Back in 2001, Eckstein published a poorly reviewed autobiography, but, having expanded his philanthropic empire over the next 14 years, in 2015 he had his organization fund author Zeev Chafets's apparently made as instructed hagiography*: The Bridge Builder -- The Life and Continuing Legacy of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. Here's the Kirkus Review:
I don't know if the book has been a best seller, though I doubt it, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if the IFCJ has purchased 1,000's of copies.
And, notwithstanding the reality that Rabbi Eckstein should be incredibly satisfied by the awesome results of his/IFCJ's remarkable charity, he felt compelled to invite a JTA correspondent to join him on some form of "junket" to France. The results were clearly not what the Rabbi might have expected exposing, as it did, his ego in fullest bloom. The article in The Jewish Week -- http://www.thejewishweek.com/special-sections/charitable-giving/yechiel-ecksteins-paris-blues -- Raising Christian Money for Jewish Causes a Star Rabbi Earns Praise and Scorn was subtitled: Yechiel Eckstein's Paris Blues.
One can only conclude from all of this that Yechiel Eckstein believes in the mantra "any publicity is good publicity" especially if one's picture is in it. And...so unnecessary. Because as Yechiel should know so well, his good works speak for themselves, if only he would let them.
Then, last month, JDC, pushing its financial "partnership" with Eckstein hard, offered:
"This year, on the third night of Chanukah at the local JDC Hesed social welfare center in Odessa, volunteers – many who receive assistance from the Hesed themselves – took to the stage, singing and dancing to help bring a little bit of that hope to local elderly residents. The community joined together to light the menorah and enjoy latkes as part of a holiday meal, which included a video blessing from Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) – without whom there’d be a little less light this holiday season."A "video blessing." Oh my.
I admire so much the accomplishments of the IFCJ, so much of which -- almost all, in fact -- is the direct result of Eckstein's vision and execution. One would think, however, that an Orthodox Rabbi would understand and live by Maimonidean principles of charity or, if he prefers given his donors, Jesus's. The constant and always insatiable demands that accompany Rabbi Eckstein's allocations of his donors' funds, always end badly -- for the then United Jewish Appeal, for Keren Ha'Yesod, for the Jewish Agency.
What organization will incur the wrath next? Just askin'.
* Curiously, Chafets was hired to polish Eckstein's image even after he wrote a scathing report on the Rabbi in 2005:http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/24/magazine/the-rabbi-who-loved-evangelicals-and-vice-versa.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share