By: ANAV SILVERMAN, JPOST —
A new program has been launched for Christian student leaders, modeled after Taglit-Birthright Israel trips for young American Jews.
Covenant Journey, a program of trips to Israel for Christian student leaders at colleges and universities, was unveiled on Friday, May 8, at the Israeli Embassy in Washington’s Annual Christian Solidarity Event.
“There’s one thing better than standing with Israel, and that’s standing in Israel. It is critical to bring the next generation of leaders in the Christian Community to Israel,” said Israeli Ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer.
“If they walk in the places where the patriarchs and the prophets and the kings and that young Rabbi from the Galilee walked, then they will stand with Israel here and they will strengthen their Christian identity,” added Dermer.
Christian students will be able to participate in Covenant Journey for only $500 because of underwriting from generous donors including Museum of the Bible and the Philos Project.
“As young adults experience Israel firsthand, their faith is strengthened, their knowledge of the Bible is increased and their understanding of the connection between the Bible and the Land of Israel is put on solid ground,” said Steve Green, chairman of the board for Museum of the Bible and a keynote speaker at the Israeli Embassy’s Annual Christian Solidarity Event on Friday.
“It will create a foundational platform from which they can become goodwill ambassadors for Israel and the Jewish people, and the Covenant Journey participants will never be the same,” said Green.
Hundreds of students will embark on Covenant Journey trips this summer, with more to follow during the winter break this year and thousands to come over future years. Covenant Journey is selecting students from across the country to participate based on their leadership roles on their campuses, their desire to become advocates on behalf of Israel and their desire to strengthen their Christian faith. Participants in these 11-day trips will experience where Biblical history happened while also discovering the vibrant meaning of modern-day Israel.
When they return home, participants will serve as goodwill ambassadors building bridges between the United States and Israel, according to the program initiators. They will share what they saw and learned in Israel with their campus, hometown and church communities.
“By enabling Christian students to visit the land of Israel and see it firsthand, Covenant Journey is raising up a generation that will not only be stronger in their faith, but will also be introduced to the real-life people who live there. The students will discover ancient Israel and modern Israel at the same time,” said Paul Singer, one of the two keynote speakers at the Israeli Embassy’s Annual Christian Solidarity Event on Friday.
“And for me, as Jew, that’s huge. At this point Covenant Journey has become part of my journey, and I’m proud to say that I support everything that it stands for. I truly believe that Jews, Christians, and all of Western civilization will be reaping the fruit of this project for years to come,” said Singer.