Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner spoke on the main stage at the Closer to Israel celebration in Trafalgar Square.
These two pieces of paper tell the story of what we are celebrating.
This is a plain slip of paper, the sort we write our prayers on when we visit the Kotel. Small, folded, personal, it carries our hopes for ourselves, our families, our friends and for Israel. These prayers are rooted in our Jewish values. These are values to celebrate. Today.
This other piece of paper is also significant way beyond its size. It’s an Israeli ballot paper. In the joy filled years that my family lived in Jerusalem, I always cherished and celebrated voting. I celebrated just how blessed we are as Jews to live in a time when we can control our own destiny. I am continually awed at experiencing the transformation of the Jewish People that is happening because of Israel. We can celebrate 65 years of independence, of power over our own lives and destiny. This is new for Jews – we shouldn’t take it for granted for a second.
Our values have always taught us what doxycycline kind of society we should build and how to live with others.
Our values teach us kavod ha briyot – dignity of all people as we are all born b’tzelem Elohim, in God’s image. This is Israel where we ensure we treat each person with kavod, dignity – whether they are Jewish; or Israeli Palestinian Arab citizens or Palestinians.
Our values teach us shalom bayit (or saalam bayit) bringing peace into our own homes even when this involves discomfort and give and take.
We can celebrate Judaism’s uncanny ability to continually adapt whether we were desert tribes; one and then two independent kingdoms; tenacious kehillot, communities of the long exile and now we celebrate a modern democracy and a vibrant Diaspora.
Israel is a democracy that engages robustly in all its responsibilities: a budget to balance; an Army to deploy; support and threats from other countries. And we are blessed with the best opportunity since the first century to impact practical decisions about Jewish identity and Jewish values.
Israel is our opportunity to imbue our future with the best of our values. This really is something to celebrate. Shalom.