The Jerusalem Post has released its annual list of the world's most influential Jewish people, and once again Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein has landed in the top 50. Benjamin Glatt reports that Rabbi Eckstein's tireless work to help Israel and Jewish communities around the world, as well as his bridge building between Christians and Jews, has placed him at number 23 on this year's list:
The social assistance Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews provide can be seen in all sectors of Israeli society and in Jewish communities around the world.
Since founding the organization in 1983, Eckstein has raised more than $1.3 billion, and currently raises more than $140 million a year, mostly from Evangelicals, to assist Israel and the Jewish people.
“With Dignity and Fellowship,” one of the flagship programs of the nonprofit organization, helps more than 10,000 senior citizens, many of them Holocaust survivors, in more than 20 cities in Israel, and has a budget of more than NIS 30,000,000.
The organization has provided heaters and heating grants to poor elderly in Israel and countries in the former Soviet Union, sponsored extracurricular activities for the rocket-battered children of southern Israel and has donated life-saving equipment for hospitals across the country.
Come time for the holidays, the IFCJ ensures that everyone has a proper, festive experience, by assisting food banks with the holiday congestion and handing out food and gift certificates to the needy and to lone soldiers. It also provides grants for Muslims and Christians for their respective holidays.
Beginning in 2014, the IFCJ began direct aliya flights from war-torn eastern Ukraine, later expanding its Israel immigration and absorption program to help Jews in France, South America and even an Arab country, altogether bringing more than 4,000 Jews to Israel so far.
The IFCJ is also active in minority communities in Israel, such as the Beduin, Druse and Arab-Christian communities, providing them with social welfare aid and education grants.
“Seeing the half of the glass that is not filled and feeling the pain of those people who are enduring that, and knowing that if I really push myself, and if we do better work, then we can address that and help them – that’s what keeps me going,” Eckstein says...