My cousin Maya is on a March of the Living trip in Poland, and she sent me this totally awesome picture of a classmate standing on the train tracks that lead into Auschwitz Birkenau extermination camp.
What a great picture, right?!
It's mind-boggling that the world has repeatedly tried to kill us off in the most barbaric of ways. Our history is filled with war, persecution, and bloodshed. But somehow, we're still here. And growing.
We're not perfect (the understatement of the year) but we're still on this Earth, and in our precious Holy Land, and we're growing like nobody's business. With all of the threats that surround us every moment, we still manage to keep moving forward and thriving.
And I'm not just talking about the Torah-observant Jews.
The secular Jews are making great contributions to society and the world. I mean, except for Harvey Weinstein and Bernie Madoff. Oh, and Howard Stern.
I feel so blessed and fortunate to be here, in Israel, getting ready to celebrate the 70th birthday of our Jewish state, which will be this Thursday.
Yes, our government is totally corrupt. Yes, there's pork-eating and pride parades. Yes, there's A LOT of room for improvement.
But I think about the diversity of people here, and I'm amazed that we not only manage to survive together, but we thrive together.
The lesson I take away from being here during Israeli Independence Day is that we should have more tolerance for one another.
We should have more tolerance for different political opinions, religious views, levels of observance, and traditions. I really think that if we could just work more on this, Mashiach would be here in no time.
If someone else is not holding by our stricter standards, that is not a reason to look down on them or make them feel less Jewish. Everyone has their process and their timing and their unique soul correction, and we need to be okay with that.
Hashem has infinite patience for us and our process. If He didn't, well, none of us would be here.
So let's learn from Hashem this Independence Day. Be tolerant of one another, be patient with one another, and G-d forbid, love one another.
In loving memory of Eliyahu Drori hy"d, the IDF soldier that was killed while chasing smugglers last Friday night. His father is a beloved member of our kehilla, and we at the Beams extend our deepest condolences for their tragic loss. May they be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.