Little by little, over the past few decades but growing more and more over the past few years, a community of activists in the Christian-Jewish engagement space has developed, with people reaching out to each other to promote fraternity and humanitarian projects in and between the Christian and Jewish communities.
In 2020, the organization I run, Root Source, together with friends at Israel365, initiated Bridgebuilders: Top Activists in Christian-Jewish Engagement, honoring seventy of these trailblazers.
In this monthly column, we focus on one of these leaders, share an interview with her or him, hear how they got to where they are today, learn about some of their projects, and consider what God is doing with regard to Jewish-Christian relations.
We encourage you to reply! Leave a comment below or send us an email at email@example.com.
This month’s bridgebuilder is Donna Jollay from Jerusalem Tours and Israel365, Columbus, OH, USA
What is the main focus of your activities today?
Promoting Jewish Christian relations in a healthy Biblical way in general and then as Director of Christian Relations for Israel365. Purchased a travel company, Jerusalem Tours, to bring Christians to Israel with a focus on the Biblical Heartland. The Jewish people are HaShem’s chosen vessel to bring Himself and His Word into this world that Christians owe such a huge debt of gratitude towards but instead have treated so horribly for 2000 years. I have dedicated my life to doing what I can to rectify that by bridging the Christian and Jewish communities.
How long have you been doing that?
What are some of the successful related programs or projects that you have done this year and in past years?
Beauty for Ashes Poland to Israel tour, Knesset Bible Study, brought over 1,000 travelers to Israel last year, The Israel Bible :), Yeshiva For The Nations
How did you get to where you are today?
This is a long story, but the summary is that I was radically and Miraculously saved and delivered by God at age 35. At that time He gave me His Heart which is all about the Land and the People of Israel, and He has led me down this path through His Word. My bio is SO similar to Bob ODells! I am a hi-tech entrepreneur, philanthropist, and most dear to my heart, a deeply committed Christian Zionist. My love for Israel and the children of Israel began when I had a life-changing Spiritual Awakening in 1995 and started reading The Bible. I founded a hi-tech company in the States in 1999 that sold in 2001 – within months of my first visit to Israel – and I attribute that visit and the love of Israel to my success according to Genesis 12:3.
What is your “testimony”?
In 1996 at age 35 I was VERY lost having been raised in an extremely unhealthy environment. I started to have supernatural experiences where I knew the God of the universe was interested in me personally, loved me, and wanted to have a relationship with me and I was radically healed and delivered. I call this my “I Am” experience, like when HaShem met Moses in the bush.
One of the first things God helped me to do was to get into a 12-step program, which is straight from Scripture, so I could get free from the bondage of drugs and alcohol by learning how to choose life instead of death, Blessings instead of curses (Torah!) – things I had never been taught in my upbringing. I flourished in this. I call this my “Abba” experience, because I met God as an incredibly loving Father, and I began a wonderful loving relationship with Him. I started hearing the beautiful love song that God was singing over me through these supernatural experiences. I’ve walked into sobriety since then, 24 years in 2020, HALLELUYAH!
At the same time, I was learning and practicing the 12-Steps and I learned they were from the Bible! I started hearing the beautiful love song that God was singing over me through His written Word and an insatiable desire to study the Word of God sprang up in me – I consumed it in any form I could find, books, TV, and an occasional trip to church.
My insatiable desire for the Word of God now had another facet, Israel, and I was in Israel for my first trip in August of 2000, just two weeks before the 2nd intifada began. As for everyone who comes to Israel, this trip changed my life. The experience of going to Israel combined with continued searching of the Scripture over the years made me realize that it’s all about Israel – everything. What I understand now is that when HaShem healed my heart all those years ago, He gave me His Heart and His Heart is all about Israel, the Land, and the People.
And, that is not the end of the story – it’s all written in His Book! There is so much more to come! I started hearing the beautiful love song that HaShem is singing over His people through His Word, and has been singing over them for at least 6000 years.
I am compelled to action to do what I can to support the Jewish people in any way that I can. If it were just who Israel is to HaShem, that should be enough to compel the nations to support them, especially Christians! If it were just because of how horribly we have treated them that should be enough to compel the nations to support them, again, especially Christians! And, as I study Tanakh I learn that HaShem actually calls out the Gentiles to come alongside His People in a support role, specifically in the “last or end of days.” How exciting is this!
I am so blessed to be one of the nations from Zechariah 8:23. Surely God is with you! And, surely we are walking in the Footsteps of Moshiach, HALLELUYAH! Am Israel Chai! The People of Israel LIVE!!!!
What do you think God is doing with regard to Jewish-Christian relations?
I believe that God has given the nations in every generation a choice, and for the last 2,000 years specifically to Christians, the opportunity to choose to join into His program and stand with and for His Beloved People, but tragically that has not happened in all those thousands of years – heartbreakingly at such a great price to the Jewish people. But, I believe the clock is ticking and the Time is now when He will do it if we don’t. As is stated in Ruth: For Such a Time as This. If not us, who, and if not now, when? There is a concept in Christianity of “the times of the Gentiles”/“the fullness of the Gentiles” – that Jerusalem will be trodden by the Gentiles until “the times of the Gentiles” be fulfilled and then Moshiach will come. I believe that is where we are in God’s Timing. It is His Timing evidenced by the miraculous return of the Jewish people to the Land that is causing Christians to awaken to their Hebrew roots and start learning to take their proper supporting role position through reading the Torah/Tanakh.