Sondra Oster Baras is an Orthodox Jew doing an unorthodox job.
"If you had asked me 10 years ago what I would be doing with my life, I don't think I would have told you I'd be in church," she said.
Baras stumps for money from evangelical Christians to support Jewish settlements in the occupied territories -- land she calls biblical Israel.
A recent stop finds her in Melbourne, Florida, visiting Pastor Gary Christofaro at his First Assembly Church of God.
Christofaro and his flock take their Jewish roots so seriously that on Friday nights they observe the Jewish Sabbath with Hebrew prayers.
This is not just religious ritual. They support Israel -- which to them includes Jewish settlements on the occupied West Bank. Church members tour settlements with Baras and have donated more than a $100,000 to support them. . . .
"I was never fully American," she explained. "I was Jewish." Judaism was not only her religion but also her nationality.
"We learned how to read Hebrew before we learned how to read English," she said.
Her parents, who narrowly escaped the Holocaust, sent her to Zionist summer camps that championed the Jewish homeland.
"My parents felt very safe in America ... but there was always a part of them that said there needs to be an Israel in the event that we have another Hitler. Put it all together and I couldn't help but be a Zionist."
This blog got linked in the "From the Blogs" section at the bottom for my post last night about dinner with Eli. Woot for us!
In the course of trying to find the link that was pinging this blog, however, I happened to go through the comments section. I find it extremely sad how many Americans have swallowed the tripe that the Jews "stole" Palestine. For the record, the Jews bought large tracts of that land up legitimately (and at exorbitant prices) in the centuries leading up to 1948, and when they declared their independence from Britain(!), not from Palestine (which never existed as an independent nation), they allowed those Arabs who were willing to join them to have their full rights as citizens, including representation in the Knesset.
The fact that the Arab population of Israel has representation in the government puts the lie to every claim that the Jews are oppressing the Palestinians. The only ones being "oppressed" are those who have built their entire being on wanting Israel destroyed and the Jews driven into the sea.The second thing that saddened me was the comments from some of my Christian brethren. Guys, exactly what good does it do to tell perfect strangers that they're going to Hell unless they agree with you? If you can't present the Gospel with at least a mustard seed of diplomacy and (outward) love, then please shut up and stop putting stumbling blocks in peoples' paths.