Each year, our friends at The Jerusalem Post compile a list of the most influential Jewish people. And this year, we’re proud that Yael Eckstein, The Fellowship’s President and CEO, made the JPost list! Here’s what the JPost had to say about Yael, who they call “A Helping Hand” and what Yael had to say about the year to come:
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Yael Eckstein, the president and CEO of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, is a much-loved and respected interfaith activist who builds bridges between Christians and Jews worldwide and the State of Israel. She oversees all IFCJ programs to provide medical, financial aid and food to Israelis – including the elderly and Holocaust survivors – which have taken on a new meaning since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as funding aliyah flights from at-risk countries.
“The Fellowship’s goal is to be the ‘first responders’ to basic-need emergencies faced by Jews around the world who have nowhere else to turn, and to respond immediately,” she says…
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing you in the coming year?
The biggest challenge is that there is so much in the world right now that we can’t fully predict. For example, coronavirus forced us to rethink how we serve the elderly who rely on our food cards, soup kitchens, and elderly clubs. We’ve responded by delivering more food packages and hot meals to those who should not leave their homes. And though it’s no substitute to the companionship they feel at elderly clubs, our team has personally called tens of thousands of elderly people to check in on them and make sure they are cared for.
If the coronavirus crisis persists beyond next year, we will have to adapt further in how we serve the over 1.4 million aid recipients who count on us annually – not only for physical sustenance, but emotional connection as well. However, with the team we have in place, I have no doubt that we will meet those needs in creative and meaningful ways. What I always tell my staff is that we must be clear, focused and strategic in our plans, but flexible enough to immediately tweak those plans to meet the changing needs.