Are we aware of the miracles surrounding us? Rabbi Professor David Golinkin, President of The Schechter Institutes, shares excerpts of a letter written 70 years ago by the late Binyamin Brenzel. It describes the excitement in Israel following the UN partition vote. Brenzel, who later worked at Schechter until age 100, gives a window into the miraculous nature of the creation of the State of Israel.
Beginning in 1948, the State of Israel marked Independence Day on the Fifth of Iyar with military processions in various cities. The State was demonstrating its sovereignty over the entire country. After the Six Day War these celebrations began to change.
In one part of the military cemetery in Jerusalem stands a lone and unusual gravestone, marking the grave of David Raziel, Commander of Etzel (also known as the Irgun, a Zionistparamilitary organization that operated in Mandate Palestine between 1931 and 1948). Not many are aware that this is Raziel’s third resting spot, after he was first interred in a British military cemetery in Iraq and later moved to a Jewish cemetery in Cyprus.
The fall holidays are primarily interested in relations between man and God, between the Jewish people and the Creator. Not so the spring holidays. There is a common denominator that unites these holidays – the unity of the Jewish people.
Every year, the days between Passover and Independence Day are a period of rumination for me regarding the purpose of personal, familial, and national memory. Twenty-four years have passed since my son Uriel Yitzchaq of blessed memory, an infantry officer in the IDF, passed away, and I wonder what elements of my family story, prototypical of the Jewish-Israeli narrative of this generation, shall be remembered in my family in the years to come? What part of the heroic account of the “Holocaust and Renewal” generation shall remain in the collective memory of later generations?
As a Zionist and a religious Jew, I see God’s hand in the rebirth of the Jewish state, and the subsequent restoration of ancient Jerusalem and the Temple Mount to Jewish sovereignty. In fact, while most religious Zionists believe that the State of Israel marksthe beginning of the burgeoning of our redemption, my sense is that this rebirth and restoration are the totality of the promised redemption foretold by the prophets of yore, for which Jews have prayed for 2000 years.
After celebrating Pessch and our exodus from Egypt, come the days of fear and trepidation: Holocaust Remembrance day, Memorial Day for the fallen soldiers, Independence Day and Jerusalem Day; the new commemorative days, engraved in the book of chronicles of our time, days of testimony on the destruction of our people and its revival in Zion.
In honor of Israel ‘s 60th birthday I would like to explain some of the reasons why I decided to live in Israel. These are not the only reasons a Jew should make Aliyah, and they may not be the best, but these are some of the reasons that appeal to me
Throughout its long history, the Jewish people lived in many lands under many different rulers and government. As early as the sixth century BCE, Jews began to pray or offer sacrifices for the welfare of the king and/or government of the country in which they resided.
The siren to commemorate Israel’s fallen has just sounded throughout the country. Each year, while standing at attention, it never ceases to amaze me how those two minutes seem to last an eternity, and how my eternity cannot fathom the “true eternity” that exists for the bereaved of the more than 20,000 soldiers who have given their lives in the defense of this nation since its founding 57 years ago…