To: The State of Israel and all its inhabitants,
112 years ago, a young man arrived on the shores of Jaffa, with a small bag on his back and a big hope in his heart. Shmuel Ezrachi Brisker, wanted to build his home in the land of Israel. He wrote in his memoirs: “I was lucky, because on this boat I was the only one who came to Israel…in order to live here: one of those thousands who kept the dream about returning to Zion and rebuilding it”.
On the other side of the ocean, in the US, at the outset of WWII, a Reform Rabbi wanted to create change in the way the Reform movement was treating Zionism: “Israel. If Judaism is the soul, then its body is the people of Israel…by rehabilitation of the land of Israel, a land that was made holy, by memories and hopes, we see the hope for a new life for many of our brothers… we should make it the center of Jewish culture and spirituality…”.
Both of them were my ancestors. They did not know each other and the distance between them was great. However, both of them believed in the Zionist dream - building a home for the Jewish people in the land of Israel. This country will aspire to be the best. Their motivating value was Hope. Their hope allowed them to imagine something that didn’t exist yet. As it’s written in the book of prophet Jeremiah: “...plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. (Jeremiah 29, 11).
75 years after the establishment of our country, I believe they would have been amazed with life here. The human wealth and the cultural diversity, the renewal of Jewish traditions, the beating rhythm of life, the thriving economy and wonderful systems of life that were established here, all thanks to the hard work and to the great faith of so many people.
Despite the amazement I believe that both they and I think that the road is still long. We are not an ideal society yet. As we approach the 75th year of the State of Israel we should be happy with all the good we created here and at the same time, to examine deeply all the injustices. We should recognise the pain, the loss and the dispossession that was done to the Arab citizens of Israel, from 1948 until today. We should recognize the injustices that the Ashkenazi Elites did towards Jews who came from North African countries, the injustices the men did towards women and the horrible treatment towards the immigrants from Ethiopia and FSU countries. We need to see racism, hatred and corruption. As thought by prophet Jeremiah, from the truth will come peace. From hope and imagination we could truly bring ourselves to the promised land.
Rabbi Leora Ezrachi Vered was born in Jerusalem. She is a Reform Rabbi, serves as the Rabbi of “Nigun Halev” congregation in the Yizrael Valley and is very active in inter-faith dialogue. Married to Amit, and a mother of three boys: Ethan, Dan and Ari.