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Crossing the Narrow Bridge

[caption id="attachment_8712" align="alignright" width="199"](Photo: IFCJ) (Photo: IFCJ)[/caption] For the past month, we've told you about Rabbi Eckstein's recently released biography, The Bridge Builder, written by Israeli journalist Zev Chafets. Today, The Jerusalem Post's Steve Linde provides an in-depth review of this look at a man who has made it his lifework to build bridges between Christians and Jews:
When the Yom Kippur War broke out on October 6, 1973, the holiest day of the Jewish year, Yechiel Eckstein had been praying in a Canadian synagogue. Despite a parental put-down that there was nothing he could do to help, the 22-year-old’s first impulse was to get on a plane to Israel and volunteer... Accompanied by an army jeep driver, Eckstein performed at bases on the Syrian front during the war, and on one visit, he came under attack while singing. “It was his baptism of fire,” writes Chafets. The story is quintessential Eckstein: fearlessly rushing to help Israel during a crisis. The whole world, for Eckstein, really is a very narrow bridge. And the bridge he has chosen to build is a really important one – connecting Christians and Jews after two millennia of mutual mistrust. Chafets quips in his Author’s Note introducing “The Bridge Builder” that he had once referred to Yechiel Eckstein as “the rabbi with the biggest Gentile following since Jesus.” But while Eckstein’s lifelong shlichut (mission) to forge an interfaith partnership has proved to be enormously successful, it has earned him both close allies and harsh critics, blessings and bans. He has been vilified for using Christian donations for Jewish causes, and vindicated through several prestigious awards, including from the Joint Distribution Committee, the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities, Hadassah and The Jerusalem Post, for his immense contribution to Israel and the Jewish people.
Learn more about Rabbi Eckstein’s biography at bridgebuilderbook.com Click here to order your hardcover copy of The Bridge Builder, or click here to order a copy for Kindle.

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