Parashat Hashavuha
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French leaders know that when Jews have to leave, it means a nation is sick.                                   (Christian Broadcasting Network News)

            The Book of Exodus derives its English name from the events of the first 15 chapters. Living as slaves with no hope for a future in Egypt, the ancient Israelites only choice was to leave. Under the leadership of Moses, and the spiritual guidance of God, they undertook a desert journey to the Promised Land; a land promising freedom and well-being.

Since the destruction of the 2nd Temple in Jerusalem in 70 C.E.., the story of the Jewish people has been one of wandering, hoping, and praying for the day they might return, again, to the safety and security of the Promised Land. In 1948, the dream became a reality. The Jewish State of Israel was born. No longer did a Jew have to live in fear or face oppression simply because he/she was Jewish. Now there was a place where a Jew could live with dignity and honor.

For those who insist on denying the existence or need for a Jewish state in Israel, one need only reflect on the current events in Europe. The Associated Press reported on January 14, 2016, “Jewish immigration to Israel from western Europe has reached an all-time high as a result of a rise in anti-Semitic attacks.” The report goes on to indicate that in the past year 9,980 Western European Jews emigrated to Israel. This is the highest annual number ever. 8,000 of these Jews came from France.

“That a record number of European Jews feel that Europe is no longer their home should alarm European leaders and serve as a wake-up call for all who are concerned about the future of Europe,” said Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky. “At the same time, the fact that Israel has become the number one destination for European Jews seeking to build a better future elsewhere is a tribute to the appeal of life in Israel and the values the Jewish state represents.”

Although Jews make up only 1% of the population in France, over 50% of the racist attacks in 2014 were against Jews. A similar rise in anti-Semitic activity is present in Britain, Belgium, and other European countries. When our ancestors left Egypt 4,000 years ago, the Promised Land was meant to be a sanctuary for Jewish life. Had this sanctuary (Israel) existed even 70 years ago, would we still be mourning 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust?

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, in his annual address to foreign journalists noted, “Every Jew everywhere should be able to live safely and enjoy the protection of the authorities. . . .at the same time, every Jew should know that they have a home in Israel.”

Rabbi Howard Siegel








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