Liz DeFrain, a pastor at Morning Star Fellowship in Bechtelsville, couldn’t understand for the longest time why the Jewish community wouldn’t trust Christians. Then about five years ago, she visited Beit Hatfutsot: The Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv and saw a statistic about the number of Jews killed at the hands of Christians.
“It was a like a light bulb went off, and it was like, of course, how could they trust us?” Defrain said.
Some months before her visit to the Jewish state, DeFrain, 54, and her husband, Steve, a fellow pastor at the fellowship, organized their first night to honor Israel with other area churches. The gathering has become an annual event, and DeFrain has become an active supporter of Israel, serving as the Pennsylvania representative of Christians United for Israel, a national organization.
On Sunday, three Bucks County synagogues joined together at Congregation Beth El in Yardley to honor the DeFrains for their support of Israel.
“I feel that they’re sincere, that they love Israel for several reasons,” said Mark Melmed, a member of Congregation Beth El. “They’ve told me they take the Bible very literally, when it says the people that bless Israel will be blessed and the people that curse Israel will be cursed.”
The other synagogues honoring the pastors were Congregation Tifereth Israel and Congregation Brothers of Israel.
“Honestly, it was very nice, we felt honored and humbled by people who I felt like were family,” Liz DeFrain said.
At the first night to honor Israel, DeFrain recalled that there were Jews in attendance, including the late Sen. Arlen Specter, but at the start, she sensed anxiety among some audience members over what the Christian groups’ intentions were. By the end of the evening, she said, “walls came down.”
“There’s so much that brings us together,” said DeFrain. “We don’t have to talk about our differences. Let’s talk about what brings us together.”