IFCJ’s History

The Fellowship has been blessed by God with a rich history of bringing Christians and Jews together and helping millions of Jewish people in Israel and around the world. Journey with us through IFCJ history – we hope you’ll be inspired by the great things God has done!

  • Building Bridges Between Jews, Christians

    May 16, 1983

    Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein founds the Holyland Fellowship of Christians and Jews to fulfill his vision of building bridges of understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews.

  • Rabbi Endorsed by Christian Leaders, Publishes Book

    August 10, 1984

    The first Day of Christian and Jewish Solidarity with Israel is held with supporteres who include Dr. Pat Robertson and Dr. Jerry Falwell. Rabbi Eckstein authors book on "What Christians Should Know About Jews and Judaism."

  • Welcoming Ethiopian Jews to Israel

    January 8, 1985

    6,000 Ethiopian Jews are airlifted to Israel in Operation Moses, a dramatic mission that prompts The Fellowship to help fund resettlement programs for new Ethiopian immigrants.

  • Jewish Soviet Dissidents Released from Prison

    February 11, 1986

    The Fellowship plays a significant role in rallying support for the release of Soviet Jewry.

  • Holyland Fellowship Promotes Israel

    September 30, 1986

    Seminar tour to Israel kicks off a major effort to increase tourism to Israel and help the Israeli economy by marketing Israeli products.

  • Rabbi Appears on TV to Discuss Jewish-Christian Relations

    April 3, 1987

    Rabbi Eckstein makes regular appearances on television and radio to discuss subjects that include Israel, Jews, Judaism and Jewish-Christian relations. His goal is to end the vicious cycle of intolerance and prejudice that has marked relationships between Christians and Jews for centuries.

  • The Rabbi Is On the Air!

    February 15, 1988

    "Ask the Rabbi," The Fellowship's nationally syndicated radio program, begins airing on predominantly Christian stations. It is seen as a breakthrough in religious broadcasting.

  • Puerto Rican Christians Learn from the Rabbi

    October 12, 1989

    Rabbi Eckstein addresses more than 2,500 Christians at a nationwide Feast of Tabernacles event in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

  • On Wings of Eagles Takes Flight

    October 1, 1990

    The Fellowship launches On Wings of Eagles to bring Soviet Jews to Israel following the collapse of the U.S.S.R. An emergency campaign is launched and raises funds from the Christian community to pay for "Freedom Flight" airlifts from the former Soviet Union to Israel.

  • Christian Broadcasters Visit Israel

    February 28, 1991

    Rabbi Eckstein leads a delegation of major Christian broadcasters to Israel in the aftermath of Operation Desert Storm.

  • The Fellowship Becomes Truly International

    September 1, 1991

    The Holyland Fellowship becomes the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.

  • Welcoming Home Russian Immigrants

    January 1, 1992

    The first group of Russian Jews is airlifted to Israel by the On Wings of Eagles program, which has since brought hundreds of thousands of Jews to Israel from the former Soviet Union, Ethiopia, Argentina and other distressed countries.

  • Opening Doors with the Media

    February 7, 1992

    The Fellowship's On Wings of Eagles produces the television program, "While the Doors Are Still Open," hosted by Pat Boone.

  • Welcoming Home Ethiopian Immigrants

    December 1, 1993

    Operation Exodus — The Fellowship presents an additional $100,000 to bring Ethiopian Jews home to Israel.

  • 1000th Russian Jew Arrives

    January 1, 1994

    The 1000th Russian Jew from The Fellowship's On Wings of Eagles program arrives in Israel.

  • Joining Together as Christians and Jews

    November 29, 1994

    The first Evangelical-Jewish Leadership Congress is held in Washington, DC. The theme of the event is "Building a Moral Society Together as Christians and Jews."

  • Shared Values of Christians and Jews

    December 9, 1995

    The Fellowship opens the Center for Jewish and Christian Values in Washington, D.C., under the chairmanship of Senators Joseph Lieberman, Dan Coates, and Sam Brownback.

  • Stop Religious Persecution

    January 1, 1996

    Operation Alert is launched to fight religious persecution around the world.

  • Lifesaving Aid for the FSU

    January 1, 1997

    The Fellowship's Isaiah 58 program is created to provide food, clothing, medical help and other lifesaving aid for orphans and elderly Jews in the former Soviet Union.

  • Bringing Home Ethiopians

    January 12, 1999

    $2 million is donated by evangelical Christians to rescue the Jews of Kwara, Ethiopia, and bring them to Israel through the On Wings of Eagles program.

