FROM RABBI BAYAR:
Numbers don’t lie – but they can be misinterpreted. As I write this, there is yet another broken truce, another kidnapped IDF soldier, more Palestinians killed in Gaza and the struggle continues. Some of you have spoken to me (quietly) about your concerns that we are becoming a one issue community: Israel, Israel, Israel. Some of you have suggested that there might have been other strategies, other methods of handling this protracted conflict. These views are correct. We have become a one issue community and there were other strategies that could have been used.
As I said, numbers don’t lie. We are a one issue community – but that issue is not “Israel” it is “Judaism.” Make no mistake, the health and continued existence of the State of Israel is inextricably connected to us. There isn’t one Rabbi or Cantor who has not studied in Israel. There are few teachers who have not visited Israel and there are almost no leaders of the Jewish community who have not been affected by the existence of the Jewish State. There isn’t one experience you have as a Jew that didn’t originate or be affected by Israel.
And we now see the virulence of anti-Semitism which has broken through the superficial façade of France and other countries. We now experience some people we knew as friends – who are only concerned with the superficial morality they have suddenly assumed – without thought as to the deeper moral issues at hand.
Yet, for all this – we also have found true friends and support, for there is much support for the destruction of Hamas.
Whether we wish to admit it or not, this conflict affects us all – and being active in support of Israel’s efforts is necessary.
Numbers don’t lie – if we want Judaism to thrive – we must have a safe Israel.
This coming week we will commemorate the fast of the 9th of Av – when Jerusalem was destroyed. According to the tradition, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem because of senseless dissention from within the Jewish community. Let us not allow history to repeat itself. As a congregation and a community, we have shown you many ways to be involved in supporting Israel – I urge you to please use them.
Rabbi Danny Allen has just returned a two week stay in Israel and will be speaking about the current situation tomorrow morning at Shabbat services. Rabbi Allen is a member of CBI and serves as the Executive Vice Chairman of United Israel Appeal (UIA) and Senior Vice President of Supplemental Giving/Israel Education Fund (IEF) of The Jewish Federations of North America. Please come and hear.
Jewish tradition urges each and every Jew to “Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.” May it always be so.
Rabbi Steven Bayar