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Yael Ecstein

Yael Eckstein

International Fellowship of Christians and Jews
Jerusalem, Israel

What is the main focus of your activities today?
As President and CEO of The Fellowship, I oversee all of our philanthropic programs in Israel and the former Soviet Union, communication with our donors, and serve as our international spokesperson.

How long have you been doing that?
I assumed the role of president and CEO after my father’s death in February, 2019. Prior to that I served as global executive vice president, senior vice president, and director of program development and ministry outreach for The Fellowship. I have been with the organization for 15 years.

What are some of the successful related programs or projects that you have done this year and in past years?
Most recently, we responded immediately to help Israel through the COVID-19 pandemic by establishing a $10 million emergency fund. Through this fund, we provided essential medical equipment to Israeli hospitals and protective equipment for first responders, mobilized hundreds of volunteers to (safely) contact elderly and Holocaust survivors to check on their well-being and provide them with food, provided more than 200,000 people with Passover meals, and increased our funding to soup kitchens. We continued to provide aliyah during this time, working with the Israeli government to ensure that every safety precaution was followed to the letter. And I am proud to say we were able to do this even as we kept up our day-to-day work helping the needy in Israel and the former Soviet Union.

How did you get to where you are today?
Through the grace of God, hard work, the generosity of The Fellowship’s donors, and through my father – who had a beautiful vision of building bridges between Christians and Jews to support Israel, and made it a reality. He mentored me well, so that when he passed away he left me in charge of a healthy, thriving organization that is doing so much good in the world and connecting millions of Christians and Jews in shared values, respect, and communication.

What is your “testimony”?
The world, as we have seen so vividly in the past few months, is filled with uncertainty and challenges. I believe that, in both good times and bad, we must call on our faith in God, let go of fear, and lead by example. We must always do everything we can to provide for those in need, both materially by providing food and shelter and other essential support, and through prayer. We must be kind toward those who need help and toward anyone who could use some loving care. It is always time for Christians and Jews to come together in the spirit of faith and unity. When we do, we spread the light into the darkest places, and help to make the world a better place.

What do you think God is doing with regard to Jewish-Christian relations?
There is a beautiful verse in the book of Isaiah, chapter 49: “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” I believe with all my heart that the miraculous reconciliation between Christians and Jews has truly made “a way in the wilderness” – look at all the good that has come from it, all the needy people who have been helped through The Fellowship. It was a “new thing” when my father started this interfaith bridge building organization more than 35 years ago, but he followed his God-given vision and persevered, and now Israelis – and so many in the Jewish community – have come to know and understand that Christians are the best friends that Israel has. We are no longer alone! I believe that God used men like my father to bring about this miraculous change, and I feel blessed to be able to continue to carry on that work.

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