New Radio Title:017 Bless Israel MISC V05

New Radio Title:017 Bless Israel MISC V05


New Radio Title:017_Bless Israel_MISC_v05

Source:YouTube (Used with permission granted by Mark Golub)

Offer:$25 Monthly Gift

Phone Number:855-58-BLESS

Program Note:Westar is taking this interview between RYE and Mark Golub, which originally aired on L’Chayim TV, and with permission received from Mark Golub, we are featuring this powerful interview on Bless Israel.


Many live solely on meager pensions, having to make the impossible choice every day between buying food and other essentials like lifesaving medicines, shelter, and heat in the winter months. But you can change that today for one precious Holocaust survivor, with a monthly gift of just $25. You can bless one of God’s chosen people today. And you can do that right now, right where you are. All it takes is a quick phone call to The Fellowship. Here’s the number to call and donate today. 855-58-BLESS. That’s 855-58-BLESS. 855-582-5377.

Phone Number → 855-58-BLESS


017_Bless Israel_MISC_v05

Transcript, Edits

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The following program, “Bless Israel with Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein,” is made possible through the prayers and blessings of friends and supporters of The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.


YECHIEL OPENING TEASER CLIP (Pull from Page 6/7 below)

Christians aren't there to be used. They're not there to be manipulated for their money. Or even for their political support. It's a relationship building. That's why I called their organization even though it's not a great name, but the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. Not the international alliance of Christians Jews. What we do is we strengthen the spiritual bonds between Christians and Jews and Christians and Israel.



And welcome to our broadcast here on “Bless Israel.”

Well today, we have a special program for you.

In a candid conversation, the founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, discusses his personal journey, answers his critics, and analyzes Israeli and Jewish life.

He spoke with Rabbi Mark Golub, (gah-luhb) who is the rabbi of two congregations in Connecticut, and is most well-known as the host of the Jewish TV talk show titled, L’Chayim in which he discusses issues of importance to the Jewish community with prominent Jewish figures.

Let’s listen to the discussion now with Rabbi Mark Golub and his guest, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein from The Fellowship.



Golub:How would you characterize someone who learned that hospitals in northern Israel lacked MRI equipment and then provided those hospitals with the funding necessary for each hospital to obtain an MRI machine? Or what would you think of someone who made sure that thousands of poor and elderly Jews had food at a cost of twenty nine million dollars a year? Someone who also sponsors summer camps for poor children. Builds fallout shelters for Jews terrorized by Hamas rockets in southern Israel. Provides educational scholarships for Druze men and women who serve in the IDF. Or who create shelters for the homeless in Jerusalem. Who does that? It sounds too good to be true doesn't it? When something is too good to be true it normally isn't true. Except in this case, it's all true. As a result of the herculean work of a true (Hebrew) the world you are seeing today a real hero of contemporary Jewish life.

It's an honor to welcome back Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. President of the international fellowship of Christians and Jews. An organization Yechiel personally founded in 1983 and is expected to raise this year one hundred and fifty million dollars this year, from one point five million evangelical Christian donors. From ordinary working class members of the evangelical Christian community who send in some seven thousand checks every single day with the average donation being around seventy dollars which Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein then uses to support a wide range of Jewish causes that hugely benefit the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

And yet Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein has come under some serious and often brutal attack. Critics accuse him of being an egomaniac fixated on personal publicity and claims his work often hampers the work of formal Jewish organizations and makes the government of Israel look as if it's either uncaring, incompetent, or both.

Who is the real Yechiel Eckstein? Who are you really? The outstanding Jewish journalist and writer, Zef Chafets has done a brilliant authorized biography of Yechiel Eckstein. It's entitled 'The Bridge Builder' published by Sentinel an imprint of Penguin Random House. It's a fabulous read beginning with an opening chapter that will tear at your heart entitled, 'The worst day of my life'. What a chapter, Yechiel. Five pages describes how the Chabad Synagogue Yechiel Eckstein an Orthodox Rabbi who often lead part of the services every Shabbat morning and where his Orthodox wife Bonnie and their twelve year old daughter Tamar would gather to celebrate that morning her becoming [Hebrew]. How Yechiel Eckstein was virtually pulled off the pulpit, banished to the back of the room because he was working with members of the Christian community. The party he and his wife had planned for their daughter for after services was virtually destroyed.

