January 2, 2019
Dear Friend of Israel,
As Jeremiah surveyed Jerusalem in 587 BCE after the city had been besieged by the Babylonians, he was overwhelmed by the devastation. Even God’s Holy Temple, the most sacred place in the world for the Jewish people, had been destroyed for the second time in its history.
It was an unimaginably sorrowful scene – in fact, the prophet Jeremiah chronicled these reflections in a book of the Bible aptly titled “Lamentations.” And yet, in the midst of this somber book, there is a startling and stirring affirmation: “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:21-23).
These words offer a clear reminder: Though the city, built by human hands, had been destroyed, God’s love persisted, and in fact continued to sustain His people.
Thankfully, the vast majority of us are blessed to live in a time and a place where we will never have to face a scene like the one the author of Lamentations faced. But there are always troubles and personal crises that threaten to consume us: health problems, the loss of someone near and dear, the loss of our livelihood. And, at the beginning of a new year, it is natural to wonder: What challenges will we face this year, and how will we face them? What unexpected blessings may come our way, and will we recognize those blessings?
A new year is a time of both uncertainty and promise. My friends, let us focus today on that promise, on the blessings that will come our way and the good we can do for others. As I think of all the people The Fellowship helped last year, my heart is full of gratitude – and as I think of all the people whose lives will be changed for the better in 2019 because of your generosity, it becomes even fuller.
None of us knows exactly what the new year will bring, but we do know that God’s compassions never fail; they are “new every morning.” As we enter 2019, let us do so sure in the knowledge that, whatever we face, God’s great love and faithfulness will be with us every step of the way.
With prayers for shalom, peace, in 2019,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President