Rabbi's Weekly Message

A Message from Rabbi Peltz ~ Thursday, December 7

One of the most popular songs on the Confirmation Class Israel Trip each year is “Jerusalem” by Matisyahu. In the chorus he sings “Jerusalem if I forget you, let my right forget what it’s supposed to do.” This is a modern take on an ancient commitment to Jerusalem that is expressed in Psalm 137: “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand whither…”  These two songs, separated by three millennia, represent our deep love and connection to Jerusalem. Ever since King David declared it his capital, it has been the center of our hopes and dreams. Nearly 70 years ago, at Israel’s founding, West Jerusalem was incorporated into the Jewish State. And then, 50 years ago, during the Six Day War, the rest of Jerusalem was captured. Given all of this history, combined with the frequency with which we speak of Jerusalem in our prayers and celebrations, the announcement yesterday by President Trump recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a welcome and gratifying statement. It acknowledges what we and most Israelis have taken for granted since Israel’s founding, namely that Jerusalem is indeed the capital of Israel. And yet, in the midst of this gratification, we also must not forget the meaning of the name of this holy city. Yerushalayim means “City of Peace.” This name challenges us to live up to its meaning, which is complicated in a city with a long history and that is holy to three faiths. While, at this writing, protests rage across the West Bank and Gaza, it remains to be seen whether this announcement will bring Jerusalem closer to achieving the meaning of its name. We certainly pray that it will, for the sake of all of its residents, and for all of us who love her. I will be speaking more about this topic in shul this Shabbat, and I hope you can come to continue the conversation.

Shabbat Shalom.