JDC to honor Christian-Jewish fellowship founder Yechiel Eckstein

(JTA) — The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee will recognize Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, with one of its top awards.

Eckstein will receive the Raoul Wallenberg Award, named for the World War II-era Swedish diplomat who saved tens of thousands of Jews’ lives, at a gala Tuesday in honor of the JDC’s centennial.

Eckstein, who founded the IFCJ in 1983, has raised funds through his organization to bring Jews to Israel, and to provide aid to Jewish communities in the former Soviet Union.

He will be the award’s fourth recipient, following philanthropists Edgar Bronfman and Donn Weinberg, and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel.

“Rabbi Eckstein and IFCJ have done so much to help so many of the World’s most vulnerable Jews and we are proud of all that we have done together to reach so many in need,” JDC CEO Alan Gill said in a news release. 

The JDC aids needy Jews as well as victims of natural disasters, and provides support to small and struggling communities.

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