Israel Forever

For the week ending 24 April 2004 / 3 Iyyar 5764

Happy Birthday!

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Become a Supporter Library Library

In anticipation of the 56th birthday of the State of Israel which is being celebrated in a few days, we present a quote from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon which was sent to us by Dr. Max Glassman of Toronto and Jerusalem and was included in an address he gave at an Ohr Somayach Forest Hill Toronto Dinner honoring him on his eightieth birthday.

"The problem started with our generation. Because we were the sons and daughters of rebels we had no Judaism in our upbringing whatsoever. The result was that our generation in a way lost its roots, the first to have done so. What did we know about Jewish wisdom? What did we know about Jewish contributions to the world or about the Jewish presence here in Israel? Very little. Were we taught to be proud that we were Jews, descendants of those Jews who through the ages had fought to the death for their beliefs? No, we were not taught these things. Instead, with our generation there was an attempt to create not Jews but New Israel Men and Women. In the process we were disconnected from those earlier generations whose Jewishness was inscribed in their hearts.

Would you say that the average Israeli citizen is proud of being a Jew? I dont think so. One can be proud only of what one knows, not of what one does not know. And we, unfortunately, do not know. I was born in Israel. I had all my education here from kindergarten through university. But what did I and others of my generation learn in all those years of schooling that might have made us proud of our Jewishness?

Reaffirming the identity between Israel and Judaism seems to me a prerequisite for survival. Not that all Israelis have to become Orthodox, but that first of all this country must be a Jewish state and Jews must be proud that it is Jewish and they are Jewish."



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