14/15 July 2023, 26 Tamuz 5783

Last weekend, I saw a long-time friend, Ellen, from Philadelphia. It’s been six years since we last met but as so often happens, we fell into catching up as intimately as before. She’s a lawyer working on A.I. law for Federal Government but her other passion is Israel and as so often happens for engaged Jews, we talked about what’s happening there. Earlier that day, last Shabbat, Rabbi Oshrat Morag visited. She’s rabbi of the Leo Baeck Centre school in Haifa, she spent time lovingly describing the community she is building and sustaining of children and their families; both Jewish Israelis and Israeli Arabs.

‘I’m under attack,’ she explained. ‘A new normal has become entrenched, where I, as a female Rabbi leading a Progressive school, am under attack. ‘

It is a new normal there and I am so pleased that Leo Baeck Centre will be our new Israel charity and I’m delighted that we continue this talking. Meanwhile, later that night, I learned from Ellen that her son has just completed the new podcast series celebrating Israel’s 75th Birthday called Signed, Sealed, Delivered, about the original Declaration of Independence and its 37 signatories. We quote from that extraordinary document frequently from our siddur. All were Jews from different perspectives and backgrounds. This podcast tracked down their descendants and all whom they found are interviewed for their opinion on the State of Israel now, 75 years on. I commend it to you. It’s a looking back and forward and the perfect way to enter the Summer. LJY Netzer’s Israel Tour leaves next Monday and I plan to listen whilst they are there.

Shabbat Shalom,