Jim Bevis, President of CSR Ministries has just returned from a twelve day Seminar at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel. Yad Vashem is the national Holocaust Memorial and Education Center in Jerusalem. Jim was one of twenty-five Christian leaders selected from throughout the world to participate in the first ever Christian Leadership Seminar at Yad Vashem. The theme of the seminar was “The Holocaust, Anti-semitism and Israel. Bevis and the other conferees attended over fifty hours of lectures by some of Israel’s top educators, journalists and government leaders. Bevis was one of ten selected from the United States. Patrick Penn, pastor from Huntsville, Alabama was the only other person attending from Alabama. Other conferees came from Switzerland, England, Germany, Finland, Canada, Northern Ireland and Serbia. The participants represented several Christian denominations including the Lutheran Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the Pentecostal Church the Greek Orthodox church and several came from non-denominational churches and para-church ministries.
The Seminar was sponsored by the International Christian Embassy – Jerusalem and the Christian Friends of Yad Vashem. Each conferee was responsible for his/ her own transportation. The Seminar was led by Dr. Susanna Kokkonen, Director of the Christian Friends of Yad Vashem and Ephraim and Stephanie Kaye, staff leaders from the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem.
The Seminar covered the development of anti-semitism which resulted in the Holocaust. Some of the topics covered were:
Judaism and Anti-Judaism in Medieval Christianity
The Rise of Modern Anti-semitism in Europe
Nazi Radical Ideology and the Jewish Question
The Decision to Kill the Jews – The Final Solution
The Christian Responsibility and Responses to the Holocaust
Anti-semitism and the Global Jihad
The Problems Facing Israel Today
Confronting the Phenomenon of Holocaust Denial
Among those presenting lectures were:
Dr. Pesach Schindler, Hebrew University
Rivka Duker-Fishman, Hebrew University
Danny Ayalon, Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel
Malcolm Hedding, Executive Director of the International Christian Embassy
Dr. Susanna Kokkonen, Ephraim Kaye, Stephanie McMahon Kaye, members of the teaching staff of Yad Vashem
In addition to the lectures, seminar participants took a V.I.P. tour of Yadvashem and met with several holocaust survivors including two survivors rescued by Oscar Schindler. Seminar participants were also V.I.P. guests at the annual Yom HaShoah ceremony held at Yad Vashem on Sunday, April 11. Israel’s president, Simon Peres and Prime Minister, Netanyahu spoke at the ceremony along with many other government and military leaders. The ceremony was attended by some 3000 Israelis including members of the Knesset, Ambassadors representing many countries, Holocaust survivors and several hundred outstanding citizens of Israel.
Regarding the Seminar and its impact, Jim Bevis made this statement, “The Seminar at Yad Vashem was the most intense and emotionally charged experience I have had in fifty years of ministry in over forty countries of the world. We were immersed in the Holocaust for days, from morning until night. We experienced every emotion one could experience including grief, guilt, disgust and anger. We got as close to the ‘fires of the Holocaust’ as one could get without having been there. I will never be the same.”
In reflecting on how God would use this experience in Jim’s life and the ministry of CSR, Jim said, “I am a committed friend of Israel and the Jewish people. In addition, I see myself as an Ambassador of Yad Vashem helping to keep the story alive among both Jews and Gentiles. I have dedicated myself to be a part of the Christian and Jewish Vanguard which will serve on the front lines to see that this kind of tragedy never happens again.”
Jim is available to churches and synagogues, civic clubs and others interested in an in-depth report on the Holocaust and it’s causes. Contact Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org or 256 718 3775. You may write him at CSR, P.O.Box 1555, Florence, Alabama 35630.