Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
I just returned from a most remarkable men’s mission Israel experience. I must begin by thanking both Steve Hilton and Jay Stein, two long-time community leaders and philanthropists, for leading this trip in every way one can define leadership. The other 13 participants, including myself, many of whom are destined to become the next generation of leaders for our Jewish community, benefited from watching, listening and following how Steve and Jay conduct themselves and learned what it means to be a true mensch.
Without getting into the details of the itinerary, more than anything else, this trip was an important reminder that Judaism is not only defined by religious ritual, but also the land that G-d promised to Abraham all those thousands of years ago. For me, it was my first trip at age 26 to Israel that gave me true understanding of what it means to be Jewish. On this, my 41st trip to the Promised Land, I once again took the time to renew my experience of the rituals of Judaism and the land of Israel.
This week’s double Torah portion is B’har (mount, as in Sinai) and Bechukotai (statutes) in Leviticus. In it, G-d promises, “Even when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away; nor will I ever abhor them, to destroy them and to break my covenant with them; for I am the Lord, their G-d.”
Our group arrived home on the heels of many huge issues in Israel: the decision not to uphold the Iranian nuclear deal, the moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem and the pending Palestinian protests on what they refer to as the Day of Catastrophe, also Israel’s Independence Day, May 14 on the solar calendar. Even so, it is comforting to remember Israel’s national status and G-d’s promise to the Jewish people. Am Yisroel Chai, the nation of Israel lives!
Chief Executive Officer