Last June 2021, while some elements of the Jewish community felt paralyzed by the Gaza war, a pro-Israel rally was organized by RI Coalition for Israel (RICI). Due to RICI’s relationship with both the pro-Israel Jewish and Christian communities, RICI was able to site the rally at the property owned by Praise Tabernacle Church on Park Avenue in Cranston. The two keynote speakers at the rally were Rabbi Barry Dolinger, president of the Board of Rabbis of Greater Rhode Island, and Pastor Allen Pangburn, senior pastor of Praise Tabernacle Church and director of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) in RI.
While interfaith efforts aren’t uncommon for the Board of Rabbis, joint efforts with the segment of the Christian community, represented by CUFI, were unprecedented. CUFI, which now counts 11.5 million members nationwide, is generally identified with the “non-denominational” Christian community. Historically, interfaith efforts have been with “denominational” Protestants represented by the RI State Council of Churches.
This past spring, the relationship pioneered in 2021 was renewed through outreach by Adam Greenman, CEO of the Alliance, to Pastor Pangburn. Among other things, the call touched on an upcoming planned CUFI-RI event, a Night to Honor Israel, typically held every year but repeatedly postponed because of COVID.
As a result of this new relationship, Greenman accepted an invitation to speak at the Aug. 28 event, opening a new chapter in the organized Jewish community’s alliances in support of Israel and fighting antisemitism. The night, which was recorded on YouTube, was a great success. Continued cooperation of this kind is imperative.
RI Coalition for Israel