On the evening of Tuesday, May 6th sirens will sound
across Israel calling the nation to a moment of collective
reflection and sorrow for Yom Hazikaron, Israel's Memorial Day.
As the sun sets on Wednesday Yom Ha'atzma'ut begins, and
Israelis will begin their 60th Independence Day celebrations.
Brit Tzedek's Rabbinic Cabinet has developed
peace-oriented resources for this important anniversary year in
a new guide,"Pointing
the Way to Peace and Security: A Resource for Rabbis and Cantors
on Israel's 60th Birthday." It includes
reflections by prominent rabbis, suggested synagogue-related
peace activities, a bibliography
of recommended reading, a timeline of "defining moments" in
the Arab-Israeli peace process, and stories from an Israeli and
Palestinian who were personally involved in the events of May,
1948. You can download a PDF of the booklet or
order a printed copy. Selected
highlights are below.
Israel at Sixty by Rabbi Arnold Jacob
We learn from Pirke Avot (5.24)
that 60 is a time for maturity (ziknah). Israel,
having weathered youth and adolescence, now faces the perils and
opportunities of age. Ziknah requires patience,
compromise, and empathy. It's a time finally to relinquish
messianic dreams and narcissistic pretensions. Peace,
fairness, and realism must supplant our wide-eyed naive former
expectations. It is a time to evaluate the past and face
the future with honesty and courage. Read more.
Yom Hazikaron: The Silver Platter Revisited by
Rabbi Brant Rosen
There can be no doubt that the
stakes of the current "partition effort" are unbearably high. If
Israel does not find the wherewithal to forge a two state
solution with the Palestinians, the tragic sacrifices of the
past sixty years can only give way to one of two scenarios: the
end of Israel as a Jewish state or a Jewish apartheid state
living in perpetual conflict with a majority Palestinian
population. Do any of us really believe that either scenario
would honor the sacrifice of those who died defending the dream
of Jewish independence? Read more.
Yom Ha'atzmaut: On the Road at 60 by Rabbi Toba
As a marker on a much longer road,
we also need to have the faith that 60 is not the beginning of
the end. None of us can know where the current situation
will lead. Perhaps, with our leadership, the American
Jewish community will become a powerful force pressuring the
U.S. government to work actively to bring about a viable
two-state solution, a solution that will provide for a lasting,
just and secure peace for all the inhabitants of Israel and
Palestine. Perhaps Israel will continue to evolve, and will
someday fulfill in new ways its democratic and Jewish
commitments. Perhaps, another 100 years down the road, we can
imagine a cosmopolitan Israeli nation at the heart of a
revitalized, dynamic and democratic Middle East. The founders of
the state of Israel had the chutzpah to dream big, and to act on
those dreams. We are asked to dream no less big, and to
also have the courage of our convictions--with the benefit of
hindsight, and the experience of the past 60 years, to guide our
dreams and our actions. Read more.
Rina Eilon: An Israeli’s Memories of
I remember that an aristocratic
Arab couple came to Jerusalem from Jaffa and warned my mother
that when [the British left], the Arabs would attack and the
Jews would lose the war and be killed. They offered to
take me with them to Jaffa to protect my life. Knowing
that so many Jews had just been murdered in the Holocaust, they
wanted to help me survive. Read more.
Rashid Irsheid: A Palestinian’s Memories of
All the consul generals came, the
Americans, the French, the Italians, including Ben Gurion.
The consular corps said, “You know, we have to talk to the
Arabs.” So they decided to call the Arab
headquarters in the Old City of Jerusalem. And [Ben
Gurion] said, “We need someone who speaks
Arabic.” So the Polish consul said, “I have my
employee Rashid. He speaks Arabic, and English, and
Hebrew, and Polish.” And Ben Gurion said, “OK.
Call them and tell them we request a
ceasefire.” Read more.
Resources for Israel's 60th
Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, The Jewish Alliance for Justice and
11 E. Adams Street, Suite 707
Phone: (312) 341-1205
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