Hundreds of Polish Christians and Jews march in solidarity with Israel in Warsaw. (Photo: Edward Ćwierz/ Facebook)
Last month, Breaking Israel News published a story about a pro-Israel rally in Warsaw, Poland. The ongoing story behind that rally is even more amazing, revealing a an inspirational story of how Polish Christians’ love for Israel grew out of the ashes of the Holocaust.
The story begins with Edward Ćwierz, who helped found the Cenacle Church of Kielce in south central Poland in 1992. He is also a senior pastor of their sister-church, the Cenacle Tent of David in Warsaw, which organized the “March of Support for Israel” on January 10th. The march, intended to show support in the face of rising European anti-Semitism, was well-attended, with hundreds of Christians coming from all over Poland to show their support for Israel.
Ćwierz told Breaking Israel News that such a gathering would have been unheard of ten years ago, making him optimistic about the changing relations between Jews and Christians in Poland.
“We have seen enormous positive changes over the last 25 years. We have a growing movement, especially in the communities of evangelical Christians, in the direction of a return to the Jewish roots of Christianity. It is a process, but its effects are visible,” he said.
Ćwierz became actively interested in Israel in 2003. He and some of his followers began to visit Israel on regular basis, not as tourists, but to pray for the Jewish Nation and to bless it. Ćwierz explained, “This was the time when we received a revelation that God still loves Israel and that His covenant with them is eternally alive. We also believe there are many promises to Israel that have yet to be fulfilled.”
Their church sees Israel as part of the Messianic process.”We are at a strategic moment in history,” Ćwierz said. “God is restoring Israel, gathering it back to its land, setting the stage for the coming of the Messiah to Israel.”
Their connection with the Jewish people was further strengthened in 2007 when they began meeting with Israeli youth delegations. The meetings were inspired by a desire to confront the city of Kielce’s tragic history with the Jews. Before World War II, almost one-third of the 23,000 residents were Jewish. During the Holocaust, almost all of the Jews from Kielce died in the Treblinka death camp.
After the war, about 200 Jews returned to Kielce to rebuild their lives. In July, 1946, a pogrom occurred in which 42 Jews were killed, sparking a migration of Jews from Poland. The March of the Living, a Holocaust educational program which brings Jewish people from all over the world to Poland, visits the city on its trips.
Meeting students on the March of the Living has had a profound effect on the pastor and his congregation. “Faced with young people at the cemetery, we feel the urge to say we are sorry for the pogroms and anti-Semitism, but we also feel a need to express our support and love for Israel,” he told Breaking Israel News.
In a strange twist of fate and a powerful fixing of an historic evil, the friends they visit when they go to Israel are Holocaust survivors and their children. “Meeting these people is always a big blessing for both sides,” Ćwierz said, “and our circle of friends is constantly growing.”
Much of Ćwierz’s connection to the Jews is driven and shaped by Poland’s history with the Jews. “God is giving our nation a second chance, a chance to stand with Israel better than we did in the past. We want to seize this historical opportunity to change ways of death into the ways of life,” he shared.
The miraculous coming together of Jews and Christians in Kielce is not without its detractors. Their pro-Israel rally, though successful, became a target for hatred. The church’s Facebook page and Youtube channel received so many anti-Semitic entries that they had to close down the comments.
This has not deterred them from moving forward. On 27th of February, the church will host a conference called “Israel and the Nations”. Ćwierz also regularly teaches in churches all over Poland on the subject of Israel. In 2014, he published a book entitled “Poland-Israel, a Second Chance from God”. July 3, 2016 is the 70th anniversary of the Kielce pogrom, and he is organizing a “March of Life for Israel” through the streets of the city, inviting his friends from Israel and Germany.
Ćwierz is quick to point out that guilt is not their primary motivation. Rather, the Bible is his group’s true source of love for Israel: “Our inspiration is not historical anti-Semitism. It is the love which God has for Israel, which we find in the Bible.
“We want to tell the truth about the past and express our support for Israel and to oppose all forms of contemporary anti-Semitism,” Ćwierz said. “My dream is to see thousands of Poles express public support for Israel.”
He added, “May God bless you and your country with peace!”
A 2018 demonstration against antisemitism in Berlin. Photo: Reuters / Fabrizio Bensch.
