The Kibbutz — A Vital Part of Israel’s Future
Dear Friend of The Fellowship,
Even before the birth of modern Israel in 1948, the countryside of the Holy Land was dotted with kibbutzim — cooperative communities whose members worked together to improve the land and build new lives for themselves and their families. Many of these communities were founded by Jews who fled Europe to escape persecution. In doing so, they also reclaimed a piece of their biblical homeland and led the way for Jewish immigration from all over the world, including the thousands and thousands you have brought to Israel through The Fellowship’s On Wings of Eagles ministry.
Kibbutzim were vitally important in Israel’s early days, but many of you will be surprised to learn that more than a half-million Israelis continue to live on some 250 kibbutzim throughout the country.
In many ways, these communities are ideal for new immigrants who, like those Jewish pioneers decades ago, are fleeing persecution and economic hardship. On the kibbutz, they are provided housing, taught a trade and given moral support through a difficult transition. In this warm community atmosphere, they are able to adjust to new lives in Israel.
But Israel’s economic crisis, aggravated by the constant threat of violence, has threatened the very existence of the kibbutz. Fortunately, you have been there to help. When drastic government cutbacks left the kibbutz movement unable to continue its vital work, The Fellowship stepped in, giving more than $500,000 through our Wings of Eagles ministry to help provide new immigrant families with food, clothing, job training, housing and Hebrew lessons in the natural and tranquil setting of the kibbutz.
This illustrates a point I often make: When you give to Wings, you are doing much more than bringing Jews to Israel. You are helping them to truly make new homes in the Holy Land by providing them with the tools to become full, productive members of Israeli society.
Just as we pray at Jewish weddings that the newlyweds will build a "bayit ne’eman be Yisrael" — literally, an enduring home in the land of Israel — we wish this also for the new immigrants who are embracing their Jewish homeland.
As you help to secure Israel’s future for generations to come, may God look upon you with favour. Even as you have blessed His people with your generosity, may you and yours also be blessed.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
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