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Another Letter from rabbi Burt

04/28/2014 11:42:50 AM


Passover has been extraordinary here in Jerusalem, as has been just about everything else.  What a time of happiness for me!  Thank God. 

The Seder night was wonderful.  We didn't finish the Seder until 4:30 in the morning.  The rest of the holiday was filled with dinners, being with new friends, and the Passover services at the synagogue emphasizing the miracle of our survival as a people. 

Passover is our festival of freedom and miracles.  How wonderful is the experience and the freedom of being a Jew here with no marginalization, no sense of being at the edges of a culture.  And miracles.  The miracle of Israel. 

A few days ago when I was at the Wall, I saw a very stirring ceremony of young Israeli soldiers being inducted into the military.  It seemed to me sad but realistic to acknowledge that Israeli soldiers are essential to our freedom here in our homeland and by extension to our Jewish communities throughout the world.  Jerusalem has been destroyed many times, turned into a lifeless heap of ashes.  Now I am certain that Jerusalem will never be destroyed again.  We are a people committed to our survival.  We are a people with brave soldiers, among the very best soldiers in the world.  We are not the weak, dispirited people who will allow ourselves to be victims any more. 

I've told you many times what an amazing experience this has been for me.  I've had an opportunity to study at three yeshivas.  Most recently, I've spent the last month at one of the greatest of all yeshivas in Jewish history, Mir Yeshiva. 

During the Second World War, the Mir Yeshiva was in a part of Europe that was occupied by the Nazis.  By some divine coincidence, the trans-Siberian railroad had just been completed.  All of the students and teachers escaped the Nazis by taking the train to Siberia and then on to Shanghai.  After a time in Shanghai the yeshiva moved to Israel where, thank God, it will never be forced to leave; it will never be uprooted again.  

We have entered the new and glorious era of Jewish survival.  Tonight I was invited to appear on the program of Kol Yisrael, the national radio network of Israel, to sing Jewish spiritual songs.  May the song of the freedom that we as Jews value never be allowed to be taken away from us again.  

My enriching time in Israel is almost over.  I hope to bring back to our beloved congregation much of what I have learned and experienced to make our Shul ever more strong and alive.  I look forward to seeing you all at Shabbat on May 2nd at Friends Meeting house. 

Wed, July 15 2020 23 Tammuz 5780