Dear Friend of Israel,
It was my privilege recently to spend time again in South Korea, visiting our Fellowship office there and speaking at churches. I was moved and humbled, as I always am, by the warm welcome I received – and was again struck by the similarities between South Korea and Israel.
There are many parallels: both countries have representative forms of government that provide citizens a measure of freedom and liberty. Both embrace the development of technology and industry, and nurture innovation.
Both, too, face implacable enemies. In the countries surrounding Israel, as in South Korea’s neighbor North Korea, we see what happens when the few cling to power and wealth at the expense of the many. South Korea’s representative form of government stands in stark contrast to the regime in North Korea, which is one of the most oppressive dictatorships imaginable.
Tragically, the division of Korea after World War II, and the subsequent rise of totalitarian rule in the north, severed communities and separated families. Still, the bonds of family remain of paramount importance in Korean society. So it was fitting that, during my visit, I spoke at one church event about family, one of the fundamental building blocks of both Jewish and Christian life – and, indeed, of any healthy society.
For both Jews and Christians, faith is intertwined with our understanding and experience of family. God’s very first instruction to us in the Torah concerns family: “be fruitful and increase in number” (Genesis 1:28). The natural affection we see in a loving family is a glimmer of God’s love for us, and both Jewish and Christian households are indispensable not only in nurturing individuals, but in transmitting godly values from generation to generation.
How important these values are in a world filled with division and conflict! I am always heartened by the spirit of brotherhood I experience when I go around the world to spread The Fellowship‘s bridge-building message. I felt it in South Korea, and I am indebted and grateful to South Korean Christians for partnering with us in this critically important mission.
May this fellowship of like-minded, like-hearted people – united by a shared faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – spread around the entire world, as we declare with one voice, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1).
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President