Saturday, 23 June 2018

Solidarity with Israel is part of Judaism

Aleph Beit Chadash had an opportunity to Walk with Israel on May 27th with the Toronto Jewish community.  It was a beautiful day as we showed our pride for Eretz Israel by walking through downtown Toronto carrying our Israeli flag. 

So, it is days like this that make me reflect on the importance of Israel for the continuity of the Jewish people and the role that we must play in securing the State of Israel.  As we walked proudly with the Israeli flag waving among the crowds, there were also many "protesters" with different flags and signs that opposed Israel.  Some of these protesters were also fellow "Jews," One of my young students looked up at me and innocently questioned, "Why do those people hate us and why are those Jews on the wrong side of the road?"

How do we explain to our children that there will always be people who hate us, as there always has been.  Unfortunately, there is ignorance in our world but that must not stand in our way of standing proud to be Jewish and proud to call Eretz Israel our Eternal Homeland. 

It is for this reason that teaching modern Israeli history must go hand in hand with teaching religion and Jewish history.  It is not enough to teach our children about Ancient Egypt and it is not enough to teach them all the stories from our Tanach.  It is not enough to teach them about Rosh Hashana and Pesach.  We must teach them about Israel.  Our children must know that Israel is not only our Promised Land from Hashem; it is our "Promised Land from the Balfour Declaration (1917) and the Mandate for Palestine (1922).  Our children need to know that those who call Israelis "occupiers" and compare the Israelis to the Nazis are simply misinformed, ignorant and maybe even antisemites. 

This is the reason that the Mission Statement of Aleph Beit Chadash is more than just a commitment to teach Jewish holidays and Torah stories.  Our mission is to teach children about Eretz Israel, Zionism and the role that they must take as Diaspora Jews to ensure that we always have a strong Jewish community walking "on the right side of the street."

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