Yechiel Eckstein was alone that day. He recalls feeling humiliated and alone. It is clear even to his wife Bonnie who couldn't understand why the man she'd fall in love with and married, a rabbi’s son, a big good natured basketball playing Jock. Was a folk music star playing on the culture college music circuit, had transformed into a man who was befriending republican Reaganite evangelicals, was appearing on Pat Robertson's television show. Even Bonnie did not understand his mission. Yet Yechiel Eckstein recalls. Well this was the worst day of his life. He said in Bridge Builder. It didn't even occur to me to quit. Thirty years later Yechiel Eckstein is going stronger than ever and for every critic he has receives even greater support and appreciation for leading figures in the Jewish establishment and in the State of Israel.

Yechiel thank you so much for sitting again at this table. It is wonderful to be with you.

Yechiel:Thank you for such a beautiful introduction. I wonder if my mother would believe it but thank you.

Golub:I say again. When I think of the work you've done and the work you are doing it's almost too good to be true and whether it is always too good to be true it normally isn't and Yechiel what you've done is true. There are so many things I want to talk to you again about ... But I first want to say it's been my good fortune to be a friend of yours and the work you do is outstanding. Mazel tov.

Yechiel:Thank you. Thank you Mark and thank for your perseverance over the many years and despite all the challenges that you faced to keep this Jewish television program alive. It's not a small thing.

Golub:Thank you.

Yechiel:The Talmud says [Hebrew)] the greater the pain, sometimes the greater the reward. As you said there's been a lot of pain for many years going to today. It hasn't stopped. Just this past week a group of rabbis attacked me which is not unusual.

Golub:Where are these rabbis?

Yechiel:This rabbis they're four, five rabbis in Israel who attack me and the organization because the funds are coming from Christians. They even say that it's prohibited to accept funds. I pose and there was an article just this week attacking me and for that and I suppose the question to them if there ... You mentioned the MRIs, we have four hundred projects in Israel. MRIs being one of them. Six thousand bomb shelters that you mentioned. Well, these rabbis say that if God forbid their child needed an MRI would they say no because it's from Christians? Or if it was during a war and missiles were flying and he or his, those who follow them would say ... Would he actually say it's prohibited and danger of your life? They said yes. At least one of them said yes, the others have not responded which is crazy ...

Golub:It's crazy.

Yechiel:It's ideological the very people who attack me Mark are almost in every case. I've never met them they've never met me. But there are people who for all sorts of reasons it's in their best interest to attack it.

Golub:So your option was either to do it through the Jewish agency or for some reason you felt you could do a better job outside the Jewish agency.

Yechiel:I have been contributing for fifteen years one hundred seventy seven million dollars to the Jewish agency.

Golub:In the aggregate?

Yechiel:A total. Roughly twelve million dollars a year. But I felt that it's not doing the job it's going into some kind of an infrastructure ... I don't want to get into my opinions of the Jewish agency. The closed their Aliyah department three years ago. They changed their strategic plan as legitimate to do to Jewish identity. That doesn't affect the fact that there is an elderly holocaust survivor sitting in Donetsk who doesn't have food and whose ... Bombs are flying around there and they need a situation. What you going to tell them? It's not in the budget? That doesn't affect. I've been able Mark to ... The blessing that I’ve been given is that I've been able to keep my eye on the ball. The ball here is get as many Jews to Israel as possible helping as many Jews who are under anti-Semitism or in fighting zones to get them to Israel. To help those who are not with their food, clothing, medicine, heating fuel, this is the salt of the earth. These are the holy people etc.

The other organizations just don't have the resources or I would say, the ability to. Christians aren't there to be used. They're not there to be manipulated for their money. Or even for their political support. It's a relationship building. That's why I called their organization even though it's not a great name, but the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. Not the international alliance of Christians Jews. What we do is we strengthen the spiritual bonds between Christians and Jews and Christians and Israel.

After two thousand years where Christians are seen as the enemies, fratricide to say "Hey, that's not true necessarily today," and it's certainly not true of most evangelical Protestants. I was able to shape that together with people like the demonized Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and so many others to get them to the ... The fact that evangelicals are supporting Israel today isn't a given Mark. People read in the newspapers today in New York Times about the concern that the president has with Jews and evangelical Christians about ...That sentence, that clause took me thirty eight years of agony to bring about that people would just take it for natural evangelicals are supporting Israel.They weren't.

They've grown and I’ve succeeded with God's help I have succeeded to direct that burgeoning group to become support of Israel. But now for groups who see us with the hundred and fifty, one hundred sixty million dollar budget now when we've never in thirty years had a down year and I might say, we also do everything wrong. We don't have a dinner, we don't have a list of our donors and how much they give. We don't have an endowment. Every year we have to start off from zero. Why? For thirty three years, because we believe that when we're asking our donors to help feed hungry Jews, to help provide security ... We provide security for Jewish institutions around the world, from Greece to Morocco to Venezuela to Cyprus to all over the world and that funding is coming from Christians. When we do that then there needs to be a change in Jewish attitude.

I had what I called the 4As over the years that I wanted from Jews. I knew what I wanted from Christians to get them to be supportive of these religious people. This is a dialogue, it's a relationship, it's a fellowship. What did I want from Jews? A; the first A: To become aware that Christians are supporting Israel, the evangelical Christians. We've passed that. It took me a lot of years but we passed that. B: To acknowledge that support. Say it publicly. My donors are giving sacrificially. They're giving up a vacation, they're giving up a new car. They're tithing, they're giving ten percent of their social security. They are giving like Jews do not give. I’ll say that for the record frankly. How many Jews do we know ...? I'll give you one story. You mention we get seven thousand pieces of mail with checks a day. Most of them come with stories.

We have this woman a single mom in Florida who was giving us thirty five dollars a month for a few years. Then it started jumping to seventy dollars a month. How did that happen? We call up these people. We have a team of people who call to thank donors.

So, we called her and we asked how did this go from thirty five to seventy like that? She said, "You know, I'm a schoolteacher and I am single mom with two kids and I don't have much money, but the one thing that I love is Starbucks latte. I realized one day that instead of spending five fifty a day for latte from Starbucks I could go across the street to McDonald’s and buy a latte for four dollars and save the dollar and fifty every day to help Israel of Jewish people. That's our donor.

The third A is appreciation. We fund four hundred different groups in Israel alone in projects. Only in one case do we let the money go without them publicly acknowledging that it's coming from us and that's for a particular shelter for battered Charedi women. Up front if they did it then the rabbis wouldn't permit them to get money and they need the money.

The fourth A is attitude change. Attitude change after two thousand years is a lot more difficult. There are still many Jews in America from the left and from the right, actually less from the right than from the left, who haven't changed their attitude. The reality is that there are millions of Christians in America. There are one third of the population in America. Millions of Christians all over the world. We have now in Latin America which used to be an entirely Catholic continent. Today almost every country has thirty percent evangelical protestants, Pentecostal protestants in them. Korea, china, a billion people. There is hundred million Christians there right now and it's going to continue to grow.

I don't understand how Jews don't get it. There is this strategic ally we can't do this alone. Those Jewish organizations that think they can, I believe are mistaken both about Jewish power, Jewish clout and we see with this Iran treaty that it can have a backlash against Jews. But if we made this not a Jewish issue and not even an Israel issue, but we made this an issue of concern to Christians in America who are afraid that this could be used against America. If we put this into the larger context of world policy then it's not a Jewish issue. You've spread it over millions of people. How many Jews are there in Seoul, South Korea? We have an office there but how many are there? Or even in Brazil where you have a decent Jewish population. But when you have one hundred million Christians joining you in Brazil and you have millions in Korea and in China and in the Philippines etc. We haven't changed Jewish attitudes yet. We're still there, there's more to do but that's what I’m leaving for the next generation.

I'm not a fundraiser and I’m not a politician, I am a Rabbi. I believe in this one in a spiritual basis. I believe the same way that each year our board insists that we not have an endowment and that we use up all the money that we gained that year for the purposes that it's intended. When we tell Christians there are Jews who need money for food we are going to take that money and put it into food right away. We are going to close the year and start with a zero balance all over again. Am I concerned about the future? Obviously, but I really do have that belief that I can only do what I can do. If I do it with an attitude of [foreign language 00:31:48], my God's presence is guiding me and leading me, then I attribute all these numbers to God's blessings to doing it the right way.