Spreading the LOVE
Last week Denver, Colorado had a blizzard. About eighteen inches of snow fell and social media feeds were going wild. Jews from all around North America and Israel were getting ready to attend The Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly. Would flights be on time? Would packages that were shipped arrive? Nerves were beginning to fray until there were assurances that the weather would calm down before the opening activities.
Although we were reading the exchange of messages on Twitter and Facebook, we could not even begin to contend with the idea that weather would cause any problems. There were too many other unknowns for The Israel Forever Foundation. This was going to be our first official foray into the Jewish communal world in North America! Each member of our team had attended GA’s before, but this time it was different.This time, we were all personally invested in launching our foundation’s mission, our success at networking and setting out to fulfill our dream of uniting the Jewish People through LOVE for ISRAEL.
We were taking our place in line among countless Jewish people who have come before us. Throughout history Am Yisrael has been focused on connecting with and strengthening the land of Israel ever since we gathered at Mount Sinai over four thousand years ago. With the destruction of the Second Temple and the exile of the Jewish people into far away lands, they didn’t abandon the constant yearning to return to Israel. In fact, throughout two thousand years of exile the ache in our hearts never lulled and we didn’t spend much time worrying about how religious a person was or what political affiliation they identified with. The overwhelming consensus was that Israel was the Jewish Homeland. It was no accident that the term “homeland” was used. Referring to a place as “home” evokes all kinds of images and feelings of love, support, connection, a place where you can be yourself and reach your fullest potential.
Beautiful Booth 808! The Israel Forever Foundation was created to go forward by going back. We want to help foster the Jewish connection to Israel by enabling people to return to a simpler time. Before all the labeling and categorizing that has set in in recent years; back to a time when Jewish people everywhere were united in our vocal and unwavering love and support of Israel. We took our passion to this years’ General Assembly and began sharing our plan to Grow The Love for Israel with as many people as we could. The response was incredible! Over and over again attendees signed up to become Virtual Citizens of Israel™, just one of our exciting initiatives to show the people of Israel that people all around the world are connected to them and support them.
This was especially meaningful because in between signing people up as Virtual Citizens, we were reading about the Hamas rockets falling on Israel. The awareness that we were playing a role in connecting people to their love of Israel was emotional and we shared more than a few tears and hugs as our global virtual community grew larger with each new registrant.
Israel has not had a day of peace since her rebirth in 1948. The Israel Forever Foundation will not sit idly by while our people and our land are under attack. Yet we have chosen a distinctively different road than political advocacy or hasbara related to the ins and outs of delegitimization or demonization of Israel and the Jewish People. Our goals to foster positive experiences and encounters with Israel, her people and all the dimensions of her meaningful existence are guided by the foundation of love for Israel that the whole IFF team shares and desires to revive throughout the world.
Everyone who has already joined as a Virtual Citizen of Israel is a part of this amazing effort, and we thank you for being a part of this amazing effort. You are making a difference by showing your support, by declaring your commitment to Israel, and by encouraging others to do so as well. We are the fastest growing Jewish community! We are excited to continue connecting with all the new friends that we made at the GA and look forward to attending many more such events in the coming years. We may have only just begun but it is our combined efforts that will ensure that Israel is indeed Forever!