Rabbi’s Commentary

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Bringing God’s People Home

Feb 24, 2016

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein

Dear Friend of The Fellowship,

There are few places in the world that are less hospitable to Jews than the former Soviet Union. There is a long and ugly tradition of anti-Semitism in this part of the world, a tradition deeply ingrained in society and culture. During my many trips to this troubled region, I’ve seen firsthand its effects – Jews afraid to reveal their identity as Jews, afraid to practice their faith, and mired in an unending cycle of poverty and squalor because they are unable to find work to support themselves.

Particularly in Ukraine, the already tenuous situation for the Jewish community has worsened over the years. Fighting between Russian separatists and Ukrainian loyalists has resulted in civil unrest and violence that has spiraled out of control in the eastern part of the country. In the middle of this conflict is the beleaguered Ukrainian Jewish community, struggling to survive in a conflict zone.

Jews from around the world make aliyah for many different reasons – to escape anti-Semitism and crushing poverty, and to realize the promise of living in their biblical homeland. In this case aliyah can truly mean the difference between life and death for a community in peril. The Fellowship makes this possible through our On Wings of Eagles ministry.

Far too many Jews living in fear amid the volatile and dangerous situation in Ukraine still long to come to the country where they can live freely as Jews, without fear, and with independence and self-determination. That country, of course, is Israel – and when their plane arrives at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, Fellowship staff, along with a host of Israeli dignitaries, will be there to greet them with one simple message: welcome home.

The Bible tells us, “I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 43: 5-6). My friends, with our aliyah flights, I truly believe we are again witnessing the fulfillment of this prophecy. I ask you to pray for the success of our efforts – and, if you feel moved by God to do so, please consider supporting our mission to bring home Jews who remain in peril, and long only to come home.

With prayers for shalom, peace,

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


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