A group of pro-Israel Christians were hosted by the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. to celebrate Hanukkah at an event held at the home of Minister of Public Diplomacy Sawsan Natour-Hassan.
The event included 25 alumni from the Passages program, which works to strengthen the faith of Christian students and connect them with Israel.
The attendees now live and work in Washington or in nearby Baltimore and represent a diverse range of professional backgrounds, including government, diplomacy, business, technology, education, social work and public health.
It was the first-ever gathering of Passages Israel alumni to be hosted by the embassy.
"Such a special evening,” Hassan tweeted. “It was an absolute pleasure to host young Christian leaders … to celebrate Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights!”
Such a special evening. It was an absolute pleasure to host young Christian leaders from @passagesisrael and @philosproject to celebrate #Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights! I am grateful for this growing relationship & look forward to future gatherings with you all! pic.twitter.com/XSD9mXBcJl— Sawsan Natour Hasson (@SawsanHasson) December 15, 2022
The embassy extended an invitation to Passages alumni to take part in helping plan Israel’s 75th anniversary celebration in D.C.
"We look forward to partnering with the embassy to commemorate the founding of the State of Israel," said Serene Hudson, vice president of Israel Engagement at Passages. “It furthers our mission of building up the U.S.-Israel relationship through engaging the next generation of Christian leaders."
In April, Passages reported it had brought more than 8,000 young Christians – between the ages of 18 and 30 – on educational tours to Israel since 2015.
In addition, Passages establishes partnerships with Jewish and pro-Israel organizations on U.S. college campuses so that the 20% to 30% of the participants who wish to stay involved upon their return to America can continue their advocacy. Alumni work to fight the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement on campuses, as well as anti-Semitism.
Maayan Hoffman is a veteran American-Israeli journalist and strategic communications consultant. She is Deputy CEO - Strategy & Innovation for the Jerusalem Post, where she also served as news editor, head of strategy and senior health analyst.