Ian Silverman, Rabbi

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It is hard to believe, but Pesach is upon us, with Yom HaShoah and Israel Independence Day soon to follow. We make our way on our calendar, from these holidays, through the counting period to Shavuoth. Their rapid fire succession has sparked these thoughts–

There is a wonderful hymn that we sing at the end of the Passover Seder, in the English, “Who knows One.” It teaches us of two and three and four, etc, just like the succession of holy times in our Jewish calendar. Let me explain. An insightful sage asks the question, "Why is it that the second verse and the tenth verse are so similar? After all, the refain for two tells us it's the two tablets of law, and the tenth verse, asking "who knows ten?" answers it's the Ten Commandments. Aren't they really the same thing? The tablets are the Ten Commandments! How is it that the author of the hymn could have been so repetitive?

The sage answers his question by saying that they are not the same. The two tablets of law refer not to the two tablets of one set, the Ten Commandments, but the two sets of tablets of law. The first tablets were smashed when Moses saw the golden calf. He went up again to get a second set! The second verse celebrates the phenomenon of second chances in Judaism–the ability of a people to recognize its mistakes and to get a second break from the God of Israel. God is always willing to give us a second chance.

Thinking more deeply about this, however, the coming of the Israelites into the land from Egypt was actually a second chance as well, for Abraham had dwelled there, but the people needed to pass through the “furnace of fire” to become a people of character and unity. Jacob went down to Egypt, a second return. But wait a minute, that too was followed by a blown chance. The first generation muffed it when they heeded the pessimism of the spies and were condemned to die in the desert. One could say that the second generation of freed Hebrews getting in was the third chance that God bestowed on them. Unfortunately, that effort, too, was lost when the Babylonians destroyed the first Temple. We were granted yet a fourth opportunity when Cyrus and Darius got us back to the Holy Land and we built yet a second national home. Alas, the Romans exiled the Judaen State in 70Ce and quashed its rebirth in 135 Ce, during the era of Bar Kochba.

Now along came a fifth chance, granted by Heaven. It started with a dream, in the book The Alte Neue Land, written by Theodore Herzl, more than a century ago. Many make the point that this effort was driven not by heaven above, but by people from below. The Zionist Movement organized, and a society in the making emerged by the hard work of statesmen, philanthropists, industrialists, scientists, dreamers and followers that made facts on the ground. Herzl said “if one wills it, it is not a dream.”

Now we stand 70 years in the aftermath of that fifth opportunity, granted to us by the dedicated, brazen and innovative Israeli population. Beset by adversity, Israel has become a military power and entrepreneurial, technological society. She has emerged as a world leader in medical, botanical, technological and scientific achievement. She stands poised to share her know-how with the world around her, and I believe is diplomatically prepared for compromise with a Palestinian leadership that will give up its dream of dismantling the Jewish State. This fifth opportunity is one that all of us should share by visiting Israel and supporting her. Israel has made mistakes, as has all nations. The rebirth of a national existence has its share of complicating elements and moral challenges. But we should be unbelievably proud of the State of Israel as she stands on the precipice of 70 years. May the Zionist State go from attainment to attainment, aided by the support of nations of good will. She has only just begun to share of her bounty and be the light unto nations that is her mission. (Stay tuned for more on the celebration of the 70th anniversary in the coming month).

 What is true for a nation is true for individuals. Judaism and the Bible hold that second chances–third, fourth and fifth ones–are what life is about. All of us make mistakes and sometimes go off in wrong directions. It doesn't mean we should do whatever we want, always knowing that God will take us back. But Judaism holds that God is ready to take us in when we return and are ready to start anew–sincerely anew. And it it means that we must never give up on each other or on ourselves. May Pesach be sweet for you and yours. And may we always be conscious, in our lives, of second and third chances when failure strikes. May we always remember our resilient nature as individuals and as a people.

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Israel Items of Interest

KEEP CURRENT WITH THE LATEST NEWS IN ISRAELI ADVOCACY, THE DAILY ALERT HERE.

An Israeli company has developed a means to evaluate the freshness of foods. Read about it HERE.

Israeli startup Zebra Medical Vision, offers an online software that can provide a second opinion on CT scans by analyzing the information and producing a medical report within 90% accuracy. Read about it HERE.

Film recommendation: Mekonen, the story of an Ethiopian Jew who makes peace with an emotional past and embraces his future in Israel, becoming a decorated officer in the IDF while remaining true to his African roots and culture.

Did you know that the first victim of 9-11 was an Israeli Special Forces Veteran who rushed the cockpit of American Airlines Flight 11 to stop the hijackers, but was murdered in his attempt to stop these al-Queda terrorists. Watch a quick video, HERE. 

