JoAnn G. MagnusonDirector of Community Relations & Education, Bridges for Peace
JoAnn Magnuson serves as a vice president of the Office of the National Director for Bridges for Peace in the USA and oversees that organizationšs Minnesota office. She is part of an international network of Christians who are endeavoring to build bridges of understanding between Christians and Jews. Believing that the words of the Hebrew prophets have significance for our time, these bridge-builders feel it is important for the Christian community to be aware of current events in Israel and issues of concern to the Jewish community around the world. Through its office in Jerusalem and regional offices in the U.S. and around the world, Bridges for Peace helps keep a positive, biblical view of Israel before the eyes of concerned Christians. BFP maintains an office and a team of volunteer workers in Jerusalem. These Christian volunteers run the only food bank in Jerusalem, providing extra food and household supplies for many new immigrants and other needy residents. Bridges for Peace is in a unique position to open doors to behind-the-scenes adventures for Christian groups visiting Israel.
JoAnn has been involved in Christian support for Israel for many years. In the Twin Cities she speaks for a variety of groups, teaches Bible studies and preparation seminars for Israel tour groups and works with the Jewish community on projects supporting Israel and Jewish-Christian understanding. Israel involvement is a family affair for the Magnusons. JoAnn and her husband, Buzz, a St. Paul news photographer, have two children. Their son, Jeffrey, a free-lance writer and editor, lived in Israel for many years and was the editor of The Jerusalem Perspective a magazine about biblical research published in Jerusalem. Their daughter, Jodi, worked in Israel as a kibbutz volunteer and has taught Hebrew.
JoAnn did her undergraduate work at the University of Minnesota, studied at the Biblical Resources Center in Jerusalem, and has made Jewish-Christian studies a life-long pursuit. She strongly believes that Christians need to get in touch with their own Jewish roots and is currently working on study materials to help Christians understand Israel and the Jewish people. Over the last twenty-three years she has made over fifty trips to Israel and has spent time there studying and helping others to see the land and the people from a biblical perspective. In addition to her Israel-related work, JoAnn has been involved in many forms of Christian ministry including teaching Bible studies in the inner city and leading home prayer and study groups.
In the summer of 1993 she was part of an interfaith group of 21 Jewish, Catholic and Protestant women from Minnesota who traveled to Holocaust sites in eastern Europe including Auschwitz, Teresienstadt and the Warsaw Ghetto. JoAnn works closely with the Jewish community in Minnesota and serves on a number of committees involved with Jewish-Christian and pro-Israel issues. In 1998, 2000 and 2001 she led groups of Christians and Jews to Poland and Israel. The most recent group was the only U.S. Christian contingent to attend the annual March of the Living in Poland. She speaks on a variety of topics including: Christian history and antisemitism, history & geography of Israel, biblical issues and modern Israel, as well as the work of Bridges for Peace.
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