FOI Cosponsors Event in Manhattan

Park East Synagogue in New York City was the venue in October for an Honor Israel night, cosponsored by The Friends of Israel (FOI) and American Friends of Rambam Medical Center (AFORAM).

New York City boasts the largest Jewish population of any city in the world. As anti-Semitism grows, FOI is more determined than ever to stand by its mission statement of “fostering solidarity with the Jewish people.”

Seven Jewish organizations participated with FOI, which distributed complimentary copies of the September/October issue of Israel My Glory, featuring an article on Rambam’s progress constructing an emergency underground hospital, the only one of its kind in the world. In case of war, Rambam, in Haifa, Israel, can convert a three-story underground parking garage into a fully operational, self-sufficient, 2,000-bed hospital within 72 hours.

“Our hope is that it remains a parking garage always,” AFORAM Executive Director Michele Segelnick told the mostly Jewish audience.

FOI Executive Director Jim Showers spoke of the biblical mandate to support Israel, citing Genesis 15:18; Psalm 105:6–11; and Ezekiel 11:17. “The land belongs to Israel,” he said. “Land is a physical promise, not a spiritual promise.” He said that others call Israel’s existence a mistake, but “we say Israel is God’s miracle!”

“As Christians,” he said, “we are blessed by Israel. Our Scriptures were penned by Jewish men. Our Savior, Jesus, was born Jewish and worshiped in synagogues. There would be no Christianity without Israel and the Jewish people.” Jewish people have won more than 200 Nobel Prizes for their contributions to humanity, Showers said, and Israel has been a first responder in many world crises, particularly in Haiti and Japan, where the Jewish state opened field hospitals and sent surgeons and medical specialists.

“Tonight,” he said, “we declare our identification as Christian Zionists. To our Jewish friends, we stand with you—yesterday, today, tonight, tomorrow, and forever.”

Besides AFORAM and FOI, display tables included:

  • Emunah of America, staffed by National President Fran Hirmes and Myrna Zisman.
  • American Friends of Magen David Adom, staffed by Northeast Regional Director Gary Perl.
  • Volunteers for Israel, staffed by Richard Bernstein.
  • Heroes to Heroes, staffed by Founder-President Judy Schaffer.
  • Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, staffed by Alex Reback, development assistant for community engagements.
  • StandWithUs, staffed by Avi Posnick.

“When I volunteered to represent Volunteers for Israel,” said Richard Bernstein, “I had no expectation that it would be as interesting and rewarding an experience as it turned out to be.”  

Pastor Alex M. Perednia of Laurelton Park Baptist Church in Brick, New Jersey, said, “I attended this event with a conservative rabbi from my community. As a result, we are both interested in cosponsoring a Standing United With Israel event in our community next year!”

From the state’s reconstitution in 1948 until today, Israelis face the challenge to survive in a hostile neighborhood. Honor Israel nights, like the one in Manhattan, communicate a message of hope, love, and support. In an era of tweets and instant messaging, this event is a message that extends to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, letting Israelis know they are not alone.

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