research, pray about and learn more about something that I hear from for example a lecture, before I count it as the truth.

Fall Semester Reflections

Coming off high energy from the summer months of doing my LDR402 Project, the fall semester was just as productive.

It was really on my heart to begin recruiting students with the potential to apply for the Passages program. On particular student was Paige Long, whom I connected with at Greek InterVarsity Fall Leader’s Retreat after talking about my Israel Trip. She came up to me, right away telling me about her best friend from home that was Jewish and his recent Birthright trip. I set up a meeting with her and began contacting my references from Passages and staff from my trip that would boost her chances at being accepted. As a leader you must use good judgement and a lot of discernment. I made sure to seek God for wisdom on who to invest in. I knew Paige had to be one of the few I would work closely with. I did meet with many others, but due to privacy purposes I understood I could not have twenty people flooding my contact’s at Passage’s personal emails. Of course I would assist students with their Passages applications and contact with the organization, and would be available to be a reference, but you cannot be heavily involved in every single person you know’s life, as you would burn out as a leader and even as a person.

As the Fall semester progressed, I continued to pray with and mentor Paige. Then she was accepted on a December trip to Israel! It was so amazing to watch God’s faithfulness, even when she thought she wouldn’t be able to go, because of her parent’s concern for safety.

I attended Hillel events and actively supported Jewish events, which felt to put my faith to actions. As well as that I met with the Hillel President and Hillel Israeli Advisors to plan the Jewish-Cristian interfaith event. I learned that as a leader you must be flexible. Often times busy organizations such as Hillel and Greek InterVarsity would have very full calendars, which made it difficult to plan and execute. I was patient through the process and trusted that God would make the event come to life some how. Leaders work with people and when you do that, not everything will go exactly how you planned for it.

Lastly, I shared with my Phi Sigma Sigma Bible study group, Greek InterVarsity group, Faith Community Church community and Real Kid’s Ministry Teachers about my experience. My second goal was complete! It was great to share and have people ask questions about what I saw.

As for my first goal (to invest in students and get two to go to Israel through Passages), it is half way done! Paige is going to Israel sponsored and I just need to find one more student, in which I am very confident will happen.

My third goal of planning an Israel event is half way compete as well. The contact and planning is in full swing with Hillel. I am excited for the rest to come!

 


I typically ran my “Israel informational meetings” as follows:

  • Prayer (Ex. Dear Lord, I thank you for __________ and their passion to pursue you deeper. In Jesus name, I ask for your will to be done. I ask for your favor upon their life and that you allow them to experience what I did, which lights up great fire for you, God! Thank you Lord for Passages, thank you for my trip, and thank you for connecting us.)
  • Share some of my story
  • Explanation on *Why* it’s important to me.
    • Bible verse references
    • The trip is eye opening, makes the Bible come alive, give you a fresh passion for scripture and the Old Testament, is so cheap, Israel is important, etc
  • Show Passage’s Video
  • Email and contacts for Passages
  • Application and Interest list
  • Discuss and pray to finish.

CUFI Conference Reflections

Hello Washington D.C.!

Again, I am feeling so blessed as I type this. This opportunity is fully funded as well and I received a student scholarship to pay for my flight, hotel and food costs. The first part of this week’s summit is student education. We will learn about current news in the Middle East and be briefed on the basics, before we attend the CUFI Member’s conference. Stay tuned!


 

Reflecting on this experience brings forth a lot of emotions. On the last night of the conference there was a “Night to Honor Israel” event. Entering the large room I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit and the love that flowed throughout the entire space. I felt like crying when I first stepped in. Young, old, black, white, Christian, Jewish and any type of person in between, all waving U.S. flags and Israeli flags to loud celebratory music. The crowd was so excited to be there and to honor Israel. I don’t think I had felt that way since I was actually in Israel around month ago.

The speaker at this night to honor Israel said,

“There are 22 resolutions against Israel, and 2 against Syria.”

“There are 22 resolutions against Israel, and only 1 against Iran.”

“There are 22 resolutions against Israel, and only 1 against North Korea.”