Read about a small guitar workshop in Jaffa, creating the finest instruments, HERE.

A PhD student at Hebrew University has won an award for developing a test to detect Parkinson's Disease. Read about it HERE.

Three years after publishing an anti-Israel letter in the medical journal, The Lancet, the editor admits he has deep regrets and has dedicated the latest issue to highlighting health care in Israel. Read about it HERE.

Read an article by Chris Coons and Marco Rubio from the Wall Street Journal, "Every Senator Agrees the UN Must Change," HERE.

Israel's medical clowns- they cheer up sick kids, reduce anxiety, decrease pain, and alleviate depression. They are Jews, Christian Arabs, and others. Watch a YouTube video about them HERE.

Learn about the connection of Jews with Israel, the decades-long quest of Israel for peace with it's neighbors, the failure of Palestinian leadership to turn conflict into coexistence, and the contrast between the fate of Palestinian and Jewish refugees from the Arab-Israel conflict, HERE. 

Women of the IDF video

 

Rabbi Silverman's Suggested Sites to See

The father of solar energy was.... you guessed it– an Israeli! Read the story, HERE.

The National Women's Studies Association has awarded a Rutgers University professor for his book asserting that the Israeli Defense Forces, toward the debilitation of Palestine, claim a sovereign right to maim and kill Palestinians. Read about it HERE.

A University of California, San Diego professor shut up a Muslim student organization member (affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood) and revealed her true anti-Israel stance. Many of us are not aware of how radicalized some of our American Muslim students are. Watch the video HERE.

A professor at the University of Michigan refused to recommend student study in Israel, not because of the academic flaws of the student but because of the supposed "flaws" of the Jewish State and his BDS pledge. Please read and let the U of M administration know your opinion, HERE.

U.S.-born Ari Fuld, a well-known Israel advocate and activist was stabbed to death 9/16 by a Palestinian terrorist outside a West Bank shopping mall. A friend of Rabbi Ian's brother, who lived on the same street in Beit Shamesh, Fuld was a hero to all. Read a letter to the editor of the Jerusalem Post, expaining this random killing, HERE.

Read why Israel should have the Nation-State law, HERE.

The Israel Group, a non-profit fighting BDS, is demanding that the LA school district cease holding workshops promoting BDS and discrimination against Israel. The group publicized their findings of the 2017 workshop, finding that the material presented was a one-sided official condemnation of core Jewish religious beliefs and right of self-determination. Read about it HERE.

UCLA will host the Students for Justice in Palestine annual conference in November, whose mission is to "remind us that Zionism is not an insurmountable force...We can have hope that Zionism... can be destroyed." This rhetoric contributes to hostile and violent attitudes toward Jewish students on campuses throughout the US. Sign a petition demanding that UCLA adhere to its commitment to "mutual respect, equality and inclusion," and halt its compliance in fueling anti-Semitism in college settings, HERE.

Why are Palestinian refugees different from aother refugees? Read about the lunacy of the UNRWA HERE.

Watch a short and effective video about Hamas, painting a not-so-pretty picture for Palestinian inhabitants, HERE.

Urge your congressman to vote for the US-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act, ensuring Israel has the means necessary to defend itself HERE.

Linda Sarsour warned Muslims against "humanizing" Israelis. Read about her speech at ISNA HERE.

Read an article by Rabbi Marc Gellman of the GodSquad on the mystery of blessings, HERE.

Read the latest article from Cold Spring Harbor's Judy Davis, " Has Israel Betrayed American Jews?" HERE.

CAIR, the Council of American Islamic Relations, has published its 2018 Civil Rights Report, finding an increase in Islamophobic incidents across the US. Ironically, the author of the report is herself a conspiracy bigot and anti-Semite. Read about it HERE.

Is British Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn an anti-Semite? Seems so... Read the evidence HERE.

Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu recently visited his ancestral home of Vilna, Lithuania with his wife, and reflected on his visit HERE.

 

 

 

Although some argue that Jews are the alien population to Palestine, implanted by the British, in fact, Jews are the indigenous population in this area based on historical and genetic documentation. It is the Palestinians, however, who are there as a result of converts from those indigenous pre-modern Jews and Christians who submitted to Islam, Muslim invaders, and Arab immigrants. Read about it HERE. 

Learn the proper protocol to handle Palestinian activists on campuses as exemplified by Georgetown University HERE.

A video about all the wonderful aid Israel provides worldwide, that will bring a tear to your eyes HERE.

 

 

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