A program aimed at bringing Christian college students to visit Israel celebrated its 10,000th participant this week at an event in Jerusalem. Dubbed the “Christian birthright,” the group Passages organizes subsidized trips to the country to present to the participants “both the ancient roots of their biblical faith and a modern and thriving Israel firsthand.”
The initiative was established in 2016 after its founders noted that most tours to Israel cater to older generations. The goal was to create a project for younger Christians, also in light of the fact that support for Israel among them had begun to wane. The group partners with Christian universities and colleges and plans to start working with public schools in the near future.
“We are at a unique moment in history, where Jews and Christians can come together for the first time and create positive and impactful experiences,” said Rivka Kidron, co-founder of Passages. “Now more than ever, Jews and Christians have to come together around our shared values and stand up for what’s right in this world.”
Passages is an initiative by the Philos Project, an organization that describes itself as seeking “to promote positive Christian engagement in the Near East by creating leaders, building community, and taking action in the spirit of the Hebraic Tradition.”
During winter 2022 it brought to Israel 450 from dozens of universities including University of Chicago, Patrick Henry College, The King’s College, Hannibal LaGrange University and Regent University.
“Unfortunately, anti-Semitism is on the rise, and I think we need each other now more than ever,” Kidron said. “I feel very blessed to be here and living here at this moment, and share it with you.”