Erev Shabbat Message from Rabbi Feldman

Dear Friends,
I am very grateful for the opportunity to go to Israel this week to celebrate Passover and to experience our son's becoming a Bar Mitzvah in Jerusalem. This trip has been on my mind quite a bit recently; three experiences this week have helped me prepare. They were all very powerful on their own, and to have them just days before I will be in Israel with my family accentuates the emotion and power of each.
Our son, Ilan, has been preparing for becoming a Bar Mitzvah for many months including learning to chant his Torah reading, write a D'var Torah about his Torah portion and, lead the service when we get to the Kotel next Thursday morning. He told me he was ready and I believed him but this past Saturday he proved it to me. When the Sanctuary was empty, he and I went in so I could hear him read from the Sefer Torah. As he chanted, I followed every word of his reading and he read it beautifully. Not only  was I very proud of Ilan and how he worked to prepare, but I realized  that the next time I will hear him chant from the Sefer Torah, we will be at the Kotel in Jerusalem, the holiest site in the Jewish world, as we as a family gather around him to celebrate his becoming a Bar Mitzvah.
On Sunday, I attended the Amy Adina Schulman Memorial Fund program. It was a wonderful concert by my favorite Israeli musician David Broza who was joined by a very talented Palestinian musician, Ali Paris. Each song took me back to when I first heard his music during my earliest trips to Israel as a young student when I first felt a love for Israel. To hear this music again helped me prepare for this trip as a father, teaching my children about real life in Israel, amazing Israel music and culture and some of the challenges of Israeli life that Broza addresses in his songs. The two most powerful songs for me were the final ones. The first is called, Tachat HaShamayim - a love song about two people who live together, love together and make the most of life together.  Sara introduced me to this song close to 25 years ago when we were together in Jerusalem, and our kids know that it has special meaning for us. As we sat together and heard the song, we all smiled at each other knowing we would soon be in Israel to experience the great music together. The final song was Broza's first great hit, Yiheh Tov - a reminder that everything will be good, and that we should never lose hope in a better future.
Later on Sunday, I traveled to Washington to be a part of the AIPAC National Policy Conference. This year, close to 18,000 people gathered to hear from the Prime Minister of Israel, the Vice President of the United States, members of Congress and many others who spoke about the US-Israel relationship. I have been involved in AIPAC since I became the Rabbi of TJC twelve years ago and I have always felt it was important to be a part of this gathering. There was something about this year that just felt a bit different: perhaps it is the challenging times in which we find ourselves today; perhaps it is because of what we have been reading about for weeks related to the US-Israel relationship, or perhaps for me it was because this was the first time I attended the AIPAC Policy Conference just days before I leave for Israel.
I feel even more strongly today that the US needs Israel and Israel needs the US. As someone said this week, Israel is America's best friend in the world's most dangerous neighborhood. Our countries have a deep bond and must continue to support one another in whatever ways possible.  One way to do that is to support any pro-Israel organization that aligns with our own political beliefs, which is why I continue to support AIPAC. Another is to spend time in Israel, to experience the culture and the history, the attractions and the people.
I am grateful that I have been able to travel to Israel many times and I am know like all the others, this trip will be special in its own way.  We will be visiting our daughter Talia who is there for the final semester of high school, we will celebrate Ilan becoming a Bar Mitzvah at the Kotel, our other daughter Dena will be able to spend time with friends, and Sara and I will visit with family and friends who have made a life in the Jewish State.
We are looking forward to being in Israel for Passover. For centuries our people have said the words, "Next Year in Jerusalem" beginning in a time when there was no Jewish state, when it was not safe or even possible to travel to Jerusalem. I am grateful to live in a time when it is possible to travel and experience Israel freely, and observe our children exploring Israel on their own and with our family. For us it is "Next Week in Jerusalem" and as we make our final preparations, I will take my experiences from this week with me, I will take the good wishes so many of you have shared with me, I will take the Tzedakah money that many of you gave to me, and I will return in a few weeks with more stories, more pride and more love for the Jewish State.
I will do my best to read my email message at least once a day during our trip. If you need to be in touch with someone while I am gone, please contact Hazzan Dulkin or the TJC office.
Shabbat Shalom and I wish you all a wonderful Passover,
Rabbi Adam Feldman
Posted: 3/31/2017 11:03:54 AM by | with 0 comments


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