Rabbi Eckstein arrived back in Israel from a trip to Brazil. The Times of Israel reports that he spent the trip both building bridges with the country's Christian community and planning aliyah (immigration to Israel) for Brazilian Jews:
On Monday, a day ahead of his departure from Brazil, Eckstein told JTA that his Jewish-Christian group will help hundreds of Brazilian Jews make aliyah, or immigrate to Israel, this year. His tour was also designed to drum up support for Israel among Brazilian evangelicals.
In an email, Eckstein said his group, the Jerusalem-based International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, will help encourage as many as 850 Brazilian Jews to move to Israel by the end of 2016.
In Brazil, Eckstein addressed churches with up to 5,000 members, part of Brazil’s rising evangelical population of nearly 50 million people — the second largest in the world behind the United States.
Last year, Eckstein met Brazil’s current president and then-vice president, Michel Temer. The official praised the visit, saying “Brazil is a global reference of harmony among religions.” Jewish officials also attended that meeting.
“Brazil’s Christian community feels biblically connected to Israel and is hungry to learn about the Jewish roots of their faith,” Eckstein said. “They want to go to Israel and visit the Biblical sites they have read about.”