A Bisl Torah

If Only We Could Tell Them

Rabbi Sherman and I have developed a wonderful friendship with Pastor JP Foster from Faithful Central Bible Church, close by in Inglewood. Pastor Foster serves thousands and thousands of Christians; he spoke at our Orden Family MLK Shabbat, traveled to Israel with other Christian faith leaders, and is developing an unbreakable bond with the land of Israel. We most recently traveled together to the AIPAC conference and to experience the conference through his eyes was truly remarkable.

He and I bantered through the sessions and we teased about which speaker, which moment would be the one we shared during our respective Sabbath services. But after one poignant speech, we locked eyes—a 33-year-old Christian pastor with me, a 36 year old female Rabbi and we just knew—this was the moment:

A Senator at AIPAC asked us to imagine the following:

His great-grandmother lived in a shtetl in Poland. It was 1941. Her family members crowded into a small farm house, hiding from the Nazi enemy. The SS banged on the door, demanding that all 17 family members come out on the porch. Infants, children, adults and seniors were ordered to leave their home, destination unknown. His great grandmother stared at the officer and refused to leave. And with that refusal, all 17 family members were brutally gunned down, murdered on that very porch.

The senator, with passion and angst, pleaded with us: if we could only tell those members of the shtetl that one day, if he could only tell his great grandmother–that there would be a free, democratic Jewish state called Israel, what would she say? If we could only tell the six million Jews slaughtered in the death camps that one day, a place called Israel would transform deserts into blooming fields filled with prosperity and hope, what would they say? If we could only tell those that watched their children snatched from their arms, burned to ashes in the crematoria, never to be seen again, that one day Israel would be the place where survivors’ grandchildren and great-grandchildren are shaping the politics of a Jewish state, a Jewish state– what would they say? If only we could tell them.

There’s no question that Israel is a complicated place—with a Knesset that holds a variety of disparate, opposing views; and if we polled our congregations nation-wide, there’d be no question that our views vary as well. But as the Pastor and I discussed repeatedly, what a privilege it is to have a homeland in which disparate views can be discussed. What a privilege it is to discuss a free Jerusalem that is the eternal capital of the Jewish people. That is a miracle we must never take for granted.

Israel, I thank God today, and everyday for the miracle of your existence.

If only we could tell them.

Happy 70th Birthday, Israel.

Comments are closed.