  • More Outreach in Jerusalem

    January 1, 2000

    The Fellowship's Jerusalem office opens. The Guardians of Israel program is launched to help families suffering from poverty and terrorism in Jerusalem and throughout Israel.

  • Terror Spreads Across Israel

    January 1, 2001

    The second Palestinian intifada begins in Israel. The devastation wrought by suicide bombers motivates The Fellowship to establish the Israeli Victims of Terror Fund.

  • 5 Million Christians Pray For Israel

    January 1, 2002

    Stand for Israel is initiated by The Fellowship in order to mobilize U.S. churches, Christian leadership, and individuals to express their solidarity with the Jewish state through prayer and advocacy. The first International Day of Prayer and Solidarity with Israel mobilizes millions of Christians around the world to pray for Israel.

  • North Americans from Over 20 American States Arrive in Israel

    July 9, 2002

    The Fellowship helps establish Nefesh-B-Nefesh, which is Hebrew for "soul to soul," and is an organization that encourages immigration by Jews to Israel from North America and other English-speaking countries.

  • Bringing Hope to the FSU

    January 1, 2003

    The Fellowship supports more than 200 programs in Israel and the former Soviet Union, including food and housing for the sick elderly, orphanages, rape crisis centers, distribution of coats for needy children, soup kitchens, security vehicles, spiritual centers for Ethiopian Jewish immigrants, job training and more

  • Welcoming IFCJ-Canada

    January 1, 2003

    Rabbi Eckstein founds the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews of Canada, a sister organization to The Fellowship in Chicago and Israel.

  • World Leaders Stand for Israel

    April 2, 2003

    Rabbi Eckstein and Ralph Reed organize the Stand for Israel Washington Briefing, a two-day strategic conference in Washington, D.C. to bring together key U.S. government leaders, Israeli government officials and pro-Israel Christian leaders from across the United States.

  • Stopping Terror One Seat at a Time

    January 1, 2004

    Operation Safe Bus is launched to safeguard public buses that transport as many as 1.7 million Israelis each day.

  • Mel Gibson's Film Brings Conversation

    January 1, 2004

    Rabbi Eckstein publishes "A Jewish Response to Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ" and "Understanding Evangelicals: An Introduction for the Jewish Community." These white papers, the first two in an ongoing series, provide unique insights to thousands of readers.

  • Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

    October 17, 2004

    Millions of Christians in thousands of churches in the United States and other countries participate in the third annual International Day of Prayer and Solidarity with Israel.

  • Do Christians Support Israel?

    January 1, 2005

    Rabbi Eckstein publishes "The Growing Church Calls for Divestment from Israel—a Jewish Response," a commentary that examines the widening rift between mainline Protestants and the Jewish community and the growing strength of the Jewish-evangelical alliance.

  • Goodwill Spreads to Latin America

    January 1, 2005

    Rabbi Eckstein is appointed as the State of Israel's Goodwill Ambassador for Christian communities in Latin America.

  • Protecting Israeli Citizens During the Second Lebanon War

    January 1, 2006

    The Fellowship's Guardians of Israel program is the first organization to deliver emergency food and supplies for people living in bomb shelters during the Second Lebanon War.

  • Soup Kitchens Bring Hope

    January 1, 2006

    The Fellowship’s Guardians of Israel program funds a network of soup kitchens, Meir Panim, throughout Israel.

  • Building Bridges With The Jerusalem Post

    February 1, 2006

    The Fellowship partners with the Jerusalem Post in launching their Christian edition of the magazine.

  • Bringing Home Iranian Jews

    November 27, 2006

    The Fellowship's On Wings of Eagles program helps 200 of the Bnei Menashe, descendants of the biblical tribe of Manasseh living in India, and 200 Iranian Jews, make aliyah to Israel.

  • Jewish Orphans Know They Are Not Alone

    January 1, 2007

    Isaiah 58 expands its work to help Jewish orphans, street children and Jewish kids living in poverty.

  • Bringing Home Immigrants From Arab Lands

    January 1, 2007

    On Wings of Eagles expands its work to help Jews from Arab and Muslim lands return to Israel.

  • Building Bridges With Latin America

    January 1, 2007

    Preguntale al Rabino (Ask the Rabbi) Spanish-language radio program is launched on 135 stations in over a dozen Latin American countries.

