When the Anti-Defamation League sent a young Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein to Chicago to foster interfaith relations in the late 1970’s, he was surprised to see how responsive Christian evangelicals were to the cause of supporting and defending Israel.
Eckstein founded the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews in 1983 to promote cross-cultural understanding and build broad support for Israel, Soviet Jewry, and other shared concerns. The Fellowship has grown and thrived over the last three decades, raising more than $1.1 billion. American Christians have become one of Israel’s most reliable sources of financial and moral support.
Few people realize that Eckstein and The Fellowship have done an unprecedented good deed in bridging an ancient cultural gap. Renowned journalist Zev Chafets explores Eckstein’s role in this important interfaith evolution, showing how an American rabbi made major progress in promoting dialogue, cooperation, and mutual respect in the face of harsh and unrelenting opposition.
Rabbi Eckstein receives no money from the sale of The Bridge Builder — all profits go directly to The Fellowship for ministry purposes. The Bridge Builder is also available in Hebrew.
Zev Chafets is the author of fourteen books of fiction, media criticism, and social and political commentary. He is a frequent contributor to the New York Times Magazine and a former columnist for the New York Daily News.
“In retrospect, it seems obvious that Yechiel Eckstein and the evangelical Christian community were made for one another. …He couldn’t help noticing how responsive the evangelicals seemed, how eager they were to help him do his job by supporting Israel, Soviet Jewry, and other Jewish issues. …(And) Eckstein, to his surprise, found himself moved by their sincerity, their religious passion, and their unconditional love for God, Israel, and the Jewish people.”
“I’ve known Yechiel Eckstein for many years, and am proud to say I’ve been a supporter of his organization, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, since its beginning 30 years ago. The Bridge Builder tells the story of a man with a vision – a man who realized that there were many, many Christians in this country who care deeply about the well-being of the Jewish state and the Jewish people, and set about to build bridges between these Christians and the Jewish community. As you will read in these pages, the work wasn’t always easy. But it is a testament to my friend Yechiel’s commitment and dedication that today the organization he formed stands at the forefront not only of building bridges between Jews and Christians, but in assisting people in need both in Israel and in Jewish communities around the world.”
“How good it is with this new biography to learn more about Rabbi Eckstein and the extraordinary vision God gave him to open dialogue between Christians and Jews, and to bring us together to work for a common cause. I have known Yechiel for many years. This book tells us the story of a man of great integrity who has faced many challenges in his work but has never wavered from his purpose: to teach Christians the biblical roots of modern-day Israel, and also to encourage them to support Israel and the Jewish people. At this time in history, when not just Israel but the entire Western world faces the rising threat of Islamist terrorism and growing anti-Semitism, I can’t think of a more important cause.”
“The Bridge Builder gives an up close and personal look at Eckstein by revealing his beginnings, works and dreams for the future. Chafets does an excellent job of describing the man behind this illustrious bridge of hope and faith.”
“[Zev] Chafets (Roger Ailes: Off Camera), an American-Israeli author and former columnist for the New York Daily News, provides a glowing authorized biography of Rabbi Eckstein, an Orthodox rabbi best known for his efforts to build bridges between American Jews and Evangelical Christians … Chafets offers a balanced look at Eckstein’s life, primarily tracing his willingness to look beyond his parochial community, which eventually led to his groundbreaking efforts.”
“Chafets offers a fascinating and remarkably candid (particularly for an authorized biography) look at Eckstein as a complex figure who has worked tirelessly for more than 30 years to strengthen Christian bonds to Jews.”
“Pick this book up. It is a great biography with a fascinating backstory. It’s inspiring.”
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