Celebrating Israel

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Recently, I wrote about the Israeli elections. I’m sure that similar discussions will take place around Seder tables this month, as we all strive to make Judaism meaningful by having it address contemporary concerns. Some of these discussions will be heated, which, of course, proves their worth. We only express passionate opinions when we care about the issues involved, and we all care about Israel and its future.

Whatever your political views, please save Friday night, April 24, which will be a night of wonderful celebration.

Ma Nishtana: Why is this “Synaplex Shabbat Alive” different from all other “Synaplex Shabbat Alive” nights? On all other Synaplex Shabbat Alive nights, we have a distinguished speaker, but on Yom Ha’Atzmaut/Israel Independence Day Shabbat Alive each year, we just “celebrate” – with an Israeli dinner, a festive service of children and adults singing Israeli songs (with children performing and waving flags) and Israeli folk dancing at the Oneg Shabbat.

We put aside our diverse political views and join in “kvelling” over what we share – a love of Israel, a gratitude for its creation and a commitment to its present and future.

According to AIPAC, an incredible 72% of Israelis voted last week. Twenty-five percent of the Knesset will be women and 19% will be Israeli Arabs and Druze – all record numbers. There are 40 new Knesset members – 1/3 of the Knesset! (Compare that to American politics with its entrenched incumbents.) They include an Argentinean-born economist, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States (Michael Oren), an Israeli-Arab sportscaster, an Ethiopian activist and an immigrant from the FSU who worked as a cleaner when she first came to Israel. Democracy and diversity are alive and well and that’s important and necessary for Israel and every nation.

So, join us to celebrate Yom Ha’Atzmaut on April 24 when we’ll also dedicate our new Ark, Ner Tamid, Torah Lectern and Ritual Table – all of which you can read more about in my April HaMakor letter coming out very soon. It’s going to be an historic night of celebration, aesthetics, pride and unbridled joy for our whole congregation. Don’t miss it!

Best wishes for a joyous Pesach,

 Rabbi Arnie Rachlis

April 1st 2015 |