Symbols matter. Words have power.
A Jew sanctifies Shabbat by raising up a cup of wine and reciting words which praise God’s creation and recall the exodus from Egypt. The fruit of the vine and a melody are enough to enter into sacred time and transform a table into an altar.
At Holy Blossom when we raise a cup of wine we also express our devotion to Israel. How so? When the BDS movement was first catching fire in Toronto, our Israel Committee brought a simple proposal to the Temple board – that all wine served at Holy Blossom should be Israeli wine. Our Facilities Manager, Jim Westcott could tell us how many bottles of wine are ordered for Shabbat, Holy Days, and smachot. It adds up to an investment in Israel’s vineyards. It’s only a gesture, but that “cup overflowing” already stands for many things – joy, tradition, the covenant between God and the Jewish People — so let it stand for one thing more, our bond to the land of Israel.
This week has brought important stances against BDS.
- From Ottawa
- From the North American Reform Rabbinate which is currently holding its conference in Israel
- Meanwhile, on campus, McGill students take a vote of their own
- And the debate still rages over that mural at York University
What We Say
Ahavat Yisrael, Love of Israel is one of the five pillars of Holy Blossom Temple. In own our own Statement of Identity, we state:
“We recognize and celebrate Israel as the centre of the Jewish world. The relationship between Israel and Diaspora Jewry is one of partnership and shared destiny. We feel close to Israel and its growing Reform movement. We share in Israel’s joys and sorrows; we are proud of her many accomplishments and worry for her security. We hold a wide range of views on her social, religious, and political issues and encourage the expression and respectful exchange of these views. We encourage our congregants to provide tangible support for Israel through investments and donations. We also encourage our congregants to travel to Israel for tourism, study, volunteerism, leadership, and aliyah.”
What We Do
Let our words guide our actions. Our congregants are founders and leaders of countless Zionist organizations. Our congregants – young and old — travel to Israel regularly for pleasure and milestone occasions, to study and volunteer, to promote professional collaboration across the disciplines. The relationship is much deeper than tzedakah, although it is that, too. We invest in Israel – religiously – consistently and with devotion of heart and soul. This is what we mean when we sing, “ayin l’Tziyon.” Even from the far reaches of the Diaspora, our eyes are fixed on Israel.
Please join Temple President Joan Garson and me this May for a unique trip to Israel. The itinerary brings us to understand the complexities of life in Israel and to meet the leaders who are shaping the character of the Jewish State. Every time in Israel is meaningful, but this is a particularly uplifting time of year to be there. We’ll arrive on Yom HaShoah, commemorate the fallen soldiers of Israel on Yom HaZikaron, celebrate Israel’s birthday on Yom HaAtzmaut, and spend two Shabbatot with our sister Reform congregations. Step into Jewish time. The best way to demonstrate our attachment and to fulfill our curiosity is by being there. Vote with your feet.