I was absolutely shocked at that! How can that be? When Israel is the only true democracy in the entire Middle East. When Israel accepts gay rights and freedom to express yourself, while must Middle Eastern countries are killing those who stick out. When Israel allowed women to have equal rights to men. Those statistics only verify why I feel called to stand up about Israel and the biases people place upon this great land.

After researching the UN reasonings to keep blaming Israel for things and ignore other country’s issues, I really could not find much. The speaker at this event explained that there really isn’t a rational explanation of why there is so much hatred towards Israel stemming from the UN.

Written in the old testament of the Bible is the verse, “They have eyes but they do not see, they have ears but they do not hear” from about 3,000 years ago. I connect it do modern day as the UN stays silent about the anti Semitism going on, and that saddens me. On the other side it ignites my fire even more to bring about change. “Supporting  Israel isn’t a political issue, it is a bible issue. If you believe in the bible, you will support Israel.”


 

I found the Christians United for Israel conference to be inspiring and uplifting. As CUFI has around 3.1 million members, it is nice to know that as I go out to spread the word about Israel, there is a community of people that stand on the same Biblical truths I do. I will leave you with this Bible verse from Isiah 62:1:

 

“For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch.”

 

Post Trip Reflections

It is crazy to think I have been back from the Middle East for a few weeks now. It sure doesn’t feel like it!

I’ve been putting this off because I just have so many things to think and say about my trip, and I had a hard time putting it all into words to do it justice. But, this is what I feel led to share as of now,

I’m in awe of my creator
I need to take time to thank him
And truly thank him, appreciate him.
Thank You for being God! All praise and Glory goes to you!

I’m in awe of the beautiful promised Land.
God’s Holy, special, cherished land.
Israel, I love you.
I love your people.
God’s chosen, favored, beautiful children.

This trip changed my life, my perspective and my faith.
I felt the Holy Spirit’s presence in such different, beautiful ways I can’t fully describe it,
My eyes were opened and my heart so moved.

I heard the Lords voice in ways I never had before, and it was indescribable and amazing.

I will never forget the feeling I had on our last day, as we were driving through the hills of Jerusalem. I felt The Lord fill up my heart. It started to fill more and more, until it was bursting with the feelings of his goodness and overflowing blessings and love. This was all as I looked out the window and said “Goodbye for now” to the city on a hill, the city of David.

The opportunity I was given was incredible, I will be forever thankful for how much it changed me. Most importantly, it sparked a deep love for Israel and the Jewish people. I discovered and witnessed the true roots of my Christian Faith. I saw biblical stories come to life. Christianity needs Judaism to explain itself.

This trip to Israel was God ordained, and I know that it was not by chance that I worked at camp Walden last summer, met my dear Jewish friends, was encouraged by them to find a “Christian version of birthright”, or was connected with Rosemary Schindler Garlow through an old friend from California. I know God has purpose and specific reasons for sending me on this trip, some to which are still being revealed, but I can
confidently say it will not be the last time I go to the beautiful land of isreal, and that my heart has been transformed.

I Left changed,
Worshiping the Lord – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
with all my heart.
More aware and educated.
It sparked a passion in my soul.
In complete awe,
Thank you God.
You are faithful, good, a promise keeper, a provider, a majestic King. #thatyoumaytell #passagesIsrael

It will be quite hard to come down from this travel high that I have still going on. But it sure makes it easy to tell my story to anyone who will listen, when I tell of things I feel like it was just yesterday. Passionately sharing your story is important as a leader. Communication is key, especially as a transformational leader!

Lectures, Biblical Site Notes and Other Details

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Lecture: David Nekrutman

Location: Hotel

David is a prominent figure in the world of Jewish-Christian relations and is the Executive Director of the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation and Co-Founder of the Day to Praise global iniative. In addition, Nekrutman is a columnist who has written for the Jerusalem Post, Charisma Magazine and The Times of Israel.

 

Lecture: Steven Khoury

Location: Hotel

Steven Khoury pastors the Largest Arab Evangelical Church in the East Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories. He has degrees in Pastoral Ministry and Theology, and is a renowned speaker, Tv personality, and religious writer for Al-Quds, the largest Arabic newspaper in the Holy Land. Preaching the message of Christ to Arab in the region has often put him at risk, making his church a target of retaliation over the years. Even so, Steven’s mission is to share God’s love with the lost and hurting.

