Rabbi Azari's Thoughts on Discussion Topic: Our Relationship With Israel

            I approach this the only way I can – as an Israeli.

            For over 25 years, I have visited North American Jewish communities and your communities have visited ours. We have witnessed your rich Jewish heritage and your proud Jewish identity.

            In times of war and in times of peace, Israel has always been the beneficiary of immeasurable support from our Jewish brothers and sisters in the Diaspora; and we yearned for your “peace” and freedoms.

            Today, we see that the Jewish communities across the U.S. are going through difficult times. We – your brothers and sisters in Israel – understand your concerns and sympathize with your pain.

            In recent years, much has been said about the strained relations between North American Jews and Israeli Jews. During my visits to Jewish communities across the United States, I always felt the good will and closeness between us.

            At the Daniel Centers for Progressive Judaism, we believe that a healthy Israel is dependent on a healthy relationship with our People in the Diaspora. In fact, this June, we are hosting Israel’s first American Jewish Festival for Israelis, in celebration of the bounty and beauty of North American Jewish culture.

            Natan Sharansky once said that “[American Jews and Israeli Jews] live in such different conditions, we don’t make enough of an effort to understand the other side.” The Daniel Centers is working toward giving Israelis a deeper understanding of the American Jewish experience.

            I continue to be inspired by the words of another great Israeli, our current President Reuven Rivlin, who recently said this about the Israeli-American Jewish relationship: “We must embark on a new path…of shared commitment to justice, to Jewish and human mutual responsibility…with a true partnership based on really knowing each other.”

Rabbi Azari