Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Happy 62nd Birthday, Israel

I went to shul today. They were saying Hallel prayers to celebrate the founding of Israel. Here in Brooklyn, some people say it and some don't.

Despite being of the "no Hallel" persuasion, I view modern Israel as a miracle yet to be completed, a miracle unfolding. When I see video footage of the liberation of Jerusalem in 1967, I get goose pimples. The newness of that day will always be with me. Even though it happened 19 years after Israel was founded, the miracle was delivered to the Israeli Army of the young state. I feel unspeakable anger when I hear talk of G-d forbid partitioning the Holy City after it languished in dust and contempt under its foreign occupiers.

As besieged as Israel is, I long most for peace among Jews. When I hear of arguments between observant and non observant Jews, it saddens me. A vision is burned into my soul of Jews in Auschwitz, heads shaven bare, wearing striped uniforms. They could not see who was achossid and who was an atheist, who was orthodox and who was "neolog". These divisions could not be seen in Auschwitz, so I shall not see them either.

It is a joy to share the Holy Land with Jews from Arab countries who were expelled from the lands of their sojourning along with the Jews of Europe. We are truly one people. Every time that it is mentioned the price that European Jews paid to return to the Holy Land, let their story be told as well. It fills me with joy to see the children of Jewish refugees from Arab countries living in peace in the Holy Land. It angers me beyond words that anyone would even think of uprooting them or their Ashkenazi brothers and sisters yet again.

My family has a spectrum of religious observance from one end to the other. They are my family and will forever remain so. This is how I regard the people of the Holy Land as well as every Jew in the world. I thank G-d for the many miracles that have protected the Jewish people in the Holy Land, before and after the founding of the state. May the miracle continue to unfold and ascend.


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