Home > D'vrei Torah > We Interrupt Kol Nidre for this Important Commercial Message…

We Interrupt Kol Nidre for this Important Commercial Message…

I was honored to present the Israel Bond appeal during this year’s Kol Nidre service.  It’s a commercial, but an important one.

Israel BondsThis part of Shir Chadash’s Yom Kippur 5770 Spectacular is brought to you by the State of Israel, makers of the State of Israel Bonds.  Now I only have five minutes and Sandy {Lassen, the synagogue’s Executive Director} said I had to speak slowly, so within this brief infomercial I shall do my best to tell you about my family’s amazing experience in Israel this summer and to convince you of the need to show your support. Jennifer and I, along with our 10-month-old daughter, spent most of the month of July in Jerusalem where we rented an apartment- and I can tell you that no matter how many organized trips you take to Israel, nothing compares to the experience of actually spending time living like Israelis. Or more accurately, living like Americans pretending to live like Israelis. Because in Israel, every minute of every day, there is something to inspire all of your senses.

The touch of the 2000-year-old stones of the Western Wall- bonding with the touch of those who have come before. Feeling the hopes and dreams of young and old, of religious and secular, and of Madonna who was there last month.

The view from the mountain cemetery in Tzfat- in the background- the majestic Galilee.  In the foreground- the graves of legendary rabbis, teachers, and prophets- so much prayer, learning, and spirituality sprung from underneath the very steps that you’re walking.

The taste of the Shabbat Buffet at the Inbal Hotel- {our daughter} said it was the best Chopped Liver and Gefilte Fish that she has ever had.

The sounds of silence of a Jerusalem Street on Shabbat. The horns, the tire screechings, and the drivers yelling take a backseat to the holiness of our Day of Rest.

The sights in the windows of the apartment building across the street during Shabbat dinner. Their candles are lit- their flowers are fresh- they’re saying Kiddush- their families are having Shabbat dinner too.

The noise of the plethora of voices on a Ben Yehuda Street Saturday night- young and old, American and Israeli, tourist and locals- the many different languages of people committed to being in Israel

The sights, sounds, and spirit of thousands of Jewish athletes and fans converging in Israel’s national stadium for the Opening Ceremonies of the Maccabiah—the third biggest sporting event in the world—and the only one with all Jewish athletes.

The feel of the heat of the Judaean desert as it beats upon your skin during the warm summer day only to replaced by the cool breeze of the Jerusalem summer night.

The smell of the market offerings in Machaneh Yehudah- the fresh fish, the kosher meat, the different spices, the fresh produce, the Marzipan bakery’s chocolate ruguelach that’s hot out of the oven and when you bite into it the chocolate quite literally melts in your mouth.

The feeling of the salt crystals underneath your feet as you wander in the Dead Sea giving you an instant pedicure while the medicinal waters heal your body and soul.

Mamilla Mall

The new Mamilla Mall, Jerusalem

The tastes of the café in Jerusalem’s brand-new Mamilla Mall, while you look out on the vision of a beautiful Israeli sunset, as the colors change on the walls of the Old City. Around you, the sights of progress and development as new residential communities spring up. The sounds of cranes- 9 of them within eyesight whirring away building for the future of Jerusalem. Luxury apartment buildings that are selling for the ask price. A new Waldorf-Astoria hotel and condos. The vision of a country on the cutting-edge of technology that builds with the idea that the future is now. A light rail system connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.  Roads, tunnels, and highways that dramatically improve the country’s infrastructure.  Improvements in the ports, development in the Dead Sea, research in alternative energy resources. Progress in both physical development and in advances in science and technology from which the entire world will benefit. On every trip of mine, I say “wow”- this building wasn’t here before. This bridge is new. Look at how far Israel has come.

But Israel cannot do it alone. Israel needs our help now more than ever before. With constant threats from Hizballah, Hamas, and Iran, and support from the U.S. administration that’s becoming questionable at best, it is time for us to show our support.  It’s time to send a message to Jerusalem and to Washington; to Tehran, to Ramallah, to Gaza City, to Damascus, to Beirut, to the United Nations and to the world that we support Israel’s right to defend her land and her people; that terrorism will not be tolerated and that as American Jews we believe 100% in the right of Israelis to live free of rocket attacks, car bombs, and homicide bombers. We must commit ourselves to supporting Israel’s future, and in the wake of a worldwide economic recession that has affected us all, we can show our support by making the best and safest financial investment we can make. We are not asking for your tzedaka- we are asking you to do what is right and what is smart. Israel Bonds has a variety of offerings with an interest as high as 3.2%- from large scale offerings to Mazel Tov bonds that you can give as a gift to honor someone or yourself for as little as $100. As I’m writing this speech on Thursday afternoon, I’m watching the popular active stock Research in Motion (makers of the Blackberry device) drop from $84 a share to under $73 a share.  Down 11% in an hour.  Friday- down over another 5%. Isn’t your future worth a little more stability? Shouldn’t your investments be in a plan that has never defaulted or missed a single payment of principle or interest?  Doesn’t it make sense to have a safe plan-a smart investment that’s financial security for you and necessary security for the State of Israel? The State of Louisiana knows it. Several years ago, largely due to the efforts of my father, the State purchased 5 million dollars in Israel Bonds. They just came for renewal, and the State renewed them. If Louisiana has enough fiscal sense to make the right decision, then that investment should speak for itself. As we begin our Selichot prayers on this holy night, and as we reflect on the year that has passed and prepare ourselves for the year that is to come, we hope and pray for a year of strength, a year of peace, and a year of blessing. The purchase of a State of Israel bond is an investment that brings us and our homeland one step closer to these goals. Shana Tovah.

Will Samuels

Presented at Shir Chadash Conservative Congregation, September 27, 2009

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Categories: D'vrei Torah
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