Thursday, August 18, 2011

Israel: Engaging Christian Youth

By Erin Williams
Special to ASSIST News Service

ROSH HA (ANS) -- Imagine yourself trekking in Jesus's footsteps along the Galilee's Gospel Trail, the route Jesus is believed to have walked that connects sites from his life and ministry.

A pilgrim on the Gospel Trail

Now, imagine yourself experiencing the Judean Desert at night, intimately connected the wilderness where so much history began. Now imagine working with your friends in an Israeli farmer's field, harvesting fruit and vegetables for Israel's needy.

Roots of Faith, a new tour company based in Israel with offices in the US, has developed programs to Israel specifically targeted for Christian teenagers and young adults. While these programs include the sites found on regular pilgrimage trips, Roots of Faith programs include programmatic elements which actively engage the participants in their "Israel experience."

Roots of Faith is a new educational tour company specializing in trips to Israel, organizes unique programs to Israel for Christian youth as a means to strengthen participants' spiritual identity.

Maranatha High School is a college preparatory Christian school in Pasadena, California. In June, Roots of Faith produced an incredible Israel experience for 46 students, staff, and friends. John Wells, group leader and theology teacher at Maranatha, sums it up best. "Our trip to Israel with Roots of Faith was an amazing combination of spiritual connection, physical challenge, historical lesson, and current event update. We loved it!"

Log onto Maranatha's Israel page on Facebook for some great photos and comments:
Maranatha student Anika Fisch recently talked about her Israel experience with One News Now / American

Family News:

Groups have the opportunity to serve those in need by volunteering at a soup kitchen, gleaning fruits and vegetables for the hungry, or choosing from among several humanitarian projects. The Maranatha teens devoted a morning to picking potatoes on a farm near Rehovot.
Roots of Faith was founded by Joel Rosenfeld. For over a decade he has specialized in organizing and facilitating educational & spiritual trips to Israel for individuals and groups.

Joel Rosenfeld

"Years ago the Diaspora Jewish community discovered the profound educational and spiritual impact that a carefully planned trip to Israel had on Jewish teens and young adults," Rosenfeld remarked in a recent interview. "Studies have clearly demonstrated that participants on these programs returned to their home communities with a heightened sense of religious identity. Organized programs to Israel exploring the roots of the participants' faith have the same impact on Christian teens and young adults."

Working with Joel in the US is Don Weitz, based in Dallas, Texas. Don's experience includes working for the Israel Ministry of Tourism office in Dallas, where for many years he helped churches and organizations facilitate trips to Israel.

The company has a devoted team both in the US and in Israel dedicated to creating tailor-made Israel programs that will engage participants' religious identity. Roots of Faith has gained a reputation for quality programming, reasonable costs and superior logistical services, all the while maintaining a firm commitment to the safety and security of all participants.

Contact Don Weitz in Dallas at or Joel Rosenfeld in Israel at Sign up for regular updates at, and see sample itineraries at

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