It is with a deep and profound sadness that The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) joins with so many others in Israel and around the world in mourning the untimely death of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, z’l, the founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and a towering figure in the philanthropic and Jewish world. Rabbi Eckstein served as a long-time JDC Board member and Executive Committee member and was, together with IFCJ, the recipient of the Raoul Wallenberg Award, JDC’s highest award. The Mishna says: “Whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.” Therefore, what can one say about someone whose life work helped save tens of thousands of lives? As our staunch partner in the Lifeline partnership, Rabbi Ekstein and IFCJ worked with us on behalf of elderly Jews in the former Soviet Union who are the poorest Jews in the world. We cherished his stalwart passion for the Jewish people, Israel, and for aiding the neediest among us. His vision, dedication, and urgent call for the ongoing relief of Jews in need serves as a lesson to us all and will serve as a legacy for generations to come. Baruch Dayan Emet. May Rabbi Eckstein’s family, including his wife Joelle, and daughters Tamar, Talia and Yael, be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
Our statement on the passing of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein z”l
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JDC — the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee or “The Joint” — is the leading Jewish humanitarian organization, working in 70 countries to lift lives and strengthen communities. We rescue Jews in danger, provide aid to vulnerable Jews, develop innovative solutions to Israel’s most complex social challenges, cultivate a Jewish future, and lead the Jewish community’s response to crises. For over 100 years, our work has put the timeless Jewish value of mutual responsibility into action, making JDC essential to the survival of millions of people and the advancement of Jewish life across the globe.
For more information, please visit www.JDC.org.