The Nativity Stones were brought to the United States in 1964 through the efforts of Stanley Slotkin, a philanthropist and amateur archaeologist. While visiting the Cave of the Nativity during its only excavation, Slotkin noticed a portion of the manger wall being removed. Mayor Elias Bandak of Bethlehem, Slotkin’s host, explained that the excavation would allow another exit for the thousands of visitors who come to the Cave of the Nativity each year.
Watching the manger wall being dismantled made Slotkin reflective. Over two thousand years ago Jesus was born in this room and that wall had seen the grace of His presence. He could feel the history in the room. He could feel the magnitude of the event that had taken place: the birth of Jesus. Christians in the United States would surely cherish anything from this holy site. He turned to the Mayor and asked if it would it be possible to have the stones from the Manger Room shipped to the United States. The Mayor agreed and made arrangements to have the stones sent with an affidavit of authenticity.
Initially, the Nativity Stones were donated to various non-profit organizations including the American Heart Association, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and American Lung Association for use in fundraising. Slotkin also gave crosses holding the stones to the sick and terminally ill in hospitals throughout the United States to provide comfort and a way to reinforce their faith in Jesus.
At Slotkin’s request, his family continued to distribute the Nativity Stones by creating a collection of jewelry known as The Nativity Stones Collection. Each piece was designed to hold a precious Nativity Stone and offered a unique way for people to maintain and share the presence of Jesus in their daily lives. Contributions were made to Bethlehem and to the Greek Orthodox charities to help preserve the Cave.
The Nativity Stones Collection was named one of the most exceptional gifts of 1996 by the Associated Press. The Collection was distributed internationally largely due to its presentation on television featuring Ricardo Montalban, a devout Catholic and actor, and Kathy Troccoli, a Contemporary Christian recording artist.
During the 2000 Jubilee, The Nativity Stones Collection was selected by the Vatican Treasury to become one of only sixteen products allowed to display the official Jubilee 2000 emblem. This great honor culminated in the dedication of a plaque to the Nativity Stones at the Vatican presented by Cardinal Ruini, then Vicor of the Diocese of Rome.
In 2009 Slotkin’s family reintroduced The Nativity Stones Collection in hopes of sharing these Stones once again with Christians around the world until the Stones are all distributed. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Nativity Stones heirlooms has been donated to organizations such as: the American Cancer Society, Loyola Marymount University, St. Theresa Church of the Little Flower and the Spanish River Church. Last year, donations were made through the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) to Operation Blessing’s Water Wells program as well as Catholic Charities in Los Angeles. This year, The Nativity Stones Collection plans to contribute to World Vision’s disaster relief efforts.
The Nativity Stones Collection will be exhibiting at the International Christian Retail Show 2010 (ICRS) from June 28-30 at booth DB113 (Debut Avenue). Interviews, media coverage and a video of the story of the Nativity Stones will be screened at the booth. Representatives from Stanley Slotkin’s family, including his daughter, will be present for media interviews.
For immediate media requests or questions, please contact Susan Stringer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 323-654-4030 or 323-377-7775.
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The Nativity Stones Collection is a collection of jewelry cradling an Authentic Nativity Stone. Nativity Stones come from the Manager Room in the Cave of the Nativity, Jesus Christ's birthplace.