 

Lecture: Professor Reuven Hazan

Professor Reuven Hazan is the Chair of Department of Political Science at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Professor Hazan was closely involved in reforming Israel’s electoral system and continues to advise Israel’s leading politicians on restructuring of its legislative branch. He collaborates with Israel’s top think tanks, serves as a consultant for several political parties, is often called upon to testify in the Israeli parliament, and has served on the Presidential Commission on the Structure of Government in Israel. Professor Hazan is a frequents commentator on CNN, FOX, BBC, NPR and other networks, providing insights into the latest developments in Israeli politics. He has been quoted in magazines such as Time and Newsweek and in newspapers across North America from Los Angeles Times to the Wall Street Journal. Born in Jerusalem, Professor Hazan is a ninth generation Israeli. In his spare time, he enjoys discovering boutique vineyards in Israel that produce world-class red wines.

The Knesset:

Israel’s Parliament is located in the capital, Jerusalem. The Knesset passes all laws, approves the cabinet, elects the President and Prime Minister (as well as the power to remove them) and elects the State Comptroller, who supervises the policies and operation of the government.

There are four typoes of committees within the Knesset; Permanent Committee, who amend certain legislations according to their specialized area, Special Committee, who are similar to permanent but deal with particular matters at hand, Parliamentary Committee, who deal with importanat national matters, and the Ethics Committee who is responsible for jurisdiction over members in the Knesset who have violated the ethics code.

I loved learning a new form of government and seeing the way a much smaller country operates politically.

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The Israel Museum:

Located in the neighborhood of Givat Ram in Jerusalem, the Israel Museum was founded in 1965 as the country’s first national museum. With nearly 500,000 objects randing from prehistory artifacts to present day technology, Jewish art and the most extensive holdings of biblical archaeology, it was ranked among the world’s leading art and archeology museums.

 

Yah Vashem: Holocaust Memorial/Museum

In order to understand how the current state of Israel came to exist, it is important to look at the Holocaust for pretext. The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. While the rest of the world were counting the dead after WWII, the Jews were counting the living. Despite the tragedy of the Holocaust, it was the key factor in the rest of the world realizing that the Jews needed their own homeland. As the Jewish people’s living memorial to the Holocaust, Yad Vashem safeguards the memory of the past and imparts its meaning for future generations. Established in 1953, as the world center for documentation, research, and education and commemoration of the Holocaust, Yad Vashem is today a dynamic and vital place of intergenerational and international encounter

This experience was extrememly powerful and very different than all of the Holocaust museums I have visited in the United States (Lost Angeles, Michigan and Washington D.C. sites)

 

The Dead Sea:

“Then the boundary will go down along the Jordan and end at the Dead Sea. This will be your land, with its boundaries on every side.” – Numbers 34:12

The Dead Sea is a salt lake river 400 m below sea level. It is the lowest point on dry land. In Hebrew, it is called Yam ha-Melah, meaning “sea of salt” (Genesis 14:3). In the Bible, the Dead Sea is also called the Salt Sea, the Sea of the Arabah, and the Eastern Sea. It lies in the Jordan Rift Valley with the Jordan River being its main tributary. The Dead Sea has attracted visitors from around the Mediterranean basin for thousands of years. In the Bible, it is a place of refuge for King David. It was one of the world’s first health resorts (for Herod the Great), and it has been the supplier of a wide variety of products, from asphalt for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilizers. People also use the salt and the minerals from the Dead Sea to create cosmetics and herbal sachets. The Dead Sea water has density of 1.24 kg/litre, which makes swimming similar to floating.

 

Masada:

On top of a rock plateau in western Judean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea, sits Masada, an ancient fortification built by Herod the Great between 37 and 31 BC. Most information concerning Masada was obtained from the records of Josephus Flavius, a 1st century Jewish Roman historian. According to Josephus, the Masada Fortress included a casemate wall around the entire plateau as well as storehouses, cistern water places and an armory.

Ein Gedi/En Prat:

King David took refuge in Ein Gedi when being pursued by King Saul. It is a nature reserve situated on the shore of the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth, and is widely known for its health spas. Tourists from all over the world go to Ein Gedi and take advantage of its hot springs and mineral waters.

