Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, the President and Founder of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) has just announced a three million dollar multi-year gift to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) to provide care for the thousands of destitute Jewish children in the Former Soviet Union (FSU).
“This generous gift by Rabbi Eckstein and the IFCJ is a glowing example of how we all are part of a greater world family and an outstanding example of the Jewish responsibility of Tikkun Olam—each of us is responsible for the other,” said Judge Ellen M. Heller, President of the JDC.
IFCJ’s gift will enable JDC to expand its current children’s programs in the FSU where there are an estimated 50,000 impoverished Jewish children, many of whom suffer from a lack of food, medicine, and shelter.
Rabbi Eckstein, a long-time member of the JDC Board, exclaimed, “I am proud to be a Board member of JDC where JDC had the foresight, the vision, and the acceptance of responsibility to care for the Jewish children in the Former Soviet Union who are in need. The Fellowship is pleased to give this Children’s Initiative a new boost, and I hope that our Christian donors, the hundreds of thousands who are giving sacrificially, will be an inspiration to us all,” said Rabbi Eckstein.
Rabbi Eckstein has visited the FSU in the stark winter months to see the plight of Jewish children firsthand. “There are so many Jewish children without parents or whose parents are unable to care for them in the FSU today, some literally on the street and others in horrible, unsafe state institutions,” said Rabbi Eckstein. “The Fellowship’s gift will ensure that these children will be provided with food, housing, medicine and clothing,” explained Rabbi Eckstein.
Based in Chicago and Jerusalem, under the leadership of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, the Fellowship is governed by a Board of distinguished Christians and Jews. Since the fall of communism, the Fellowship has contributed close to 25 million dollars to JDC on behalf of elderly Jews in the Former Soviet Union. Funded primarily by Christians, IFCJ, a not-for-profit organization, promotes a greater understanding between Jews and Christians and builds Christian support for Israel and other shared concerns.
JDC’s support of Jewish people in the former Soviet Union began in 1991 and currently serves over 250,000 individuals. IFCJ, through Rabbi Eckstein, has been a pioneer in providing for the neediest Jews in the FSU and is critical in enabling JDC and its local partners to undertake a crucial expansion in services for impoverished Jewish children in the FSU.