As I stood praying, crouched and parched from the fast of the holiest day of the year (Yom Kippour), I found my mind wondering about every single feature of the synagogue. I noticed every colour, every pattern, every person falling asleep, every child eating audaciously as the adults watched yearningly. Yet, what lingered in my mind was the direction every Jew was facing. All towards the East, all towards Jerusalem, creeping inches closer with every prayer.
During prayers I noticed something else. One who isn’t fluent in Hebrew but can understand a couple words, like myself, can pick out patterns that distinguish themselves from regular words. Frantically searching which prayer was where in my book, I continuously heard the same words too often: “Jerusalem” “Israel” “My G-d”. While I read the Amidah (silent prayer) for the 3rd maybe 4th time that day I couldn’t stop hearing myself repeat those same words over and over again.
At the conclusion of the holiday as the anticipated shofar’s cry filled the room with a thunderous roar and terrified your being, the congregation screamed out “ NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM” with even more fervor than the shofar had. At that moment, I realized one simple thing: the love that exists between Israel and the Jewish people is one I’ve been taught, only exist in the movies. One where, the person never moves on, when the other is gone, one where, their whole existence depends on the survival of the other.
This morning I woke up with the news of UNESCO voting on a resolution disregarding and denying Judaism’s love for Israel, and specifically Jerusalem. This resolution states that the Jewish people do not have historic ties to the temple mount. What a foolish ideology. That in itself is the same as denying love in its purest form.
It is important to understand, Israel is not just a country to us, the Jewish people. It’s not just a place where we can find kosher everywhere we go, it’s not just a place were we can take days off on Shabbat without judgment, it’s not just a place we can live free of religious persecution, it’s not just a place where we belong. No, Israel and Jerusalem are the basic principles of what it means to be a Jew. It is in our DNA itself. It is, in the simplest form, our soul mate.
So you see? Shakespeare was wrong, Romeo and Juliet are but mere beginners in the art of love, for never was a story of more woe [and love], Than that of the Jewish people and her Israel.