Messages From The War: Israel is our Motherland and not our Playground
[Editor’s Note: It seems appropriate to gather some of the observations of English speakers here. BE”H, I will publish them as I come across them. If I don’t come up with enough, I’ll write them myself. Here is the first installment.]
Rabbi Michael J. Broyde
Many years ago, I heard a wise observation about how American Jews should view Israel: “Israel is our Motherland and not our Disneyland: Motherland is a place you run towards in times of its trouble, and Disneyland, you do not visit when it is raining.”
I came to Israel this year right after Yom Kippur to spend some time with my two daughters Rachel and Deborah who live in Israel, as well as my wonderful son-in-law, Orr. We stayed in their lovely apartment in Abu Tor, in Jerusalem. It was very ‘Disneylandish’ for many days – wonderful family, excellent food (with sukkot in all the restaurants), spectacular weather and the best that Israel had to offer.
On Shabbat-Shmini Atzeret-Simchat Torah during morning davening, sirens started going off, shooting rockets could be seen and the Iron Dome missile defense system went to work. Needless to say, tefillah was abbreviated – it was the fastest Simchat Torah davening I have ever been at—and horrible news reports started to be repeated.
Israel is now on war footing.
Sadness abounds – hundreds of Israeli soldiers and civilians (men, women and children) have been killed and thousands injured, with many butchered by terrorists who showed no mercy. Many are still being held hostage in Gaza to a fate unknown, but certainly miserable.
Oh how quickly we remember that this is our Motherland and even if it is sometimes Disneyland-like, our love of the land of Israel, the nation of Israel and the people of Israel is much more than our entertainment.
Now is the time for Jews – in America particularly – to be as supportive of Israel in any way they can: politically, economically, and sympathetically. The nation and people here are in shock, surprised by a vicious and unprovoked war that they did not expect. People are rallying in so many ways, with reserves being called up all the time for duty and countless people engaging in a variety of public services. Everyone needs to do what they can.
Rabbi Broyde is a law professor at Emory University in Atlanta, who has also served in a variety of rabbinic positions throughout the United States. He was a Senior Fulbright Scholar at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a visiting professor at Stanford University. He also teaches Jewish Law at Columbia Law School. He can be reached at [email protected].