Message delivered by Rabbi Benjamin David at the Israel Prayer Vigil on October 11th, 2023.
I stand with Israel. We stand with Israel.
As a rabbi, as the grandson of Holocaust survivors, as someone who has walked the sandy hills of the Negev and gazed out from the grassy mountaintops of the Golan, as someone who’s felt the bright blue waters of the Mediterranean and marveled at the Masada story, as someone whose hand has touched those cool worn stones of the Kotel and welcomed Shabbat in a Jerusalem hushed in with prayer… I stand with Israel. We stand with Israel.
Like you, I stand with Israel. As someone who has heard in my ears the distant echo of Abraham and Sarah, the songs of yeshiva students through their Old City windows, the yearnings of a hundred generations to live in peace at last, I stand with Israel. Like you, I stand with Israel.
As someone who has watched an orange sun rise over the Tel Aviv beach and seen with his own eyes the ingathering of our people, the new home for the homeless, a place of their very own.
As someone who knows what it’s like to be hated for who I am and who I’m not, someone who has the chutzpah to stand for a Homeland of resolve and right action, a place both perfect and far from perfect.
As someone who dreams of that giant Israeli sky and the hum of Hebrew like a love letter to our inner most self. As someone who believes not only in the Promised Land of the but all the promise it still holds today. I stand for Israel, like you do, because I believe the words of Hatikvah, ‘we have not yet abandoned hope’ and we will never abandon hope. We’re Jews; hope is all we have. It’s all we’ve ever had.
We hope on this night, that the captive will be set free, that true shalom will prevail, that Isaac might live beside Ishmael at last and that Israel will remain a place for wanderers and wonderers, for life and for love, that sacred, special land, flowing still with milk and with honey and so many tears.