Answering His Call, Faithfully and Joyfully
December 23, 2014
Dear Friend of The Fellowship,
As 2014 draws to a close, we in Israel look back on a year marked, as all years are, by both bad and good.
Israel and Jews worldwide have certainly experienced their share of struggles this year. This past summer’s Operation Protective Edge, prompted by incessant rocket attacks on Israel by Hamas terrorists, was a stark reminder that Israel must constantly be on guard against the threats that surround her. The Jewish community in Ukraine faced unprecedented economic and security concerns in light of the ongoing civil unrest and threats from Russian forces. Jews throughout the former Soviet Union (FSU) – including many Holocaust survivors – are doing their best to stay warm this bitter winter. And the rising tide of anti-Semitism has been endangering the security and very lives of Jews around the globe.
But these challenges have not gone unanswered by Israel’s faithful friends. Thanks to your generosity, The Fellowship was able to offer immediate assistance during Operation Protective Edge, which included establishing a hotline for homebound elderly in need, providing even more meals at our Fellowship-supported soup kitchens, and much more.
This week we are flying an entire planeload of Ukrainian Jews who have been living in the midst of violence and political and economic upheaval to their new home in Israel. I cannot wait, and feel immensely privileged, to be part of their aliyah (immigration to Israel) experience. We have also provided clothing and school supplies to children in need, as well as winter heating assistance, food, and medical aid for impoverished elderly in the FSU.
This is only a snapshot of the full range of work made possible by your generosity. Your support of so many people in need calls to mind the Jewish concept of tikkun olam (“repairing the world”). This term beautifully expresses God’s desire that we care for those in need and help fix the broken places in this world. We see this idea throughout the Bible, such as in Proverbs 19:17: “He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.” And I see it beautifully lived out in your outpouring of prayers and support over the past year.
As this will be our last e-newsletter for 2014, today I want to wish our Christian friends a peaceful and joyous Christmas. To our Jewish friends, I pray that you experienced a Hanukkah filled with light. May the coming year bring you peace and prosperity, and may we all soon have the privilege of glimpsing the new, redeemed era, in which, as the prophet says, “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands” (Isaiah 55:12).
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
President and Founder, International Fellowship of Christians and Jews® of Canada