An evangelical-backed Jewish philanthropy organization has scrapped plans to build a multimillion dollar outreach center for Christian pilgrims in Jerusalem in order to devote more attention to its humanitarian efforts.
The board of directors for the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews voted in recent days to forgo plans to build The Fellowship House, a project that was the brainchild of the organization’s late founder, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein.
Eckstein died last February at the age of 67 and was seen as a pioneer in the movement to bridge the Jewish and evangelical Christian communities.
The Fellowship, which helps Jews suffering from persecution or poverty migrate to Israel, brings in about $140 million per year in donations, much of which comes from American evangelicals.
The Fellowship House was planned to be a seven-story building that would have served as the Fellowship’s headquarters. The structure was being built adjacent to the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.
The idea was for the center to become a destination spot for the hundreds of thousands of Christian pilgrims who travel to Jerusalem every year. The intent was to be a place where visitors can learn how to be “ambassadors for Israel” when they return home and oppose the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
According to a statement shared with The Christian Post, the board’s decision was made after extensive internal deliberation.
“This decision was precipitated by a robust strategic planning process through which it was determined that the Fellowship’s goals could be best achieved by investing more of the ministry’s resources in human lives than in brick and mortar,” the statement explained.
The Fellowship’s board believes that the decision will allow the organization to remain “focused and intentional” during a time of organizational growth.
Despite the passing of the organization’s founder, the number of active donors giving to The Fellowship increased to its highest level ever in 2019.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith