12 May 2023
This week, I am writing to you from Federation’s Israel YOUR Way Mission. Since our arrival, our group of Federation professionals and community members from across Greater Washington have explored the political and cultural flashpoints from diverse voices across Israel and how they’re being harnessed to create new movements of change.
This exploration of Israeli society and the meaningful connections we have made come at a critical time. Now, perhaps more than ever, we must seek ways to deepen our individual and communal relationships and engagement with Israel and Israelis as both Israeli society and American Jewry’s relationship with Israel continues to shift.
I shared more about this in my first Times of Israel blog post published earlier this week. In the blog, I discuss how Federation seeks to engage our community in thoughtful conversations about Israel, why we must continue to learn from Israel and Israelis, and the importance of the evolving relationship between American Jewry and Israel.
Our visit has also coincided with rising regional tensions. More than 1,000 missiles were shot at Israel from Gaza this week, and we’ve witnessed firsthand the attacks many Israelis face regularly. While in Tel Aviv on Wednesday and earlier today on a hike in the hills of Jerusalem, we watched the Iron Dome in action, successfully hitting a target in the sky above.
Our experiences this week serve as an important reminder of our dual responsibility in Israel. American Jewry must continue to support Israel and its long-term security while simultaneously engaging – sometimes critically – in building a stronger, more vibrant, Democratic state for all its citizens and a homeland for the Jewish people. At Federation, and as a Greater Washington Jewish community, we remain committed to this vital work.
I know you’ll join me in mourning the lives lost in Tunisia and Israel and praying for the swift recovery of the wounded and the restoration of peace across the region. May the memories of Aviel Haddad, Benjamin Haddad, and all victims of terror be for a blessing.
With fervent prayers for peace,