Conversations with Jerry Rose & David Clark
When Orthodox Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein first began building bridges between Christians and Jews 40 years ago, he did not stand alone. Joining him at the vanguard were two evangelical Christians — Jerry Rose and Dr. David Clark — who brought their broadcasting expertise and love of Israel and the Jewish people to the table. These two pioneers and longtime leaders with the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) organization recently joined podcast host Bishop Paul Lanier, Board Chair of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, at the NRB convention, to discuss Rabbi Eckstein’s visionary and trailblazing work. Join us now for this inspirational conversation.
Two longtime giants in Christian broadcasting and the National Religious Broadcasters, Jerry Rose and Dr. David Clark, recently shared their memories of standing alongside Orthodox Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, of blessed memory, as he began the often-difficult work of building bridges between Christians and Jews.
The two men spoke with podcast host Bishop Paul Lanier, Board Chairman of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, while at the recent NRB convention in Orlando, FL.
“When I became president of Channel 38 in Chicago, which is now the Total Living Network (TLN), I got word that the Jewish community was concerned about a Christian TV station in Chicago,” said Jerry Rose, who currently serves as TLN’s chairman of the board. “I went to the head of the ADL (Anti-Defamation League), a young man named Michael Richmond, and said it’s important for Christians to know about Jews.”
Richmond agreed, and the two began working together to create some programming, but then Richmond left the ADL. Jerry Rose recalled, “I found out there was a new guy, Orthodox rabbi, and I thought, OK, I’m real interested in how this is going to work out.”
Jerry Rose remembers meeting Rabbi Eckstein for the first time and asking him whether he thought they could work together to bring dialogue between Christians and Jews. Rabbi Eckstein answered in the affirmative, and the two became close personal friends from that point on.
Dr. Clark said he met Rabbi Eckstein at CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network). Pat Robertson, who founded CBN and was its president, was very vocal in his support of Israel, and Rabbi Eckstein was a frequent guest on The 700 Club. In fact, it was Pat Robertson’s check for $10,000 to Rabbi Eckstein that help bolster the young fledgling organization, then known as the Holyland Fellowship of Christians and Jews.
Both Dr. Clark and Jerry Rose have served in leadership roles with the NRB; Jerry Rose served as its president, in addition to serving on the board of directors, and Dr. Clark served on the Board of Directors for more than 30 years and as board chairman for six years. This year, Jerry Rose was inducted into the NRB Hall of Fame, NRB’s most prestigious award presented to individuals for their invaluable contribution to Christian communication.
Because of the influence of the two men, Rabbi Eckstein gained entrée into the NRB and to a broader evangelical audience. “Whenever Yechiel would come to NRB and we had a reception, it would be standing room only. The room wasn’t big enough to hold all the people,” Dr. Clark recalled.
Jerry Rose said that NRB has had a long history of support for Israel “because we have such common roots that go all the way back to Abraham. If you are a Bible-believing Christian you have to look at the Bible in terms of how it relates to Israel and the Jewish people.”
In addition to serving in leadership roles with the NRB, both Jerry Rose and Dr. Clark have served on the board of directors for The Fellowship.
“I didn’t really know what it meant that day when I went in and introduced myself to Yechiel. But I’m grateful for having that opportunity to be there at that time and to be part of what this organization has become,” Jerry Rose said.