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Rabbi's Commentary

What a Blessing

November 30, 2014

Dear Friend of Israel,

On Thanksgiving, Americans will gather with family and friends to share a meal and give thanks to God for our many blessings. It is one of America’s most beloved holidays – one of those rare times when we come together to reaffirm the principle that the good we have received as a nation and as individuals is a gift from God.

On this day, one of the things I will give thanks for – as I do every day – is the continued and faithful support for Israel and the Jewish people shown by The Fellowship’s supporters. What a blessing it has been to suffering Jews in Israel and around the world! And this year, through your generosity, more Jews have been brought to their biblical homeland, more hungry Jews have been fed, and more Jewish orphans been given safe, comfortable places to live than ever before.

Today I want to share with you just a few words of thanks from those you have helped, so that you can understand the depth of their heartfelt appreciation:

“I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the Rosh Hashanah contribution you gave to 477 families and 516 children in Ashkelon. I'm convinced that your blessed contribution has helped hundreds of families and children better cope with a difficult economic reality and has given them hope for a better future … You have a place of honor in our city.” -- Itamar Shimoni, Mayor of Ashkelon

"I can't thank The Fellowship enough for making my future secure. Given the appropriate tools, members of the Ethiopian community can succeed in Israel like everyone else. It's only because of The Fellowship's help that I am where I am today.” -- Jordana, a young Ethiopian woman helped by a Fellowship-sponsored job training program

“We the residents of the south received extensive and generous support from The Fellowship. This support greatly helped the residents of the south during these difficult times during which we were attacked in ongoing salvos, and brought smiles and joy to many children and youth who were forced to stay at home close to shelter instead of enjoying their summer vacation. Without a doubt, your great contribution helped strengthen the home front and maintain the social resilience of the people of Israel.” -- Benny Biton, Mayor of Dimona, in response to help from The Fellowship during this past summer’s Operation Protective Edge

“I'm so grateful to The Fellowship for everything you're doing for me. You're taking care of all of my needs. I can't thank you enough for including me in the With Dignity and Fellowship program.” -- Mara, a Holocaust survivor blessed by The Fellowship’s With Dignity and Fellowship program to help Israel’s impoverished elderly

What wonderful testimonies to the blessings you have bestowed on the poor and needy through your support of The Fellowship’s programs! I can assure you there are many, many more stories like this – I know, because I hear them every time I visit Fellowship projects in Israel, the former Soviet Union, and other parts of the world.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, one of the great Jewish theologians of the 20th century, once summed up the necessity for giving thanks to God in all things: “How strange we are in the world, and how presumptuous our doings! Only one response can maintain us: gratefulness for witnessing the wonder, for the gift of our unearned right to serve, to adore, and to fulfill. It is gratefulness which makes the soul great.”

This Thanksgiving, may your heart be filled with gratitude for the many blessings in your life, and brimming over with thanks to the God Who is the source of all those blessings.

With prayers for shalom, peace,

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President

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