The Bridge Builder: The Life and Legacy of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein - eBook  -     By: Zev Chafets
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The Bridge Builder: The Life and Legacy of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein - eBook

Sentinel / 2015 / ePub

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Product Information

Format: DRM Protected ePub
Vendor: Sentinel
Publication Date: 2015
ISBN: 9780698137813
ISBN-13: 9780698137813

Publisher's Description

The amazing story of Yechiel Eckstein, a Chicago-based orthodox rabbi who founded the world’s largest philanthropic organization of Evangelical Christians in support of Israel.

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, and is one of the largest 50 NGOs in America today. 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.

Author Bio

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.

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  1. Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    The Bridge Builder
    August 28, 2015
    Mama Callie
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    This is a story of a real life hero. There are not to many in today's world that could even hold a candle to that term. But Rabbi Eckstein has made it his mission in life to create a bridge between the Christian and Jewish culture. One that would bring each into the other's lives by the deep roots that are shared.

    In an incredible tale of hardships, trails, and rejections we witness the amazing determination of one man. Rabbi Eckstein is a man of strength in the face of defeat, a warrior in a cultural battle. He wades through the misinformation and rallies back victorious as he lends a helping hand to the Jewish people in need. For his entire career he has helped the Christians understand the life of the Jewish people, and then provided the Christians with the means to administer help, by way of financial support.

    He was told that he was un-Orthodox, that he was trying to convert Jews to Christianity. In fact, Rabbi Eckstein just wanted the world of Jews and Christians to be on the same page. To garner a better understanding about each other.

    Journey through his life and legacy as you read about all of the fascinating people he has dealt with, worked with, and helped. This is a story that shows you a different side of life, one that you just might want to join in.

    This book was an inspiring read. I am amazed at the depths that Rabbi Eckstein has gone to bridge the gap between Christians and Jews. He has done untouchable amounts of assistance, financial and otherwise, for the Jewish people in his lifetime. I am so glad I took the chance to read this book, it is a book that anyone that claims to be a Zionist should take time to read.

    * I received a free copy from FlyBy Promotions in exchange for my honest opinion and review. No other compensation was received. *
  2. London, Ontario
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    2 Stars Out Of 5
    Unless this subject fascinates you, move on.
    August 16, 2015
    Gabrielle
    London, Ontario
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 2
    Value: 1
    Meets Expectations: 1
    The Bridge Builder" by Zev Chafets is the biography of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. Truthfully, I hadn't heard of Rabbi Eckstein before and had no idea why he was of importance. As it turns out he's given his life to raising funds for the Jewish people to allow them to immigrate to Israel from places such as Russia, as well as a long list of social and welfare programs. Truthfully, that is putting it mildly. Eckstein has literally fundraised 100s of millions of dollars for the Jewish people. An astounding achievement by anyone's standards. For this I applaud him.

    Then it breaks down.

    As it turns out, most of the money comes from people like myself - born again Protestant Christians who also cling to the promise of Genesis 12:3. Awesome! To God be the Glory! But, as I've come to learn through this book, a lot of the time, they don't want our money because they see us as idol worshippers. Fair enough. I'm actually totally okay with that and see where they're coming from. But what irks me is the way Eckstein refers to Christians. He might think he loves them but when he talks about the number of Christians in the various countries and then says "This is too much potential to be ignored." I says to me, "I love Christians like a person loves the gold in the gold mine." Not flattering.

    By itself, it's a small thing but when you add it to the number of times in the book he refers to how ardently against Christian Missionaries he is, I start to scratch my head. Let me tell you something, the more I love you, the more I feel the need to tell you about Jesus. Therefore, does it not lead to the conclusion that if Christians love Jews, they want to tell them about Jesus? Don't be offended by it, see it for what it is - loving concern. (I do understand that much that has happened to the Jews in the 'name of Christ' are nothing short of the devil's work but that's for another post)

    Eckstein flatly admits he does not believe Jesus is the Messiah. He also says he didn't want Jews going to Christian worship services for fear they might convert. In other passages of this book, he admits to "to being drawn to Eastern spirituality" and says "In Jewish mysticism it (Shabbat) is associated with the Shekinah, a feminine name for God. 'The days of the week are masculine,' says Eckstein, 'The Shabbat is a queen." What? Again, if this is what he believes so be it. I rally for religious freedom. Just don't patronize me when you want me to write a check.

    The book itself was not really worth reading in my opinion. It was a list of names, what they believed about Christian - Jewish relations, how Eckstein overcame it and the amount of money he raised. Repeat, repeat, repeat. I didn't find in inspiring in anyway.

    At the end of the day, "The Bridge Builder" did nothing to garner my Christian support for the Jewish people. In fact, the exact opposite was accomplished. Actually it would be true except for one quote not from the book but from THE BOOK:

    "But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

    Matthew 5:44-46

    I do not believe I'm to love the Jews more or less than others. I'm to love period.

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