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Shalom from Israel

02/07/2020 09:15:37 AM

Feb7

Rabbi Ranon Teller

Shalom from Israel,

As expected, I had a meaningful and inspiring trip on the Israel Bonds Rabbinic Mission. I’ll be home for Shabbat. The goal was for North American pulpit rabbis to experience the latest, miraculous advances in the State of Israel from the high tech economy to archeological digs.

In Tel Aviv, we met a panel of young entrepreneurs leading cutting-edge, provocative start-ups: laboratory meat, synthetic cannabis, and online gambling. In Jerusalem, we toured the new archeological dig uncovering the ancient pilgrimage steps from the bottom of the City of David to the top of the Southern Steps of the Temple. We traveled on the high speed electric train from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Then, we toured a construction site for the future Tel Aviv light rail train that will transform the city.

Israel is a country in constant motion, but progress is often slow because of our ethical commitments. Two examples:

1. Israel hired a Chinese firm to engineer the huge tunnels for the underground light rail. The Chinese firm estimated that it would take them eighteen months to complete the tunnel project. It’s going to take Israel five years. Why? In China, if a private home blocks the progress of the government tunnel, then they evict the residents without concern. In Israel, every private home, every business on the tunnel’s path requires communication, negotiation, and compensation.

2. Israel is excavating the ancient pilgrimage road from the Shiloach pool to the Southern Steps. The project has taken decades and will continue for decades to come. Much of the pilgrimage road lies beneath Arab homes in the Silwan valley neighborhood. The government is required to leave the local Arab homes intact by creating underground tunnel fortifications. The excavators use manual tools to minimize disruption.

While many countries blast through private domain, Israel is deeply committed to protecting and nurturing the lives of her citizens. The political situation remains complex, but on this trip I was reinspired by Israel’s commitment to ethical sensitivity and Jewish sensibility.

Praised are You, Master of past, present, and future, for gifting us the Land of Israel, sustaining us, and guiding our rebuilding of the State of Israel.

Blessings,

Rabbi Teller

Fri, September 18 2020 29 Elul 5780