We’ve Created a Family
Yael Eckstein | April 3, 2019
In a recent Fellowship Family Meeting, Yael discussed what we have created together, what we are doing together today, and what we will accomplish in the future. Below is a transcript of the remarks she shared with thousands of Fellowship friends and supporters on this very important phone call.
Thank you everybody for joining us. It’s amazing not just what a fellowship we have, but what a family we have. Right now, we have over 16,000 people on this call with us. We’ve really created a movement. We’ve created a family. We’ve created something that is so powerful and that I know is so blessed in the eyes of God.
So, first of all, thank you for being part of this because as we know, every large number isn’t just a large number. It’s full of individuals who are passionate, who are driven by the motivation of the Lord to do good in this world, to spread lovingkindness, and to be united in brotherhood just as the Psalms say: “How good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in peace.”
I’m actually here in America right now. It’s very sweet. I’m at my grandmother’s house, sitting at my grandmother’s table. I had meetings for the past week in Toronto and in Miami and in Boca Raton and across Florida. And I got some time to come and spend some time with my grandmother. So, it’s very special just being here today.
The truth is, this trip is a little bit hard for me. It’s the first trip to America that I’ve taken following my father’s death. And it’s really been an interesting two months. On one hand it’s been the most difficult two months of my life, that’s for sure. But it’s also been a time that I feel God so strongly with me. It’s a time that I see God’s hand looking back in everything that’s happened for the past two years and everything that my father and the board of directors have been doing over the past two years to prepare me for this very moment.
What I’ve realized is that just like the story of Esther, I have been put here “for such a time as this.” But what I’ve realized over these past two months is that we’ve all been put here “for such a time as this.”God has prepared us all for this next stage, this next transition in The Fellowship and in the world.
I look at this world as a time when we are faced with good and evil, with right and wrong, with godliness and ungodliness. And I really look at The Fellowship as the forefront of that, of bridging people of all faiths in a love for God, in a love for His children.
So far, the trip to America has been amazing. I’ve been feeling my father with me leading the way, patting me on the back, saying, “You’re doing great. I’m so proud of you.” And it’s just been amazing to see the support and encouragement that I’ve been getting everywhere I’ve been going.
The truth is that this came as a shock to everyone — my father’s death. But we’ve been in the middle of transition for a few years already. The Board of Directors voted me President-elect just a few months ago. And for the past two years, my father has been going through the transition with me.
He’s been putting a lot of the things that he used to handle over to me. I’ve been overseeing a lot of the relationships, both with the board and with the donors, while also overseeing the programs and the allocations of funds, exploring the new opportunities where The Fellowship can make even a bigger impact, and going out and following through on those opportunities in order to save more Jewish lives.
For example, we’ve donated over a dozen drones to help the people of Israel that from the air the IDF, the army, is able to use the Fellowship drones donated by Christians around the world in order to look if there’s any infiltrators or terrorists coming into these communities to infiltrate.
For the past two years, my father had been saying, “Yael, you have the vision, you have the wisdom, you have the drive. You have to do this now. You are the future.” And so, I really see God’s hand in this, that He was preparing me for this day that I did not think would come, a day that I dreaded. But on the other hand, I feel prepared because of God, because of my father, and because of the board. And I’ve only felt encouragement, which is amazing.
It’s been very interesting because for my father’s entire life, the way that I honored him was by not sitting in his seat. We have a biblical commandment to not sit in the seat of our parents. I realize now that I can honor him by sitting in his seat, by taking on the vision of The Fellowship, by taking on this mission, by taking on what he created out of passion and wisdom and faith, and bringing it to the next level.
And so, I am honored and humbled to be the President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. And I realize that I’m only as strong as my amazing team. There are no words to describe how amazing our staff at The Fellowship is, as well as our friends of The Fellowship, our donors, along with people who aren’t able to donate but who are sending up prayers for our success.
The truth is, this trip to America was planned for a while. I was actually supposed to be here with my father for the board meeting that we’re having in another two days. It was planned for a while, but up until an hour before I left, I didn’t know if I was going to actually come to America.
You see, two days before my trip to America, I went to the Israel border of the Gaza Strip that we all know is run by Hamas terrorists, and I got a security tour.
