Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Remembrance

(Photo: IFCJ)

(Photo: IFCJ)

Of all the Jewish holidays, Rosh Hashanah is the one least focused on Jewish history. In fact, Rosh Hashanah does not commemorate any historically Jewish event at all. Rather, it celebrates the creation of Adam and Eve, which preceded the Jewish nation by thousands of years.

Even the Rosh Hashanah prayers themselves reflect the holiday’s universal theme. In the Rosh Hashanah liturgy – which Jews around the world pray on the New Year – we don’t find any personal supplications. Instead, the prayers speak of God’s Kingdom on earth and the state we wish the world to be in. We pray that all mankind will recognize the One True God, while joining together in unity and in peace to serve and worship Him.

On the New Year, we pray that God will reveal His presence and dominion over all creation, and every man, women, and child will know God and see Him in every aspect of life. Fear or awe of God will not be separate from loving Him. People will experience serving God as the greatest pleasure and joy, while the pursuit of materialism will no longer be of interest.

The betterment of all mankind and all of creation is what we pray for on Rosh Hashanah.

Like other Jewish holidays, Rosh Hashanah has many names, one of which is the Day of Remembrance. On one level, the Day of Remembrance calls attention to the heavenly judgment which takes place on that day. But it also alludes to the vision God had for mankind before man was even created, and before Adam and Eve had ever sinned. And so we remember on this holiday that in the vision God has for us, His plan for all of mankind is never forgotten.

God has not left the world for a single moment, no matter how dark and ugly as it appears, and still leads humanity to its ultimate purpose and destination.

I look around at what’s going on in the world today, and I see darkness, murder, and desecration all taking place…

Read More »    Comments (3) »

Thursday, September 10th, 2015 at 7:37 AM  | Stand For Israel

Over 600 Israelis Treated as Sandstorm Continues

(Photo: flickr/qanai)

(Photo: flickr/qanai)

In Tuesday’s Daily Dispatch, we told you about the heavy sandstorm that had enveloped Israel this week. The sandstorm has not let up, and The Times of Israel reports that more than 600 Israelis have now been treated because of it:

With the air heavy with sand and familiar skylines a distant blur, MDA paramedics have tended to 632 people, including more than 374 who suffered shortness of breath and asthma attacks. More than 83 people fainted and more than 175 people suffered from an exacerbation of existing heart conditions…

The Environmental Protection Ministry reissued its warning Wednesday against being outside for extended periods and reminded people to avoid any excessive outdoor physical activity.

According to meteorological estimates, the storm is set to pass before the weekend. Temperatures are expected to drop slightly before the start of the Jewish High Holidays next Sunday.

Comments (0) »

Thursday, September 10th, 2015 at 7:35 AM  | Stand For Israel

My Father, the Bridge Builder

(Photo: IFCJ)

(Photo: IFCJ)

It truly was a magical evening, as over 100 people from across Israel gathered together on a Tel Aviv rooftop to celebrate the release of The Bridge Builder, a biography on the life and living legacy of my father, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein.

I have never seen anything like it before: Orthodox rabbis chatted with Christian priests, Druze spiritual leaders conversed with Ethiopian rabbis, and young, modern businessmen and women stood captivated in discussions.

As my father signed newly printed copies of The Bridge Builder, I believe it was clear to everyone present that there could not have been a better phrase to describe what he has accomplished in his life. I had chills as I realized that the only person who could bring out such a diverse crowd to the center of Tel Aviv is my father, a true, God-led bridge builder.

During this extraordinary night, new friendships were formed everywhere I turned. “What is your connection to Rabbi Eckstein?” I heard a young journalist ask a Haredi rabbi from Kiryat Shmona, which is located on Israel’s northern border. “The Fellowship supports the soup kitchen and elderly club I started,” he said, and continued, “And besides that – on a personal level – I love Rabbi Eckstein and everything he stands for.”

I heard an Israeli Druze man and a government official deep in conversation. “The Fellowship not only helps Druze youth get an education, but recently helped Druze refugees in Syria with lifesaving food aid,” the man told the government official. “Rabbi Eckstein and The Fellowship help all Israelis in need, from wherever they are, with whatever they need, Jew, Christian, or Druze.” The government minister reached out his hand to the Druze man. “I am so happy that someone is helping this worthy cause,” he said. “I don’t know where Israeli society would be without The Fellowship.”

