My Kol Nidre for this year was devoted to calling us, the members of Holy Blossom Temple, to engage in open conversations about Israel. These conversations, grounded in love and devotion to the people of the State of Israel, can be about what the Jewish State is and what it should and could be. Holy Blossom is a safe place to learn and debate and develop our own opinions and share those opinions. The more conversations we have about Israel, the deeper our engagement with Israel will be, and we will be drawn into more profound relationship with greatest contemporary project of the Jewish people.
So that we can have opinions and conversations about Israel that are informed by Jewish textual tradition, the Israel Committee and the Schwartz/Reisman Centre for Jewish Learning is bringing a remarkable program from the Shalom Hartman Institute and the Union for Reform Judaism called iEngage: Foundations for a New Relationship. In this program, we will explore and discuss our views on Israel through the learning of classical and contemporary Jewish sources and the watching of recorded presentations from some of Israel’s top scholars including Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman, Prof. Gil Troy, and Yossi Klein HaLevi. We will talk about sovereignty, minorities, justice, peace, and military power, among other topics. This monthly program is designed to deepen our conversation beyond the headlines about the conflict. We will really dig into the intellectual roots of Zionism and what it means to us today as Canadian Jews in the 21st Century.
Through our study, debate, and engagement with the issues of what it means for Israel to be a Jewish state, I hope our love for Israel will grow, and Holy Blossom will continue to be for us a place where we can create lasting relationships with Israel.