In preparation for Shabbat (sabbath), which begins tonight at sundown, Rabbi Eckstein and his wife, Joelle, make challah -- and offer us wonderful insights to the symbolism and importance of this bread to Jewish life.
In celebration of Black History Month, and as part of The Fellowship’s expanding outreach to the African-American community, we have released a new booklet on the historical and spiritual bonds between African Americans and Jews.
“On the Frontlines of Faith” was written by Dr. Edward L. Branch, pastor of Third New Hope Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, and member of The Fellowship's African-American Advisory Council, and includes reflections by Rabbi Eckstein.
The Fellowship is once again saving lives by installing smoke detectors, at no cost, to needy elderly, Holocaust survivors, and families living in poverty throughout Israel.
Like in the U.S., there are many people who are killed in household fires, but unlike the U.S., the concept of smoke detectors in Israeli homes is not so prevalent, especially in poverty-stricken areas.
Fire officials estimate that 40 percent of all people killed in household fires could have been saved had a working smoke detector been installed in the home.
Last week, Rabbi Eckstein and The Fellowship had the pleasure of hosting church leaders from the Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC) for a tour of the Holy Land. Between visiting Fellowship projects and biblical sites, the group was honored with a visit with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who spoke about The Fellowship's work and his own work in Israel.
Rabbi Eckstein continues his trip through Ukraine, assessing the needs of the country's Jewish community and providing help to those who have lost so much.
One woman he met has lost everything. Anna, an elderly woman whose house was bombed during the military operations in Ukraine, not only lost her home, but her lifelong partner, as well. During the bombing, Anna's husband died of a heart attack.
While the war and social unrest in Ukraine has fallen out of the news as of late, the situation there is worse than ever.
Rabbi Eckstein, currently in Ukraine to assess the situation, says he has "never seen it this bad." Many elderly in the Ukrainian Jewish community have gone days with no food or water. For many, a cup of hot water is a meal. When they can afford to, they buy half a loaf of bread, which must then last two weeks.
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) recently took a survey to see how many of the elderly in Israel need assistance with heating their homes in the winter. Sadly, tens of thousands of elderly go without heating or food in the winter because they simply cannot afford these basic necessities.
Yesterday a group of 22 leaders with the Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC) traveled to Israel on a Fellowship-sponsored trip to learn firsthand about the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship and to see The Fellowship’s lifesaving work throughout the Holy Land.
Reverend James C. Perkins, President of the PNBC, says, “I am honored to be a part of this great opportunity, and to promote the Progressive National Baptist Convention’s mission of peace and social justice issues worldwide.”
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day this past Monday, Rabbi Eckstein joined members of the Progressive National Baptist Conference (PNBC) at their board meeting in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He provided remarks along with church leaders, congressmen, and civil rights icons.
The Fellowship will host a 25-member PNBC delegation for an exclusive tour of Israel later this month. Stops will include visits to sacred sites as well as Fellowship-supported projects that help orphans, youth, soldiers, and Ethiopian immigrants.
Yesterday Rabbi Eckstein spoke at a special service in Detroit that joined the congregations of a Jewish synagogue and an African-American Baptist Church. “Building Bridges Together – An Afternoon of Song and Inspiration,” held at Russell Street Missionary Baptist Church, was a celebration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the bonds between these two faith communities.