March 30 – 2011

Caspari Center Media Review – March 30, 2011

During the week covered by this review, we received 4 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews, Christian tourism, and Christian sites. Of these:

1 dealt with Messianic Jews

2 dealt with Christians in Israel

1 dealt with Christian tourism


This week’s Review reported the death of Mary Gardner in the recent terrorist bombing in Jerusalem.

Messianic Jews

Yerushalayim TIMEOUT, March 24, 2011

A lengthy article in Yerushalayim TIMEOUT (March 24) devoted to the neighborhood of Ein Karem in Jerusalem, traditionally known as the birthplace of John the Baptist, included an interview with Reuven Berger, whose congregation meets in the “Bishop’s House.” Constructed in the 1860s by the Protestant Bishop Samuel Gobart as his “summer residence,” “Today, a small congregation of Messianic Jews uses the place, which they call ‘Our Father’s House.’ From its balcony Ein Karem appears spread out as on the palm of the hand, and within the structure intense spiritual activity takes place. Revuen Berger is the leader of the small congregation which includes, as well as his brother, a younger Israeli and an older lady of 97. ‘We bought the house 26 years ago,’ he says. ‘It was in ruins and we did it up from the foundations.’ Reuven grew up in an American Orthodox family and studied film and French literature, but the biblical bug didn’t let him rest. ‘Already at a young age I had doubts about the interpretation of the Bible with which I grew up. 40 years ago I left everything and began to read Scripture without any commentaries or exegesis. I read the Tanakh over and over and I found there the answer to all my questions. In this way I came to the recognition that Yeshua is the Messiah. We aren’t activists but new people do join and anyone interested in coming is made very welcome.’”

Christians in Israel

Haaretz, March 25; Jerusalem Post, March 25, 2011

The single fatality in this week’s terrorist bombing in Jerusalem was Mary Gardner, a Scottish Wycliffe Bible translator who had been working in Togo for many years and was studying at the Home for Bible Translators in Jerusalem. According to Haaretz (March 25), “The woman killed in Wednesday’s bombing of a Jerusalem bus stop was named yesterday as Mary Jane Gardner, a 55-year-old British tourist, after the Foreign Ministry located and informed her family. Gardner, who was critically injured in the blast, was pronounced dead at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem despite resuscitation efforts. Born in a small town in Northern Scotland, Mary Jane Gardner was passionate about languages, which brought her to Jerusalem this January. Her latest project was to help translate the Holy Scriptures into the Ife tribal language, which is spoken in Benin and Togo. Gardner had just spent 20 years in Togo when she arrived in Israel to enroll in a six-month program that the Hebrew University’s Rothberg International School runs together with the Home for Bible Translators and Scholars in Jerusalem. ‘She was a quiet, sensitive and introverted person, highly motivated. She had a seriousness and commitment that is to be admired, being over 50 and coming to study Hebrew, archaeology, the land of the bible and the history of the land. You need a commitment for that, and you saw that language was really her life,’ said Miriam Ronning, a Bible translator from Finland who co-founded the center in 1995.”

The Jerusalem Post (March 25) noted that “Gardner, 59, was from Orkney in Scotland and was studying at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University … According to British reports, she was an evangelical Christian studying Hebrew to get a better understanding of the Bible … British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould and Consul-General to Jerusalem Sir Vincent Fean laid a wreath on Thursday afternoon at the scene of Wednesday’s terror attack in the capital.”

Christian Tourism

Eastern Mediterranean Tourism/Travel, March 14, 2011

“Jerusalem’s Bible Lands Museum has inaugurated a new 30-minute tour of part of its exhibitions with a focus on Christian pilgrims and primarily the Evangelical market. Entitled ‘Behold, days are coming … when I will make a new covenant …’ from the Old Testament text in Jeremiah, it follows Old Testament stories and their relationship to the cultures of the ancient Near East; the grown of monotheism throughout the journey of the Patriarch Abraham to the Holy Land from his home in Mesopotamia [through to] the Second Temple period, the time of Jesus; the Roman-Byzantine period, and the Bible in early Christian art. The tour also includes a visit to the special exhibition ‘The Three Faces of Monotheism,’ illustrating symbolism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.”