My father has always been a master of bringing people together. He has a way of getting each person to look beyond their fears and stereotypes of “the other” to see each…

Read More »    Comments (8) »

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015 at 7:21 AM  | Stand For Israel

Khamenei: Israel Won’t Survive Next 25 Years

(Photo: Presidential Press and Information Office)

(Photo: Presidential Press and Information Office)

Even as the U.S. Congress debates the Iran nuclear deal, with many in the United States and around the world in support of it, Iran’s Supreme Leader continues to spew venom against the U.S., Israel, and the West. The Times of Israel reports that Ayatollah Khamenei has taken to social media in order to make threats against the Jewish state and the West:

In a quote posted to Twitter by Khamenei’s official account, Khamenei addresses Israel, saying, “You will not see next 25 years,” and adds that the Jewish state will be hounded until it is destroyed.

The quote comes against a backdrop of a photograph showing the Iranian leader walking on an Israeli flag painted on a sidewalk.

“After negotiations, in Zionist regime they said they had no more concern about Iran for next 25 years; I’d say: Firstly, you will not see next 25 years; God willing, there will be nothing as Zionist regime by next 25 years. Secondly, until then, struggling, heroic and jihadi morale will leave no moment of serenity for Zionists,” the quote from Iran’s top leader reads in broken English.

Comments (35) »

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015 at 7:16 AM  | Stand For Israel

What to Expect as Congress Reconvenes to Debate Iran Deal

(Photo: wikicommons/Martin Falbisoner)

(Photo: wikicommons/Martin Falbisoner)

Today, the U.S. Congress reconvenes from its recess and will begin debate on the Iran nuclear deal. The Times of Israel tells us what to expect in the week to come:

Congressional proceedings are routinely convoluted, often inscrutable and sometimes bizarre. Even by those standards, the upcoming vote on the Iran nuclear deal stands out as particularly bewildering…

At issue is the agreement signed in July by the US, Iran and five world powers: China, France, Russia, Britain and Germany. The accord will provide Iran hundreds of billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions in exchange for a decade of constraints on the Shiite power’s nuclear program.

The deal is unanimously opposed by congressional Republicans and by the leaders of Israel, who fear a newly enriched Iran could wreak havoc across the Middle East. Leaders of Sunni Arab nations like Saudi Arabia also have concerns. The White House strongly supports it; so do most Democrats, though in some cases reluctantly…

What if, somehow, congressional opponents were to prevail and the disapproval resolution went into effect? There is debate about the result, but some experts say that not even that could stop Obama from moving forward with the most significant elements of the nuclear deal on his own.

So for Congress, the political ramifications for lawmakers who angered constituents on one side or another with their decision on the deal may be profound and lasting.

Tell your congressmen and senators to say no to a nuclear Iran.

Comments (19) »

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015 at 7:20 AM  | Stand For Israel

Happy Labor Day!

In 1950, a new olim (immigrant to Israel) works to make a home in Beersheba (Photo: wikicommons/GPO)

In 1950, a new olim (immigrant to Israel) works to make a home in Beersheba (Photo: wikicommons/GPO)

Stand for Israel is suspending activity on Monday, September 7, for Labor Day. We’ll be back on Tuesday, September 8 — and rest assured, if any critically important developments related to Israel come up over the weekend, we’ll be here to let you know about them. We wish all of you an enjoyable and relaxing Labor Day weekend, and thank you all for always standing for Israel!

Comments (2) »

Friday, September 4th, 2015 at 2:44 PM  | Stand For Israel

How Would You Vote If Your Children’s Lives Were at Stake?