EnPrat is a layer spring located near the Jordan Valley with an average daily flow of 1500 cubic meters. Because of its unique location, a diverse ecosystem has been cultivated with various types of plants and animals.

Qumran:

In 1947, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls by a Bedovin shepord, revolutionize the study of the Hebrew Bible and Judeo-Christian origins. Despite the age of the scrolls, they were very well preserved due to the tall clay jars with lids stil intact. Since then, heavy excavations have been conducted with the discovery of 981 different texts and thousands of fragments of scrolls. The Qumran raves are located in the West Bank near the Dead Sea.

Jaffa (The ancient port city)

Jaffa, also called Japho is an ancient port located in the oldest part of Tel Aviv-Jaffa. It is famous for its association with the biblical stories of Jonah, Solomon and St. Peter. Jaffa is a major tourist attraction with an exciting combination of old, new and restored buildings. It offers art galleries, souvenir shops, exclusive restaurants, sidewalk cafes, boardwalks and shopping opportunities. It offers a rich variety of culture, entertainment and food (fish restaurants). The city is noted for its export of the famous Jaffa oranges.

We walked through the ancient port, the site from which the prophet Jonah fled from God, and where Peter restored Tabitha to life and stayed with Simon the Tanner. In recent years, Old Jaffa Port has been developed as a cultural attraction, whilst retaining its operations as a working port from where fishermen head off into the Mediterranean each night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nazareth

 

“And he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that He would be called a Nazarene.” –Matthew 2:23

Nazareth is the largest city in the North District of Israel. It is also known as “the Arab capital of Israel”. The population is made up predominantly of Arab citizens of Israel, almost all who are either Muslim (around 69%) or Christian (around 30%). Nazareth is the childhood home of Jesus, and as such is a center of Christian pilgrimage, with many shrines commemorating biblical events.

I learned a lot from a site called “Nazareth Village”, which was made to look like it would have during the times of Jesus’ childhood. It made me think of the Bible passage that says, “What good would come from a town like Nazareth?” and it is important to know that Jesus as a leader rose up from something very unlikely to be a revolutionary world changer, and the ultimately the savior of the world. Personally I love great stories that stem from “small” beginnings.

The last site we visited in Nazareth bothered me and really did not sit well with me, as we visited a Holy site that was claimed and run by the Catholic Church. I found a few places in Israel to be similar to this as well, and I felt that some of these religious groups really commercialized something that has so much spiritual meaning. At this site you even had to pay to use the restroom. As a leader, this bothered me, and if I had any say in the way this site was run, I would say that people who come all the way to Israel to visit the Holy sites should be able to use the restroom for free, and that it should be a basic human right. I would also go to say that it gets messy and corruption begins to occur when you start charging people and over commercializing places that are so important to people’s faith roots.

 

 

Mt. Precipice

 

Mt. Precipice, just outside the southern edge of Nazareth, offers several biblical narratives, both from the Old and New Testaments. First, the view from the mountain provides a visual of Mt. Carmel (Elijah) to the west, the Jezreel Valley below, and Mt. Tabor (traditional site of the Transfiguration) and the Sea of Galilee to the east. Second, this is the spot widely believed to be the place in Luke 4 where Jesus was chased out of the Nazareth synagogue to the brow of a cliff until he escaped “through the crowd and went on his way”

As I am particularly interested in the Old Testament I really loved this site, and it had the most beautiful view.

 

 

Lecture: Dr. Faydra Shapiro

Dr. Shapiro is a specialist in contemporary Jewish-Christian relations, with a focus on evangelical Christian-Jewish relations. She has published and presented extensively on the topic of Christian Zionism and evangelical Christian support for Israel. She received her PhD in 2000 and her first book received a National Jewish Book Award in 2006. Prior to joining Yezreel Valley College (A college right in the heartland of the Galilee region and serving a very diverse population of Israeli society), Dr. Shapiro was a university professor for over a decade in a department of Religion and Culture in Toronto, Canada. A dynamic speaker with extensive experience teaching both Christians about Judaism and Jews about Christianity, Faydra is proud to live in Galilee with her family and is proud of her faith.

