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Sally Abrams
Here's How I See It

A Grandparent’s Prayer on Yom HaAtzmaut

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

For years, when visiting Israel, I have spoken to Israeli students about Jewish life in the Diaspora. I would usually conclude by holding up a coin. “The Jewish people, those who live in Israel and those who live outside Israel, are like two sides of one coin, and I hope, just as inseparable. Am Echad, Lev Echad, one people, one heart”,  I would say.

The message goes both ways. I want Jewish children in the Diaspora to feel that way, too–bonded with Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael, no matter where they live. Because of my work in Israel education here in the US, I am well aware of the disconnect with Israel some of our young people are experiencing, and that was in the back of my mind as I wrote this prayer. But what was front of mind was being a grandparent and the values I want to pass along to our grandchildren.

Yom HaAtzamut is a challenge- we love from afar—but also an opportunity, a reminder. Shall we guide the next generation to be connected to Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael?

I say yes. I pray yes.

A Grandparent’s Prayer on Yom HaAtzmaut

Beloved grandchildren, the light of our lives,

May you always remember that you are a precious member of an ancient people,

A people whose roots are sunk deep in the Land of Israel.

May your connection to Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael be strong, vibrant, and lifelong, no matter where you live.

May you come to cherish Israel’s sounds and colors, scents and rhythms, songs and flavors, your love deepening with every encounter.

May you have treasured relationships with Israelis; friends, family, and friends who become family, bonds that transcend distance and difference.

May you have many teachers in your lives- at home, at school, at synagogue, at camp, wherever learning takes place—who enable you to grow in your understanding of our story in all its beauty, heartbreak, resilience, and complexity.

May you outgrow the simplistic thinking that Israel can do no wrong or that Israel can do no right, and instead,

May you grapple with Israel’s many challenges thoughtfully and with empathy for all, open and curious to learning from those whose narrative is different from yours.

May you be a person who nurtures a hope for peace.

Born decades after 1948, may you never take for granted the miracle of Israel’s rebirth, and how blessed you are to be here for it.

May the teaching from Pirke Avot: “You are not obligated to complete the task, but neither are you free to desist from it” inspire you to do meaningful acts on behalf of Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael.

May you take your place in our story and stand proudly in it.

About the Author
Sally Abrams co-directs the Speakers Bureau of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas. Sally has spoken about Israel and/or Judaism in hundreds of churches, classrooms, and civic groups. Building bridges between the Jewish and non-Jewish communities is central to her work. She believes deeply in the power of words to educate, illuminate, and inspire. Sally speaks fluent Hebrew, is wild about the recipes of Yotam Ottolenghi, the music of Idan Raichel, and is always planning her next trip to Israel. Visit: sallygabrams.com
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