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May 7, 2008: Rejoice at 60!

May 7, 2008

This evening begins Yom Ha’atzmaut , Israeli Independence Day — our 60th. And a time for rejoicing it is.

Repeatedly I’m seeing essays that celebrate the fact that after sixty years we’re still here. What other nation would celebrate its independence day by saying, "We made it this far!"?

But here we are, beleaguered still , and we’ve not only made it this far — we’ve excelled in a thousand ways. From the early days of struggle we’ve become a first rate, first world nation: Top flight in medical and scientific research, cutting edge in hi-tech. Boasting impressive rates of higher education, and book publication.

We are a nation that continues to absorb Jewish immigrants from around the world, while lending assistance to other countries in trouble because of natural and other disasters and taking in non-Jewish refugees from places like Dafur.

We are a land both of unexcelled natural beauty and modern urban development.

Most importantly, we are a Jewish nation. This is our land, imbued everywhere with our ancient history and heritage. A land — the only in the world! — where Judaism is normative. We run on Jewish time and are mindful of Jewish values. May this never change!

All power to you, Israel. May Heaven keep you safe and strong. May you grow in all the ways that matter, becoming finally a Light Unto the Nations. And may you exist as long humankind peoples this earth.

To all of you who celebrate Israel, I say Hag Sameach!




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