President Biden courageously traveled this week to stand in Israel and make it unequivocally clear that the United States stands with it at this challenging time. The clarity of the message is supportive and encouraging.
To all those standing with Israel, thank you.
A Jew, wherever in the world they may be, cannot just stand with Israel: the Jew is Israel.
What happened on Simchat Torah was not an attack on a state, political party, or region: to the attacker, there was no difference between a young woman camping at a music festival and a Yeshiva student getting ready to dance with the Torah. The baby, soldier, and grandmother only had one thing in common: they were part of Am Yisrael, the Jewish nation.
Wherever, however, whomever a Jew is, they are part of Am Yisrael.
And thus, to paraphrase my colleague Rabbi Mendy Kaminker:
When they attack our babies, we have more babies.
When they destroy a community, we form more communities.
When they disrupt our music, we create more reasons for joy.
When they seek to intimidate us, we become emboldened.
In short: Should they seek fewer Jews and less Judaism, we will respond with more Jews and more Judaism.
Whether you are in Be’eri, Brooklyn, or Buenos Aires, a Jew does not just stand with Israel. A Jew is Israel. For us, Am Yisrael Chai is not simply a chant. It is a commitment.
I welcome your thoughts and feedback. Reach me via email RabbiMotti@JPortland.com or WhatsApp 1-503-381-7119.