Accommodating the significant growth of international Christian visitors from Europe and Latin America who wish to learn the Hebrew bible with Jewish educators in Israel, the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC) has now hired a new cadre of rabbis that are fluent in Spanish, Italian, German and Portuguese. “In the past, we had been relying on each group’s interpreter to convey our classes on Scripture and Jewish-Christian relations to visitors who did not speak English,” explains David Nekrutman, CJCUC’s Executive Director. “But we were concerned about important concepts being lost in translation, and even if the facts are communicated properly, transmission through a third party often diminishes the rhythm, dynamic and energy of a class.”

According to the Ministry of Tourism in Israel, over two million Christians visit the Holy Land each year, just under 35% of whom hail from the United States. “The significant increase in pilgrims from other countries motivated us to expand,” says CJCUC’s Director of Operations, Limor Riskin. “We now have an international, multi-lingual staff with experience in Jewish-Christian relations who can answer the needs of all groups.”

The CJCUC is part of Ohr Torah Stone, the largest private Jewish educational institution in Israel with over 3,000 students. Founded over 20 years ago by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Ohr Torah Stone’s rabbinical seminary has placed hundreds of spiritual leaders as emissaries in communities across the globe. “Naturally, we looked toward Ohr Torah Stone alumni in expanding our staff,” remarks Nekrutman. “They are fully bilingual or even trilingual, have had practical Jewish-Christian relational experience in the Diaspora, and most importantly, they studied under Rabbi Riskin and are thus infused with his vision of reaching out to the Christian world in friendship.”

Since 2008, CJCUC has hosted over 20,000 Christians at its headquarters in Efrat, as well as in other locations in Israel. “Many Christians visit the Holy Land and never interact with Jews,” observes Nekrutman. “The CJCUC is an ideal place to enhance your visit by imbuing it with a deeper understanding of God’s Word, the Land and its people,” he adds.

To book the CJCUC for your next trip to Israel, call Limor Riskin at 972-50-634-0250 or email: limor@ots.org.il.

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