A letter from The Fellowship's Chairman of the Board, Stockwell Day:
To all dear friends and supporters in Israel and around the world,
Today we are overwhelmed and shocked at the news of the sudden passing of our founder, our Rabbi, our leader, our dear Yechiel Eckstein.
Nobody could have foreseen that today, as Yechiel began his daily physical exercise regime, that his heart would cease beating and that God would say, “Faithful Servant, it is time for you to rest eternally.”
Our own hearts at this time go immediately to his dearest Joelle and to his entire family. Please send your thoughts and your prayers towards them as they deal with the sadness of this sudden loss.
Historians now and in the future will acknowledge that few people in modern history have done so much to bring Christians and Jews together in the noblest of causes to support Israel and the Jewish people. Yechiel’s life is simply without parallel in this pursuit.
In the next few days, on these pages and in reports around the world, people will be in awe when they see the amount of resources and the amount of life-giving goodwill which Rabbi was able to bring to Israel and her people.
Recognizing that this is a time to mourn and to pause with gratitude to celebrate the life of this remarkable man, we will not distract your thoughts towards details for the future. There will be time for that in the days ahead. Suffice to say that the board and senior management of The Fellowship has been responsibly working with Yechiel and Yael for some time in terms of putting in place a succession plan in anticipation of Rabbi’s soon coming retirement.
It goes without saying that those plans will now be accelerated. In the days ahead, Yael will assume the mantle of Yechiel’s great leadership and lead us forward in a manner that has the blessing, the foresight, and the complete confidence of her abba (father).
Yechiel prepared her well for this day, and she had already taken on the yoke of leadership in a manner which was thrilling to Yechiel, and inspirational to us at The Fellowship and to the untold thousands of lives she has already touched.
We will need your support in the days ahead in so many ways. All of us, as Rabbi’s spiritual heritage, will need to rise to the challenge together and continue his eternal dream to see Christians and Jews come together with ever-increasing understanding and compassion in supporting Israel and her people. Let us do that in such a way that will stir his now-resting heart for all eternity.
Shalom Baruch dayan emet,
Hon. Stockwell Day
Chair, The Fellowship