Israeli Values Religious Voices

Letter 74 - Rabbi Nathalie Lastreger

To the State of Israel and all its inhabitants,

“The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad” (Psalm 118, 24). 

The words of praise that we will sing to you, beloved Israel, on your day of celebration, express the double joy: let us rejoice today and be glad. Today, simply, just the way you are. Rejoice and be glad - about your salvation, that is yet to come. 

Many thanks to you: first, for standing upright, during 75 years old, smiling, trying, knowing your strengths but also being aware of your weaknesses. You have brought together Jewish communities from more than 140 countries, and your hand is still tilted. There is no one that resembles you in the entire world, no one like you. There are your flowers, fruit, landscapes, roads, mountains and valleys - just reach out and touch it. And there are the thousands of songs and millions of Hebrew letters that are being written in every possible field - you brought to life a whole world of Hebrew culture. And you have community and traditionalism in which the old is renewed and the new is sanctified, because there are many possible ways: Blessed be you, Israel. 

Above all, thank you for the home you are for us, a home like every home is amazing and complicated, both at the same time. So yes, the Lord has created this day to rejoice and be glad in it, in our home, for all that this home means to us. 

A birthday is also a day of reflection, who if you do not know about the many challenges you are facing, all at the same time. 

Since all of us gathered here together, settled down, we have grown and rooted ourselves within you, we fell in love and we want even more! Because with a load of prayers, dreams and hopes that are thousands of years old - you're committed to much more: more compassion, understanding and unity. More openness and responsibility. Much more equality, freedom and justice. And peace, a peace of acceptance with a peace of truth.   On your day of celebration, I wish for us to rise and promise to do more for you, for ourselves and for the future generations. Beloved Israel, rise up, straighten the blue stripes, you are so beautiful and wonderful, open your eyes and see. Everybody gathered together and came to wish you to rejoice and be glad for many long and good years to come!

Yours, with hope and love,

Rabbi Nathalie Lastreger

Rabbi Nathalie Lastreger was born in Paris, and made Aliyah to Israel over 45 years ago. She lives in Kfar Vradim (Galilee) where she serves as a Conservative Rabbi of the community.  Nathalie is a lecturer and teacher about pluralistic values, social justice, human rights, and minority rights, and is active in interfaith encounters and dialogue. She is a fellow of the “Honey” Foundation. Mother of three and grandmother of five. 

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