Dear Jewish communities across the United States, I wish to extend my warmest greetings upon the arrival of Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut. While our world faces challenging days, one thing remains certain: The bond between American Jews and Israeli Jews cannot be taken for granted. Strengthened by our unity, the Jewish people have been blessed with historical and modern-day miracles. After 3,000 years of survival despite unrelenting persecution, our people’s return to our ancient homeland is nothing short of a miracle.
As Ben Gurion once said, “In Israel, in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles.” During our recent Zoom seders, we celebrated how miraculously, with the parting of the Red Sea, our people found our way to freedom and eventually the Promised Land. Still today, we depend upon our strong will — and our belief in miracles — to overcome our struggles as a Jewish people, especially in these perilous times.
Every year on Yom Hazikaron, we bow our heads in grief as we remember those soldiers and victims of terror in Israel whose lives have been stolen from us. Our pain is immense; with each life lost to hate, we pray it will be the last. And then comes Yom Ha’atzmaut, and we lift our heads in pride, our hearts filled with “Hatikvah” as we rejoice in our people’s re-establishment of our homeland. We are a people of miracles, resilience, and strength — yesterday, today and tomorrow. And while today we cannot stand hand in hand to celebrate together, we know that our bond is deeper than that.