The artwork on this note card was created by 5768 WRJ Art Calendar artist Césan d’Ornellas Levine.
By Shira and friend of the RAC, Ronit Zemel, incoming Assistant Director of Harlam Day Camp
In the front hallway of our home growing up was a picture of our great grandfather, Rabbi Solomon Goldman, standing next to Chaim Weizmann at one of the gatherings of the World Zionist Congress in the late 1930s. This picture is a hallmark of our upbringing as liberal Zionist Jews. We heard lore of our grandmother’s grade school education at the Riali school in Haifa. Our dad told us stories of his first time in Israel as a thirteen year old, peering out into the still forbidden Old City from a lookout tower in Jerusalem. Then we had the opportunity to see Israel for ourselves; to see the vibrant Jewish life in cafes and the shuk, on buses and in kibbutz fields. Israel is a part of the fabric of our family.
Our father tells stories about singing songs of the yeshuv in his Jewish day school when he was growing up. As children, each summer at Camp Harlam we would sing the same songs and look forward to befriending our Israeli counselors. Through family trips to Israel, NFTY EIE, a gap year for Ronit spent in Tel Aviv, and conversations around our family dinner table, we have learned to push, scrutinize and consider our complex relationship with Israel.
Is it enough to feel that Israel is a homeland, or must we actively support Israel as a modern Jewish State? And as Americans, where does our fundamental belief in democracy factor in to our attitudes? As Reform Zionists, we consider these questions and more, so that we can love Israel as sincerely as possible: when we were young we sang songs and ate chocolate and learned to love the land, and as we grew older we were taught to look honestly at the land we had grown to love.
During this WZO election season, we are reminded of Herzl’s famous words: Im Tirzu Ein Zo Aggadah-- if you will it, it is no dream. It was the will of our founding Zionist forefathers to build a state of our own upon Jewish and democratic values. We have fallen in love with their dream-- the modern, thriving Jewish state of Israel. But the dream is far from complete. We play a part as Israel’s story continues to unfold. This is why we are on the ARZA slate and encourage everyone to vote for ARZA in the World Zionist Congress elections: A vote for ARZA is a vote for our shared dream of a pluralistic, egalitarian and democratic Israel-- it’s a vote for a progressive Zionism of which we can be proud.
Vote now! www.reformjews4israel.org/