There are many voices who are still standing for Israel and standing for good in the face of the Iran nuclear deal – many voices with many reasons. But Dr. Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and current Knesset member, writes a heartfelt plea that perhaps the greatest reason to stand against the deal is to protect innocent children:

Supporters of the Iranian nuclear deal appear to have achieved a Congressional victory. But before casting their fateful vote, they need to hear one more voice — the voice of my Israeli grandchildren. One of them is a precocious toddler named Ariel, and the other is Romi, an azure-eyed girl born last January. This is what the Iran nuclear deal means for them:

Ariel and Romi face 100,000 rockets — more than possessed by all of NATO — supplied by Iran to Hezbollah. Currently, many of these rockets can be intercepted by Iron Dome, the Israeli-designed and American-financed anti-ballistic system. But Iran wants to upgrade Hezbollah’s rockets into guided missiles capable of eluding Iron Dome and striking our military bases, electrical grids, and airport. Only the sanctions have prevented Iran from funding the upgrade. But since the nuclear deal fails to compel Iran to cease threatening to destroy Israel, the hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief can help Hezbollah realize that goal. Before they are old enough to sprint, Ariel and Romi may well be rushed by their parents into shelters while missiles paralyze their state.

Israel will, of course, do its utmost to protect my grandchildren, but its ability to do so will be hindered by the Iranian deal…

Advocates of the Iran deal must ask themselves one question. Would they support it if the lives of their children and grandchildren depended on it? Mine do. Indeed, the deal will threaten all of our families — Israeli as well as American — for generations to come.

Comments (20) »

Friday, September 4th, 2015 at 12:15 PM  | Stand For Israel

Photo Friday: Feeding the Hungry in the Holy Land

(Photo: IFCJ)

(Photo: IFCJ)

On their recent Fellowship-organized trip to the Holy Land, some leading pastors from the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) saw many biblical sites, such as the Jordan River, the Sea of Galilee, and the Mount of Beatitudes. They also met with such Israeli leaders as former ambassador and current Knesset member, Dr. Michael Oren. But one of the highlights was a visit to a Fellowship-supported food pantry where the pastors joined Senior Vice President Yael Eckstein in packing boxes for Israel’s hungry.

To see more highlights from the COGIC trip to Israel, visit our photo album.

Shabbat shalom, friends.

Comments (0) »

Friday, September 4th, 2015 at 10:26 AM  | Stand For Israel

Iran Nuclear Inspection Plan Flawed

(Photo: wikicommons/IAEA)

(Photo: wikicommons/IAEA)

Even as the Iran deal moves forward, the voices against it continue to speak out. One of those, The Times of Israel’s Raphael Ahren reports, is the former second-in-command of the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who says that the proposed inspection plan is flawed:

The nuclear deal’s mechanism for inspecting Iran’s Parchin military complex appears to be unreasonably lax, the former number two official at the United Nations nuclear watchdog said this week…

It remains unclear how exactly the IAEA will conduct its inspections at Parchin, which are meant to provide definitive answers on Iran’s nuclear activity at the site prior to the deal. According to a leaked draft of the agreement, published last month by The Associated Press, Iran will provide the agency with photos, videos and environmental samples…

Heinonen — who worked for the IAEA for nearly three decades and headed the agency’s Department of Safeguards — explained that taking samples at a site suspected of having hosted illicit nuclear activity is no simple feat…

The IAEA’s mission in Parchin is not merely to take environmental samples but also to examine the site’s diagnostic equipment and technical arrangements, the Finnish-born Heinonen continued. “This is not only just to take swipe samples and then that thing gets resolved. This is much more wider thing the IAEA wants to investigate. Therefore, again, the camera view is not satisfying for that,” he said.

Comments (11) »

Friday, September 4th, 2015 at 8:26 AM  | Stand For Israel

Israeli Leaders React to Pending Iran Nuclear Deal

iitnAs the U.S. Congress is expected to vote soon on the Iran nuclear deal, Israeli leaders continue to express their concerns with that agreement. Sources close to Benjamin Netanyahu say the Prime Minister is confident that the American people understand the dangers of this deal.

Also this week in Israel in the News:

  • President Obama likely has reached the number of votes needed to ensure approval of the Iran deal despite potential rejection by Congress.
  • Meanwhile, Republican and Democrats lawmakers opposed to the deal are already looking into other ways to impact how the agreement is carried out.
  • The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) conducted a raid this week in the West Bank in search of a wanted Hamas operative.

This week’s Israel in the News Perspective features The Fellowship’s Yael Eckstein on the everyday fears Israeli children face.

Read More »    Comments (14) »

Friday, September 4th, 2015 at 8:15 AM  | Stand for Israel