Did you, like me and many other supporters of Israel, cringe on reading the other day that the Jerusalem government had laid claim to nearly 1,000 acres of land in the West Bank, presumably for settlement expansion?
When I asked Rabbi Andy Bachman what he plans to speak about in his sermons during this, his last, Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur services as senior rabbi of Congregation Beth Elohim, I thought he would bring up the importance of closing the gap between the wealthy and the needy in this country.
Each summer the Jewish Agency for Israel sends hundreds of shlichim, or emissaries, to Jewish camps throughout the U.S. Their dual goal is to bring the spirit and reality of Israel to youngsters here, and to deepen the relationship between young American and Israeli Jews.
The woman to my left said she felt “overwhelmed” and “emotional” in dealing with the news about Israel’s war in Gaza. The heavy volume of postings on her Facebook page were so upsetting, with their criticism of Israeli actions, that she was considering “unfriending” some of her online correspondents.
In the end, Israel’s lone soldiers who fell in battle in recent days were not alone. Far from it.
The funerals for Max Steinberg, 23, of Los Angeles, Nissim Sean Carmelli, 21, of South Padre Island, Texas, and Jordan Bensemhoun, 22, of Lyon, France, were attended by huge throngs of Israelis — more than 30,000 for Steinberg and 20,000 for Carmelli. In the midst of rocket attacks from Gaza, ordinary citizens came out to the cemeteries to show solidarity with and appreciation for the 6,000 young diaspora Jews who are voluntarily serving in the Israel Defense Forces without parents in Israel.