A Trip to Israel and Beginning of Deuteronomy

In a few hours I leave for Israel. Needless to say, I’m a little nervous about the trip, flying, and being in Israel at a time when there is so much tension in the country and the West Bank. I’m also excited about learning more.

I’ll be spending about half the time in Israel within the Green Line and the other half in the West Bank. Most of the time in the West Bank will be in Beitar Illit, a “settlement” of 65,000 mostly Haredim, ultra Orthodox Jews. Our son, Dani, and his family live there. It is a city with lovely parks, schools, shopping malls and supermarkets. Check out the history of Beitar. Some of the time in the West Bank will be spent with Rabbi Arik Ascherman in support of Palestinian human rights concerns there. In fact, on Tisha B’Av, we will be with the people of Susya who are facing constant harassment, the threat of evacuation and the destruction of their village by radical settlers and the IDF.

While in Jerusalem I hope to join other Israelis who are protesting judicial reforms and other actions proposed by the new government that threaten Israel’s democratic institutions.

This week coincides with the beginning of the Book of Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the Torah. Essentially, the book starts out as an all-inclusive convocation of the people, where Moses reviews the journey of the people from enslavement to freedom and the teachings of the covenant that would insure, unity and integrity as a unique nation, a people that affirms justice, compassion, and love through a life of living mitzvot.

Every nation needs such a convocation, several days of reconnecting with its history, its struggles, and the opportunity to learn once again the lessons of past generations and to accept responsibility for creating a better society for all.

Brachot, blessings to all, – Reb David

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