CEO and Co-founder of StandWithUs Roz Rothstein will host the event, which is the first project of the new StandWithUs Interfaith Alliance.
September 22, 2021
Roz Rothstein and the Spirit of David Choir City of Refuge Church at Saban Theater Courtesy: StandWithUs
Israel education organization StandWithUs is presenting “Melody-Harmony-Unity, A Christian-Jewish Musical Celebration of Israel,” which will air online and on the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) and Jewish Broadcasting Service (JBS) on Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. in all time zones.
CEO and Co-founder of StandWithUs Roz Rothstein will host the event, which is the first project of the new StandWithUs Interfaith Alliance. It was modeled after years of interfaith partnerships by StandWithUs chapters around the globe.
The free concert is going to bring together rabbis, pastors, cantors, gospel choirs and singers that feel a connection to Israel and stand up against antisemitism. Parts of the program were already filmed at the Saban Theater, the gates of Jerusalem and the Benedictine Monastery in the Arab town of Abu Gosh.
“This production is a labor of love and fellowship, bringing Jews and Christians together to support Israel now and in the future,” said Rothstein, who co-founded StandWithUs 20 years ago. “Through the new StandWithUs Interfaith Alliance, we hope to energize participants to become more engaged.”
The co-host is Carly Gammill, director of the StandWithUs Center for Combating Antisemitism. During the program, she’s going to introduce a campaign that encourages greater adoption of the international consensus definition of antisemitism that the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance developed.
Gammill said that as a Christian, she’s “proud to be counted within the tent of those who love Israel and the Jewish people.”
“Melody-Harmony-Unity, A Christian-Jewish Musical Celebration of Israel” is going to be full of performances from Rabotai Jewish, an a capella group singing “Hatikvah” at the gates of Jerusalem and Cantor Ilysia Pierce and the Spirit of David Choir of City of Refuge Church in Gardena performing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” along with songs by the Beatles and Celine Dion. The Hebrew Project is singing their new song, “Oh Jerusalem,” and Brother Olivier of the Benedictine Monastery in Abu Gosh and Cantor Martin Katzauer will hold the stage as well.
“A MUSICAL PROJECT THAT CELEBRATES ISRAEL SEEMED LIKE A PERFECT WAY TO BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER WHO CARE ABOUT ISRAEL OR ARE INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE.”
— ROZ ROTHSTEIN
“Music touches the soul and lifts the spirit,” said Rothstein. “A musical project that celebrates Israel seemed like a perfect way to bring people together who care about Israel or are interested in learning more. It’s inviting, positive and generates a sense of commonality and community. At a time when the world is so politically divided and so many around the world are so hurt and isolated by the pandemic, music brings healing and a sense of togetherness.”
Rabbis speaking at the event include Rabbi David Baron of Temple of the Arts, Rabbi Pini Dunner, senior rabbi of Young Israel of North Beverly Hills, Max Webb Senior Rabbi at Sinai Temple Rabbi David Wolpe and Rabbi Marc Schneier, who is the president of The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. Other speakers featured are Bishop Robert Stearns, who founded Eagles Wings Ministries, Pastor Dumisani Washington, founder of IBSI (Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel) and Olga Meshoe Washington, a regional director and educator at Club Z.
“BECAUSE OF OUR SHARED HISTORY AND THE FACT THAT THE CHRISTIAN FAITH WOULD NOT EXIST WITHOUT THE JEWISH FAITH, CHRISTIANS SHOULD ALWAYS BE FIRST TO JOIN WITH OUR JEWISH FRIENDS.”
— PASTOR DUMISANI WASHINGTON
“Because of our shared history and the fact that the Christian faith would not exist without the Jewish faith, Christians should always be first to join with our Jewish friends,” said Dumisani, who wrote “Zionism and the Black Church: Why Standing with Israel Will Be a Defining Issue for Christians of Color in the 21st Century.” “Jesus was born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth, began preaching in the Galilee, and regularly made pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Christians can only visit all of those places today because the State of Israel allows people of all faiths to make pilgrimage of their own. As great Christian men and women have said, we owe the Jewish people a tremendous debt of gratitude—on many levels.”
The pastor continued that as a Black American, solidarity with Israel and the Jewish people is part of a deep and rich legacy.
“From the Negro spirituals written during the slave past, to the work of Booker T. Washington and Julius Rosenwald in the early 1900s, to the civil rights era of the 1950s and 1960s, to today, Black and Jewish Americans share close ties that bind us together for generations,” he said. “Despite challenges those ties have faced, they will remain for generations to come.”
For the past seven years, Dunner has worked with pastors and communities across the U.S. and beyond, and he said he’s seen their love of Israel close up, and their eagerness to right the wrongs of the tragic history of Jewish and Christian relations.
“In the United States, the U.S.-Israel alliance has benefited immeasurably from the deep love for Israel by millions of Christians, whose faith is boosted by the miraculous rebirth of the Holy Land and its incredible success on the world stage,” he said. “Together, Jews and Christians should pray and work for Israel’s success, and for its victory against those who seek to destroy it.”
By holding the unity concert, Rothstein said she hopes that it will “open a door to greater partnership and ongoing, positive collaboration for Israel. We are so grateful to our Christian brothers and sisters for standing by our sides.”
Register for the concert online here: https://www.standwithus.com/interfaithalliance
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