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Abraham's Promised Land

Tags: History, Living Israel, Land and Nature, Jewish Identity

by Batya Kirshenbaum Osterbach

Once a month, as the first hints of light streak the early morning sky, a group of Jews from the Sharon area of Israel boards a bus and heads for Hebron, where they pray the morning prayers of Rosh Hodesh, the Beginning of the Jewish Month, in Me'arat HaMachpela. For over twenty years I've been a part of this group, and make the monthly trip whenever I can. The morning prayers in Me'arat HaMachpela - the Tomb of the Patriarchs - are always followed by a festive breakfast in the nearby Gutnick Center, and a tour in or around Hebron. And so, over the years, I have become closely acquainted with the people, the stories, and the history of the Jewish Community of Hebron. The pictures in this video were taken on these monthly visits, and also on the holidays of Passover and Succot, when thousands of Jews gather in Hebron for special celebrations.

As a kid growing up in a very Zionistic family in Brooklyn, my Big Dream was always to go to college in Israel and make Aliya. But when the time actually came, I was overwhelmed by the heart wrenching prospect of leaving my family and my home. And then a thought came to my mind. The very first moment of Jewish History was when G-d said to Abraham: "Lech Lecha - Go Forth. Leave the land that you were born in. Leave the home of your father. And Go to the Land that I will show you." What if Abraham had said "No"?

And then I knew. The strength that was in Abraham and Sara is also within me. And I mustered this genetic strength to carry out my dream of living in Israel.

Whenever I come to Hebron, I am filled with an inner peace, a feeling of being in the unique place that was bought for me by my Great Great Great Great Garandfather - Avraham Avinu. He bought it for me. He bought it for each and every one of us.

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Tags: History, Living Israel, Land and Nature, Jewish Identity