Last month, I returned from a trip to a mission trip to Israel organized by the Masorti movement and World Zionist Organization.
There is still so much to unpack about my trip. There is a great deal of trauma and feeling of loss among our brothers and sisters, let alone the Jewish people at large.
But what I also witnessed in Israel was nothing short of miraculous and is a testament to the resilience of Am Yisrael.
Everywhere I traveled across the country, I bore witness to a unified Jewish people coming together in our hour of need. Jews have put down their protest signs.
They’ve gotten to work helping others, opened up their homes, and remembered that our commonalities are far more important than our differences. I continue to draw inspiration from one volunteer who told our group that they help “displaced persons,” not “”refugees”” from the fighting, because in Israel, Jews always have a home.
I saw Torah scrolls damaged by acts of terrorism. Today, they are being restored and repaired so they may once again bring nourishment to our people.
I learned that despite the rise in antisemitism that we experience, that there is a world out there, including much of the Arab world, who “behind the scenes” is praying for the success of the Jewish people in rooting out Hamas. We all hold out hope that once this evil is destroyed, that peace may someday ensue.
While staying in Jerusalem, I grieved the courageous sacrifice of Rose Lubin, a brave Atlantan who gave her life to defend the Jewish people. May her memory endure as a blessing.
In the days of Maccabees, a wicked government sought to annihilate our people. We are watching the same story unfold today.
But the story of today is not one of a ragtag group of Maccabees fighting for freedom in a divided Jewish world: it is the story of all of us, a unified Jewish people across Israel and the diaspora together.
May this year, we merit continuing to be a “free people in the Land of Zion and Jerusalem.
DaAtlanta Rabbinical Associationniel Dorsch is the rabbi of Congregation Etz Chaim, and the president of the .