To the State of Israel and all its inhabitants,
You arrive at this upcoming birthday differently, in the midst of deep public controversy and concern for your future.
Although you are unique, history teaches us that many countries experience similar crises at your age. For a woman, these would be the crises of getting older, but for you, they are actually the crises of youth.
My love for you is filled with great pride, for the very fact of your existence, for the miracle of creation which is the State of Israel, a Jewish and Democratic state. (That “and” is so important.). I am filled with pride for the fact that you grew and developed over the years, and for the incredible successes you achieved with great effort. I am proud of you for your devotion to be the best, to strive for innovation while at the same time sticking to your traditions.
My love for you goes hand in hand with deep concern for your well-being. You have always been small in size, and you have social challenges. You have worked hard to make friends, and you always put in the effort to nurture relationships, even the most challenging ones, with those who are closest to you. I pray that you will find a way to connect and to live in peace.
My biggest concern today though, is directed inward, to the peace within you. I feel great fear at the same time that I am filled with hope. You are growing and changing faster than expected, kicking aside the understandings and agreements we developed along the way. I believe that you have the power to succeed and come out even stronger.
It is true that things will not go back to the way they were, but you will build a new social order. We will shatter old relationship patterns and build something new out of the pieces. From this crisis you made us believe in ourselves, to choose to stay with you no matter what, to be precise about who we are morally and ideologically. You made us love our flag, more than we have ever loved before. I thank you for all of that.
My birthday wish for you is that you will come out stronger, to establish a constitution inspired by your Declaration of Independence, that will stay with you for many years. May you have stability and security, and may you have the foundations on which you will be able to develop yourself and be who you are meant to be.
We are here with you, partners and companions, flesh of your flesh.
May the Rock of Israel protect you with his grace and spread over you his tabernacle of peace, and let us say - Amen!
Rabbi Inbar Bluzer Shalem is one of the founders of “Rashut Ha’Rabim”, an umbrella organization for the renewal of Jewish life in Jerusalem. Inbar is a graduate of the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem and holds an MA in Jewish pluralistic education.
She lives in Jerusalem, is married, and is a mother of four.