The group in front of the Capitol building
The group in front of the Capitol buildingPassages

Around 300 Christian students marched towards the U.S. Capitol on January 7, wearing shirts that read: “Christians Stand With Israel.” They held signs with pictures of Israeli hostages and prayed together for their safe return.

“We are here in our nation’s capital to demonstrate that there are young Christians in America who stand with Israel and the Jewish community,” CEO of Passages Scott Phillips said. “We will always equip our thousands of alumni to stand against the evils of antisemitism and to build lasting bridges of friendship with Israel.”

The march took place after a weekend of Israel engagement for the students, when Passages alumni, partners and staff, and students whose winter trips to Israel were canceled due to the Israel-Hamas war gathered for Israel engagement programs.

Because many young people couldn’t travel to Israel this winter, Passages brought Israel to them through an educational experience in Washington, D.C. in which young Christians were equipped as advocates for their faith and for Israel and the Jewish community.

In a session about the connection between the Christian faith and advocacy for Israel and the Jewish people, Vice President of Marketing and emcee of the conference Mattanah DeWitt said: “The definition of what’s right came from God through the Jewish people. God promised Abraham in Genesis 12 to bless all the nations of the world through his family. And God promises us today, that those who bless the descendants of Abraham will also be blessed.”

“In recognition of this, we invite you to stand with our friends in Israel and the Jewish community in the United States. Especially when they face the bitter, abiding reality of antisemitism. If we are to stand for what’s right, we must start here.”

The program included education about the Bible and its Jewish heritage, a tour of the Holocaust Museum, and a discussion about modern Israel with three Israeli tour guides who were flown to D.C. in partnership with Passages to share their stories and experiences of the war.

In the wake of the horrific terrorist attack against Israel on October 7, these young Christians were reminded of how their faith compels them to stand firm for what’s right and against evil—especially the evil of antisemitism.

Rivka Kidron, the co-founder of Passages and former Adviser for Diaspora and Christian Affairs to Prime Minister Netanyahu, spoke on a panel about her experience helping Israeli families of hostages garner publicity in the hope of a safe return of their loved ones.

Rivka shared that she felt her effort to help was just a “drop in the bucket.” But the father of one of the hostages said to her in return, “Yes, it’s a drop in the bucket. But someone else will put in another drop, and soon enough, it will turn into a tsunami that will bring our people home again.”

Rivka challenged and encouraged the Christian students in the room to do what they can - even if it’s small - pointing out that every small act of support will build toward a tidal wave of hope for those suffering in Israel.

“In times past, during moments of crisis, Jews felt they had nowhere to turn, especially during the Holocaust,” Kidron said. “Thankfully, today, we have strong and devoted partners in the Christian world who stand by our side in solidarity and understanding. Passages is dedicated to creating that understanding and solidarity through faith and commitment, both to the shared roots of our religions and the State of Israel as a beacon of light and freedom in a sea of instability.”

Part of this solidarity was when on November 14, 2023, Passages brought over 700 Christians to the March for Israel in Washington, D.C. They wore the same shirts and made a bold statement to the world that Christians will stand with their Jewish friends in the face of antisemitism.

Robert Nicholson, President of the Philos Project and co-founder of Passages, said, “The Israel-Hamas war has given us as Christians tremendous moral clarity. I’ve never been more convinced of the righteous necessity of standing with Israel and the Jewish people than I am right now. And I would hope the broader Christian community in the United States sees it this way too.”

During the conference, the students were also given the tools and opportunities to continue advocating for Israel and the Jewish community on their campuses and in their communities.