Israel Independence Day 2019

During the period of the Omer, between Passover and Shavuot two significant events in modern Jewish history also occurred -- the founding of the State of Israel on the 5th of Iyar, 5708 (May 14th 1948) and also the liberation of the Old City of Jerusalem by the Israel Defence Forces on the 28th of Iyar, 5727 (June 7th 1967).   The day of founding of the State of Israel (Yom ...

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Israel At 70 – As seen by the Gentiles

Israel’s 70th independence day was just celebrated last week and in a couple of weeks we will be celebrating Jerusalem Day, the anniversary of the Liberation of Jerusalem during the 1967, Six Day War. I thought it would be relevant to cite two interesting sources, one by the historian James Parkes, and one a letter by Napolean Bonaparte to the Jewish people. Enjoy! James Parkes, Whose Land?, Oxford University Press, 1949 For ...

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Israel At 70 – in Facts and Numbers

In honor of this week's upcoming celebration of Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel's Independence Day, a reminder of what the State of Israel has accomplished in 70 years, surrounded by enemies, attacked by armies and terrorists, attacked by diplomats, regularly condemned by the United Nations in a land neglected for 2000 years. Israel, the 100th smallest country, with less than 1/1000th of the world's population, can lay claim to the following: Israel has ...

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Lag B’Omer – The 33rd Day of the Omer

In the first century of the Common Era, the Jewish people experienced a major tragedy during the period of counting the Omer.  The greatest sage of the generation was Rabbi Akivah, who had taught vast numbers of people.  The Talmud relates that 24,000 (!) of Rabbi Akivah’s students, who constituted the primary chain of Torah transmission, died as a result of an epidemic between Passover and Shavuot. The Talmud states ...

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Passionately Israel

The Talmud in Tractate Chulin says something quite astonishing. It states that “pagans outside of Israel are not really pagans, they are just following the customs of their ancestors.”  In other words, authentic idolatry only exists in Israel! Now that is an  astounding statement, because it appears that Israel, the holy land, the land of prophecy, the land where all the commandments apply, the land where all the prophets lived, ...

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Is Independence Good?

We will be celebrating the State of Israel’s 69th Independence Day very soon (May 2nd), an occasion for gratitude to G-d and also to the people who sacrificed so much to create a homeland and a Jewish state for the first time in over 2000 years. However, this upcoming event raised a question in my mind, “Is independence a Jewish value?”  It struck me that there are (at least) a ...

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Modern Miracles

During the period of the Omer, between Passover and Shavuot two significant events in modern Jewish history also occurred -- the founding of the State of Israel on the 5th of Iyar, 5708 (May 14th 1948) and also the liberation of the Old City of Jerusalem by the Israel Defence Forces on the 28th of Iyar, 5727 (June 7th 1967).   The day of founding of the State of Israel (Yom ...

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