 

Dr. Shapiro had to be one of my favorite lectures on this trip and one of the greatest learning moments. She opened up with stating that she was very rarely offended and she wanted our group to ask absolutely anything we could think of, as it was the safest space to do so and in order to best love our Jewish brothers and sisters, we must ask questions. She encouraged us to ask the awkward things we were wondering about the Jewish faith and practices. I loved where it was going right from the start, because Faydra was a leader that wasn’t afraid to be authentic and transparent. Her honesty fostered a greater learning community and I believe most of the students in this lecture left with new ideas, different opinions and a lot to think about. Now that is a piece of leadership I can take with me! She wasn’t afraid of the uncomfortable and pushing the limits, but did so in a respectable way.
Dr. Shapiro explained what “making aliyah” means, something very important to some Jews. Essentially it means making the trip to the homeland, or moving back to Israel or Jerusalem, as her family did.

In her segment of “What Jews don’t get about Christians” she mentioned: sometimes we make them anxious/nervous, how serious we take the bible or Jesus (especially since most are just Jewish since birth), they don’t trust the Zionism/support for Israel, and often think there are ulterior motives. Someone asked the question of “What do Jews see Messianic Jews (Jewish people that believe in Jesus), and she said they typically shame them or don’t count them to be truly Jewish. She talked about Jewish opinions on Jesus, and concluded that most thought he was good, but definitely not the Messiah. Another student question was “What do Jewish people think about Christians praying for, carrying about, etc. Israel?” and she said they still don’t trust it. It makes sense when you think of 2,000 years worth of persecution and bad history. This made me hope and pray that I can help be apart of the changing that mentality. I have some really good Jewish friends back in the U.S. that know my intentions of loving them are pure, but on a grander scale I hope to work towards more unity. We worship the same God when it comes down to it!

In her segment “What Christians don’t get about Jews” she touched on: Jews rarely taking their bible seriously, how we accept the authority of the New Testament, how we should spend more time learning and less time teaching, how we don’t know our history and roots, and she suggested that we should just listen, and stop talking so much (to better understand).

I have too many take aways to list in a small reflection, but overall this was an amazing lecture that really helped me understand different perspectives! To be a leader you must be well rounded, willing to adapt and open-minded to different beliefs, cultures and people.

 

 

Reflections in the Holy Land #3

The Biblical Sites have been incredible!

Site: Magdala

Magdala sits on the western side of the Sea of Galilee between Capernaum, the base of Jesus’ ministry, and Tiberias. Only mentioned once in the New Testament where it says Jesus went there by boat, it was a major port that exported salted fish during the first century. A first-century synagogue and a fishing boat that dates back to the time of Jesus had been uncovered within the site.

Seeing Magdala with my own eyes increased my faith greatly. The ruins so obviously correlated with the biblical history that I remember saying at this site, “after this trip, I don’t know how someone wouldn’t believe God to be real.”

The feeding of the five thousand in the bible, in Matthew 14:14-21, says that “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to Him and said, this is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” Jesus replied, They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Bring them here to me,” He said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

This land is the land of miracles. My God is a God of miracles. I believe in miracles myself, as I have witnessed them in my own life and hear stories such as the one in Matthew. These are the sites that left me in awe and wonder.

Our group went down to the Sea of Galilee and prayed over each other in small groups and washed each other’s feat. Have you ever washed someone’s feet? I can tell you that it was humbling to say the least. It can be a little uncomfortable at first. But I imagined Jesus doing this, as I washed my friend Caroline’s feet and this moment will be engrained in my memory forever. I can even remember exactly what I prayed over her. There is something POWERFUL when a leader humbles their self to be a servant.

 

Site: Jaffa (The ancient port city)

Jaffa, also called Japho is an ancient port located in the oldest part of Tel Aviv-Jaffa. It is famous for its association with the biblical stories of Jonah, Solomon and St. Peter. Jaffa is a major tourist attraction with an exciting combination of old, new and restored buildings. It offers art galleries, souvenir shops, exclusive restaurants, sidewalk cafes, boardwalks and shopping opportunities. It offers a rich variety of culture, entertainment and food (fish restaurants). The city is noted for its export of the famous Jaffa oranges.

