6/7 May 2022, 5/6 Iyar 5782

Parashat Emor this week’s Torah portion talks about counting time. The holy convocations; the festivals we have breaking up the year, Shabbat which breaks the monotony of the working week. Remember the intense lock down experiences when days merged into each other? When so many of you articulated the benefit of Shabbat when our services would beam into your homes. Remember that when it felt like it was all we had to distinguish existence.

I appreciate this portion and its reminder of marking time. When the state of Israel was created, some time after three extra days were added to the Hebrew calendar. Yom HaShoah to recall victims of the Holocaust so pertinent and poignant to those building the new country of Israel. Yom HaZikaron to remember and honour fallen soldiers and civilians of Israel and lastly the day to celebrate its independence, separate from the British Mandate the new country and all its possibilities. I like to recall and remind myself of the Declaration of Independence-this paragraph particularly:

THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

The most hawkish to the most dovish Israelis and Jews will agree that tonight’s end of Yom Hazikaron merging into Yom Ha’Atzma’ut is a moment of respite from political yearnings, disappointments or change. It is twenty four hours to reflect and appreciate the good, the security that came after the Shoah, the pride and our connection as Jews to it.

Do join us for the most beautiful renditions of poetry and folk songs from Abigail & David Dolan and Elliot Levey (recordings as of course he is on stage at Cabaret) and then conversation and felafel dinner with Ambassador Taub long standing friend of Liberal Judaism.

Do join us if you can. And wishing you an early Shabbat Shalom.