Dear Friend of Israel,
This Monday, July 10, marks the beginning of a period on the Jewish calendar known as “The Three Weeks.” Historically, these 21 days leading up to the holiday of Tisha B’Av have been a time of calamity and misfortune for the Jewish people.
During this period throughout history, both the First and Second Temples were destroyed. Wars began, Jewish families were thrown out of their homes, and pogroms (organized massacres of Jews) killed off entire Jewish communities. At this time of year, we look back at these tragedies and grieve.
Now we also grieve for the continued threats leveled at Israel by her enemies, for the continued rise in anti-Semitism around the world, and for the rise in radical Islamist terror. We lament the fact that, despite Israel’s many overtures for peace, so many countries do not maintain diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.
And yet, even as we mourn, we recognize that we still have a duty to engage in the blessed act of tikkun olam – “repairing the world.” That is why The Fellowship, thanks to the overwhelming generosity of our supporters, will bring more than two thousand olim (Jewish immigrants) to Israel this summer alone. It is why we continue to expand our work in Israel, providing people in desperate need with essential services. It is why we continue to look for ways to reach out to persecuted Christians. It is, in short, why The Fellowship does its work: because God tells us to help the poor, the downtrodden, and the oppressed, to do our best to repair a broken world.
The Three Weeks is certainly a time of solemnity and reflection. But it is also a time of hope. Jewish tradition holds that someday this period will one day become a time of rejoicing, not sorrow. During this time, we stand firm in God and His promises.
Our faith in God is what keeps us from falling into despair as we remember past tragedies, and as we cope with the tragedies happening in our world today. Let us continue to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem,” and for peace throughout the world, our eyes fixed on God, and our feet firmly planted in the hope and comfort He offers us.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President