Give Thanks to Him and Praise His Name: This Thanksgiving And Everyday

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIANS AND JEWS)

Give Thanks to Him and Praise His Name

November 23, 2016

Dear Friend of Israel

On Thanksgiving, Americans gather with family and friends to share a meal and give thanks to God for their many blessings. It is one of America’s most beloved holidays – one of those rare times when we come together to reaffirm the principle that the good we have received as a nation and as individuals is a gift from God.

Though Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Israel, its theme is woven throughout Jewish life and holidays. During Hanukkah, which we will observe next month, we remember with a thankful heart God’s gift of a flask of oil that miraculously lasted eight days. On Purim, giving thanks to God is central to the joyous celebration of the Jews’ victory over the evil Haman. On Passover, our hearts are filled with gratitude when we remember how God delivered our ancestors from captivity in Egypt.

I am also reminded of this spirit of thanksgiving whenever I visit our Fellowship sponsored programs in Israel and hear heartfelt expressions of gratitude from Israel’s needy people for the help they are receiving. Through your generosity, this year more Jews have been brought to their biblical homeland, more hungry Jews have been fed, and more Jewish orphans have been given safe, comfortable places to live than ever before.

We cultivate a sense of thankfulness, first and foremost, by cultivating a sense of gratitude toward God, the One Who made us and sustains us. Psalm 100:4-5 tells us to “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” When we learn in all things to “give thanks to him and praise his name,” we will find that gratitude – for the smallest blessings, as well as the largest – will follow us throughout our lives.

This Thanksgiving, as I thank God for the many blessings he has bestowed upon me and upon The Fellowship’s ministry, I will also be thanking God for you, our Fellowship supporters – for your generous spirit, and for all He has accomplished through you. Your compassionate help provides so many needy people with the life-giving support that gives them hope. May your heart be filled with gratefulness for the many blessings in your life, and brim over with thanks to the God Who is the source of all those blessings.

With prayers for shalom, peace,


Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President

Biblical Wisdom for Divisive Times—Like Now

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIANS AND JEWS)

Biblical Wisdom for Divisive Times

November 17, 2016

Dear Friend of Israel

During my recent travels through the U.S., I’ve learned how deeply and profoundly Americans have been affected by the recent election. Last week, people of all political persuasions were glued to televisions and computers waiting for the results. Now, more than a week later, we’re still glued to our screens, reading the opinions of politicians and pundits as they discuss how President-elect Trump’s policies may change the country, and the world.

Of course, it is good and right to be concerned about politics. But there comes a time that we must tear ourselves away from our screens and focus on deeper things. For me, the Psalms have a wonderful way of putting things in perspective, of giving us that deeper, more complete view of the challenges we face, both personally and as a nation. Perhaps it’s their honesty – their willingness to address God personally in both good times and bad – that has brought me back to these ancient Hebrew prayers time and again.

The Psalmist sings praises to God’s glory, cries out to Him from the depths of his despair, laments what he believes to be God’s absence from his life, and even freely expresses his doubts before God. And the Psalms don’t just voice our emotions; they remind us of God’s character. In them, we come to know God as Creator, Sustainer, Healer, and Redeemer.

The themes of God’s power and sovereignty are evident in Psalm 76 and Psalm 8. They were meaningful in biblical times because then, as today, Israel was surrounded by fierce foes bent on her destruction. Psalm 76 serves as a sobering reminder of God’s power. It leaves no question that it is God alone who rules the earth. It speaks of the invincibility of God in battle, and the futility of trying to stand against Him and His chosen people.

Psalm 8 uses the personal name of God that He gave to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:14): Yahweh, the God of Israel’s covenant. God’s majestic name is wonderfully appropriate to this psalm. God is personal in His interaction with His creation, being mindful of mankind and caring for us. And yet, He is also transcendent, the Master of creation Who rules over all.

This psalm reminds us to have a childlike sense of awe and wonder when it comes to the display of God’s glory. His great love for mankind is shown in that He cared enough to place us just beneath the angels in rank of creation.

It’s all too easy to become so immersed in the things of the world that we forget that God is our ultimate defender and protector. But these psalms remind us to have the proper attitude when coming before God. It is both exhilarating and humbling to know that He goes ahead of us in our challenges, and that we are objects of His affection and care.

May we always be awed by the things of God. And may we always be reminded of God’s power, and His sovereignty over all things.

With prayers for shalom, peace,


Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President