Freedom and Reality: Israel's Destiny
By Elana Yael Heideman
As I raced against time to host my very first seder, I couldn't stop thinking about the meaning of Passover - our holiday of freedom.
Recounting our history takes on a whole new meaning given the world in which we live today- a splintered, aching world with humanity turned on its head. Sitting at my table, places set, seder plate filled and family surrounding me, I couldn’t help but smile as I thought about all we here, at Israel Forever, have done and are doing to help our people celebrate our return and promote a connection to our homeland from every corner of the world.
Although half of us live in Israel as Olim and the other half live abroad we are all equally immersed in the powerful connection to Israel representing that a relationship is possible for every Jew, anywhere in the world.
I am so proud to be a part of such a passionate and driven group of people. Clearly we all feel our own connections strengthened by the work we do - every outreach, every blog, every call to action is but one way that we are helping our nation to quash the rising flames around us while deepening the meaning of "Am Yisrael Chai!" We carry out the important task of aiding our people embrace and celebrate our communal history, heritage, homeland and destiny.
The Haggadah, so filled with references to Israel, is an amazing opportunity to reflect on this destiny - a destiny borne of freedom, of hope, and of pride.
While we all sat around our seders, reciting the story of breaking the bonds of slavery, we can only pray that as we uttered the name "Israel," as we sang "L'Shana HaBa'ah B'Yerushalayim, all hearts were opened and their souls lifted just as in the generations before us that dreamt of a Jewish freedom that all of Am Yisrael might celebrate.
Today we have that freedom, although many remain blind or biased against it. While we remain fragmented by our different views and opposing ideologies, we know that the freedom of today is not perfect. But, in this imperfection we at Israel Forever find comfort knowing that we are a part of the cycle of Jewish history by fulfilling our role of bringing Israel to the world in a personal and meaningful way.
Just as Menasseh ben Israel, Yehuda Kalisher, Somlenshik, Hess, Pinsker, Herzl, Nordau and so many others have done in the generations past, so, too, will we continue the tradition of ensuring that Israel - both the dream and the reality - is forever.
We ask you to reflect on your own connection to Israel and what you are doing to ensure that our one and only Jewish state is forever a part of Jewish life and identity. Please consider making a donation to our important work, so that we can continue to provide the stories, the resources, the inspiration, the virtual connection with our home, our hearts, our Israel.
Chag Herut Sameach - Happy Pesach, Our holiday of Freedom.
Dr. Elana Yael Heideman, Executive Director of The Israel Forever Foundation, is a dynamic and passionate educator who works creatively and collaboratively to create a stronger voice for future Jewish leadership. An independent lecturer and educational consultant, Elana’s range of activities demonstrate the intensity of her commitment to incorporating understanding of and respect for the history of the Jewish People. Through her involvement with numerous programs, projects and lectures, Elana continually seeks to facilitate dialogue and build bridges between the past, present and future.