Dear Friend of Israel,
I was deeply saddened to hear of Billy Graham’s passing.
Dr. Graham was the worldwide face of evangelical Christianity. What was especially remarkable to me was how he showed his faith to the world – how he brought it into the public square unapologetically and without compromise, but in a way that was sensitive and tolerant.
He was simultaneously nonjudgmental and absolutely committed to his evangelical mission. This ability to remain absolutely firm in his convictions but also open and sensitive to others provided a model and an inspiration as I went about my own work building bridges between Christians and Jews. And I believe it is a model for anyone who seeks to build bridges of cooperation and understanding between members of different faiths.
I am grateful, too, for his love of Israel, and how much he communicated that love, which was deeply spiritual, and stemmed from his faith. And though he seldom got involved in political activism on Israel’s behalf, he understood Israel’s challenges, and recognized the Jewish state as the lone democracy in a sea of oppressive countries – as a “light unto the nations” amid the darkness of oppression in the Middle East.
Today, I hope all will join me in praying for Dr. Graham’s family – for his five children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren – and for all who loved him and grieve his loss. Thank God for the life of this extraordinary Christian man and his voice of morality and reconciliation that touched so many people for the better.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President