Israel’s 75th, Not Impossible

Israel’s 75th, Not Impossible

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Between Passover and Shavuot, we observe Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), Yom HaZikaron (Israel Memorial Day), and Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel Independence Day). They’re a lot of days and each one carries significance for us on our journey as Jews and Jewish communities.

From Passover, we emerge liberated and eternally in covenant with God. It’s said that God so loved the Israelite people that God gave them Torah. In Torah we read (Deuteronomy 29), “I make this covenant…with those who are standing here this day and with those who are not standing here with us this day.” The implication is that while we were not there that day, we are here this day and part of the very same covenant.

On Shavuot, the Festival of Weeks, we read the Ten Commandments in Torah (Exodus 20), to commemorate the revelation at Sinai experienced by our ancestors. In Deuteronomy we read (30:20), that Torah is “our life and the length of our days.” While Passover and Shavuot serve as veritable bookends, they bear witness to what stands between them, namely, the historical and monumental experiences endured by our people.

On May 14, 2023, we’ll celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel Independence Day, commemorating Israel’s 75th birthday. It’s a milestone for obvious reasons, but also because Israel’s former reigns in ancient history have not lasted more than about 75 years. So this anniversary becomes an awesome moment to behold and to manage. To orient ourselves to what lies before us and what awaits us in Israel’s future, Congregation Beth Israel welcomes you to learn with Scholar-in-Residence Daniel Gordis.

Throughout the weekend, Daniel Gordis will address the subject of his newest book, “Impossible Takes Longer: 75 Years After Its Creation, Has Israel Fulfilled Its Founders’ Dreams?” Though I have often said that Israel is complicated, Rabbi Gordis’s contextual viewpoint and historical perspective make him, not a prophet of our people’s future, but an expert speaker on the Jewish people’s remarkable experiences and emergent possibilities. I urge you to set aside ample time to be with us and Daniel Gordis on this auspicious occasion in the life of the Jewish people and the Land of Israel.

It’s been said that “we fear what we don’t understand.” There will always be more to understand about Israel, but much less to fear as we anticipate its future with facts, knowledge, and hope.


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