February 27, 2009

THE LAST ACCEPTED BIGOTRY:

The Ultimate Kibitzer: Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein wants Jews to trust evangelicals, and evangelicals to love Israel. (John W. Kennedy,2/24/2009, Christianity Today)

At Kehilath Jeshurun, [Rabbi Yechiel Z. Eckstein] defends American evangelicals with the fervor of a Southern preacher. In a nonthreatening manner, he takes to task the crowd of primarily white-collar professionals for prejudices they may harbor against evangelicals. The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), Eckstein's 26-year-old organization, is proficient at raising funds from Christians via direct mail and the Internet. Last year, the organization raised about $88 million, making it one of the largest, most successful religious charities in America.

Eckstein recounts for the crowd a litany of sacrificial gifts evangelicals have made to ensure poor Jews get the help they need: there is the woman who gives from her meager Social Security check; another who switched from lattes to "coffees of the day" on her daily coffee runs and donates the difference; and the family that forgoes Christmas gifts to feed Israeli kids. Over the years, Christians have donated half a billion dollars to an organization founded by the Orthodox rabbi.

The Christian-Jewish connection Eckstein is describing transcends charity, however. Earlier this decade, evangelicals led the way in reviving Israel's dormant tourism industry after lethal terrorist attacks in the Jewish state. Eckstein asks his audience, "How many of you realize IFCJ recently gave at least $500 to every Holocaust survivor—an act no Jewish group has performed?"

No hands go up.

If Eckstein hasn't turned his audience into friends of evangelicals by the time he is finished, he has at least made sure they don't hate them.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 27, 2009 6:21 AM
blog comments powered by Disqus
« GIVE 'EM HUCK, MIKE: | Main | THE JOB OF DEMONIZING CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATS WILL BE MADE CONSIDERABLY EASIER FOR THE GOP...: »