Relationships between Jews and Christians have been much in the news the past few years, often in negative ways. But Jonathan Feldstein is on a mission to change those negatives to positives through his Genesis 123 Foundation. Based on Genesis 12:3a, "I will bless them who bless you," which refers to the nation of Israel, the foundation seeks to "build bridges between Jews and Christians with Israel in ways that are new, unique and meaningful," per its website at genesis123.co.
Feldstein, an Orthodox Jew who was born in the U.S. but immigrated to Israel in 2014, has launched several programs that allow Christians to partner with Jews in blessing Israel. The first of these, Run for Zion, was stalled by the pandemic but is "the first-ever Christian program around the Jerusalem Marathon," he says. "So whether someone's a full marathon runner, or half-marathon or just wants to walk 5 or 10 kilometers, Jerusalem, here where I am, is the most significant place that any Christian will find for doing that. And we built a whole program around that, which also offers financial incentives and makes it really meaningful. We had one great first year, and then it was paused last year, but I'm praying that next year, we will be able to have people come back again."
But the foundation's work doesn't stop with Run for Zion. "We've created a program called Verses for Zion, which is a wonderful way to connect Christian children with Israel through studying biblical verses that relate to Israel," Feldstein explains. "Nothing more wholesome than that. Nothing more grassroots that any Christian parent could or grandparent could want for their children. And so that's been really exciting to see that we can provide substance behind the instinct to bless Israel."
Prayer is also a key part of the work of Genesis 123, Feldstein says, through an initiative called Global Prayer for Israel, which he says "started last fall during Sukkot, Feast of Tabernacles, where we hosted an incredible 13-hour nonstop prayer for Israel beginning in China, including underground churches in China, going all the way to Alaska and Hawaii. And we've now done four of these—each in a different format. But it's an incredible way to connect people with the most common base thing that we have as Jews and Christians together: prayer, and it doesn't cost money. We're not trying to monetize prayer, God forbid. And it's a great—so it's been so exciting the last three years to be able to do this to create new paradigms that just simply didn't exist as a way of expanding the imperative relations that we Jews and Christians have together."
To hear more from Jonathan Feldstein about the Genesis 123 Foundation and the many ways it connects Jews and Christians by providing ways to bless Israel, listen to this entire episode of the Strang Report podcast here, and be sure to subscribe to the Strang Report on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast platform.
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