Shabbat Evening Service
From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon
Israel is on my mind, today. It’s on my mind everyday. As an American, I think of Israel as a critical ally in the Middle East. Israel is the only democratic, western, and modern nation stuck in one of the worst neighborhoods in the world. As a Jew, Israel is the source of my history and inspiration. Its past is my past and its future is my future.
In recent weeks, Israel has been the subject of many conversations relating to its future vis-a-vis the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or the P5+1 deal with Iran. However you feel about the JCPOA, there remains one constant element that no deal or even a bad deal will change. Our affection for and our concern about Israel is paramount. It’s paramount because our times demand of us nothing less than the past demanded of our parents and grandparents. They witnessed the birth of Israel and its subsequent challenges to survive. They supported Israel by every means as her enemies conspired to destroy her. Israel’s prayers were answered as evidenced by the resources and allies she gained. In return, Israel has contributed to the world’s well-being through science and technology and turned a desert into a flourishing nation. Israel doesn’t need to defend its reason for being, but not everyone agrees.
I am an American and I am a Jew. But, I’m not an Israeli. I don’t vote there and neither do you. The only role you and I have is to advocate for an Israel where we want our Judaism to be celebrated. It’s Judaism that is democratic, western and modern; it’s Judaism that honors the equality of genders, religious tolerance, and Torah ideals, including inclusion of the LGBT community as a demonstration of the unfolding beauty of God’s creative acts. We give to Israel because our values will be cultivated and celebrated there.
Yet, the best way to be both American and Jews who support Israel and her future is to be there. I want you to come with me next summer, May 29-June 7, 2016, for an amazing experience in the Land of Israel. Whether or not you’ve been, this trip will provide you access to history, politics, medical innovation, technology, food and spirits, tastes and spirituality, and encounters that are simply one-of-a-kind. Rabbi Joshua Herman, my wife, Lisa, and I will lead you. Our guide, Danny Applebaum, will regale us with details and descriptions that make the trip a unique experience of all the senses. We travel very comfortably and enjoy exceptional accommodations. Please visit the links here (www.froschcom/cbi/) to register and review our itinerary (subject to change).
I look forward to sharing with you one of my favorite places on earth and the inheritance of our people throughout the ages. The Land and People of Israel live because every lover and supporter of the Jewish people was present for Israel in the best of times and the worst of times. It’s never easy to tell what time it is in Middle East politics, but it’s always a good time to experience Israel first-hand.
Pray for Israel’s peace. Make a difference for Israel’s future. Join us in Israel next year, May 29-June 7, 2016. If you have questions after you visit www.beth-israel.org or www.frosch.com/cbi/ for the itinerary and registration, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.