On 7th February, Thursday, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews has announced that their founder, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein had breathed his last on Wednesday, one day before. The cause of his death has not yet been declared by the source. Eminent personalities from all sectors, including the Prime Minister, has shown great grief over his sudden demise and expressed sympathy for his family members.
Who was Rabbi Eckstein?
A famous Zionist and an ardent social worker, the name of Rabbi Eckstein is strongly associated with the name of the IFCJ, one of the largest nonprofit philanthropic organizations in Israel up to now. Born to a religious family (his father was also a Rabbi) in Winthrop, Eckstein felt the need of uplifting the Jews and he understood that the evangelists could be the greatest help in this cause.
After being ordained at Yeshiva University in New York, he became a member of the Anti-Defamation League in Chicago during the latter half of the 1970s and started encouraging a stronger relationship between the Christians and the Jews. The establishment of the Fellowship in 1983 was a consequence of this effort.
Having more than a few offices in Jerusalem, Chicago, Toronto, and Seoul, the organization now successfully raises funds of worth $140 million per year and, according to one of the IFCJ reviews, it has raised almost $1.6 billion so far since its beginning.
Despite his intentions being humanitarian, Yechiel Eckstein did not always get support. Quite a lot of people (including some rabbis and Israelis) believe it is unethical to receive grants from the evangelists because of the fact that they are Christians. They also think that such kind of helping may well be considered as a trick to convert the Jews to Christianity.
However, the late Rabbi did not pay heed to such negative comments and continued listening to his own heart.