The Christian Broadcasting Network

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Spiritual Life

Founder, International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, since 1983, a bridge-building organization to promote greater understanding between the two faiths

Author, The Journey Home (2001, Shavti House)

Host of several television and radio programs aired throughout the U.S.

Ph.D., Columbia University

Int'l Fellowship of
Christians & Jews
30 N. LaSalle Street,
Suite 2600,
Chicago, IL 60602

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Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein: Bridging Faiths

By The 700 Club -


In February 1992 Yechiel’s friend, Evangelical Christian pastor Jamie Buckingham passed from this life at the young age of 59. Jamie had visited Israel frequently and loved Israel and the Jewish people. Yechiel and Jamie often spoke of traveling to the Promised Land together. Unfortunately, that trip never happened. After Jamie’s death, Yechiel was approached by a respected Christian writer with the idea for Yechiel to tell his bridge-building story through a metaphorical trek up Mount Sinai, which never actually took place. Telling the story would not only honor Jamie’s memory but also inspire other Christians and Jews to stretch out their hands to one another in respect and love.

Yechiel says his book represents the ideal and vision he has been trying to bring about for the past 25 years. "Christians and Jews can walk together on separate paths, hand in hand, up Mt. Sinai and accept God’s Word," he says. There is no other setting, he explains further, for both Jews and Christians to be united. For Christians, Israel is the place where the biblical drama unfolded, where it will be completed, as well as where Jesus walked. For Jews, Israel is the center of the world. For both, it is the Promised Land.


Misunderstanding and prejudice between Jews and Christians remain today due to a lack of communication between the two groups. Issues inevitably arise that create tension and ill will between the communities. Yechiel’s International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) was founded in 1983 to counter the 2,000 years of ignorance, mistrust and antagonism. The mission of the Fellowship is to reverse this discord and replace it with a relationship marked by dialogue, better understanding, friendship and active cooperation on issues of common concern.

The IFCJ educates Christians and Jews by encouraging members of both faiths to embrace their shared values and morals while affirming their own religious beliefs. They also provide Christians with opportunities to express their financial support of various programs offered through the Fellowship. One such program, On Wings of Eagles, helps Russian Jews emigrate from the former Soviet Union to Israel and also assists poor, hungry, elderly and orphaned Russian Jews. Christians also have the opportunity to provide immediate and emergency needs of the poor in Israel through other IFCJ programs.

Yechiel also takes every opportunity to resolve and mediate disputes that may arise between Christians and Jews. Recently, New York Knicks basketball star, Charlie Ward, a professed born-again Christian, was reported to have made a statement in a Bible study that the "Jews crucified Christ." After that story made the front page of the New York Times and a serious attack by the NBA commissioner, by chance, Charlie and Yechiel shared a mutual friend who contacted him for assistance in the volatile situation. The mutual friend gave Charlie a number to contact Yechiel. "Charlie called me and said he never intended to be insensitive," says Yechiel. "He wanted to learn more about the Jewish faith and agreed to commit to a learning process." Part of this process, Yechiel says, begins with Charlie reading his book, The Journey Home, as well as several face-to-face meetings and a trip to Israel together. "This will be the trip I was never able to take with Jamie," says Yechiel. "Sometimes from bad things can come good."

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