May 16, 2024
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Where Are the Jewish People Heading From Here?

Since Oct. 7, we as Jews have been going through difficult times. The terrible sorrow for what happened, the anxiety for the safety of the abductees, the fallen and the injured IDF soldiers, and the concern for the future of the state of Israel and the Jewish people are keeping us from sleeping. Antisemitism is prevalent both globally and within the United States of America. Antisemitism nowadays is a combination of traditional antisemitism with contemporary antisemitism that poses as care for the supposedly oppressed but is in reality an ignorance-based identification with the puritanical murder of radical Islam.

On such stormy days, everyone asks themselves “What should I do?” How do you overcome and find the strength to continue functioning? How do we better and faithfully fulfill our role as Jews in the nation of Israel, in the community and in our family? How can we hold onto our faith and confidence in God and in the Jewish way of life?

My dear fellow Jews, I have no good and satisfactory answers to all these great questions. Like many of you, I also feel myself floating in turbulent waters. Since Oct. 7, my world has turned upside down and I often feel like I am in the middle of a bad dream that refuses to end. What keeps me going is that throughout the years, a small but steadfast light of comfort and strength has found a home inside of me. I attribute my inner strength to previous generations who instilled Jewish pride in my parents, who in turn passed it to me. I believe with all my heart that the Almighty God, who created the heavens and the earth, chose us to be his people and revealed to us our role through the holy Torah, which he gave to Moses on Mount Sinai.

I would like to share with you a short story that manages to remind me every time anew of these great powers: My grandfather Mordechai Ansbacher, may his memory be blessed, was born in the city of Würzburg, Germany. To his terrible regret, his [normal] life was cut short and never returned to normal once Hitler came to power. He was one of the sole survivors of his entire city, community and family. After passing through the seven sections of hell in the Nazi death camps, he was saved and found himself on French soil in a large hangar full of other survivors.

Inside was a large table and behind it sat several American and British officers. These people had new documents, some money, and the ability to send you anywhere you chose on Earth. But first, they asked you three questions: Who are you? Where are you from? And where do you want to go? Grandpa told me that in the long line that stretched there, many of the people stood silent in the face of these questions. They didn’t know where they wanted to go, but much worse than that — they did not remember where they came from nor what their name was. The long and shocking wandering on the lowest step of the Masello pyramid left a heavy mark on them. The horrors changed them to become shadows of men who acted solely to survive.

My grandfather jokingly told me: “If I wanted to, I could have become a Rothschild at that moment.” But then he came back and got serious and said: “When it was my turn I answered them clearly: ‘My name is Mordechai Ansbacher. I come from the Kodesh community of Würzburg and I am going to Eretz Yisrael.’”

Do you know this, my fellow Jews? Our sages tell us that there will come a moment in Jewish history when every person will face a fateful trial for his very existence and essence. And they recommended memorizing a verse in the Torah that begins with the first letter of the person’s name and ends with the last letter so that he does not forget his name on the “Great and Terrible Judgment Day.” My grandfather Mordechai, who survived alone from his entire family, was the one who taught me the verse of my name.

And now it seems that this moment is getting closer to every one of us. When the world around us is spinning and the fear of what is to come screams in our ears, our enemies demand an answer to those questions. So let’s answer them together, in a clear voice: Who are we? We are the sons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We are the people of Israel! The children of the chosen people, the children of the people who received the Torah and the commandments, we are the children of the holy Jewish morality.

Where did we come from? We have come from all the hardships, we have overcome all the difficulties and we have gone through all the tyrants, hatred and persecution in the world and we are here. Alive and united, believing and stronger than ever. And where are we going? We are going to win! Israel’s victory! A victory for the entire Jewish people is a victory of Almighty God. A victory that will eventually bring world peace. Yes, it may take time and maybe we will have to go through more difficulties, but that is where we are going! Until the whole world becomes corrected and whole. And no person, country, organization or power in the world will be able to stop that. עם ישראל חי!


Dr. Yair Ansbacher is a national security researcher and expert and recently was a fellow in the Misgav Institute for National Security and Zionist Strategy. In addition to holding this position, Yair is currently advising various Israeli government agencies involved in the defense of Israel. Yair has also been called up to the Israel Reserve Forces on reserve duty, miluim, due to his counter-terrorism combat expertise, and is now serving in the war in one of Israel’s elite counter-terrorism units. Yair participated in the front lines of the war on Simchat Torah on Oct. 7. He is also, at the same time, on the front lines of Israel’s public relations efforts — in speaking about Israel’s national security and providing analysis of the strategic and operational aspects of the events of Oct. 7 and of the ongoing conflict. Over the years, Yair had the privilege to research and write several books and articles on a broad range of issues including Judaism and national security, which were published both in Israel and abroad.

Dr. Ansbacher is planning a U.S. speaking tour this summer and fall to share his personal experience fighting and his expertise on the Middle East. Those interested in having him speak at their congregation should contact Rivka Sonts for more information at (347) 598-9448 or [email protected].

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