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Appreciating the Land, One Day at a Time

Tags: Books, Zionism, Elana Heideman

By Dr. Elana Yael Heideman

With the growing number of daily study programs that exist, what was lacking was a daily study program centered around Eretz Yisrael, one that could be used by teachers and students, rabbis and laymen, to enhance their own appreciation for our nation’s Holy Land. Thus was created ‘A Drop in the Ocean: A Daily Dose of Eretz Yisrael.

Shavei Israel Founder and Chairman Michael Freund has teamed up with Rabbi Moshe Lichtman to write “A Drop in the Ocean: A Daily Dose of Eretz Yisrael.” The book is organized like a “Daf Yomi” – the worldwide daily Talmud study program – with one exception: in “A Drop in the Ocean,” the study material is all about enhancing one’s appreciation for the Land of Israel. An absolutely exceptional book that combines faith and facts, it has emerged at an extremely important juncture in history when our ancestral heritage and connection are being questioned and attacked daily.

“The idea for this book came to me when I was considering the growing number of daily study programs that now exist, which cover everything from the Talmud to the Rambam’s Mishneh Torah to the works of the Chafetz Chaim,” Freund explained. “These undertakings have proven tremendously successful in elevating Jewish knowledge among the public. By taking large and otherwise daunting works, and breaking them down into daily doses of intellectual and spiritual nourishment, such initiatives have enriched Jewish learning and observance.”

But, Freund noted, “what was lacking from the bookshelves in many English-speaking Orthodox homes was a similar daily study program centered around Eretz Yisrael [the Land of Israel], one that could be used by teachers and students, rabbis and laymen, to enhance their own appreciation for our nation’s Holy Land.”

The same can be said of non-Orthodox communities, which can benefit from utilizing this resource to expand their own knowledge of our indigenous connection that bridges any distance, and any contemporary ideological divide.

“A Drop in the Ocean” is meant to be used daily, rather than as a book that you sit down and read over a Shabbat afternoon. The daily sources are culled from the Torah, Talmud, Midrash and more. And with the exclusive VCIReward discount, it’s not only inspirational – it’s a demonstration of your pride and connection as a Virtual Citizen of Israel.

Rabbi Lichtman, a noted thinker and leader with semichah (ordination) from the Israeli Chief Rabbinate and Yeshiva University, holds an master’s degree in Jewish Education and has taught in several yeshivot and seminaries since his Aliyah in 1991. He is best known for his landmark translation of Eim HaBanim Semeichah and for his highly popular “Eretz Yisrael in the Parashah.” He also translated Simcha Raz’s biography of Rav Kook, “An Angel Among Men.”

“I pray that many of my fellow Jews in the Diaspora who take the Torah and its commandments seriously, who value the words and insights of our Sages, and who seek to live lives of meaning and purpose, will be inspired by what they read within these pages,” Freund said. “And perhaps even more importantly, that you the reader will take a look in the mirror and ask yourself one simple yet straightforward question with unembellished honesty: as a religious Jew who strives to serve G-d, where is it that I truly belong?”

An inspiring volume, A Drop in the Ocean gives readers of all levels of knowledge and observance valuable insights about the connection between Israel and the Jewish people - collectively, individually, intellectually, and spiritually.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS


  • How do the ancient texts shed light on the importance of the land to Jewish faith and identity?
  • According to the Bible, what should the connection to the Land mean for someone who lives outside of it and isn't interested in making Aliyah?
  • In the Diaspora, we are constantly facing challenges to our communal and individual "sense of self." How can we use the knowledge passed down from generation to generation to help us face these challenges?
  • Israel education today is often focused on historical facts, understanding or facing the conflict, or technological advances and hasbara. How can we enhance the methods of education to include text that will explain the MEANING of Israel to Jewish youth today and in the future?

Dr. Elana Yael Heideman, Executive Director of The Israel Forever Foundation, is a dynamic and passionate educator who works creatively and collaboratively in developing content and programming to deepen and activate the personal connection to Israel for Diaspora Jews. Elana’s extensive experience in public speaking, educational consulting and analytic research and writing has served to advance her vision of Israel-inspired Jewish identity that incorporates the relevance of the Holocaust, Antisemitism and Zionism to contemporary issues faced throughout the Jewish world in a continuous effort to facilitate dialogue and build bridges between the past, present and future.


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Tags: Books, Zionism, Elana Heideman

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