I feel blessed to live at the time of the rebirth and flourishing of the Jewish state. Israel has been a part of my Jewish identity since I put coins in the JNF blue box as a child. Israel continues to play a central role in my life as a Jewish professional and community volunteer.
When I think about Israel, I reflect on the countless memories I have of sacred moments I witnessed:
• Singing Hatikvah as the plane descends and we see Israel out the window.
• Chanting Shehecheyanu as we stand on a hilltop viewing the Old City.
• Welcoming Shabbat at the Kotel with song and dance and prayer.
• Dancing on the tarmac with Soviet Jewish olim as they depart the plane.
• Shopping in the Cardo with our AJC Mission Undaunted participants weeks before the Gulf War.
• Hearing Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” read by Christian leaders in AJC’s Project Interchange.
• Sharing new insights and camaraderie on Federation missions and Congregation Or Hadash trips.
• Marveling at the spontaneous basketball games that developed when bringing African-Americans to Ethiopian absorption centers.
• Studying on the rooftops in Jerusalem until dawn on Shavuot.
• Celebrating with friends for their children’s b’not mitzvah celebrations on top of Masada.
• Participating in heated political discussions during home hospitality when traveling with my Black/Jewish Sisters Group.
Happy 70th birthday, Israel!