BY RABBI JEFFREY SEGELMAN
May 14th marks the 70th anniversary of the birth of the modern State of Israel. We are blessed to be able to celebrate this awesome day. Any student of Jewish history understands that for 2000 years, our ancestors could only dream of this. For us, it is a reality. Our hearts are filled with joy and pride at the amazing contributions that Israel has given humanity in its short life. So many advances in agriculture, energy, security, technology, medicine, literature and the arts have been discovered and advanced in the State of Israel.
And all this has come about from a country that has not known one day of peace in its life. From a few hours after its birth, Israel has had to defend itself militarily against most of its neighbors. In the absence of war – in its formal sense – Israel has had to endure thousands of deaths at the hands of terrorists. And today, even as Israel remains safe and strong it must defend itself, to maintain its very right to exist at all.
In this special anniversary year, all of us are beckoned to renew our awareness of our spiritual homeland and deepen our knowledge and dedication to its people. I invite you to join us on WJC’s pilgrimage to Israel in December. Our trip will not only bring you (or bring you back) to the places and moments that define our history, but we will also visit the people and discuss the ideas that will map out our destiny. We will gain the knowledge that will put the news in perspective, and we will encounter the sources of tradition that will expand our Jewish souls. Please check our website for more information and registration.
December 19th to 30th, 2018
Designed to suit both first-timers and those who’ve visited a few times—highlights Israel’s most popular destinations. The trip is perfect for everyone, including the whole family!
I would also like to make you aware of a very special program that will begin at WJC as part of Israel’s 70th. Through the efforts of the Westchester Jewish Council, we will participate in the Shinshinim Program. Israeli High School graduates will spend their “gap year” in our community working with all aspects of the synagogue, building new bridges between Israel and us and particularly focusing on the youth of the Center. Our Teen Engagement Director, Adam Bender, will coordinate Shinshinim for us, and we are very excited about all the possibilities that lie ahead.
Once again, we are very blessed to be able to celebrate Israel’s 70th. We know that blessings bring responsibilities as well. Even as Israel continues to rise to its challenges, may we accept our responsibility to stand by her side with pride and love.
• 5 nights Leonardo Plaza Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
• 1 night David Intercontinental, Tel Aviv, Israel
• 2 nights Kibbutz Nof Ginosar Hotel, Galilee, Israel
• 2 nights Leonardo Plaza Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel