Eagles’ Wings held its tenth annual Jerusalem Banquet at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park on June 2, 2016. The room was packed to capacity with dignitaries, celebrities, business leaders, and religious leaders from both the Jewish and Christian community. The high energy evening included an address from Consul General of Israel in New York, Ido Aharoni. Prominent leaders of the evening included Jon Loew, Bishop David Thomas, Dr. Charlotte Frank, Irwin Hochberg, Pastor Juan Rivera, and Kathie Lee Gifford.
Event chair Rev. Robert Stearns spoke to the crowd, enthusiastically sharing, “Tonight we are standing together as Jews and Christians united in our love and support for Israel and the Jewish people. Tonight in this room we can change history.”
From left to right: Event chair Rev. Robert Stearns, television personality Kathie Lee Gifford and Consul General of Israel in New York. Ido Aharoni at the tenth annual Jerusalem Banquet at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park
The event centered around celebrating the legacy of amazing leaders in the Jewish and Christian communities, and equipping the next generation to be strong voices in support of Israel and the Jewish people. Dr. Charlotte Frank, Vice President of McGraw Hill Education and Chair of the Executive Committee of America-Israel Friendship League, was honored for her life of impact in education, advocacy and strengthening ties between Israel and America. Bishop David Thomas, senior leader of the 5,000-member Victory Christian Center, whose ministry has touched many tens of thousands around the world, was honored for his years of faithful leadership and his steadfast support for Israel.
Dr. Charlotte Frank receives award from Rev. Stearns
One of the highlights of the evening was hearing passionate speeches from young Israel Experience Scholars. The Israel Experience which has been dubbed the “Christian Birthright” trains the best and brightest Christian college and university students to be informed ambassadors for Israel in the midst of a rising tide of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment on university campuses.
Catherine Gunsalus, 2012 Israel Experience Alumnus shared, “I was able to take what I had learned in the program and help to draft legislation that was passed by the Kansas and Arizona state government, affirming their commitment to stand with Israel.”
Another alumnus, Rebekah Gordon talked about how her participation in the 2013 program has led to her working closely with the Jewish leadership on her Touro University law school campus to educate the student population on the importance of Israel.
Rev. Stearns introduces the 2016 Israel Experience Scholars.
Joshua Nangle, a 2016 Israel Experience scholar and a Master of Divinity student from Regent University said, “I believe it is time for “replacement theology” [the belief that God has forsaken his covenant and replaced Israel with the Church] to be replaced with something a little more scriptural, and I am excited to go to Israel this week and be equipped as a friend of Zion.”
Ryan Mauro, 2009 Israel Experience Alumnus and leading national security analyst, featured regularly on major media outlets said, “In the midst of the many serious challenges we face in the Middle East, there is hope, we can see good prevail and the Israel Experience is a key to seeing that become a reality.”
Consul General of Israel in New York, Ido Aharoni also addressed the gathering saying, “Our friendship and partnership with Eagles’ Wings is a tremendous support to the State of Israel, and I believe it is just beginning of the historic impact Robert Stearns and Eagles’ Wings will have.”
The evening of honor and celebration included special musical selections, including joyous traditional songs which brought the room to their feet singing and clapping.
Culminating the gathering, Consul General Ido Aharoni presented Mrs. Kathie Lee Gifford the Ha Tikvah Award in honor of her strong support for Israel. Mrs. Gifford author, recording artist and Emmy-award-winning television host of the Today Show recently traveled to Israel and did a series of segments helping her audience see the beauty of Israel and its people.
Mrs. Gifford in her comments summed up the evening by saying, “We read in Genesis that the spirit of God, which is translated in Hebrew as “shalom,” hovered over chaos before creation. Each of us has the opportunity to bring shalom to the chaos of our world. Thank you Rev. Stearns for this honor and the great work you are doing to bring shalom.”
Support was raised from the evening to strengthen Eagles’ Wings work around the world, including the Israel Experience Program, a study tour which gives tomorrow’s leaders an educated heart for Israel. Each year students are educated first hand on the realities in Israel. Students have participated from over 113 American Universities. For more information, visit: www.jerusalembanquet.org or call 1-800-519-4647.