I got to see all the different projects of The Fellowship: 5,500 bomb shelters that The Fellowship has built, and emergency centers where the head of the army, the head of police, the mayor, all the different officials can congregate in the bulletproof, bombproof building to make sure the citizens are safe. They didn’t have this before The Fellowship donated it. We went around, and we saw the security situation. They kept saying, war can break out at any minute, we have to be prepared, and The Fellowship and the Christian and Jewish friends around the world through The Fellowship are our strategic partners. They updated me on things that they’ll need during war.
I went home and not even twelve hours later, there were two rockets launched over Tel Aviv. In the house that was destroyed, miraculously the seven family members survived. But what I realized was that we are needed in Israel. People are relying on us for their life. The government of Israel is turning to The Fellowship to say, “We need more bomb shelters.”
It’s amazing to see what an impact Christians around the world are having without even physically being in Israel, through The Fellowship, to say, “We stand with Israel.” And it’s not only Christians on this call. There are also Jewish people on this call. And what’s amazing is that the Jewish community fully recognizes for the first time in history that Christians are not only our friends, but they are our strategic partners, that we are in this together — Christians and Jews standing together to be a voice for Israel, a voice for God.
Through doing that we’re saving hundreds of thousands of Jewish lives a year. Let me tell you just how great God is. I know everyone on this call already knows that, but I’m just going to tell you a few things that happened in the past two months since my father’s passing.
The Fellowship hasn’t had even one glitch in distributing the aid to the people who rely on us. The Fellowship distributes meals to over 20,000 elderly, mostly Holocaust survivors, every week using volunteers. Not one of them didn’t get their meal since my father died. We’ve fed over 30,000 elderly in Israel on a nearly daily basis, if you include our soup kitchens, as well. We have Meals on Wheels. We have soup kitchens. We have volunteers, and not one day, not one person has missed getting their aid since my father’s death. We have provided 240,000 school lunches to schoolchildren who otherwise wouldn’t have lunch. In Israel, there’s no national food program. We don’t have food stamps like you have in America. And so in Israel, The Fellowship is the national food program.
The Bible says, when you see somebody who’s hungry, feed them. Christians from around the world are coming to tell the Jewish people, you are hungry, I am here to feed you. And it’s amazing. Not one of those 240,000 school children who rely on us in the former Soviet Union and in Israel have missed a meal, not even for one day.
We’ve provided a new security drone for Israel because as the security situation heats up and there are more terrorists who are trying to infiltrate, we need more aerial vision to make sure not even one terrorist gets through. And on top of that we’ve had aliyah flights planned almost every day with new immigrants to Israel from over 37 countries.
You know, the Passover holiday is coming up and many of you might have seen a video that I posted from a matzah factory. Matzah is what we call the bread of affliction. It’s actually what Jesus had at his final supper. It’s unleavened bread without any yeast in it. And it represents when the Israelites were slaves and had to leave Egypt, they had to do so quickly, hastily. God said it’s time to go and they had to go without letting their bread rise. And what we remember with this bread of affliction is that in some ways we all are slaves. We all have our problems. We all have our sorrows. We all have our hardships. It might be one person lost their job. It might be another person has a sick parent. There might be another one that’s praying for their child to return to faith. And what this matzah of Passover reminds us is that God can redeem us in an instant, all we have to do is to keep on praying.
This year we are preparing Passover meals, this matzah, this bread of affliction for over 325,000 Jews in Israel and the former Soviet Union so that they can celebrate in dignity, and most importantly, so that they can remember God is with them. Christians and Jews around the world are with them, and they can remember as we say in Hebrew, “Redemption from the Lord comes in the blink of an eye.”
So, what I want to do with The Fellowship is not only continue to provide for 1.5 million Jews in need every year in the name of Christians and Jews around the world, but to grow it. Right now, what we need more now than ever is to engage the next generation. I actually am that next generation.
I’ll use my voice to engage the next generation of Christians around the world who are exploring their faith but might not know what it means to be grafted onto the rich olive tree of Israel. They might not know their Jewish roots, why they should stand for Israel, why they should pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and what God promises in return.
We are in a situation of crisis — it’s now or never to reach out to the next generation. I am going to do everything I can to continue our aid to the people who rely on The Fellowship for food, for clothing, for shelter, and to reach out to the next generation so that support for Israel, and that brotherhood of those shared Judeo-Christian values will only grow.