My heart overflows with emotion on your birthday.

Generations have come and gone.
We roamed the earth,
trying to build homes and futures on foreign soil.
Perhaps we are guilty of not returning earlier…
Maybe we could have made it happen sooner…
I don’t know…
but I do know that we never forgot you.
We never stopped hoping.
We never stopped dreaming.
We prayed countless prayers for you to be rebuilt
and longed to be reunited.

My heart breaks knowing how much blood has been shed on your soil.
I cry as you cover sons and daughters whose lives were cut short due to baseless hatred.

And you, O land of Israel, eternally embrace those who carry your name.
We are one.
Our love and connection are larger than life.
We share purpose and destiny.

Our hello and our farewell are encountered with the hopeful blessing of peace,
for that is what our entire journey is about.

Our generation and the next bear the privilege of spreading the hope, spreading the dream, spreading the knowledge of what it means to be Israel.

I thank God for fulfilling His promise and allowing us to return home to you. I am grateful for He has blessed you as we plant, grow and harvest in so many ways. I wish for you that the day will come soon when there are no more “spears and swords” but only “plowshares and pruning hooks” putting an end to fear and hate while allowing us to build, grow and flourish together.

On that day our song will be transformed from one of hope (hatikvah) to one of peace and thanksgiving.