Last week, I wrote to you overlooking Jerusalem’s Old City walls. This week, I write to you staring out into the Mediterranean Sea to my right and peering out to a view of Old Jaffa to my left.
The juxtaposition between these two places defines not simply a country, but our people.
Religious and secular, Jewish, Christian, Arab, and Druze, all walking down a boardwalk together, eating cotton candy and ice cream. These same people jumping waves on the beach, as I hear Hebrew, Arabic, English, Russian, Spanish, and a mix of other languages.
Over the last ten days on our Sinai Temple Family trip, we have learned the story of this land, and all throughout our tour, the guide keeps repeating one word, “Kadima!”
Kadima means “go forward,” and yet, the root of this word is kedem, which means ancient.
Another juxtaposition: How can we move forward while also being in the past?
That is the beauty of Israel. Kadima is the only way we know how to live our lives as Jews. That is why my children participated in an archaeological dig on the Temple Mount and ate pizza on Ben Yehuda street in the same day, and that is why we shepherded goats and sheep yesterday morning and rode the waves of the Mediterranean sea in the afternoon.
Our parsha of Re’eh begins with a choice that God places before us: a blessing and a curse. It is up to us to choose wisely. This land is full of challenges and achievements, full of ancient and modern, and full of opportunities. When we choose wisely, the blessings are apparent to all.
These last ten days in Israel with our Sinai Temple family has been magical.
We have learned and ate together, we have laughed and cried together, we have looked at our past and proudly proclaimed Kadima–we, too, shall move forward to a bright future for us and for our holy land.