Yesterday Makom Meshutaf ran a program hosted by the Jordan Valley Council, for all women from the surrounding secular kibbutzim. It was a fantastic event of music and learning and I gave a shiur on “the national message of a good year”, in which I explained why the Jewish people wish each other “Shana Tova – good year” as opposed to “happy new year”.
Following the event a participant from one of the kibbutzim wrote me the following,
“Rabbi Hammer I left your lecture on a high, encouraged by your optimism and your mission. May Medinat Yisrael be blessed with more rabbis like you for if it was, the rabbinate and our state would look different; it would be tolerant and understanding of all Jews, it would be sympathetic towards young couples who want to marry without feeling coerced, and it would be benevolent towards those Jews who are interested in their roots but who do not want to be made to feel harassed or uncomfortable because of their non-observance. Sadly this is not the case today in our wonderful country, but I hope and pray that you succeed in doing more to get the Jewish people to a Makom Meshutaf, that common united place we all long for.
May you have a blessed, inspiring and good year
Like everything in life that is truly meaningful, making a difference is a slow and often painstaking process, but letters like these make it all worthwhile.