Students, faculty and guests at Tarbut V’Torah Community Day School got a special treat for Chanukah when Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon visited the school for a special Chanukah candle lighting ceremony on Monday, December 6. Ya’alon, in turn, got an equally special treat of witnessing the sheer joy of students who offered a special musical performance in his honor. He joined with students for traditional Israeli dancing in the school courtyard and was impressed by the ability of TVT students to converse in Hebrew.
“On Chanukah, when we celebrate the victory of light over darkness, we realize that we still have darkness to fight – people who sanctify death rather than life and who prefer destruction to construction,” Ya’alon said. “Israel, the Jewish state, is a democracy representing Jewish values, such as the sanctity of life and being responsible for each other.”
Ya’alon emphasized that Jewish people want to spread light in the Middle East and all over the globe. They want to participate in the fight of light versus darkness.
“Each of us is a small light, but when we come together, it’s a big, strong light for the benefit of the Jewish people,” said Ya’alon, who was appointed vice prime minister and minister of strategic affairs in March 2009.
He concluded,” Israel’s strengths are in knowledge and spirit. Judaism is not just a faith. Israel is a combination of a nationality and a set of values.”
Rabbi Seth Linfield, who became head of school and CEO of Tarbut V’Torah Community Day School on July 1, 2010, told Ya’alon, “You and the state of Israel have friends in California. Tarbut v’Torah realizes that Judaism is more than a profession of faith. We recognize the re-establishment of the state of Israel as one of the seminal moments in history. TVT constantly reinforces its connection with Israel. While Jewish people’s national alliances may shift, we remain steadfast to Israel.”
TVT prepares young men and women for college and for life in a pluralistic Jewish environment. Offering a comprehensive K-12 education, the school fields 14 varsity athletic teams, over 20 student organizations, and 17 advanced placement courses with a total enrollment over more than 600 students.
Ya’alon’s visit came shortly after the Carmel Forest Fire in Israel. Privately, he said that the fire had been completely extinguished, thanks to the support firefighters had received inside and outside of Israel.
“While it’s a tragedy to lose so many people and so many acres of trees, we were gratified for the demonstration of unity in Israel and for the international support we had during the 77 hours of fighting the fire.”
The Israeli government is engaged in the rehabilitation and support of people who were injured or forced out of their homes by the fire, Ya’alon said. Meanwhile, he was in California for a few days to speak at schools, think tanks and other groups where he could “shine the light by spreading the word.”