New group fosters Jewish, Christian alliances to combat hate: ‘There is so much we can do together’

The Moral Hearts Alliance aims to enhance Israel and the global Jewish community’s connections with diverse religious, ethnic, and national groups sharing similar values.

By Shiryn Ghermezian, The Algemeiner

The founders of a new organization that aims to foster closer ties between Jews and Evangelical Christians who support Israel told The Algemeiner that not putting an effort into aligning the two communities is a “missed opportunity” at combating hatred targeting the Jewish state.

“Together there is so much that we can do,” said Dana Cohen, a co-founder of the Moral Hearts Alliance. “We all recognize the evil that is Hamas and is facing Israel, but now on the college campuses, it’s on our shores too. We have an amazing ally and we have to reach across the aisle to one another and come up with ways to build on that alliance and activate it for all of us.”

The main goal of the Moral Hearts Alliance is to strengthen relationships for Israel and the Jewish people around the world with different religions, ethnicities, and countries that share their same values.

Partnering with Christians who support Israel should be an obvious alliance considering that there are 60 million Evangelicals in the United States and 600 million globally, according to Cohen.

“We have to put aside our prejudices as a group and accept that they want to love us and embrace us and be there for us. They want to be there for Israel and want to be included,” added Valerie Feigen, a fellow co-founder of the organization and Cohen’s sister-in-law.

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The two women co-founded the Moral Hearts Alliance earlier this year after Feigen went to Israel in January and met with survivors of the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks.

One survivor asked Feigen to help share first-hand testimonies from Oct. 7 attacks with people outside of Israel, and she came back to the US with that mission in hand.

She became dedicated to having people “outside of the Jewish bubble” hear stories from survivors just like she did.

Feigen’s trip to Israel inspired a project that the Moral Hearts Alliance organized last week called “Solidarity Sunday,” in which seven survivors of Oct. 7 — including three from the massacre at the Nova Music Festival — spoke at seven churches across the United States, from California to New York, about their experiences surviving the terrorist attacks that day. The event was organized in cooperation with the Christian pro-Israel organization Eagles‘ Wings.

The largest congregation to host a “Solidarity Sunday” event was in San Bernardino, Calif., with roughly 1,500 people.

The events took place across the US on May 5, the eve of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah), and the general response was “emphatic love for Israel, love for the Jewish people, and the desire to stand with Israel,” Cohen said.

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Each congregation sang Israel’s national anthem Hatikvah at the event, and lit candles and held a moment of silence in honor of the victims of the Oct. 7 attacks.

At one church, a Jewish prayer shawl, known in Hebrew as a tallit, was draped upon a cross inside the congregation.

The events were also live streamed and shared on Zoom for others who wanted to hear the testimonies from the survivors.

“The overwhelming response was extraordinary love and gratefulness that the Israelis had come all this way to share their story,” Feigen explained.

“From every pastor to every member of the church, every single Israeli and Moral Hearts representative chaperoning each Israeli were received with such love. And we heard after from the Israelis that people lined up for an hour and a half to hug them, thank them, bring them gifts. They were welcomed with such tenderness, love, and kindness.”

“We’re late in doing it,” Feigen added about helping Oct. 7 survivors share their experiences with people outside of the Jewish community.

“The Jewish community missed an incredible opportunity in the last seven months since the Oct. 7 attacks in not bringing stories about the attacks to the Christian community,” Cohen noted.

“The Christians were hungry for these stories.” She said the positive response to “Solidarity Sunday” was even more heartwarming when considering the sometimes violent anti-Israel protests that have erupted on US college and university campuses in recent weeks.

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At a “Solidarity Sunday” event hosted at a church in New York led by Bishop Robert Stearns, the founder of Eagles’ Wings, a Jewish student leader from the Students Supporting Israel chapter at the University of Buffalo also spoke to congregants about the hatred Jews are facing on college and university campuses.

Stearns urged church congregants to support a pro-Israel rally taking place at the University of Buffalo the next day, and on Monday, 100 members of the congregation attended the campus demonstration to show solidarity with the Jewish state.

The Moral Hearts Alliance wants to help encourage similar displays of unity in the future, in which Jews and Christians can show support for one another.

“We believe this is an amazing opportunity for the Jewish community to turn the tide of hate against Israel and what is occurring in the United States,” Cohen said, emphasizing the importance of seizing the possibilities that come with forming alliances between Jews and Christians.

“We have this amazing partnership potential and we just need to meet them halfway, and we just want to spearhead that effort,” she added. “There is just so much we can do together.”