Extraordinary Challenges, Extraordinary Faith

Yael Eckstein  |  December 16, 2020

Yael Eckstein delivers food box during extraordinary year of 2020
Yael Eckstein delivering emergency response packages containing food and sanitation supplies. Food box. Face mask and gloves.

As we approach the end of 2020, I look back on a year that none of us expected or could have prepared for. Yet, although this year posed incredible challenges, it also revealed the strength, resilience, and kindness of humanity. In particular, the way that The Fellowship staff and supporters responded to the new needs created by the coronavirus crisis has been nothing short of extraordinary.

When the pandemic first began, The Fellowship decided to do everything in our power to fulfill what has always been our core mission: saving Jewish lives. We allocated $20 million of additional funds to help with the crisis. It may sound strange to commit to providing more aid during a year of such economic uncertainty, when contributions could possibly decrease because of the financial impact of the pandemic. However, we took a leap of faith and stood by our biblical values of feeding the hungry, caring for widows and orphans, and providing for the needy.

Thankfully, through the generosity of our supporters, we were able to meet our goals and help more people than ever before, both through our coronavirus relief efforts and our day-to-day programs that help people in need in Israel and the former Soviet Union. In 2020, The Fellowship provided aid for over 2 million Jews in Israel and around the world — up from 1.7 million the year before.

Tireless Work

When I reflect on The Fellowship’s accomplishments over the past year, I can’t help but wonder how it was all possible. How were we able to increase our lifesaving aid so dramatically during such a difficult time?

I believe that there are two answers. The first component of our success is extraordinary professionalism. The Fellowship’s incredible staff called on existing partnerships and systems in place in order to adapt quickly and distribute aid effectively. No other organization in Israel is better equipped to do so. Moreover, while most Fellowship employees worked from home this year, dealing with their own pandemic related challenges, they worked tirelessly to meet the growing needs and maximize our impact.

The second component, and the real secret to our success, is extraordinary faith. It took faith for The Fellowship to commit to helping more people than ever before, but it took the faith of our supporters to make it possible. Christians around the world responded with faith to our call for help, and we received more contributions this past year — even during a crisis — than any other year. I am truly humbled and inspired by this faithfulness.

Heartfelt Thanks

I am deeply grateful to all of those who made it possible for The Fellowship to do more good and bring more hope to more people this year — our staff, our donors, our volunteers, and those who held us in prayer. But, most of all I am thankful to God, with Whom anything is possible.

Yet, while we celebrate our accomplishments, there is still so much more to do — and as the pandemic persists, the needs keep growing. My hope and my prayer, as we go into the new year, is that we can help even more people. And as I look back on all that we have achieved together over the past year, I have complete faith that we will.

Friends, I want to wish you and your loved ones a joyful a blessed holiday season. May the new year bring an end to suffering and usher in an era of unprecedented blessings.

With blessings from the Holy Land,

Yael Eckstein's Signature

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