The buzz this past week has been about Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech in Congress. Admittedly, there is a divide both within and from outside the Jewish community as to whether the Prime Minister should have given the speech at all. There is debate about the right way to eliminate the Iranian nuclear threat. One thing is clear, the Iranian nuclear threat to Israel is real.
As part of the Prime Minister’s speech in Congress, he referred to the holiday of Purim. In our Purim story, we read about a Jewish community in Persia (today called Iran) that was threatened by its ruler. The parallels to the present day are uncanny.
We can feel proud that as a Federation we continue to support the people of Israel through programs like Partnership 2Gether, connecting us with the communities of Karmiel and Misgav. We help to support the social service needs within Israel, where over 30% of children are living below the poverty line. We enable Aliyah (immigration) and Klitah (Absorption) of new immigrants, which has increased greatly this year from places like France and Ukraine. Locally, we connect our community with Israel through programs like Birthright Israel, Onward Israel and Israel Scholarships for our teens.
As I’ve been at different events throughout the community this week or on the phone with Federation donors, almost every person wanted to talk about “the speech” and about Iran. I’m glad to see the interest in, as Netanyahu said in his speech, “the one and only Jewish state”. Now, we must not only keep up the interest, but more importantly, the support and advocacy for Israel. Just like in the Purim story, Esther and Mordechai did not sit idly by. They spoke up to protect their people. We must do the same.
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom.