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Rabbi Eckstein’s Early Allies

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Rabbi Eckstein’s biography, The Bridge Builder, releases on August 11. Until then, enjoy a sneak peek from this compelling book about the rabbi’s life and continuing legacy.

Of all Eckstein’s Christian mentors, it is possible that [Pat] Robertson was the most influential. Robertson invited him to come to Virginia Beach to appear on The 700 Club TV talk show. “We met before the show. I told him I had just read his book Shout It From the Housetops! and that I was in awe of what he had built. I asked him how he had done it. He said, ‘It was all God’s doing.’

And then he said, ‘Yechiel, I believe God is in your work and I will pray for your success. I want to be part of it and I will pray for you.’ I remember walking out of that meeting feeling distraught and discouraged. Here I was without a full-​time secretary or a real salary and all I was going to get from him was moral support. I needed money and he had it, but I didn’t ask. I didn’t have the temerity, although I felt that I had missed an opportunity.

But when I got back to my office in Chicago, there was an envelope waiting for me. I opened it and found a personal check for $10,000 and a note from Pat: ‘Yechiel, I want to walk with you on this.’ ”

It was the beginning of a long relationship that played a key role in realizing Eckstein’s vision. “From the first time we met, I saw Yechiel as an extraordinarily attractive young man with a heart for reconciliation between Jews and Christians,” says Robertson. “I had been trying to build bridges to the Jewish community for years, and he was doing the same thing. And I don’t know of anyone who has done this more effectively.”

Click here to order your hardcover copy of The Bridge Builder, or click here to order a copy for Kindle.

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The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) funds humanitarian aid to the needy in Israel and in Jewish communities around the world, promotes prayer and advocacy on behalf of the Jewish state, and provides resources that help build bridges of understanding between Christians and Jews.

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