Hundreds of Jews and Christians joined together on Sunday night in Buffalo, New York for a heartfelt interfaith tribute to the State of Israel and the Jewish people.
Hosted by Pastor Josh Hamlin and the New Covenant Tabernacle in Buffalo, the gathering was organized by Eagles’ Wings, a global missional community. Under the guidance of Bishop Robert Stearns, Eagles’ Wings is actively engaged in supporting Israel. Their recent international Day of Prayer brought together an estimated 500 million Christians in prayer for the peace of Jerusalem.
In what many considered to be the highlight of the evening, Bishop Stearns joined Rabbi Pini Dunner from the Beverly Hills Synagogue on stage to sing and dance, leading the crowd in a joyous celebration.
“It was an amazing coming together,” Pastor Mark Passarella told Breaking Israel News. “It was remarkable to see an Orthodox rabbi embracing Christians while still being powerfully a Jew. When he danced with Bishop Stearns, who has a special love for Israel, it was bigger than just the two of them. It was really the two communities, the two people, coming together.”
Pastor Passarella, a member of the Eagles’ Wings ministry, has taken part in pro-Israel events for ten years, but the event on Sunday night was truly special for him, representing the unique nature of the developing relations between the two religions. The pastor compared this to a marriage.
“The husband and wife each have their own unique identity but working together towards a common goal,” the pastor said allegorically. “In a marriage, it is a tragedy if both become the same. We need Jews to fully become Jews and Christians to fully become Christians. We can be safe together with a brotherly acceptance of each other.”
Rabbi Dunner also shared his family’s tragic history in the Holocaust. Pastor Passarella said that, though difficult, the moment was an essential part of the celebration.
“We don’t have a clean history with the Jews,” Pastor Passarella said. “We need bold and courageous Jews to reach out to us. It is not a small thing.”
Rabbi Dunner spoke about Biblical Jethro’s special gift of “hearing” when God spoke to the Jews, comparing the audience to the non-Jewish Biblical hero.
The rabbi emphasized that the gathering itself was a part of this prophecy coming alive. He also encouraged the attendees to recognize that Jerusalem, as its name implies, is the city of completion (The Hebrew word ‘Shalem’, the second half of the word Jerusalem, means ‘complete’).
“Jews are the guardians of the land,” Rabbi Dunner said. “And Gentiles come and make the picture complete”.
Rob Goldberg, CEO/Executive Director, Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo, expressed overwhelming gratitude and shared that when Jews know the Christians are with them, they no longer feel alone.
At the end of the evening Bishop Stearns presented a check for $5,000 to go towards taking millennial pastors and leaders to the land of Israel to help equip these leaders as ambassadors for the Jewish State.