Rabbi’s Commentary

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Building Bridges in Brazil

June 23, 2016

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein

Dear Friend of The Fellowship,

I recently returned to Brazil for a two-week trip. My goal was to bring The Fellowship’s message of support for Israel and bridge-building between Christians and Jews to Brazil’s Christian community, the second largest in the world. I was again greatly impressed and honoured by the experience, just as I was during my first trip to the country.

The Fellowship’s Brazilian outreach is the latest effort in our campaign to build on our close partnership with Christians and create new global alliances for Israel. These new alliances will counter the deepening anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment that has grown around the world. We’ve begun operating an office in Brazil as part of this strategy.

Brazil is a natural place to expand our work, because the Christian community there feels biblically tied to Israel, and has a deep hunger to learn more about the Jewish roots of their faith. At the churches I visited, each of which boasts a membership in the thousands, I felt this hunger expressed in the kindhearted and compassionate reception I received from both pastors and church members, and in the genuine concern they expressed for the state of Israel and her people.

In Brazil I saw, as I have seen so often during my travels throughout the world, that The Fellowship’s message of reconciliation between Christians and Jews, and of raising Christian support for Israel, is universal. The Fellowship has a role to play anywhere there are Christians longing to know more about the Jewish roots of their faith, or anywhere there are Christians and Jews who sincerely want to work together to support Israel. Ours is truly a global ministry.

Now, back home in Jerusalem, I can still feel the warmth and compassion I felt from my Brazilian friends, a warmth that springs from shared values and genuine concern and love for this nation that I am blessed to call home.

The Jewish people are truly privileged to call these people our friends and partners in supporting and strengthening the Jewish state. I can only hope and pray that, with God’s guidance and help, we will continue to build bridges between our communities and break down the barriers that have divided us for far too long. To recall the words of the psalmist: “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”

With prayers for shalom, peace,


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

 

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