On behalf of all the branches of our American Reform Movement, Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom. Tonight we, as a movement, celebrate Israel’s 64th Birthday.
We might wonder, to paraphrase the McCartney song we sang decades ago, “Does Israel still need me when she’s 64?” The truth is we, the American Jewish community, our Movement, and Israel need each other.
We need each other for our strengths, our creativity, our support, and our joint efforts to be “a light unto the nations.” We need each other to puzzle over ethical and national issues, each in our own context, but influenced by the other. We need each other for the comfort and the counsel that can only truly be expressed within the family. And, we need each other to celebrate the fact that ours is a resilient, restive, powerful people who continue to believe, as Herzl expressed it, “If you will it, it is no dream” — that we are and will continue to be a “free people in our own land of Zion and Jerusalem.”
Our Israel Reform Movement is growing quickly. Through its efforts, we are working together to build an ever more inclusive, pluralistic, democratic Israeli society and Jewish state. Please join us in supporting these efforts.
Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote, “Israel is a personal challenge, a personal religious issue. It is a call to every one of us as an individual, a call which one cannot answer vicariously. (Israel) is a hope for a new appreciation of being human.”
Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom! Please share this Movement-wide message of support for Israel with your congregation.