We walked through the ancient port, the site from which the prophet Jonah fled from God, and where Peter restored Tabitha to life and stayed with Simon the Tanner. My huge take away in Jaffa is that I am destined for greatness and that I should never run away from God’s plan to use me. This trip is giving me confidence to keep pursing my destiny and walk in purpose as a leader.

Site: Masada

I love history and I think that to be a leader it is important to understand the history of the topics you are working with. Masada was a special site to me, because it is very special to the Jewish people. A few of my Jewish friends from the U.S. have actually flown to Israel to have their bar or bat mitzvah’s specifically at this site.

On top of a rock plateau in western Judean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea, sits Masada, an ancient fortification built by Herod the Great between 37 and 31 BC. Most information concerning Masada was obtained from the records of Josephus Flavius, a 1st century Jewish Roman historian. According to Josephus, the Masada Fortress included a casemate wall around the entire plateau as well as storehouses, cistern water places and an armory.

Masada was like nothing I have ever seen before. The stories that go along with these ruins are crazy and really intrigued me. To see such ancient history preserved right before your eyes is amazing.

 

To See more biblical sites reflections check out the appendix!

Reflections in the Holy Land #2

 

Lecture: Dr. Faydra Shapiro

To be a strong leader you must be well rounded and open-minded to different beliefs, cultures and people. I learned so much through Dr. Faydra Shapiro’s transparent presentation, honest answers to tough questions and her passion for unity. 

Dr. Shapiro is a specialist in contemporary Jewish-Christian relations, with a focus on evangelical Christian-Jewish relations. She has published and presented extensively on the topic of Christian Zionism and evangelical Christian support for Israel. She received her PhD and her first book received a National Jewish Book Award. Prior to joining Yezreel Valley College (A college right in the heartland of the Galilee region and serving a very diverse population of Israeli society), Dr. Shapiro was a university professor for over a decade in a department of Religion and Culture in Toronto, Canada. She was a dynamic speaker with extensive experience teaching both Christians about Judaism and Jews about Christianity, Faydra is proud to live in Galilee with her family and is proud of her faith.

Dr. Shapiro had to be one of my favorite lectures on this trip and one of the greatest learning moments. She opened up with stating that she was very rarely offended and she wanted our group to ask absolutely anything we could think of, as it was the safest space to do so and in order to best love our Jewish brothers and sisters, we must ask questions. She encouraged us to ask the awkward things we were wondering about the Jewish faith and practices. I loved where it was going right from the start, because Faydra was a leader that wasn’t afraid to be authentic and transparent. Her honesty fostered a greater learning community and I believe most of the students in this lecture left with new ideas, different opinions and a lot to think about. Now that is a piece of leadership I can take with me! She wasn’t afraid of the uncomfortable and pushing the limits, but did so in a respectable way.
Dr. Shapiro explained what “making aliyah” means, something very important to some Jews. Essentially it means making the trip to the homeland, or moving back to Israel or Jerusalem, as her family did.

In her segment of “What Jews don’t get about Christians” she mentioned: sometimes we make them anxious/nervous, how serious we take the bible or Jesus (especially since most are just Jewish since birth), they don’t trust the Zionism/support for Israel, and often think there are ulterior motives. Someone asked the question of “What do Jews see Messianic Jews (Jewish people that believe in Jesus), and she said they typically shame them or don’t count them to be truly Jewish. She talked about Jewish opinions on Jesus, and concluded that most thought he was good, but definitely not the Messiah. Another student question was “What do Jewish people think about Christians praying for, carrying about, etc. Israel?” and she said they still don’t trust it. It makes sense when you think of 2,000 years worth of persecution and bad history. This made me hope and pray that I can help be apart of the changing that mentality. I have some really good Jewish friends back in the U.S. that know my intentions of loving them are pure, but on a grander scale I hope to work towards more unity. We worship the same God when it comes down to it!

In her segment “What Christians don’t get about Jews” she touched on: Jews rarely taking their bible seriously, how we accept the authority of the New Testament, how we should spend more time learning and less time teaching, how we don’t know our history and roots, and she suggested that we should just listen, and stop talking so much (to better understand).

Overall the lectures every night in Israel have been fantastic! If you would like to see more lectures and reflections on this area check out the appendix!