The Israeli Jewish community loses a vital part as Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein passes away on 6th February, Wednesday, aged 67. His death has been announced by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, the philanthropic organization he established in 1983.
Remembering the Rabbi at a glance
It was only in 2002 that Eckstein received his Israeli citizenship. Born in Winthrop, US, he was originally from a Canadian family. After having the holy orders conferred upon him, he began his endeavor of bringing together the Christian and the Jew communities. Moved by the plight of the vulnerable Israelis, he founded the IFCJ in 1983.
Now the organization has centers in several cities of Asia and the US and it tries to raise funds with the help of the evangelists. During the mass exodus of the Jews from the Soviet Union to Israel in the 1990s, Rabbi Eckstein got a chance to initiate his project “On Wings of Eagles”, the chief aim of which was to raise funds for the help of the needy immigrants. Because of his arduous efforts, the Fellowship has now become one of the largest nonprofit organizations of the nation, collecting over $140 million per year.
Recognition and criticism
For his attempts to solidify the bond between the Christians and the Jews, Yechiel Eckstein was aptly called the “bridge builder” by the author of his biography, published in 2015. However, he had also received disapprovals from members of religious sectors and some Israelis for considering evangelists the prime source of help. According to IFCJ reviews, the justification of his opponents was that receiving help from evangelists is an insult on the Jews and it may be a trap to convert the Jews into Christianity.
Regardless of all the criticisms, Eckstein will remain as a messiah to the Israelis forever.