Monday, October 24, 2011

CUFI on Campus Student Sam Lourie at University of Colorado Boulder helped organize the first ever CUFI event on that campus with Holocaust Survivor Irving Roth.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Irving Roth tours New Mexico

by John Winchester

Holocaust Survivor Irving Roth had a packed schedule from September 11-13 in New Mexico. He spoke to 150 people on Sunday night in Carlsbad. On Monday, he spent the day at the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell. Beginning with a prayer breakfast at 6:30, Irving continued to speak throughout the day to three classes totaling of 200 students, then again to an entire middle school after lunch. He closed the evening on Monday speaking at a church event with 200+ people in attendance. Tuesday, we went to New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. Irving spoke at a Pastor’s Luncheon, then at the University that evening with over 100 in attendance. We then left on Wednesday for San Diego where we had an event at Pastor Greg Stephens’s church where more than 250 were in attendance. Finally, we flew to Las Vegas for an event at UNLV where we had nearly 100 in attendance.

In total, Irving spoke 11 times to audiences totaling nearly 800 people.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

UNLV report

from John Winchester

The opportunity to hear the account of the Holocaust from one of its few remaining survivors is an opportunity that many don’t have and one I am thankful that I could participate in. On September 15, 2011 at The University of Nevada Las Vegas members of the student body and of the community came together to listen to Irving Roth’s tale of courage. The event took place on UNLV’s campus at the Richard Tam Alumni Center and served as the kick off for CUFI at UNLV’s fall semester. Irving was well received and left a strong impression on the audience that was made up of both Christians and Jews. Working together with Hillel at UNLV we were able to bring members of the Jewish student body out as well the Christian community. This event served as a great introduction for CUFI on campus at UNLV and helps us build momentum for the coming semester and accomplish our goal of changing the talk about Israel on our campus!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Christian institutions prove less likely to take a stand

by Melody Nasiatka

The students at the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) had been working on getting their CUFI chapter officially recognized for nearly two years. Students who had initially taken the lead graduated, and those who took their place were still facing the same challenges as their predecessors.
Until last week, Bri Pledger, CUFI’s student liaison, had fulfilled all the requirements for forming a school club at UIW, except one: no faculty member would consent to being the group advisor.
“I ventured to ask almost every religious studies professor to come on board as an advisor,” said Pledger. “After having no success in that department, I proceeded to ask any professor I thought would be interested, who I thought would be willing, or in some cases, those who I thought might just do it simply because I asked. That failed too.”
Every single professor to whom she presented her idea gave an excuse as to why they could not sponsor the group.
“In most cases, they didn’t want their name to be associated with a political group that may or may not go over well with the rest of the university body,” she said.
One might think that establishing a Christians United for Israel on Campus Chapter at a Christian university would be far easier than at a state university. After all, it stands to reason that Christian institutions should be the main advocates of Christian issues. However, this is not the case at many Christian colleges and universities. On the contrary, many Christian schools, like some churches nowadays, tend to go out of their way to avoid controversial issues.
So while state universities welcome an array of viewpoints and ideologies, peddling their Norman Finkelsteins and Helen Thomases, private institutions are discouraging potentially divisive or non-ministry-focused groups or speakers. On some private campuses, even after a club’s official recognition, requests to host speakers and hold events are often denied or discouraged.
Unfortunately, even at many Christian schools, pro-Israel groups are considered to be too controversial and political, and therefore do not gain official recognition from the school.
At Southwestern Assemblies of God University, Jonathan Clinkenbeard is also working to make his new group official. While the administration has supported his efforts, Student Congress has denied his requests for school recognition, stating the cause of CUFI too political. Even after Clinkenbeard pointed out that many political issues are also biblical, such as homosexuality and the sanctity of life, he was still unable to gain congressional approval. Undeterred, He took his request directly to the administration.
“Assemblies of God, from a religious stand point lines up with all of CUFI’s characteristics,” said Clinkenbeard. “but the hardest thing is encouraging students, faculty and staff to get politically involved in this.”
After weeks of persistence, Clinkenbeard has successfully formed an official chapter on the SAGU campus and continues to gain support for the cause of Israel.
UIW students have found a faculty sponsor and entered into the final stages of application approval.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Establishing a CUFI Chapter at FSU

