Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Israel

Today, 5 Iyar, is the date when 61 years ago when Israel was declared a state. It is celebrated by much of the Jewish world in one way or another. The chareidi world (including Lubavitch) is a notable exception. It seems that despite the fact that Israel is an integral part of our identity these days we still have a difficult time acknowledging this.

It is true that 100 years ago the idea of a Jewish State in Palestine (as the land was called then) appeared to be against the idea that we would return to our land when Moshiach comes. It looked like the mostly irreligious Jews - who advocated the setting up of this new state - had rejected this fundamental belief and it was obvious that most Torah Jews would find this abhorrent.

Today Israel has proved itself to be a Jewish land which offers freedom and pride to Jews everywhere. The Charedi press and websites are filled with all sorts of news about our land. The establishment of a Jewish Homeland is a fait accompli and, while we are still waiting for Moshiach, it is the only country where all Jews can feel proud and free. It is the place where young men and women in our community want to visit and study. It is an amazing place for frum Jews and where the spirit of Yiddishkeit is almost palatable when travelling the country.

So despite the Lubavitch (and Chareidi) world's ambivalence about this day I say that it is about time that we openly recognised the place that Israel occupies in our lives. Our Jewish self-worth has been enhanced by this little country and we are prouder Jews because of it.

A great website about Israel and with some wonderful aerial photos can be seen here.