Friday, 10 May 2013
Shabbat Shalom special. The ICEJ Jerusalem Day
10th May 2013
I had to write again today. It is just a short note but something beautiful happened yesterday and I just had to tell you about it.
Driving through the gates of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem on Rachel Imenu (Rachel our mother) Street, half way between the German Colony and Old Katamon, one enters a world of glorious gardens, exquisite architecture and absolute love.
It is hard to describe but one feels intense mutual respect at every turn. The love for Jerusalem is absolute and loyalty to and for Israel complete. Even when there is disagreement with policy one will not hear a peevish word from this quarter. The food for the evening is kosher and the servers are all Israeli Jews, so that the rule of wine is not broken – as I said, utter and total respect while adhering completely to Christian beliefs and tenets.
The building was the Embassy of the Ivory Coast which is most appropriate since the decision to create the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem was taken after a few incredible people were deeply offended by this slap in the face to Jerusalem and Israel. Those people began a movement that is now in many tens of countries all over the world. The work of Jay and Meridel Rawlings, Tim King and Malcolm Hedding and Jan Willem van der Hoeven, was to begin a movement that spread its wings and love in the most positive manner possible. Jay and Meridel Rawlings live here and have four sons who all served in the IDF, Tim and Martha King have a daughter Anna who forfeited a highly successful modelling career to not only serve in the IDF but to do so with distinction and received full Israeli citizenship as a result. Malcolm Hedding is currently in the States but is so loved here in Jerusalem that his permanent residency is being kept open as a special vote of thanks for his incredible work.
The current Director, our friend Juergen Buehler, came to Israel to study science in Haifa and found himself embroiled in the love of Israel and of the Jewish people that the Embassy represents. Juergen has continued the determined mutual respect between Christian s and Jews both holding on to their identity with truth and loyalty – and giving love one to the other. His assistant Beverley Dwyer is only two years in Jerusalem but has adopted the way of life with gusto and her warmth enhances the Embassy at all levels.
Juergen opened the proceedings by welcoming the International Board of the ICEJ to this celebration of Jerusalem Day then asking Rabbi David Rosen to speak, which he did beautifully; after all few people have worked quite so hard for interfaith respect as David. He was followed by a heartfelt blessing by Rev Malcolm Hedding and then the “bracha” was given by the Rabbi of Efrat... which led to the delicious barbeque and delightful conversations which ensued. I was especially thrilled to see our old friends Earl and Kathleen Cox, who epitomise the love, selflessness and respect of the Embassy in their incredible work to promote Israel in the Christian world and my lovely friend Sheila Zucker who I haven't seen for far too long.
I don't have words to thank the Embassy and their staff for the wonderful and unselfish support they give to us – to Israel – to Jerusalem and to all our people. Watching the faces of Jill and Victor, who came with me, I thrilled at their wonder. They really, really felt the love.
Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem, the centre of our world.
Shabbat Shalom to us all