Jewish Journal

Latino pastors journey to Israel

by Brad A. Greenberg

July 30, 2008 | 6:51 pm

Latino pastors visit Israel

The Associated Press today followed the story I wrote in June about Latino pastors being taken to Israel by the American Jewish Committee, which was a follow-up to another story about them celebrating Sukkot in September. I wish I could point to something new in their piece, but there’s not. Their sources were mostly my sources; their story looks a lot like my story.

So instead I am forced to pettiness and the need to let you know I had it first. (Yes, I was better at sorting through my press release e-mail.) I never blogged about the Latino pastors’ trip, so I guess that’s my excuse for this post. Some of my June story is after the jump:

Tony Solorzano had dreamed of seeing Israel. At 54, he’d spent countless Sundays at the pulpit and weekdays on Radio Zion talking about the land of Abraham and Jacob and David—and Jesus.

A pastor at Llamada Final, a Pentecostal church in Downey and Inglewood, Solorzano got his chance last month when the American Jewish Committee (AJC) took him and 11 other Latino pastors from across the United States—10 men and one woman—on a 10-day tour of Israeli political, social and spiritual life, from the depths of the Dead Sea to the heights of the Golan, from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, Sderot to the West Bank.

“Seeing the land where Jesus worked and where he grew, it was amazing to see all that and see the places we always talk about,” Solorzano said.

The group visited the security fence and immigration absorption centers, Arab-Israeli communities and Christian sites in the Galilee, with the secular and religious, politicians and artists, in search of a rich portrait of Israeli society.

The goal was not only to show them the places they had read about in the Bible, but also the people who had fought for and cultivated the land and their neighbors. The AJC also hoped to share with these Latino pastors—evangelical Christians with an amazing affinity for Israel—“a balanced and complete picture of the tapestry of Israel,” said Randy Brown, who led the trip and is the AJC’s director of inter-religious affairs for Los Angeles.

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Since launching the blog in 2007, I’ve referred to myself as “a God-fearing Christian with devilishly good Jewish looks.” The description, I’d say, is an accurate one,...

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