COGIC Bishop P.A. Brooks (L) with Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, IFCJ founder and president. (Justin McMahan/ Detroit's New St. Paul Tabernacle) (Justin McMahan/ Detroit's New St. Paul Tabernacle)
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein

US and Israeli flags. (Flash90)

US and Israeli flags. (Flash90)

Members of leading African-American churches in Detroit rallied together to demonstrate support for Israel.

Several major African-American churches rallied in Detroit, Michigan this week in support of Israel while evoking the Jewish alliance with the US Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

Leading the rally initiative was Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ).

At the rally, Rev. Dr. Edward L. Branch, a member of the Fellowship’s African American Advisory Council, reminded his congregation of the rich history of the African American-Jewish relationship.

Branch, who leads the mega-congregational Third New Hope Baptist Church in Detroit, urged his congregation “to stand with Israel just as the Jewish community stood with us during the Civil Rights movement, as we seek peace for all people in the Middle East.”

Eckstein spoke to Branch’s congregation and two others on Sunday, including the Second Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) at the New St. Paul Tabernacle, led by Bishop P.A. Brooks, and Family Victory Fellowship, led by Pastors Larry and Sylvia Jordan.

Eckstein’s outreach to the churches comes as he prepares to bring COGIC leaders to Israel at the end of the month for an educational trip hosted by IFCJ and Israel’s Ministry of Tourism.

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Brooks, who is joining the visiting group in Israel, is the assistant bishop and second-highest-ranking leader of COGIC, the largest African-American Pentecostal denomination in the US and the fourth-largest Protestant group in North America, with 12,000 churches nationwide and 6.5 million congregants in more than 60 countries.

During the rally events, each of the Christian pastors was given a copy of The Bridge Builder, a book covering Eckstein’s longtime efforts to unite Christians and Jews in support of Israel and Jewish communities.

“We know that you take very seriously the biblical imperative to stand with Israel, and every day you show the world that Israel is not alone,” Eckstein said during the rally. “The people of Israel and the Jewish people around the world can have confidence that you stand united with them for peace for the Jewish State and for all peoples in the Middle East.”

“Today, the State of Israel needs your support more than ever,” he added.

“Your community’s love for the Jewish State builds on the historic coalition of the Civil Rights movement, when Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marched with Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, and Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner died alongside James Chaney in their fight for peace and justice,” he stated.

By: Anav Silverman, Tazpit News Agency