A slight drop in the number of antisemitic incidents in Berlin during the first half of this year is no excuse for complacency, the city’s antisemitism commissioner emphasized on Thursday following the publication of statistics for hate crimes targeting Jews in the German capital from January-June 2019.
“Antisemitism remains a serious problem that we cannot tolerate in Berlin,” Lorenz Korgel — the city’s commissioner for combating antisemitism — told local news outlet Berliner Morgenpost. “The number of antisemitic incidents remains at a high level. ”
People wear kippas at a demonstration in front of a Jewish synagogue denouncing an antisemitic attack on a young man wearing a kippa, in Berlin, Germany, April 25, 2018. (photo credit: FABRIZIO BENSCH / REUTERS)
The population of the State of Israel has increased 2.1% since last year, according to a report released in time for Rosh Hashanah by the Central Bureau of Statistics.
Today, there are 9.1 million citizens of Israel, of which some 6.7 million (74%) are Jewish, the report shows. The country’s citizens also include 1.9 million Arabs (21%) and 0.4% of “others,” including Christians and those of other minority groups.
A women holds up a sign against anti-Semitism at a rally in New York City on Sept. 22, 2019. Photo: Rhonda Hodas Hack.
JNS.org – Hundreds of demonstrators rallied in front of City Hall in New York on Sunday, calling on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and other municipal leaders, as well as those on the national level, to act against antisemitism and the wave of antisemitic hate crimes taking place against the Orthodox Jewish community.
The beach in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 17, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad.
On the eve of the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, ushering in the Jewish year of 5780, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics released its traditional end-of-the-year findings.
Israel’s population now stands at 9.092 million people — 6.744 million (74.2 percent) of whom are Jews, with 1.907 million (21 percent) Arabs and 441,000 (4.8 percent) listed as “other.”
Drew Seigla and Stephanie Lynne Mason. Photo: Instagram.
Drew Seigla and Stephanie Lynne Mason play Pertshik and Hodl, whose love story takes them all the way to Siberia in the award-winning show by the National Yiddish Theatre.
Sep 30, 2019 0Jeremy Hunt, the British Foreign secretary, has recently commissioned a report on the persecution of Christians, most acutely occurring in the Muslim World, and especially in the Arab/Muslim...
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“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.” — Sherlock Holmes, The Boscombe Valley Mystery
“Israel must, in the most blunt and clear way possible, illustrate to Washington that the prosperity of Jordan is a first-rate Israeli security and strategic interest.” — Former head of Mossad Ephraim Halevy at “Between Jerusalem and Amman: 25 Years Since the Signing of the Peace Agreement Between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,” Institute for National Security Studies, Sept. 25, 2019.
A thought came to mind the other day.
For all the bluster about Judaism and anti-Semitism in America, I am not convinced that far-out-left and liberal young Jews, who have been very strident and even threatening on Israel-related issues and local American political battles, have done much on the ground to confront and quash, one way or another, attacks on Jews. They have portrayed themselves as gliding along a moral highway but have permitted immoral actions to exist quite close to home, far from Gaza (did any of them recite a public Kaddish in the town square for murdered and injured Jews, or their damaged and desecrated property)?
One of the hallmark features of Yom Kippur are the communal sins which we need to repent for. Most Jews focus on what we have done personally towards G-d and towards others. Little thought is given to how we could be better as a community. Or the sins we bear as a community.
However, the communal recitation of the Al Chet, repeated over and over on Yom Kippur is to drive the point home that we are responsible for one another
Incoming freshman Member of Knesset from the leftist, Democratic Union list, Yair Golan, did it again. Golan’s constant delegitimization of his political opponents on the right, smacks of the same delegitimization that tyrants, dictators, demagogues and assorted totalitarians always use, just before the Putsch.
In that regard, he’s right when he said recently, “I’m reminding people that the Nazis came to power democratically, so we have to be careful, very careful, so that radicals with a messianic view won’t exploit Israeli democracy to replace the system of government.” Think “
As Israeli frustration mounts about violence coming out of Gaza, the idea of a ground invasion, and once and for all to finish with Hamas aggression, becomes more appealing. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has endorsed this approach, saying, “There probably won’t be a choice but to topple the Hamas regime.” While sympathetic to this impulse, I worry that too much attention is paid to tactics and not enough to goals. The result could be harmful to Israel.