Aly Raisman
USA Gold Medal Winner
Newton, Mass
USA

Aly,

There is nothing more inspiring than a ‘youngin’ bringing home a gold medal. It was awesome to watch in 1976 when Nadia Comaneci won, and it was no less exciting watching you.

And to have done it to the tune of Hava Nagila made you an instant hero with many from your tribe.

Moreover, you made a huge Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of G-d’s name) by commemorating the 11 Israeli Athletes murdered 40 years ago. In the Ethics of our Fathers it states, ‘Where there is no man, step up and be a man’. By honoring the eleven slain athletes, you did what the Olympic Committee horribly failed to do.

Appropriately, you, along with your family, have been invited by Israel’s Minister of Diaspora Affairs, Mr. Yuli Edelstein, to visit Israel-hopefully you will come very soon.

Your hosts will show you the ‘short list’ of a very long list of ‘must-visit’ attractions in Israel. The Kotel (Western Wall), Yad VaShem (The Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority), Har Herzl (where Israel’s founding father Theodore Herzl is buried), Masada (where 2,000 years ago, the Jews, after years of resistance, chose to commit suicide than be killed by the Romans), and finally Independence Hall, where David Ben Gurion, Israel’s First Prime Minister, daringly declared the newborn State of Israel.

Throughout this tour, you’ll be treated like a foreign diplomat– doing the mandatory rounds and offering great photo-ops for your hosts. But, Aly, we see in you much more than just another foreign diplomat and photo-op…. YOU ARE ONE OF US.

So, after your official tour, which will likely gnaw at your Jewish/Zionist heart, I will introduce you to three people who will ‘wow’ you with what they have done (or do!) and their contribution to the State. Natan Sharansky headed the Refusenik movement which lead to the Aliyah of a million Soviet Jews! But he first had to live many years in the Gulag, separated from his wife of one day, and endure painful hunger strikes. Rona Ramon is the widow of Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first astronaut that perished in the skies; he was one of the eight IDF elite pilots that flew a most dangerous mission and destroyed the Iraqi nuclear facility in 1981, built specifically to destroy the State of Israel. She also recently lost a son in a training accident as he too planned to be a pilot. But her love for the Land of Israel is still rock-solid. And last but not least, I will take you to Adisu, in Bet Shemesh. He is a young Ethiopian, married to my dear friend’s daughter. His personal story of walking the Sudanese desert, losing a sister and grandmother on the trek- just to get to Israel, shows us what it means ‘to yearn to come home’ and the sacrifices some must make. Throughout this dangerous trek, his family too dreamt about the gold….The Jerusalem of Gold.

Finally, at sunset, we will show you the Jewish People’s Gold – Jerusalem. The Jerusalem of Gold.

After you meet these heroes and hear their stories, you will be tempted to stop at the airport on the way out and tell you parents – “‘Nesiya Tova’ – have a safe trip, but I will be staying here where the Gold belongs to all Jews”.

Aly, there is gold and there is gold. And the gold in Israel is yours as well!

If anyone can relate to Israel’s resilience and remarkable success despite all odds, it is an Olympic Gold Medal winner. Your determination will fit right into Israeli society.

Aly, come, fall in love with Israel and Israelis, and then don’t leave.

You have proven to the world your personal and athletic greatness. And you will be even greater, as Israel will be, if you choose to live in Israel.

Li’Hitraot BaAretz. (See you soon in Israel!)

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