Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
I am writing this Shabbat message from my flight readying to take off from Ben Gurion airport. I am returning home after an exhausting yet exhilarating 8 days with 15 incredible new friends made on our Interfaith Men’s Mission to Israel.
It was such a powerful trip. We bonded immediately and those bonds grew stronger each day that we traveled, learned and broke bread together. The sights were spectacular but it was our Jewish traditions – Shabbat dinner, Kiddush, Yom Hashoah, Yom Hazikaron, Havdalah, and sadly, a Kaddish for those buried in Har Hertzel – that moved both the Jewish and the non-Jews among us the most.
While we were there, more than 450 rockets were fired into southern Israel. Though we were not in that area of the country when it happened, it certainly brought home one of the many ways life in Israel is different than in our communities – the constant threat that inspires innovation and a visceral love of life.
This week’s Torah portion is Kedoshim (Holy) in Leviticus. In it, our patriarch Hillel says “this is the whole Torah, the rest is commentary… love thy neighbor as thy self”. This seems so antithetical to the strategy of lobbing rockets at your neighbor. Being in the country, yet again, at such a time for me, only further deepens my resolve to support the modern state of Israel, which celebrated 71 years of independence this week. Am Yisroel Chai, the nation of Israel lives!
Wishing you Shabbat Shalom.
President & Chief Executive Officer
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