May 7, 2008

A Note and a Special Announcement from Rabbi Creditor on Israel’s 60th Birthday

A Note and a Special Announcement

from Rabbi Creditor

on Israel's 60th Birthday


Tomorrow night, the Berkeley Jewish community will celebrate the first annual "TOGETHER FOR ISRAEL" event at Congregation Beth El from 6-8pm, including delicious Israeli Food, Israeli Music and Dancing, Fun Giveaways, Kid's Arts & Crafts Activities, and (at 7pm) a guest speaker and screening by Elizabeth Rodgers, producer of the New Award-Winning documentary "Exodus 1947." The event is free of charge as a gift from our entire Jewish community.  Join me there!


I share with you these following thoughts in honor of Israel's 60th Birthday:


There are those who describe the State of Israel as the stirrings of redemption.  For 60 years our global Jewish family has been striving toward a beautiful dream amidst great challenge, both internal and external, to bring a safer, better, prouder day for the Jewish People and the world through the State of Israel. 


Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, a living master, has written:  "The creation of the State was an act of redemption of biblical stature. …[However] in this new era, God becomes even more hidden, the circumstances of redemption even more ambiguous. This ambiguity serves a two-fold function: It allows those who prefer to interpret the activity as purely secular to do so, and it permits the religious soul to recognize the divine role out of mature understanding and free will rather than out of a 'coerced' yielding to divine force majeure [greater force]. (The Jewish Way, p. 380-1)"


Read this how you choose.  Is God involved in the struggle to balance democracy and a Jewish homeland?  Is the political landscape in the Middle East a redemptive path?  Whether we see God as an intervening force in the world or as the potential for peace and health as actualized by human beings, there is a yearning in the heart of the Jewish People for our home.  Facing eastward as we pray isn't a metaphor.  In the aftermath of the Shoah, and in the face of ever-present anti-Semitism around the world, we face East.  A majority of the Jewish People either do currently (or will soon, depending on the study) live in the State of Israel.  We are members of that family.  When we face Jerusalem, we face home.


Jewish Pride and Passion are what I feel on this occasion of Israel's 60th Birthday.  Do I agree with everything the State of Israel has decided?  No.  Is it always easy to be a modern Zionist?  No.  Does my heart yearn for Jerusalem every day?  Yes.  Just as I long for for my parents' home, I long for Israel.  I yearn for the winding alleys of Tzfat, the whirling life of Tel Aviv, the mystic call of the Negev, the charged air of Jerusalem.  I miss home very much today.


And so, with great excitement, I invite you to join me in the Summer of 2009 on a spiritual journey to visit our family - a community trip to Israel August 2-16, 2009!  

This trip is not limited to Netivot Shalom members, but will be an experience attuned to our shul community's soul. We will explore sites, engage in social justice projects, and support each other as we learn, live, cry, dream, and breathe more deeply than we did before.  This will be a trip open to adults and children, and a family educator has already been hired to provide children's programming during adult-oriented portions of the trip.  More information will be available soon, but reading the news today, watching film clips of Israel's celebration, I couldn't hold back.  I'll be thrilled to talk to you about this trip, and even more honored to share it with you.


LeShannah HaBa'ah BiYerushalayim – Next year in Jerusalem!

Rabbi Creditor

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