December 12, 2018
Dear Friend of Israel,
What an extraordinary year it has been – a year of challenge and opportunity, a year of conflict and reconciliation, a year of tragedy and of blessed miracles.
And it was a historic year, as well. One of the most memorable world events was the move of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. When President Trump made good on a decades-old U.S. promise and made this pivotal move, friends of Israel around the world were joyful.
Still, the joy has mingled with tears. Through the year, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza continued to rain down rockets on Israel, and found new, diabolical ways to attack the Jewish state – such as fiery kites and balloons that burned acres of sacred land. A brutal, cowardly attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh killed 11 and showed Americans that the world’s “longest and deepest hatred” – anti-Semitism – is alive and well in their own backyard. A terrorist shooting last weekend in Israel injured seven people – including a pregnant woman whose child, tragically, was killed after clinging to life for several days.
Thank God that the work of The Fellowship is such a source of hope! This year, about 5,000 Jews from around the world escaped poverty and anti-Semitism by making aliyah (immigrating to Israel) on Fellowship Freedom Flights. We provided food for hundreds of thousands of hungry people. We gave relief to Christian refugees in Jordan fleeing radical Islamist persecution. And there is so much more – through your support, you have truly made “a way in the wilderness” (Isaiah 43:19) to reach those in the greatest need – in the Holy Land and beyond.
In the book of Jeremiah, God tells of the plans He has for His people: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (29:11). Indeed, God has a plan for all of us, individually and collectively. And this biblical promise tells us that, despite the problems we may face, God’s intention for us is good.
As Christians prepare to celebrate Christmas and all of us prepare to enter a new year, I want to thank you for the blessings you have bestowed on so many needy people through the work of The Fellowship. We truly could not do our work without you. We are in this together, in partnership with God, and for that I am truly grateful.
With prayers for shalom, peace, and a merry Christmas to all my Christian friends,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President