A Thanksgiving Message from Israel

This week many Americans and those living in the United States will celebrate Thanksgiving. Although this is a national holiday and not a Jewish holiday, Thanksgiving is probably one of the most Jewish-like holidays. According to our tradition, we are obligated to give thanks a hundred times each day. Our moral ethics guide us to be thankful for every aspect of our being: For the food we are blessed with, for the fact we woke up to another bright day, for our health, for our families and for our well-being.

Israel is under attack this week, but with all that is going on and through my teary eyes I see the good and for that I’m thankful and proud! This is one of our great moments of solidarity. Witnessing Israelis from the serene north inviting Israelis from the scarred south to stay with them and offer them an opportunity to enjoy the clear sky and calm air is a moment of pride. Seeing musicians from across the country voluntarily perform at bomb shelters in order to cheer up the sad faces of Israel’s residents of the south is a moment of pride. Hearing that communities all over Israel offer to cook, take care of grocery shopping, carpool, babysit and help in any way possible, when men are drafted and women are left at home with their children and their worries is a moment of pride. Knowing that the IDF does its utmost to avoid civilian casualties when striking back against Hamas, which places their rocket launchers in and nearby civilian areas, is a moment of pride. Admiring the thousands of Israelis that use vacation days and risk their lives by helping the security forces and other organizations in the south is a moment of pride. Following Salma Fayuni, an Arab Israeli contestant on the popular Israeli version of the TV show ” Master Chef” and seeing her hug Elinor, an Orthodox right-wing settler and Maya, a left-wing vegan, demonstrates co-existence at its best and is a moment of pride. This is one of many realities of co-existence that I’m thankful for, although in these trying times some have portrayed Israel differently. Reading the endless numbers of heartwarming messages from dear friends around the world writing to express their concerns and prayers for Israel’s safety is a great moment that I’m grateful for!

These are our great moments of solidarity. I wouldn’t want to be in any other place but here in Israel this week and for these bright moments to penetrate through the darkness and uncertainty, for all of this I’m thankful!

Praying for quieter days and wishing you Happy Thanksgiving.

Leah Garber | Vice President, JCC Association Israel Office

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