On Sunday, March 21 Christians from across the Monroe County region gathered at Bethel Christian Fellowship
in vocal support of Jewish people and the state of Israel. Close to 50 churches and ministries hosted this year’s event and approximately 800 people were in attendance for the Fourth Annual Greater Rochester Night to Honor Israel.
During the event Christian and Jewish speakers called on individuals and national leaders to strengthen their stand with Israel in the face of ongoing discrimination and rising anti-Israel sediment.
Keynote speaker Malcolm Hoenlein, (Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American
Jewish Organizations), spoke of the eminent global threat that Iran poses, not just to Israel, but to all individuals who value freedom and life. Hoenlein said that the United States must send a clear message in this hour that there is “no daylight” between the U.S. and Israel.
A Night to Honor Israel is an initiative of Christians United for Israel (CUFI). CUFI endeavors to educate and mobilize the Christian support for Israel in a variety of ways. One of the most important ways is by holding annual Nights to Honor Israel in communities throughout the country. Since CUFI’s inception in February 2006, tens of thousands of American Christians have participated in Night to Honor Israel events in over 100 cities across the United States. During these events millions of dollars have been donated to Israeli and Jewish charities.
Since its inception in 2007, the Rochester Night to Honor Israel has received the consistent support of local government leaders. This year County Executive Maggie Brooks, Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy and NYS Senator Joseph Robach attended the event and gave speeches that demonstrated their support of Israel. Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks noted that in 2007, Rochester became the first city in the 5 state Northeast regions to hold such an event. Brooks said, “It speaks volumes to the type of community that we are,” State Senator Joseph Robach highlighted the values that Americans and Jewish people share. He also talked about the “love of democracy” that Americans and Israelis share, noting that Israel this love of democracy is not shared by those that surround Israel.
Mayor Robert Duffy highlighted the unique relationship that United States has had with Israel since her establishment in 1948. Duffy stated “They have been with us in the good times, they have been with us in the bad times,” he said. “They have never wavered in their support of the United States.” Duffy also spoke of the enormous contributions that the local Jewish community has made to our region.
Nights to Honor Israel are non-denominational and non-partisan events. The message the organizers intend to convey is that although we may disagree on many things, when it comes to the existence of the State of Israel and rising global anti-Semitism, our communities will stand with Israel in voice and in action. These events are a visible demonstration of the tremendous support for Israel that exists in our community and in communities throughout the U.S.
Since 2007 the Rochester community has continued to come together on an annual basis to honor Israel and has contributed close to $75,000 toward humanitarian needs in Israel. This year those in attendance contributed $6,222.96. This year’s financial contribution will go to the Israel Emergency Fund.