We are privileged to live in Israel. Here we experience daily the Jewish people’s past, present and future. Wherever one lives in Israel, one senses the connection to our patriarchs, matriarchs and biblical history. One inhales 3,000 years of Jewish existence and exhales a direct contribution to Jewish destiny.

Here in Beit Shemesh, one senses the Tanach. We overlook the Elah Valley, where David slew Goliath. We can imagine the battle scene from I Samuel 17, with Saul and the men of Israel massing on one hillside, the Philistines stationed on the opposite hillside, and the valley between them.

Edie and Mort Barr

We are a stone’s throw from an archaeological site called Shaarayim (Two Gates), a key strategic location in the Kingdom of Judah, on the main road from Philistia and the coastal plain to Jerusalem and Hebron, where King David established his most forward fortress near the land of the Philistines. Samson is buried here.

We are a short drive from Latrun, where the Maccabees defeated the Seleucids in the defining battle en route to the miracle of Chanukah.

What’s more, Israel, a country the size of New Jersey with few natural resources, has the third most companies on the NASDAQ, trailing only the United States and China. It is a global leader in high technology, agriculture, manufacturing, cybersecurity and counterterrorism. Israel manifests what it means to be a Jew: Tanach on one hand and innovative modernity on the other.

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