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ISRAEL

 
 
 
 

YOM HA'ATZMAUT

 
 

RABBI CARLOS TAPIERO, MWU DEPUTY - DIRECTOR GENERAL & DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION

Yom HaAtzma'ut: Israel's 65th Independence Day:

The State of Israel
Strengthening Jewish Identity

By: Rabbi Carlos Tapiero, Carlos@maccabiworld.org
MWU Deputy - Director General & Director of Education

Kfar Maccabiah, Friday, April 12, 2013


Yom HaAtzma'ut: Israel's 65
th Independence Day:

The State of Israel - Strengthening Jewish Identity

 

Dear Friends,

The restoration of Jewish national life since the creation of the State of Israel has radically transformed the Jewish People everywhere. Medinat Yisrael, the third independent Jewish entity to have arisen in the Land of Israel, provides a shelter* and home for Jews who decided to join their destinies with it, and more. It also fulfills the vision of Isaiah: "Ki miTzion tetzeh Torah udvar Hashem miYirushalaim"From Zion shall go forth Torah, and from Jerusalem, the word of God**. That is precisely the vision aspired to by Ahad Ha'am, the father of Cultural Zionism***. For decades, Israel has been the center of the greatest creations of the Jewish People, enriching the life of Jewish communities and indeed, of the world, in virtually every area of thought, art, music, science, technology, medicine, and more.

 

The State of Israel conveys more than the physical reality and confers more than the psychological benefit of being a Nation amongst the Nations: it is also a fundamental reference of contemporary Jewish Identity.  Copious research shows that Diaspora Jews' contact**** with the State of Israel insures their Jewish Continuity, especially of Jewish youth. Israel becomes a central focus of Jewish identity from a "natural" and happy place. "Israel" as a concept and as a reality, is one of the easiest vehicles to strengthen the Jewish identity of our youth, because:

 

1. It is "a winning story", an ethos of strength, unlike the countless persecutions of our people over 17 centuries, represented especially by the IDF, its courageous Defense Forces;

2. It is "secular", i.e. it does not impose religious behavior in everyday life of Jews in each community;

3. It has the kind of content which represents youth nowadays: hi-tech, beaches, entertainment, fashion, Western consumption, etc., but also maintains a traditional flavor through its significant historical sites (especially, but not only, Jerusalem);

4. It provides symbols we are proud of: flag, anthem (Hatikvah), Yom Ha'Atsma'ut, Memorial Day, Tu BiShvat... all components of what we call "civil religion."

 

Medinat Israel is extremely attractive as a component of Jewish Identity for all age groups, because:

 

1. After the reality of the Holocaust, the triumphant creation of the State and development of the Israeli Nation seem to be the ultimate physical and spiritual life-response of a previously powerless People, decimated, indeed almost entirely destroyed.

2. Israel has the greatest variety and diversity of Jewish creativity: philosophy, literature, dance (and rikudim), art, sport (Maccabi!), science (biotechnology, hi-tech, medicine, physics, etc.), research, Contemporary Jewry, etc.

3. "Everything in Israel is Jewish", based on the essential: the language (Hebrew), vacations (Jewish holidays), the study at all levels of basic Jewish sources (Bible and Talmud), landscapes and biblical cities.

4. Israel and Zionism provided our people with new national heroes, icons and role models: Herzl, Jabotinsky, Ben-Gurion, Rabin, Moshe Dayan, Begin, Golda Meir. Tal Brody is not an everyday sports legend, he's a Zionist Israeli sports legend.

 

For Maccabi Movement members worldwide, Israel has a level of additional identification to all those mentioned above. Medinat Israel is our Movement's world center, with extraordinary Zionists achievements of our own: the creation of eight kibbutzim, establishment of Maccabim settlement that presaged Modi'in, now the fastest growing city in Israel, Kfar Maccabiah, Maccabi Tzair units in the army and volunteer groups active in communities of underdeveloped areas.

 

  On this 65th Yom HaAtzma'ut, may we all be blessed in the joy of witnessing the further growth and flourishing of our small but great State, in peace, recognition and acceptance by the Nations of the Earth,

of our dream of a united Jewish People returned to Eretz Tzion vi'Yirushalayim, the Land of Zion and of Jerusalem, Eternal Capital of our People.

 

May God bless the State of Israel, which marks the beginning of our national Renaissance, the rebirth of our pride and our Future as a People.

Chag Ha'Atzma'ut Sameach!

Chazak ve' ematz!

 

RABBI CARLOS A. TAPIERO

Deputy Director-General & Director of Education

Maccabi World Union

 

 

* The protection that the State of Israel affords to Jews -- not only its own citizens, but also of Jews in Diaspora countries -- transcends borders; Israel has always asserted a global interest in the protection of Jewish lives and rights.

** Isaiah II, 3.

*** Asher Zvi Hirsch Ginsberg (18 August 1856 - 2 January 1927), primarily known by his Hebrew name and pen name, Ahad Ha'am (Hebrew: אחדהעם, lit. one of the people, Genesis 26:10), was a Hebrew essayist, and one of the foremost pre-state Zionist thinkers. He is known as the founder of Cultural Zionism. With his secular vision of a Jewish "spiritual center" in Palestine, he confronted Theodor Herzl. Unlike Herzl, the founder of Political Zionism, Ha'am strived for "a Jewish State, not merely a State of Jews".

**** Amongst many others, in the works of Barry Chazan and Ilan Ezrachi.

 
 
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