Israel for me is the integration of tradition and modernity. It is an amalgam of the old and the new, of the timeless and the timely. Great institutions of Torah exist side by side with outstanding modern universities. It is here that Hebrew has been revitalized and successfully functions as the official language of our modern state.

Come Friday afternoon, I literally sense the Shabbat Queen slowly descending into our midst. Traffic thins out as final preparations are made to celebrate Shabbat or simply to acknowledge our historic day of rest. Here, Saturday, our Shabbat, is the official day of rest.

Rabbi Arnold Goodman

Tradition and modernity guide us as we wend our way through life. Tradition is the compass that points the way to a moral and ethical life. Israel, aptly named the Start-Up Nation, has brought us great innovations like Waze, the amazing app that enables us to find our way as we travel about our cities and countrysides worldwide.

Israel puts its technological capacity in play when it is a first responder after a natural calamity in any part of the globe. At such time it employs the techniques and tools that are the products of modernity, but the motivation to extend a helping hand has its roots in our tradition, which mandates we take action to help others in times of need.

Israel’s embrace of the old and the new is a paradigm of the challenge faced by every traditional Jew striving to make his/her way in our modern world. Israel is a model for me as I embrace the new while seeking to hold tight to the old. It’s a tension that defines the drama of my life.

See all the reflections on Israel’s meaning on this special anniversary.