Rabbi Eckstein: No More Under the Table Donations

(Friday, October 23rd, 2009)

cae.jpgRabbi Yechiel Eckstein, who serves as president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews is busy preparing a list of all chareidi organizations that receive funds from his organization, a move reportedly compelled by a p’sak issued by Maran Rav Elyashiv Shlita and Eida Gavaad Rav Weiss Shlita, stating accepting funds from his organization is close to idol worship.

Rabbi Eckstein is quoted by the J. Post as explaining every organization may conduct itself as it sees fit, and no one is compelled to receive funds that are deemed inappropriate. What he objects to is the fact that there are indeed chareidi organizations that do receive funds, ‘under the table’ so to speak, since they are not listed among recipients. He explains that this will change and any organization unwilling to permit their name to be published will no longer receive funds.

It is a known fact that among the many recipients in the chareidi community is the Migdal Ohr institutions which are operated by Rav Yitzchak Dovid Grossman Shlita of Migdal Ha’emek. Interestingly, the J. Post speculates that those opposing Rav Grossman’s entry into the Jerusalem Rabbinate race may have compelled R’ Elyashiv’s ruling last month, pointing out the timing may be more than coincidental.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)


23 Comments

  1. savelkwd says:

    How can one call this person a “Rabbi”.

    this guy is a missionary. if you ever by mistake look at a cable show thisguy is putting his hands around women in Russia and elsewere and begging people for money to save the jews and prayes with them . Total missionary.

  2. savelkwd says:

    follow this link and see that he openly tries to show “Jewish roots in Christianity”

    Most of his website is very hidden to such wording but if you ever watch his video “Wings of Eagels” its pretty clear.

    http://www.ifcj.org/site/PageNavigator/eng/rabbi/

    Rabbi Eckstein’s Resources

    “Grow in your faith as you learn more about the Bible and the Jewish roots of Christianity by using our Rabbi’s Resources. Studies including Journey to Zion, Return to Zion, Journey Through The Scriptures, and Ask the Rabbi will capture your interest as they bring you on amazing journey of discovery deep into the heart of God’s word.”

    The Rabbi Recommends

    “Are you looking for books, videos, and other resources that will help you learn more about Israel and the Jewish people? Here you’ll find resources recommended by Rabbi Eckstein that will lead you to a greater understanding of Israel, the Jewish people, and the ties that bind Christians and Jews.”

  3. yochi says:

    # 1
    Which part of “putting his hands around women in Russia and elsewere and begging people for money to save the jews and prayes with them” makes him a “missionary”?

    Not an “orthodox” Rabbi, ken zayn, but being friends with X-stians and praying with them, in order to shlep some gelt, does make someone a missionary.

    The last part of this article leads me to believe that politics is involved, unfortenatley over the last few months we saw a number of times how even the Gidoiley Hador got fooled into giving a psak after hearing 1/2 truths. Thanx to those kanoim, I no longer know who to believe and who to listen to any more.

  4. yochi says:

    Savelakwd: Nuch amol, this is all directed to goyim, are you telling me that he is missionizing to goyim? Who cares?? Let them give us even MORE $$$.

  5. Softwords says:

    Hi All,

    I did a little research on Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. 1) He’s ordained from YU. 2) He makes around $823,000 annually. 3) The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews was founded by him in 1983. 4)The IFCJ mission does not sound so kosher. Consistent dialogue between religions has never played out so well for Yiddishkeit. 5) There are a lot of people on the board that are not Jewish. Who will take over when he retires and what will be their policy? I’m sure there will be a “refocusing” of interest at that time. 6) Eckstein’s reaction seems to be an attempt for retaliation instead of legitimizing his organization. The ironic part of it is that it will surely result in people listening to R’ Elyishiv, shlita. I’m assuming that that’s not Eckstein’s intentions.

    Wouldn’t it be humorous if this results in the folding up of Eckstein’s organization?!

    I guess at $823,000 annually, to Eckstein this is no laughing matter! :)

  6. Softwords says:

    Yochi – 1) You should talk to a Talmid Chochum and learn what Chazal say about taking money from Goyim. Your present view is not congruent to Torah values. 2) I’m not sure what issues your are referring to when mentioning “…how even the Gidoiley Hador got fooled…”, but do note that a lot of what we read in the papers or on line are often either not true or taking out of context. The only way to know for sure what they hold is to ask them yourself.

