From the Rabbi

Rabbi Mark

Old men shall dream dreams and … young men shall see visions “(Yoel 3:1)

In a few weeks it will be Israel Independence Day. Israel will be 74 years young. The first time I came to Israel was to study at Tel-Aviv University. It was July 15, 1970. America was in the midst of the Vietnam War and I had just left Rutgers and the student protests. “End the war” slogans were matched with “America, Love it or Leave it”. Those signs usually reflected which generation was holding them.

I remember volunteering to work on Kibbutz Mesgav Am on the Israeli Lebanese border.

Over Rosh Hashanah, an elderly gentleman came over to us, the volunteers, and asked if we would be interested in hearing his opinions on Israel. As I recall, his talk was enlightening and thought provoking. Later on that Shabbat, I learned that he was a member of Israel’s Parliament, the Knesseth, and he made it is duty to come to his Kibbutz and work like one of the Kibbutzniks (members) every Shabbat, which he was, of course. How many members of the US Congress then and now go home on week-ends to work as a common person?

Out of his talk, one comment stands out. He said, “Here there is no generation gap. It is hard for parents to lord it over their children, when both serve in Tzahal (Israel Defense Forces)”. Coming out of a country so divided as America was in 1970, his commit struck home with me.

Now it is 52 years later and I see America divided again. Not only politically, but ideologically and generationally.

Here at Temple over the course of these past few months, we have organized for the school and the Temple, three major activities, the Megillah Reading, the Purim Carnival and the School Seder. Even before them, and when I have called upon our young people, they have volunteered to come forward. With great efforts, with joy and with enthusiasm, they have gone beyond what I have requested of them. Now, perhaps, I have to explain ‘young people’ in my lexicon. I am only 2 years younger than Israel, so any one younger than me is a younger person. Seriously, we have great cadre of teen-agers, young parents and couples and singles waiting to show there is no generation gap in loving the Temple. Some of our new members are  even old Bar/Bat Mitzvahs from years gone by.

As the Israeli Knesset member spoke of common experience with regards to war and peace, please don’t misunderstand, I don’t ever wish for any member of our congregation or any congregation to go to war, but I wish for us to see in each other the shared love and experience that comes from placing the “Temple with a heart” in everyone’s heart. On an ‘Assiyah (doing) level, I have found, just asking works wonders. The asking, though, should include the words, would, and, how in it. Perhaps, “Would you like to help us do this and how do you see it working?” Is the way to go? if you involve others’ ideas and thoughts, you often get their hands as well.

Please remember, Israel was built with young people like David Ben-Gurion and with the support of an oldster Ha Rav Kook. Age separated them but Visions and dreams for the future did not.

B’ahava and b’achdut,

Rabbi Mark