Prayers for the People of Ukraine

May 13, 2014

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Dear Friends of The Fellowship,

Earlier this year, when the unrest in Ukraine was first coming to the world’s attention, I made an emergency trip there that left me with mixed emotions. I was heartened to see that the projects we have supported in that country for years are continuing to offer support and stability in the midst of chaos, and inspired by the spirit and faith of the Ukrainian Jewish community. But I was deeply concerned and troubled by the widespread unrest and violence, some of which is taking place perilously close to orphanages and Jewish community centers.

When I returned home, I was touched by the response to my visit, which took place just prior to Passover. The emphatic words from rabbis in the region underscored how important The Fellowship’s continued support for the Jewish community in Ukraine is – especially now, in times of great trouble. Here are just a few of their expressions of gratitude:

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart on behalf of thousands of Jews in Ukraine – elderly and children, women and men – for your important help and especially for your caring.”

“We feel your support in Ukraine and we are proud to be associated with you and The Fellowship.”

“Despite all of the problems, we distributed help from The Fellowship all over Ukraine. Thanks to you and your kind and generous donors, Jewish kids got great presents for Passover – food baskets and new clothes. …a big THANK YOU to you and your donors.”

I am confident that some of what makes our help so meaningful and effective is that we don’t just offer it in times of crisis. The Fellowship has been on the ground supporting Ukraine’s needy Jewish population for years. Thousands of children and elderly in the region depend on us daily for food, clothing, heat, medical assistance, and more. This is true in other parts of the world as well. We engage in lifesaving work on a regular basis, so when a crisis arises – as it has recently in Ukraine – we are poised and ready to help.

And, I always keep in mind that it is your faithful support that allows us to be prepared during times of crisis. And that faithful support is still needed in this troubled region of the world, where unrest and conflict threaten to escalate, and rumors of all-out war abound.

What can we do? Certainly the Jewish community of Ukraine desperately needs our material support and help with food, medicine, clothing and heating fuel. But they also deeply covet our prayers. So today, I ask you to join me in prayer for the people of Ukraine, for Israel, and for the world. You can call our new toll-free prayer line, 1-888-241-IFCJ (4325), to record your prayer, which then may be aired on radio stations and heard around the world – and which will hopefully prompt others to offer their prayers as well.

The Bible tells us, "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labour: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up" (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). How grateful I am to have faithful friends like you, our Fellowship family, who labour with us to bless Israel and people in need around the world.

With prayers for shalom, peace,

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder, International Fellowship of Christians and Jews® of Canada


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