Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Bridge Builder: The Life and Continuing Legacy of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein {Book Review and Giveaway}

About Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein:
Founder and President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and Goodwill Ambassador for the State of Israel, Rabbi Eckstein has devoted more than 35 years to building bridges of understanding between Christians and Jews and broad support for the State of Israel.  He is recognized as the world's leading Jewish authority on evangelical Christians.  Rabbi Eckstein received Orthodox Rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University in New York.  He holds master's degrees from Yeshiva University and Columbia University, where he also completed studies for his doctorate.  Rabbi Eckstein has served on the faculties of Columbia University, Chicago Theological Seminary, and Northern Baptist Seminary.  He currently serves on the executive committee of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.  

About the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews:
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews was founded in 1983 by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein to promote understanding between Jews and Christians and build broad support for Israel and other shared concerns.  Their ministry's vision is that Jews and Christians will reverse their 2,000-year history of discord and replace it with a relationship marked by dialogue, respect, and cooperation.  Among the many things they do as an organization, they also create materials for teaching about the significance of connecting Israel and Christianity through such resources as A Woman of Valor: Celebrating The Proverbs 31 Women In Our Lives, A Man Of Faith: Reflections On Godly Leadership From The Ancient Shepherds Of Israel (both devotionals by Rabbi Eckstein), and Seven Fruits of Israel: Recipes And Devotions From The Holy Land (by Yael Eckstein).

About the book and the author:
Hardcover; 272 pages
Zev Chafets is the bestselling author of fourteen books of fiction, media criticism, and social and political commentary.  He has been a frequent contributor to the New York Times Magazine and is a former columnist for the New York Daily News

My thoughts:
This was a fascinating story, and I am glad to have had the chance to read it. I have followed IFCJ and the Rabbi's daughter, Yael, on social media for several years, but did not know the story behind their organization and efforts. Rabbi Eckstein has faced so much opposition to his calling. I just had no idea that such a task would garner so much condemnation and ridicule, especially from his own people. It was quite sad to learn the reaction of fellow rabbis (as well as a few Christians), especially towards Rabbi Eckstein's family. 

One such story involves his oldest daughter, Tamar, on the day of her bat mitzvah. Tamar and her mother, Bonnie, had decorated the Chabad shul, complete with blue and white balloons, festive blue tablecloths and a large cake with the words "Mazel Tov Tamar" on the top. The young rabbi came in, gave on disapproving glance toward all their party handiwork and declared it unacceptable. At the time, Rabbi Eckstein was upstairs taking part in Shabbat prayers. He knew nothing of the troubles surrounding the party. He was then not allowed to take part in leading the prayers during the service. He was confused and humiliated. Why the opposition from the rabbi of that shul? Rabbi Eckstein had been going into Christian churches in his interfaith work. This was prohibited by Jewish law. It was also considered idol worship to teach the Torah to Gentiles. He had transgressed the borders between the Jewish world and the Gentile one. 

There is so much to learn in this book. World history, Hebrew vocabulary, more about the Jewish people and their customs and thinking, not to mention all the incredible ways the Eckstein family ministry is helping Jews all over the world. Their organization takes in millions of dollars yearly and distributes it to the poor in Israel, to those in other countries making aliyah to Israel, and more. Check out the website below for details.

And if you would like to enter to win copy of The Bridge Builder, see below!



Twitter:  @TheFellowship


Purchase here

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Open to residents of the USA and Canada, age 18 or older.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.” This post contains my affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book at Booknificent Thursday!