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Friendship, Faith, and Action

Portrait of Yael Eckstein

February 6, 2014

Shalom,

This past week, my heart has been heavy with fear and worry for the Jewish people in Ukraine. Anti-government riots have been plaguing this country, and the increased tension has made Jews targets of violence. In recent weeks there have been attacks on Jews, including stabbings, stalking, and threats. Some Fellowship projects for elderly and orphans in Ukraine are on lockdown because it is too dangerous for people to leave the buildings.

I first began hearing about the unrest a little more than a month ago. “Political riots are beginning here in Ukraine, and I have a feeling Jews will be targeted and blamed soon,” the head of a Fellowship-sponsored orphanage somberly told me over the phone. “Wealthy Jewish people have left Ukraine in order to seek safer places to live.” She said that once the riots started, two of the orphanage’s largest funders packed their bags and left Ukraine in a matter of days, and discontinued their funding of the orphanage when they departed.

“We’re desperate for food,”’ the head of the orphanage told me. With tears in my eyes, I assured her that Christians around the world stand with the Jewish orphans of Ukraine. In a matter of days, The Fellowship sent extra funds to cover the food expenses for the suffering orphans.

Since that first conversation, I have received dozens of phone calls and letters from Fellowship volunteers and partners in Ukraine pleading for help. “In order to protect our lives, we have been forced to hire full-time security guards and install cameras,” a rabbi who manages a synagogue and food program wrote me.

Ministries that are working overtime on tiny budgets to help as many Jews in Ukraine as possible simply do not have the extra funds to put toward security. The Fellowship partners in Ukraine are now faced with the impossible decision of choosing between buying food for orphans and elderly or paying for extra security.

The situation in Ukraine is very dangerous right now, and unfortunately some predict that it will get worse. The Fellowship is doing everything in our power to help meet the urgent requests coming in, but we need your help. Security is a luxury that Jews in Ukraine currently do not have, and they are counting on us – loving Christians and Jews – to remind them that they are not alone in the biblical land of the North, and that they have not been abandoned. They are turning to us for emergency basic needs and protection.

Now is our time to stand together and proudly declare the famous phrase of “never again.” Through our actions, we can show those targeting the Jewish community in Ukraine that Christians will not remain silent as their Jewish brothers and sisters are targeted and attacked. Friends, let us come together in friendship, faith, and action, and strongly declare to the Jewish people in Ukraine that we stand with them.

With blessings from the Holy Land,

Yael

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