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Celebrating Aliyah

Yael Eckstein with young olim boy from Freedom Flight

July 3, 2018

This week my abba (father) took my son and nephew on a very special tour of Jerusalem. They didn’t go to any of the typical tourist sites, but to old homes and spaces that tell an important story: my family’s story.

You might not know this about me, but my family goes back 11 generations in Jerusalem.

As my father walked the streets of Jerusalem, he showed his grandchildren the houses where our relatives lived and shared stories about their lives. This family member was a war hero, that one was a respected rabbi, this is where our great-great-grandparents lived.  

My father was the first to be born in exile but, praise God, 50 years later we both returned to our homeland.

I feel so blessed to be part of a chain that can directly trace its roots 11 generations back in Israel, but I feel even more blessed that God made it possible for me to return home and continue that legacy through my own family.

Although I was born and raised in America, I always felt Israel calling me home. As hard as it was to leave everything behind, my husband and I stepped out in faith and made aliyah (moved to Israel). I remember the day we arrived like it was yesterday. I got off the plane and immediately I didn’t feel like I was in a “new” place. I felt that I had returned to the land of my soul and that I was finally home.

Given my personal aliyah experience and my strong beliefs that it’s up to us to fulfill the biblical prophecy of bringing the Jews home, I am so grateful that The Fellowship was able to bring 17 Fellowship Freedom Flights to Israel last week. We welcomed home 340 olim (immigrants) from 8 countries, including war-torn Ukraine. These new olim arrived with different languages, different cultures, and different customs. But as soon as they stepped foot in the land of Israel they had something in common with every one of the 7 million Jews living here: They had come home after 2,000 years of exile just as the Bible prophesized. They are no longer Ukrainian, Brazilian, or French – they are all Israeli Jews like the rest of us.

It’s awesome to think about how it’s not just the Jewish people who are experiencing this prophecy come to fruition. Millions of Christians rejoice with us, pray for us, and support us in bringing the Jewish people home. The Fellowship is helping this prophecy become a reality by being a bridge between Christians and Jews, making it possible for Christians to bless Israel by supporting these crucial Freedom Flights.

As I watched the new olim walk off the plane, I saw myself in each one of them. I knew that it might be a difficult journey ahead of them, but felt comfort in the fact that they are not alone. I felt as if our Christian brothers and sisters around the world were standing with me, shoulder to shoulder, rejoicing with me in what they made possible, and telling the new olim, “We are here for you in prayer and action.”

Thank you, friends, for bringing our people home.

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