    Gut Shabbos

  7. savelkwd says:

    #4 no he is drawing people who want to immigrate to Israel in their countries and telling him this is what judaism is about. That judaism and christianity are intertwined. That is missionary work- Period.

    READ the copy form his website- comment#2.

    Most missonary do not openly say their intentions.

  8. savelkwd says:

    #3 you obviously have not encounterd missionary work, never is it open – read commnent #2 what i got from his website. “the Bible and the Jewish roots of Christianity” this is missionary. on another place on the web detailing his wifes work in the “missionary”.

  9. savelkwd says:

    “The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews helped us enormously with the Ethiopian community. Hadera doubled its population in the past eight years, and The Fellowship helped that.

    The Fellowship set up two spiritual centers which have been life-changing and lifesaving for the Ethiopian children.”

  10. savelkwd says:

    from their website (this is evangical missionary work)

    Visit Israel
    Traveling to Israel is an experience like no other. In the Holy Land, you will see the Bible come to life as you walk in the footsteps of the Patriarchs, the Apostles and Jesus Himself and see firsthand the lifesaving impact of The Fellowship’s work.

    Fulfill Prophecy: Aliyah & Klitah

    Engage your church
    Each year, thousands of churches partner with The Fellowship to bless the Jewish people through prayer and financial support. Church groups have also joined us in traveling to the Holy Land, to see the Bible come to life and have an opportunity to see firsthand the lifesaving impact of The Fellowship’s work. Find out how your church can be a blessing to Israel complete our online form. »

    Visit our blog
    Do you want to know the latest on the plight of Christians in the Middle East? Are you concerned about the hateful anti-Israel rhetoric coming out of Iran?

  11. savelkwd says:

    Rav Sholom Ber Lifshitz, who heads Yad L’Achim, is among the most outspoken opponents of accepting any money from Eckstein and his organization.

    Eckstein’s visits with evangelical leaders and clergymen, entering their houses of worship and other actions are questioned by R’ Lifshitz, who fears the bond that has been created is not as pure as Rabbi Eckstein would like to believe, but part of the evangelical plot to win over the Jews and infiltrate the community.

  12. lo taasu keyn says:

    It is fascinating that instead of dealing with the substance of the story, most posters instead feel a need to attack the messenger. Let’s assume that all of the negative posters are correct, that he and his organization are a front for missionary work. SO? Chareidi institutions are still taking money froom them! And they don’t have the honesty to publicly thank or acknowledge their donors. THAT, raboisai, is the issue here.

    Fact is, there are christian evengelicals who arer missionaries, and those who are not. Most of them have an agenda that includes helping Jews and supporting israel, because their theology depends on there being a certain number of Jews in Israel for their notion of “redemption” to happen. Either way, THEIR motivation isn’t the issue here. THEIR motivation isn’t noigeah to what the halocho is for he who RECEIVES their money.

    If this money is Tomei, and the source is tomei, STOP TAKING IT! If it is not tomei, acknowledge it honestly! It is that simple. Shooting the messenger solves nothing, ignores the problem, and deflects responsibility. Haven’t we had enough of that already?

  13. Mister Train says:

    The reason christians give $ to israel is because they believe that their messiah will only come once all Jews return to Israel. Their charity is certainly not being given L’shmah for their love of Yidden. Nevertheless it is charity and it is being given sincerely (for their reasons).

    Whether the charity is acceptable to accept from a Halachic standpoint is debatable. At days end it’s probably ok to accept it. Morally is another story. Since its being given from outside our community we don’t know where the $ is coming from. It could be treif gelt. The $ from individuals could have been earned legitimately yet could be income from any sort of business a Jew or Jewish institution would deem unacceptable. Asnas zonah cannot be used to buy a korban. I feel this can be similar.

    Assuming halachically it might be mutar to accept this charity, many great sages said that accepting $ that isn’t earned or given with the proper intentions is like getting an nonsterilized transfusion. This is what charity is. Its the blood that runs thru the Mosed/yeshiva/org etc.. and keeps it going. Rav Gustman was very makpid on this (perhaps that’s why Netzach Yisroel was always broke)

    The issue of accepting impure $ applies to Jewish money which has been earned improperly.

    Aish Hatorah and Chabbad USA are notorious for accepting donations from Gentiles. I don’t know if there’s any right or wrong here. It’s really up to the specific spiritual authority to decide what to do.

    Fun fact: in some heart transplants and transfusions they use pigs blood because of its similarity to human blood.

  14. AinOhdMilvado says:

    What the p’sak halacha is on this issue is clearly not for me to say. However, I can tell you all for a fact that I personally know one family that made aliyah (a couple of years ago) and had ALL their shipping expenses paid by this organization, and they have had ABSOLUTELY NO contact with, or from, this organization. So anyone whose taiyna is that they try to missionize to the people they pay for, this is simply NOT the case.

  15. urideb says:

    i asked Rav Pam zt’l if i could accept a donation from a non jew for a kiruv project his answer was – if you can get them

  16. meila says:

    If Eckstein is not controlling the receipient organization why is taking money from him worse than taking from any entity which includes non-believers (kofrim/minim), such as the Federation of the State of Israel. Halacha states clearly that association with avoda zarah is preferable to association with non-orthodox judaism.

  17. charvona says:

    I know Rabbi Epstein and he is a sincere ben Torah who does unusual work. He brings in some of the few friends that Israel has – even if that seems odd to some it is politically crucial to U.S. support

  18. juda says:

    #5 his sight claims he makes 100x moor 84,000,000

  19. eli lev says:

    ” the j post speculates…”

    THE fact is rav elyashiv issued this psak Years ago!!!!

  20. doniels says:

    Can somebody please supply a single referencable source that forbids one to take such money?

  21. ellenh says:

    “Can somebody please supply a single referencable source that forbids one to take such money?”

    Go to http://jewishisrael.com/page/halachic-rulings-opinions-and

    You will find the position against accepting IFCJ and other evangelical funding from
    Rav Shlomo Aviner
    The Chabad Dayanim
    Rav Natan Shalev
    Rav Dov Lior

    Torah true authorities are expressing utter alarm at the degree of Christian influence in Israel, and they are beginning to take a firm stand and calling for consensus and accountability.

    As a staff member at JewishIsrael.com, I can tell you that meetings with rabbaim are being held and halachic postions are coming in faster than we can translate them.

  22. shimon chaim says:

    Some of these comments display a lamentable lack of understanding of the world outside the Yeshiva walls. It makes one wonder how the commenters would be able to apply their Torah learning to real life dilemmas.
    So what if Rabbi Eckstein emphasises the Jewish roots of Christianity – he’s raising money from Christians FOR Jews! So of course he’s going to emphasise the ‘kinship’ between the two religions! How on Earth does that make him a ‘missionary’?! And that he may not be strictly shomer negia? So that makes him a closet Christian?! Get real. Will Rav Eliashiv’s ruling put an end to the IFCJ? No. There are a LOT of Jewish charities out there (religious and secular) which are struggling in the current economic climate and would welcome the money the Haredim refuse. So not only could Rav Eliashiv take money away from frum organisations he may well be re-directing it to organisations run by Reform and other such people.

  23. ellenh says:

    No doubt that Eckstein is an excellent administrator, PR man, and fundraiser extraordinaire who cares deeply for people.
    But he is also (probably inadvertently) a part of a serious missionary web.

    JewishIsrael has just posted 2 videos online which demonstrate what difficult halachic straits we are in and the lines that IFCJ has crossed.
    http://jewishisrael.ning.com/video/ifcj-25th-anniversary-clip
    shows Eckstein embracing and partnering with missionary Jack Hayford in a church. A number of halachic lines appear to be crossed and there is a blurring of the boundaries between faiths.
    Christian personalities known for promoting “messianic Judaism”, like CBN’s Pat Robertson and Pat Boone, also appear in the clip.
    And
    http://jewishisrael.ning.com/video/jonathan-bernis-hosts-pat
    Messianic Jonathan Bernis hosts Pat Boone as a baptizing and proselytizing friend of Israel.
    Bernis, who partners with missionary Jack Hayford(who is also a spokesman for both Eckstein’s IFCJ and the Israeli Tourism Ministry), was recently exposed in the Shlomo
    Molla affair.
    http://jewishisrael.ning.com/profiles/blogs/knesset-member-molla-in

    No one is saying across-the-board not to accept funding from gentile sources or to reject support from those who take a moral stand with Israel. But there must be a better way that doesn’t risk compromising our Jewish principles.

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