4/5 November 2022, 11 Cheshvan 5783

“And the ETERNAL said to Abram, ‘Go forth from your land and your birthplace and your father’s house to the land I will show you. And I will make you a great nation and I will bless you and make your name great, and you shall be a blessing.’”

These words are so central to our Jewish story, to the notion of wandering, home and blessing. This week I read such thoughtful commentary on this week’s portion by Dr Marshall Ganz and Professor Marshall Fine both lectures in Civil Society and Employment.

In our own time and place, we are wise to recognize the danger of allowing any single land to confer sanctity on any single people.

Reading these words against the backdrop of the Israeli Elections and the prospect of what might be there in such an unholy alliance with Itamar Ben Gevir who calls for the death of Arabs has been interesting. And it calls us to consider the juxtaposition of land and blessing. The results, still unclear today, will affect those living in Israel and of course those working for the state from the diaspora.

It couldn’t be more timely that we get to welcome two extraordinary people from Israel this Shabbat morning; whose organisations are changing lives there. Palestinian civil society activist Nabila Espanioly and both Jewish and Palestinian representatives from Ir Amim, who work towards a more stable and equitable Jerusalem. What blessings their work bring.

They have won Human Rights Awards from NIF and are here to be celebrated and we get to host them before the dinner on Sunday. Please join us Shabbat morning to hear from them and meet them over kiddush with our ambassador Abigail Dolan.

Shabbat Shalom,