Goel Jasper

Dov Lipman and the Jewish-American dream

There was no way I was going to sleep until I heard the exit poll details.

So I stayed up a little later than usual, and checked all the news sites from 10 – 10:30 p.m. And each of them reported the same thing:

Yesh Atid was the big winner, Likud was the big loser and Jewish Home didn’t do as well as earlier polls had expected.

Okay, time to go to sleep.

But then, I thought to myself, “Wait a second. Is it possible? Did he get in?!”

Ten seconds later, someone texted me: “Word on the street is Dov might get in with the 17th spot.”

I kept refreshing the various news sites, and yes, it seemed clear that Yesh Atid was getting at least 18 seats, maybe 19, which meant that Rabbi Dov Lipman – my friend – was going to be a member of Knesset.

I woke up my wife.

“I have amazing news.”

“What?” she grunted.

“Dov is going to be a member of Knesset. Yesh Atid got 18 or 19 seats.”

“WHAT?!” she said, now fully awake – and fully happy.

We were – and are – both so happy for Dov, and for the Lipmans.

As has now been reported by media outlets less important, but seemingly more credible than I, Dov has always wanted to be a public servant at the highest levels. He was student council president in high school, and worked in and around the DC political landscape in subsequent years, even as he was a full-time teacher as well. He loved the world of politics, and through conversations I’ve had with him, he loved it for the right reasons.

Dov has always wanted to make a difference. And so, he’s always tried to make a difference. And he believes that the world of politics can help someone make more of a difference.

And now, he gets to do it at the highest levels in the world’s only Jewish country, in the Land promised to our forefathers.

For many years, it has been clear to me that if a Jewish person wants to make an impact on society, there’s nowhere better to make it happen than in Israel. And especially if someone sees his or her role in this world as a public figure, the express lane to influence goes through Ben Gurion International Airport.

A Jewish college basketball player can have a long, successful, lucrative career as a professional player in Israel.

A Jewish entrepreneur can have a long, successful, lucrative career as a hi-tech entrepreneur in Israel.

And now, we know that a Jewish politician-in-the-making can make his dreams a reality in Israel as well.

It’s the new American Dream, but it’s just for us Jews.

When the 12 biblical scouts (10 of whom turned out to be spies) were sent by Moses to understand what the Land of Israel had to offer, most of them came back with a positive report about the Land, but a negative report about the potential for the Jewish people in the Land. Two of the 12, Yehoshua and Calev, returned with the same positive report about the Land, and added the following, positive assessment (Numbers 13:30):

“We should go up and take possession of it (the land), for we are indeed able for it.”

This is a well known statement, and who knows? Maybe this guy took his now-famous tagline from this verse. But to me, and perhaps to Dov Lipman as well, the key to the verse is the end of the verse: “For It.”

We can do anything in the Land of Israel, as long as we do what we do for the right reasons.

So I now have a good friend in the Knesset. And while we all know that there’s a lot of ugliness that takes place in the world of politics – whether in Israel or anywhere else in the world – I know that last week, when Dov Lipman was sworn in as a member of Knesset, that building, and the governing body within it instantly became a better representation of what being a light unto the nations is all about.

For Dov, it’s about trying to bring unity to the Jewish people by correcting some of the wrongs that have become acceptable in this country. He believes Yesh Atid is the way to make it happen.

And you may agree with what he is trying to do, or you may disagree with what he is trying to do.

But I know that he is doing what he is doing “For It” – for our Land and the Jewish people.

And at that level, it doesn’t matter whether one is playing professional basketball in Haifa, performing in the theater in Tel Aviv, teaching psychology in a university, or in Dov’s case, serving as one of the country’s 120 members of Knesset.

At that level, you are living the Jewish-American Dream.

About the Author
Goel Jasper is Managing Partner of Finn Partners Israel. He lives with his wife and children in a Jerusalem suburb.