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TCS Bulletin - Israel and Anat Hoffman

What do Al Gore, Billy Crystal, Donna Karan, James Taylor, Olivia Newton John, Ozzy Osbourne and Samuel L. Jackson all have in common?

This varied list of celebrities share one common characteristic, and they share it with the State of Israel: all of them were born in 1948.

It is strange to compare the age of a country with that of a person; most countries are far too old. And yet Israel is not even yet seventy years old.

I always find it amazing to think that when my grandparents were born Israel as a State did not exist. They were born at a time when maps included no Jewish State, when there was just a British Mandate in Palestine, when a State of Israel remained an unlikely dream. They were born at a time when chalutzim, pioneers, were draining the swamps, making the desert bloom and laying the foundations for the developed State that we know today.

Sometimes we forget how young a country Israel really is. In a land steeped in history we forget that that this State has existed for less than seventy years. We forget that it was only on November 29th, 1947, that Jews across the world gathered around their radios to listen to the results of the UN Partition Plan for Palestine. And that it was only on May 14th, 1948 that David Ben Gurion stood up in that hall in Tel Aviv and read out the declaration of the establishment of the State of Israel.

And in 65 short years, while surrounded by enemies, facing unparalleled threats; Israel has established herself as a shining beacon for the Middle East and the entire world. I could fill several articles listing Israel’s successes and achievements. In the fields of medicine, computing, the environment and science, Israel is a world leader. In 65 years Israel has established herself as a country of museums, universities, technology, publishing, and industry. And she has done this while facing continuous real and existential threats from the countries that surround her.

This month (on April 16th, the 6th of Iyyar) we will mark Israel’s 65th birthday. But the calendar does not allow us to leap straight into celebration. Before we can rejoice, we must remember. First there is Yom HaZikaron, the Day of Remembrance for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror; a day when people will remember all of those people who have given their lives so that we might have a Jewish State.

And then, following from this most solemn of days, Israel moves to celebrate her Independence Day, Yom HaAtzmaut. The move is almost instantaneous, the mourning of Yom HaZikaron ends and the celebration of Yom HaAtzmaut begins. It is one party which unites, not just the people of Israel, but Jews around the world.

And despite the fact that there is so much to celebrate in Israel there is a lot of work still to be done. As Israel works to create a society which respects the rights of both men and women, which is built upon religious freedom for all and one which adheres to the highest Jewish values of justice and righteousness.

At the forefront of these campaigns is Anat Hoffman, the Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center and Chairwoman of Women of the Wall. She is a modern day chalutza, pioneer, and we are honoured to be welcoming her to The Community Synagogue. She will be spending Shabbat with us from April 19th-21st, and there will be several opportunities to hear her speak and learn about her important work in Israel. We hope that you will join us.

About Rabbi Danny

Rabbi Danny
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