Thursday, May 27, 2021

Posts from Israel

 Below are my Facebook posts from Israel, in chronological order.

No. 1: Jerusalem

I am in quarantine, but I don't care. Every visitor to Israel has to isolate until they receive the results of their serological test. Hopefully, the results come soon.
But I really don't care either way. I look out my window, and in the distance I can see this scene. And as I look at it, I think about how many people in previous generations dreamed of just catching a glimpse of this view, just for a few seconds. People like Alana Zouda Yitzhak, who arrived from Ethiopia in 1991 as part of Operation Solomon. And his first night in Jerusalem, a reporter asked him for his reaction. He said the following:
“We can’t go downstairs, because we won’t find the room again,” he admitted with a grin. “But I don’t care what I will do here. I can say that I arrived here, and every hour I say, blessed be the name of God.”
I cannot agree more. Looking out my window I say, blessed be the name of God.
May be an image of sky and monument
You, Michele Bismuth, Marla Goodwin Zipper and 721 others
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No. 2: Ashkelon


Ashkelon bore the brunt of last week's attacks. This city of 60,000 was barraged with over 1,000 rockets last week, and has been under attack for years. The trauma affects everyone; even a door slamming can cause people to jump. Gitty, the wife of a Chabad Shaliach, told how children cannot look at balloons, which for them, is associated with incendiary devices from Gaza. Then we visited the home of Sigal Arielli, which received a direct hit. She was luckily in her mamad - in home shelter, which saved her life.
But despite the challenges, the human spirit can - and does - overcome. Gitty told me how her husband took an ice cream truck and gave out ice cream, so now they can find joy as they emerge from their shelters. Sigal spoke about the enormous support she has received from friends around the world; and the front of her house is now decorated with Israeli flags, a way of saying that she will rebuild, and so will all of Israel. #UJANewYork
You, Lisa Schwartz-Steinmetz, Marla Goodwin Zipper and 112 others
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No. 3: Lod

Our visit to Lod was the most difficult of our trip. We visited the area of the riots. We spoke to Jews and Arabs about the personal tragedy of the violence, and the damage done to the social fabric of the entire city.
The apartment pictured was burned, and nearly entirely destroyed - yet the family made it clear immediately that they would come back and rebuild. And on the wall hangs the one item that was not destroyed - a metal cutout decoration, with a prayer that says: "may joy, health, prosperity, blessing, and peace dwell in this house." Even after disaster, there are prayers and there is hope. And as our group leaves, we add our own prayers for this beloved country, which is rebuilding. May it be filled with joy, blessing, and peace as well. #ujanewyork
May be an image of indoor
You, Lisa Schwartz-Steinmetz, Marla Goodwin Zipper and 149 others
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No. 4: Returning Home

I'm home, but miss Israel already. What I will remember most about this trip is the value of solidarity. Here we were, a diverse group of 25 rabbis, who picked up at a moment's notice and flew off to Israel to be there for our Israeli brothers and sisters. At every stop we got the same response: "Thank you for coming". We found it hard to believe that people who were on the front lines of these attacks were grateful to a couple of American rabbis for visiting; but they were. It is sometimes overwhelming to struggle alone, and to suffer in isolation; just knowing someone else cares makes all of the difference. That is why we visited, and that is why our visit made a difference. And this is an obligation that all of us share, as part of the Jewish family: We must be there for each other. Even small gestures, like a visit to Israel or an Israel advocacy email make a big impact. We need to let our Israeli family know that even though we are thousands of miles away, no distance is too far for the human heart. #ujanewyork
May be an image of 8 people, including Rabbi Black, Chaim Steinmetz and Rachel Ain, people standing and outdoors
You, Marla Goodwin Zipper, Mark Fishman and 71 others
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