Welcoming the New Year with Hope and Faith

Yael Eckstein  |  December 31, 2019

Yael Eckstein points at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in the distance
Yael overlooking the city of Jerusalem, Dome of the Rock, with Israeli flag hanging over fence railing.

Shalom,

Today we stand at the dawn of a new year and a new decade. As I look towards the horizon at 2020, I am filled with hope and excitement for what lies ahead. I am encouraged by all of the support that The Fellowship has received in the past year and the new partnerships and projects shaping up for this coming year. I can feel God’s blessing on this ministry!

And yet, even as I embrace a spirit of faith and optimism, I am very well aware that I can’t see what lays beyond the horizon. None of us can possibly know what tomorrow might bring. Often enough, we’re called to embrace the unexpected, and how we react to situations we did not anticipate is what ultimately determines how successful any year will be.

A Cherished Memory

Rabbi Eckstein and Yael in Chicago in winter

This reminds me of a cold night in Chicago a few years ago. My Abba and I were in town for important end of year Fellowship meetings. At the end of a very long day, I was looking forward to getting home as quickly and as warmly as possible. However, when I looked out the window I saw that it was snowing heavily. My immediate reaction was to be upset about the bad weather. After a long hard day of working, the last thing I wanted to do was to step out in the cold and wet snow. The thought of having to stand outside waiting for a cab did not make me happy.

But my father? He was smiling! “Yael!” he said. “We might as well enjoy it! If we have to go out in the snow anyway, we may as well make the best of it!” And that’s exactly what we did.

My father and I went outside like two small children. We laughed and played in the snow. We made snowballs and opened our mouths wide to catch snowflakes. We had so much fun that I barely noticed the cold.

Now, I look back on that moment as a cherished memory made possible by the very circumstances I was upset about. My father’s guidance to see the good in every situation and choose a positive reaction to any circumstance changed what I was seeing as a negative experience into one of wonder and magic. And it is this attitude that I will take with me into the new year.

So Much Light and Goodness

If I learned anything from last year, and the unexpected loss of my father, it’s to cherish every moment and to make the most of every situation – and to see everything as an opportunity, even the unexpected turns on our journey.

I see so much light and goodness up ahead. There are so many amazing people and wonderful initiatives coming together through The Fellowship. I am entirely optimistic about the year and decade ahead. Still, I will carry my father’s teachings with me so that I can truly make the most of whatever comes our way. “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11). No matter what happens I know that God is good, His plans are good, and that the future will be better than we ever imagined.

With blessings from the Holy Land,

Yael Eckstein's Signature

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