Rabbi Jim Ponet, Eric Petersiel, RJE, and Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins offer three different approaches to the concept/reality of Israel.
Rabbi Jim Ponet, the Jewish Chaplain of Yale University, contributes:
“Israel makes the Jewish people real. Israel changes the meaning of tikkun olam into what one Jew as a citizen of a small, technically advanced, energetic country living under great pressure can contribute to the improvement of the world. That is, Israel turns the Jews into an am olam, a people of the world. Judais m then becomes a form of global citizenship.”
Eric Petersiel, RJE, is Head of School of the Leo Baeck Day School in Toronto. He writes:
“This past summer I spent a month in Israel. Not through any design, but it meant that my journeys occurred when I was 10, 20, 35 and now 40. For the first time I began to consider the arc of my Israel connection-the fact that at 10 I still remember being able to enter the Dome of the Rock and touch the top of Mount Moriah, at 20 we barely stepped foot outside the Jewish Quarter during the Intifadeh, never mind ascending the Temple Mount, to the tense compromise of today, safely exploring the site without being able to enter as a Jew. While there, as now, I ponder my Jewish future, and that of my children, aged 1 and 7 and wonder if I have done my part to instill in them the significance of our Israeli experience. I look forward to knowing better on the centenary of the State.”
Author and scholar, Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins submitted the following (written on Yom HaShoah):
“Seventy years ago we were down and out, tortured and led into gas chambers without HOPE, being led to our deaths.We crawled our way out of the ashes of the ovens of Europe . We won every war that we were forced to fight. We built a successful country from scratch!”