Jerusalem… Not a matter of left or right

Last week, like many of you I watched The President of The United States declare Jerusalem to be the Capital of Israel and also The Capital of The Jewish People.  Not that we need validation on something that is a fact but once in a while it is uplifting to hear allies standing up for one another.  This moment was 2000 years in the making and it finally arrived.  I have never felt more proud to be an American.  This is not about being a Democrat or a Republican nor about liking or not the current administration.  Now, more than ever, it seems that people wear the badge of their political affiliation with so much pride that it very often makes them forget that how one feels about politics is not the be it all of life. The issue of Jerusalem as The Capital of Israel is about being a Jew.  This is about hearing the affirmation that as a people we have a right to self determination and we have a God given right to be free and in our own land.  Jerusalem, the Capital of David, the place where the Maccabees fought for freedom, the place that exists not only in reality but in our dreams is indeed our Eternal Capital.

In the past days we have heard a lot of talk about fear of repercussion from the Arab world, you will hear about rage and outrage.  Make no mistake, we as a people have never reacted with threats of rage to anything.  On the contrary our hope is a hope of eternal peace and freedom living in peace and harmony with those around us.  When someone threatens with rage, not only should we question their intention but also their motivation.  One needs not be a “fan” of this administration to understand the importance of what just happened.  It has been very disappointing to say the least, to hear the voices coming from the midst of The Jewish Community in North America that condemn the recognition of Jerusalem as Capital of Israel and at the same time fail to condemn the “days of rage” put into place by The Palestinians.  More than a disappointment it is a travesty to condemn the actions of The President of The United States and fail to even utter a word about Jews, once again being stabbed violently and cowardly in the streets of Jerusalem.  What is it about us that allows us to feel empathy for the plight of everyone else but fail to stand strong and resolute in our own identity?

It is time to stop living in the past and after 70 years of triumph, accomplishments and truly being the light unto the nations to leave behind the idea that we need the world’s approval to be ourselves and hold on to what is rightfully ours.  One more time, the same world that condemns our “daring” and “irrespectful” audacity to call Jerusalem The Capital of Israel is the same world that sees nothing wrong with the following logic:  The United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital, so lets go out and kill some Jews!  If we can’t recognize a problem with this, then may I suggest that we have become completely myopic in our understanding of history.

Recent events are events that I will always remember.  Regardless of the messenger and also understanding that this should have been done many years ago by other Presidents of The United States, we just lived through a moment in time that generations past never got to see.  This time feels like it was made for rejoicing and to praise God for all the miracles that God continues to bring forth for us.

As we prepare to celebrate Hanukkah, the Holy Day that is about self determination and embracing our identity let us please not mix our political ideologies and beliefs with the true and awesome importance of what we just witnessed.

About the Author
Felipe Goodman lives in Las Vegas where he has been the rabbi of Temple Beth Sholom, a Conservative Congregation for the last 15 years. A native of Mexico City, Felipe grew up as an ardent Zionist and an active Jewish student leader. He is currently a member of The Executive Council of The Rabbinical Assembly and is working on the completion of his book: Torah From Sin City!
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