  • New TV Series Hosted by the Rabbi Joins Christians and Jews

    August 1, 2007

    Journey to Zion, a groundbreaking television series hosted by Rabbi Eckstein that provides educational information about the Jewish roots of Christianity, is launched on networks across the U.S.

  • The Fellowship Visits Israel

    November 1, 2007

    More than 100 Fellowship supporters visit Israel as part of the annual Journey Home Tour to Israel.

  • Renovating Bomb Shelters in Israel

    January 1, 2008

    The Fellowship’s Guardians of Israel program renovates 32 public bomb shelters in Sderot, which for years has suffered daily rocket attacks.

  • Happy 25th Anniversary to The Fellowship!

    September 22, 2008

    The Fellowship celebrates its 25th year of building bridges of understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews.

  • Holocaust Survivors Know They Are Not Alone

    January 1, 2009

    The Fellowship distributes more than $10.5 million to assist 27,785 Holocaust survivors in desperate need in Israel, the former Soviet Union, Latin America, and Europe.

  • The Fellowship Cares for Their Employees

    May 20, 2011

    The Fellowship is voted one of the "Top 50 Best Nonprofits to Work For" by The Non-Profit Times.

  • Congratulations, Yael!

    November 14, 2011

    Yael Eckstein is appointed as The Fellowship's Senior Vice President.

  • Building Bridges With South Korea

    September 20, 2012

    The Fellowship establishes a new affiliate in South Korea.

  • Emergency Aid to Southern Israel

    November 15, 2012

    The Fellowship distributes a $2.7 million aid package to cities in southern Israel during Operation Pillar of Defense.

  • Rescuing Jews in Ethiopia

    August 28, 2013

    The Fellowship helps make possible the final aliyah of Jews in Ethiopia, members of the Lost Tribe of Dan.

  • Needy Elderly Know They Are Not Alone

    September 1, 2013

    The Fellowship launches our With Dignity and Fellowship program, which provides food, medicine, and companionship to the neediest elderly in Israel. This is the first program The Fellowship runs entirely on its own, without partnering with any other organization to staff, supply, or sustain the program.

  • Ongoing Support for War-torn Ukraine

    February 27, 2014

    The Fellowship provides more than $1.7 million to aid Ukrainian Jews during a period of extreme civil unrest.

  • Protecting Israeli Citizens on the Ground

    July 22, 2014

    The Fellowship distributes more than $3.4 million to provide aid to Israelis in need during Operation Protective Edge.

  • Freedom Flights Show Immigrants We Care

    December 22, 2014

    The Fellowship launches our own aliyah program, which is initiated by two flights bringing hundreds of Jewish refugees from war-torn Ukraine to Israel.

  • The Bridge Builder: The Life and Continuing Legacy of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein

    August 11, 2015

    Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein's biography, The Bridge Builder, by Zev Chafets, is published by Penguin Random House.

  • Aliyah to Israel Nearly Triples

    December 5, 2016

    The Fellowship nearly triples its share of overall aliyah (immigration to Israel), becoming a dominant force for Jewish immigration to Israel in nine of the countries in which it is active.

  • Drones Protect Israeli Communities in the South

    September 17, 2017

    Our supporters help us fund security drones for Israeli communities that face increasing terror threats.

  • The Fellowship Hosts its First-Ever Gala

    March 25, 2018

    The Together in Fellowship Gala is held at Mar-a-Lago in Florida. Christians and Jews from around the globe gather to celebrate Israel’s 70th anniversary and The Fellowship’s 35 years of strengthening Israel and her people.

  • Happy Anniversary to Israel and The Fellowship!

    May 14, 2018

    The Fellowship celebrates its 35th year of strengthening Israel and her people, as Israel marks her 70th anniversary of independence.

  • Rescuing the Persecuted

    July 15, 2018

    As Christian communities in the Middle East are being decimated by terrorists, The Fellowship helps to fund a medical clinic on the ground for Christian refugees who fled to Jordan, as well as provide food and housing assistance.

  • Yael Eckstein Appointed Fellowship President

    February 6, 2019

    Yael Eckstein transitions into the role of president of The Fellowship, answering God’s call to continue the rich legacy that her late father, Rabbi Eckstein, left behind.

  • Fellowship Founder and President Rabbi Eckstein Passes Away at 67

    February 6, 2019

    The Fellowship mourns the passing of our founder Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, and pledges to carry on his work of supporting Jewish people in need around the world and building bridges between Christians and Jews.

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