HomeDecember 2011Connect to Israel

Connect to Israel

There is something dramatically different in the bond between the Jewish people and their historical homeland, Eretz Yisroel, the Land of Israel.  In every other case in world history, a group of people coalesced in a geographic area, developed unique culture and language and eventually evolved into a nation.  The genesis of Jewish history was in the desert after the Exodus from Egypt.  There was Divine imperative to the Jews that their homeland should be on the narrow strip between continents that today is Israel.  They conquered the land 3,300 years ago, and the Jews established their own nation state.
Ancient Israel was the first society based on the concept of monotheism.  Located at the epicenter of human travel, the intersection between north and south, east and west gave the Jews the opportunity to share this concept of monotheism with many nations.  This way they fulfilled their Divine destiny of spreading the idea of belief in one G-d, the foundation of Judaism.
Today modern Israel retains the world focus.  It stands on the forefront of the battle between east and west, between radicalism and modernity.  At the same time it is a dynamic, vibrant society – a lively, flourishing, modern miracle.  There are constant reminders of the ancient glory and mission of the Jewish people.  Archeological digs that have discovered what is thought to be King David’s palace, great centers of learning that carry on the intellectual legacy of the Jewish people.  The quiet on a Jerusalem street on Friday night, rich with the spirit of Shabbat, the vibrancy of modern Tel Aviv.
Sadly, more than 60 percent of American Jews have never visited Israel.  They have never experienced a place that is modern and ancient, imbued with the richness of Judaism and at the same time on the cutting edge of modern technology.  They have never sat with an Israeli soldier in a front-line base, sensing the passion of modern-day heroes.  Nor have they shopped in the markets of Jerusalem on a Friday afternoon, where the prices drop as the sun begins to set.
Visiting Israel connects us to the core of our identity.  Our Judaism comes alive.  There is an instant intimacy with everyone.  Get into a taxi, and within moments you will have the latest inside political information.  The driver will share with the fact that in kindergarten he was buddies with the Prime Minister and will share with you the inside scoop.  While Americans are polite, wary of debate that will offend, Israelis are known for  their bluntness and emotional honesty.  You are with family.  And the barriers come down.  You are linked together by history and tradition that reach back over three millennia.
Consider a trip to Israel.  You will be uplifted and many ways.  Don’t worry about security.  You will realize the moment you get there that the risks have been overblown.  You can walk the streets late at night with little fear.  It’s a dynamic society, the restaurants filled to the early morning hours, the streets alive and vibrant.  So plan a trip.  And if you are looking for tour guide, I am leading a community trip there in June and would love to have you join us.

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