The Evangeliker Rav

When we wrote last week,

The Christian Broadcast Network is repeatedly airing a program starring former Sachnut (Jewish Agency for Israel) chief Sallai Meridor, Finance Minister Bibi Netanyahu, Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, along with the head of the JDC in Israel, Rabbi Yaakov Bleich of Kiev and Yechiel Eckstein, and old, sick Jews from the FSU. The co-stars are Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Pat Boone and a host of evangelicals telling their flocks that the elderly Jews of the FSU are targets of rabid antisemites who are, essentially, coming to kill them in their beds.

…the big question for some of us was “Who the hell is this Yechiel Eckstein character?” The good ol’ Times delivers the goods:

In the past 25 years, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein has traveled to China to liberate persecuted pastors, hiked through Ethiopia and Siberia in search of vulnerable Jews, advised prime ministers in Jerusalem and met with evangelical Republicans at the White House. His immediate plans include transporting an entire biblical lost tribe from northeastern India to the Holy Land and starting a Spanish-language ministry for the Pentecostals of Latin America. He has even talked about recording some sacred hymns with Debby Boone. And, as Eckstein himself might say, God only knows what he’ll do after that.
All this hyperactivity is financed by the contributions of evangelical Christians. In the last eight years alone, an estimated 400,000 born-again donors have sent Eckstein about a quarter of a billion dollars for Jewish causes of his personal choosing. No Jew since Jesus has commanded this kind of gentile following.
This success has, of course, bred detractors. Some of Eckstein’s fellow Orthodox rabbis would like to exile him for consorting with Christians. Eckstein is a registered Democrat, but there are liberal Jews who view his friendship with Red State evangelical conservatives like Pat Robertson, Ralph Reed and Gary Bauer as cultural and political treason. Even those who applaud Eckstein’s philanthropies are sometimes skeptical about what he calls his “ministry.” For Jews, who are used to seeing themselves as victims of bigotry, the saga of Yechiel Eckstein raises uncomfortable questions about who loves — and who hates — whom.

Full story.

5 thoughts on “The Evangeliker Rav

  1. I am not exactly sure of what exactly he does, I just know ,I’ve witnessed his fundraisers on the TV early in the morn, especially on BET(black entertainment television). He fundraises to bring old Jews out of USSR to Israel, Yesher KOach, they should be in Israel, and not Russia. No Jew should Russia. Is he corrupt or something, I don’t really know

  2. his daughter is really cool. I’m told he would daven by himself, singing and jumping in their backyard sometimes.

  3. cool or not, here’s the question about all that: Ok. Someone sends eckstein 350 for a one-way ticket for the oldtimer and they come to israel. In the FSU it costs a fraction to take care of them than it does in israel, which is even more expensive than the US
    the nazis, btw, are not killing them in their beds….anyway, right now 1/3 of the survivors in israel are going hungry and so are 500,000 children. Bring in more poor elderly people and you strain the system even more. so the question is WHO WILL PAY FOR THEM??????
    very appropriate password. today it’s finance. amazing

  4. This is interesting. Surely its not necessarily a bad thing for him to be associating with Christian fundies? Anything to keep that lot grounded has got to be a good thing. And say what you want about those guys there are quite a few Christians who look to them for guidance.

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