by Uriah Ellis

Creating a chapter of Christians United for Israel on college and university campuses can prove to be a daunting task for even the most resolved pro-Israel student advocate. Navigating the seemingly endless reels of red tape, pursuing answers from faceless administrative bureaucrats, and addressing the apathy of fellow students often appear to be as formidable as Everest’s peaks. In an effort to build a base for CUFI’s work on campus, the Christian community at first seems ideal. It is only after speaking to a few colleagues that that the pro-Israel student encounters the great ignorance that exists in the body of Christ concerning support for the Jewish nation-state. Those with an unquenchable zeal to see this ignorance eradicated might be prone to, at the risk of appearing to be a twenty-first century Douglas MacArthur, launch a multi-pronged assault on the aforementioned ignorance. A crusade to convert uninformed and uninterested Christians into individuals with a conflagration of pro-Israel activism bellowing within their soul might appear to be a successful method. Yet, to be effective, the prudent student must consider the construct of his school before launching such a campaign.
At large public institutions, the Christian community is often segmented into various camps ranging from the Anglican Campus Fellowship to the Pentecostal Student Union. The ministers overseeing each group take their role as spiritual authorities for their students quite serious. They realize that they will hold an account before God for the way they safe guarded His sheep from the wolves of false doctrine and the lions of deceitful practice. Accordingly, before reaching out to their students CUFI on Campus advocates respect the chain of command and request a meeting with as many of the campus ministers as possible.
Romans 13:7 says that we are to honor and respect those to whom honor and respect are due. When the CUFI chapter was established at Florida State University, the chapter president understood the above biblical principal and was determined to uphold it. He contacted each campus minster asking them to meet with him to discuss CUFI. The meetings were akin to a young man meeting with the father of the young lady in whom had had an interest in courting. A diplomatic conversation took place during which the chapter president made clear his intentions. CUFI’s purpose and key objectives were explained such that the campus minister understood that CUFI’s aim was not to steal his sheep, nor was it to pervert his church’s work. It was also made unmistakably clear that the chapter president was not seeking the campus minister’s approval to reach out to his students. Instead, he made it clear that only the campus minister’s blessing was desired. The literature and media provided by CUFI made it the chapter president’s job much easier in that it gave the campus minister insight into CUFI’s heart.
In meeting with the campus ministries ranging from leaders of the frozen chosen to leaders of the holy rollers, minister conveyed their appreciation for a member of CUFI taking the time to meet with them before contacting their students. This inspired some to encourage their students to participate in CUFI events. It is worth noting, however, that not every campus ministry agreed to working with CUFI. The FSU chapter president appreciated those who were willing to work with him in fulfilling Isaiah 62:1. For those who did not decide to work with CUFI, the chapter president rested confident in Romans 4:20-21 in that “he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform.”

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Somebody tweet that

by Melody Nasiatka, Editor

The Information Age – that’s what they call it, this thing we’re in. The texting, the instant messaging, and of course the internet social media sites like Facebook. And just when we thought the bite-sized, detached yippity-yap couldn’t get any worse, along came Twitter.
And for those of you “backward folk” who have yet to recognize the vital role of this ever exploding site in shaping the information age, here are some facts. “Twitter” is the key-word that globally ranked number four in the most searched key-words for the year 2009. With over 70 million users, Twitter is currently one of the best Social Bookmarking, Social Networking as well as Social Marketing websites on the planet.
So now, to be anybody who’s somebody, you must join the Twitter sphere along with Facebook.
We had several Twitter nerds accompany us to Israel a few weeks ago on the student advocacy mission, who tweeted about what they were eating, seeing, experiencing. After all, do not the most moving moments of our lives find us all with only 140 characters? The phrase heard most often during the entire trip was “Somebody tweet that.” And somebody did.
Without a doubt the biggest twit on the trip was John Eakin, a brilliant College Republican from Ohio. (He once had a life – now he has Twitter). Our trip guide, in fact, was so impressed with John, that he took him on a private detour to Israel’s one and only Apple Store – a highlight of John’s trip.
Twits like John use Twitter for more than just announcing what they ate for breakfast. John stirs the social networking pot by using it as a forum where he exercises his democracy and gets very large amounts of data to very large numbers of people. As a CR, he has no qualms about sharing his political views and that includes his support for Israel. And in truth, we need a lot more John Eakins out there trolling the social networking world, and here’s why: If you think anti-Israel rhetoric dominates the global media, it’s five times worse in social media. Just search “Israel” and other Middle East topics on Youtube, Facebook and Twitter, and you will quickly discover that in terms of the number of comments, posts and tweets, the other side has us beat, badly.
While we are excited about the 1,900 CUFI on Campus Facebook fans we’ve gained over the year, each time a group creates a fan page for the Third Intifada, they have thousands of fans within days. Luckily, their pages are soon taken down due to racism and hate speech. But that’s not the point. The point is, where they are out in force, we are not. Where they are screaming, we are barely murmuring.
When someone posts a video that shows Israel in a positive light, fifteen anti-Israel fanatics go on a rampage about how Israel is an oppressive, apartheid state, and how Jews are responsible for all the problems of the Middle East and in the world. They make this announcement using an array of colorful language, and they present no facts (or they present wrong “facts”), and too often there is nobody confrontational enough, informed enough or just plain THERE to counter them.
Twitter is a magical world – a world where you don’t have to be afraid that people are following you. In fact, you like it. In the social networking world you can tell everyone anything all the time no mater how trivial, dumb or embarrassing.
And Israel is a legitimate, sovereign state. A Holy Land that God calls His and the Jews are His chosen people. So somebody tweet THAT.
As for those of us on the trip, we will continue getting the pro-Israel message out through every means possible. John Eakin tweeted it best: “I LOVE how many #cufi2011israel people are actively using Twitter now. Now if we could just get everyone to 'hangout' on Google+ video chat.”

Photos of trip to Israel