A History of Helping
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews has raised nearly half a billion dollars since its establishment in 1983 for Jewish immigration, resettlement and social welfare programs in Israel and has provided funding for food, housing and social services for needy Jews in the former Soviet Union.
Highlights from The Fellowship’s First 25 Years
- Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein’s biography, The Bridge Builder by Zev Chafets, is published by Penguin Random House.
- The Fellowship establishes a new affiliate in Brazil.
- The Fellowship distributes more than $3.4 million to provide aid to Israelis in need during Operation Protective Edge.
- The Fellowship provides more than $1.7 million to aid Ukrainian Jews during a period of extreme civil unrest.
- The Fellowship launches our own aliyah program, which is initiated by two flights bringing hundreds of Jewish refugees from war-torn Ukraine to Israel.
- The Fellowship helps make possible the final aliyah of Jews in Ethiopia, members of the Lost Tribe of Dan.
- The Fellowship launches our With Dignity and Fellowship program, which provides food, medicine, and companionship to the neediest elderly in Israel. This is the first program The Fellowship runs entirely on its own, without partnering with any other organization to staff, supply, or sustain the program.
- The Fellowship establishes a new affiliate in South Korea.
- The Fellowship distributes a $2.7 million aid package to cities in southern Israel during Operation Pillar of Defense.
- The Fellowship is voted one of the "Top 50 Best Nonprofits to Work For" by The Non-Profit Times.
- The Fellowship launches 4zion website.
- Yael Eckstein is appointed as The Fellowship’s Senior Vice President.
- The Fellowship distributes more than $10.5 million to assist 27,785 Holocaust survivors in desperate need in Israel, the former Soviet Union, Latin America, and Europe.
- The Fellowship’s Guardians of Israel program renovates 32 public bomb shelters in Sderot, which for years has suffered daily rocket attacks.
- The Fellowship enters its 25th year of building bridges of understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews.
- The Fellowship Announces 25th Anniversary Tour to Israel.
- Guardians of Israel completes renovation of 32 public bomb shelters in Sderot, which for years has suffered daily rocket attacks.
- The Fellowship announces its upcoming Alaskan cruise with Rabbi Eckstein.
- The Fellowship’s Guardians of Israel program donates $10 million to help refurbish bomb shelters in northern Israel and the community of Sderot.
- Isaiah 58 expands its work to help Jewish orphans, street children and Jewish kids living in poverty.
- On Wings of Eagles expands its work to help Jews from Arab and Muslim lands return to Israel.
- More than 100 Fellowship supporters visit Israel as part of the annual Journey Home Tour to Israel.
- Preguntale al Rabino (Ask the Rabbi) Spanish-language radio program is launched on 135 stations in over a dozen Latin American countries.
- Journey to Zion, a ground-breaking television series hosted by Rabbi Eckstein that provides educational information about the Jewish roots of Christianity, is launched on networks across the U.S.
- The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews becomes a strategic partner with the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), with Rabbi Eckstein serving as a full member on JAFI’s executive committee.
- The Fellowship’s Guardians of Israel program is the first organization to deliver emergency food and supplies for people living in bomb shelters during the Second Lebanon War.
- The Fellowship’s On Wings of Eagles program helps 200 of the Bnei Menashe, descendants of the biblical tribe of Manasseh living in India, and 200 Iranian Jews, make aliyah to Israel.
- The Fellowship’s Guardians of Israel program funds a network of soup kitchens, Meir Panim, throughout Israel.
- The Fellowship partners with the Jerusalem Post in launching their Christian edition of the magazine.
- More than 60 Fellowship supporters join Rabbi Eckstein and Fellowship staff on a tour of Israel, which includes visits to project areas and biblical and historic sites in the Holy Land.
- Rabbi Eckstein publishes "The Growing Church Calls for Divestment from Israel—a Jewish Response," a commentary that examines the widening rift between mainline Protestants and the Jewish community and the growing strength of the Jewish-evangelical alliance.
- Rabbi Eckstein is appointed as the State of Israel’s Goodwill Ambassador for Christian communities in Latin America.
- Operation Safe Bus is launched to safeguard public buses that transport as many as 1.7 million Israelis each day.
- Rabbi Eckstein publishes "A Jewish Response to Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ" and "Understanding Evangelicals: An Introduction for the Jewish Community." These white papers, the first two in an ongoing series, provide unique insights to thousands of readers.
