I had the privilege this past Wednesday, May 10 to participate for the seventh time in the NORPAC mission to Washington, D.C. to lobby on behalf of the State of Israel. I consider it an honor and an opportunity in this sometimes great country that we are allowed to plead our interests to the seat of power for issues we hold dear.
I was heartened to see local Rabbis Baum, Taubes, Wein, Finkelstein and Jachter. My apologies to those rabbis whom I missed. Where were the congregants? I saw two or three members of shuls that number in the hundreds. I am familiar with the excuses/reasons that people are unable to attend: “We have jobs that require us to be there.” “We have children that need attending to.” “I have other tzedaka or important issues that I participate in.” “I give money, so who needs me there in person? “Traveling on a bus is not my preference.” All of those excuses apply to me. Nevertheless, I was counted among the few hundred attendees. It was embarrassing, for example, to hear Senator Ben Cardin, a man who defended Israel for 50 years as a public servant, speak to fewer people in shul at the start of davening.
It seems that when it comes to extended vacations during January break or Pesach we make the time. For those special weekend jaunts to the islands or the shore we make the time. To play a weekend of golf we make the time.
How less important is it to lobby on behalf of our unique God-given gift? We send our children to yeshiva there; we vacation there; we buy apartments there; we sing “V’Shavu Banim L’Gevulam,” We say, “Next Year in Jerusalem.”
I understand that many under-40-year-olds only see Israel as a mighty military and economic powerhouse. Able to do almost anything the big boys do. However, is the threat of over 100,000 missiles by Hezbollah or a nuclear bomb in Iran less dire? Are 13 hours once a year too much of a sacrifice for our brothers and sisters who fight our fight every day?
Set an example for our children; make an example of ourselves. Be counted among the many next year.Jeffrey Rubin