Monday, May 7, 2018

Why I love Israel .......

Driving up the Number 2 Highway, I noticed a sign straight ahead. It was of a big slice of Cheesecake and it said, "Happy Shavuot!" It's only a few weeks away and the bakeries want to get a head start on sales. I can still smell the smoke from last night's bonfires. I am not sure if the majority of people know what L'ag Ba'Omer, even Shavuout is all about, but they sure do celebrate them. It's not just a part of our religion, it's a part of our nationality.

Every Purim the skies light up with fireworks. It's as if we defeated the Persians yesterday. Now that we are locked in a fight to the death with modern day Persia, Purim comes to life. We celebrate like the actual events happened yesterday.  

We are a nation like any other, mixing religion into our national identity. This wasn't accomplished by the nationalist right: it was the vision of the secular socialist Zionist leadership who founded our country.

They modeled our flag after a prayer shawl. They declared our name Israel, making us the only nation on earth to incorporate G-d's Holy Name into our national title. They set our country in the Biblical Land of Israel, not Uganda. They declared Shabbat a national holiday and closed all government offices. The IDF was commanded to keep Kosher while David Ben Gurion was Prime Minister. 

The United States does the same. New Year's is at the beginning of January (the Christian calendar), and not Tishrei (Jewish) or Muharram (Muslim). January 1 is related the life of the central figure in Christianity. The holiday season in America starts with Thanksgiving, enshrined by President George Washington as, "a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God", and concludes on Christmas.  

America is a Christian nation, and its "secular" traditions reinforce this. The same can be said for Canada, England, and Mexico.

So why not us?

In Israel, every Jew has the opportunity to feel comfortable in his own flesh by simply being an Israeli citizen. When he eats, it will most likely be at a kosher restaurant. He doesn't work on Shabbat or Festivals. Religious or not, he will know what each festival is. How else can he remind his boss why the office will be closed?
We are a nation where Jews wearing head covering are part of every walk of life, from the workplace to the war zone. We are a nation where a local sitcom had an entire episode dedicated to the politics of who is coming for Passover Seder – it was a two-parter! In the past 18 months, over 3 shows have aired about Haredim and their growing role in Israeli life.
Just like every other country, our religious identity is a part of our national identity. Because we are a free and diverse society, it doesn't get in the way of other religions. Muslims have no problems practicing their faith here anymore than they would in Christian America.

For over 40 years, my uncle, living in the Jewish wastelands of New York, was the organizer of the company Christmas party. 

Last winter I was asked to recite the blessings over the Hannukah candles for our company party in Netanya.
These small, everyday examples of being able to wear our faith on our sleeves in peace gives me immeasurable pride every time I am on the line with a client from overseas and they ask where I am calling from.

Every week you can expect me, David Ben Horin, to be writing this column, Thank God for Israel. Writing and fighting to give my every morsel of wisdom to the good people who love my beloved country. Even to the not so good people who should love my country, it's never too late to see the light. Check out


Tziyoni said...

Couldn’t of said it any better.

Anonymous said...

keep up the good work ושלום על ישראל

H said...

Good Luck to you!!!
Live your dream!