- Millions of Christians in thousands of churches in the United States and other countries participate in the third annual International Day of Prayer and Solidarity with Israel.
- Rabbi Eckstein and Ralph Reed organize the Stand for Israel Washington Briefing, a two-day strategic conference in Washington, D.C. to bring together key U.S. government leaders, Israeli government officials and pro-Israel Christian leaders from across the United States.
- The Fellowship supports more than 200 programs in Israel and the former Soviet Union, including food and housing for the sick elderly, orphanages, rape crisis centers, distribution of coats for needy children, soup kitchens, security vehicles, spiritual centers for Ethiopian Jewish immigrants, job training and more.
- Rabbi Eckstein founds the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews of Canada, a sister organization to The Fellowship in Chicago and Israel.
- Stand for Israel is initiated by The Fellowship in order to mobilize U.S. churches, Christian leadership and individuals to express their solidarity with the Jewish state through prayer and advocacy. The first International Day of Prayer and Solidarity with Israel mobilizes millions of Christians around the world to pray for Israel.
- The Fellowship helps establish Nefesh-B-Nefesh, an organization that encourages immigration by Jews to Israel from North America and other English-speaking countries.
- The second Palestinian intifada begins in Israel. The devastation wrought by suicide bombers motivates The Fellowship to establish the Israeli Victims of Terror Fund.
- The Fellowship’s Jerusalem office opens. The Guardians of Israel program is launched to help families suffering from poverty and terrorism in Jerusalem and throughout Israel.
- $2 million is donated by evangelical Christians to rescue the Jews of Kwara, Ethiopia and bring them to Israel through the On Wings of Eagles program.
- The Fellowship’s Isaiah 58 program is created to provide food, clothing, medical help and other lifesaving aid for orphans and elderly Jews in the former Soviet Union.
- Operation Alert is launched to fight religious persecution around the world.
- The Fellowship opens the Center for Jewish and Christian Values in Washington, D.C., under the chairmanship of Senators Joseph Lieberman, Dan Coates, and Sam Brownback.
- The 1000th Russian Jew from The Fellowship’s On Wings of Eagles program arrives in Israel.
- The first Evangelical-Jewish Leadership Congress is held in Washington, DC. The theme of the event is "Building a Moral Society Together as Christians and Jews."
- Operation Exodus — The Fellowship presents an additional $100,000 to bring Ethiopian Jews home to Israel.
- The first group of Russian Jews is airlifted to Israel by the On Wings of Eagles program, which has since brought hundreds of thousands of Jews to Israel from the former Soviet Union, Ethiopia, Argentina and other distressed countries.
- The Fellowship’s On Wings of Eagles produces the television program, "While the Doors Are Still Open," hosted by Pat Boone.
- The Holyland Fellowship becomes the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.
- Rabbi Eckstein leads a delegation of major Christian broadcasters to Israel in the aftermath of Operation Desert Storm.
- The Fellowship launches On Wings of Eagles to bring Soviet Jews to Israel following the collapse of the U.S.S.R. An emergency campaign is launched and raises funds from the Christian community to pay for "Freedom Flight" airlifts from the former Soviet Union to Israel.
- Rabbi Eckstein addresses more than 2,500 Christians at a nationwide Feast of Tabernacles event in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
- "Ask the Rabbi," The Fellowship’s nationally syndicated radio program, begins airing on predominantly Christian stations. It is seen as a breakthrough in religious broadcasting.
- Rabbi Eckstein makes regular appearances on television and radio to discuss subjects that include Israel, Jews, Judaism and Jewish-Christian relations. His goal is to end the vicious cycle of intolerance and prejudice that has marked relationships between Christians and Jews for centuries.
- Seminar tour to Israel kicks off a major effort to increase tourism to Israel and help the Israeli economy by marketing Israeli products.
- The Fellowship plays a significant role in rallying support for the release of Soviet Jewry.
- 6,000 Ethiopian Jews are airlifted to Israel in Operation Moses, a dramatic mission that prompts The Fellowship to help fund resettlement programs for new Ethiopian immigrants.
- The first Day of Christian and Jewish Solidarity with Israel is held. Dr. Pat Robertson and Dr. Jerry Falwell join Rabbi Eckstein, whose new organization receives endorsements from other prominent Jewish and Christian leaders.
- Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein founds the Holyland Fellowship of Christians and Jews to fulfill his vision of building bridges of understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews.