Bridgebuilder Spotlight: Dr. Jay and Meridel Rawlings

Bridgebuilder Spotlight: Dr. Jay and Meridel Rawlings

Little by little, over the past few decades but growing more and more over the past few years, a community of activists in the Christian-Jewish engagement space has developed, with people reaching out to each other to promote fraternity and humanitarian projects in and between the Christian and Jewish communities.

In 2020, the organization I run, Root Source, together with friends at Israel365, initiated Bridgebuilders: Top Activists in Christian-Jewish Engagement, honoring seventy of these trailblazers. 

In this monthly column, we will focus on one of these leaders and share an interview with her or him, hearing how they got to where they are today, learning about some of their projects, and thinking about what God is doing with regard to Jewish-Christian relations.

We encourage you to reply! Leave a comment below or send us an email at

This month’s bridgebuilders: Dr. Jay and Meridel Rawlings from Israel Vision TV, Mevasseret Zion, Israel.

What is the main focus of your activities today?
Evangelical Christian Pastor. Building (Gesher) Bridges of friendship and trust in the local Jewish Community and in Israel.

How long have you been doing that?
30 years. Physical Gesher Room in our building with local family’s parent’s Holocaust items recovered after liberation.

What are some of the successful related programs or projects that you have done this year and in past years?
Arraigned and hosted about 12 tours to Israel. Invited last year by the local Jewish Federation to represent the Christian community in the annual Yom Hashoah program in Columbus, Ohio.

How did you get to where you are today?
Have led tours to Israel and have been in the land 17 times. From a teenager was taken under wing by 12 Jewish men who mentored me. I developed a genuine love and affinity for the people and the land. My wife and I take our yearly vacations in Jerusalem as our home base for the last three years.

What is your “testimony”?
In 1969, the L-rd changed our lives dramatically. I was a Hospital Administrator in Hamilton, Ontario, and Meridel was a nurse who just returned to Canada from volunteering in India with Mother Theresa. We were married, and one day the Holy One of Israel asked her, “If you love Me, love My People.” We knew this meant going to Israel. So I prayed, and the L-rd gave me clear direction from the Bible. It was Jeremiah 50:2a, which said, “Go among the nations, set up a standard or banner and publish and conceal not and publish.” From then on I kept asking the Holy One, “Please give me a window to the world on behalf of Israel.” The calling was to use the visual media to educate a worldwide audience about the fulfillment of the words of the Biblical prophets happening TODAY. 

We also became completely involved in aliyah by traveling to over 100 countries, speaking to Jewish community leaders, presidents, rabbis, and ordinary Jewish men and women, encouraging them to “come home to Zion.” After doing this for seven years, we finally came as a family with three sons to live in Israel. Then we produced our first documentary called “Apples of Gold.” I showed this educational film all over the world. The Israeli Foreign Ministry purchased many copies of the film and sent it to their embassies and consulates worldwide. Then at the request of Refuseniks in the former Soviet Union, we produced a film for them to “give them a voice.” This film called “Gates of Brass” was used by Jewish communities and Christian communities globally to demonstrate in front of Soviet embassies saying, “Let My People Go.”

At first, it was very hard going, but by 1991/2, the gates opened. In 1989, Meridel and I spoke in the Kremlin to President Gorbachev’s assistant for Human Rights and Jewish Affairs. The message we gave him was simple, “If you let the Jews go to Israel, then according to the promise of G-d in Genesis 12:3, the USSR will be blessed.” Since then, 1.2 million Jews from the former Soviet Union have come home and are a special blessing to Israel. 

In 1980, after the passing of the Jerusalem Law by the Knesset, we were part of a small group of friends of Zion who knew that, in the face of an Arab oil embargo to countries who maintained an embassy in Jerusalem. All thirteen countries complied and moved their embassies to Tel Aviv. Now it was time to open an embassy in Jerusalem. We did so please G-d. It was called the International Christian Embassy – Jerusalem. At the official opening on September 20, 1980, Mayor Teddy Kollek, sensing the importance of this fledgling entity, said, “In all my years as mayor of Jerusalem, this is the most important opening I have ever presided at.” He could see the importance and power of Jews and Christians being linked for the good of Zion. The ICEJ has grown into the largest Christian Zionist organization in the history of the world. Thank G-d. Through the next decades, we were grateful to be at the right place at the right time doing and saying the right things according to the Bible. Through the years, by G-d’s grace, our documentary TV programs helped to launch many pro-Israel TV networks in many countries, educating a huge audience. This still goes on to this day. For further details, please see our books.

What do you think God is doing with regard to Jewish-Christian relations?
Strengthening the relationship between us. We share the same values, democracy, and love for life. We need each other more now than ever before.

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