Judea and Identity

by | in Israel

I
tower of davidAlmost 2,000 years ago our forebears were uprooted from Judea.
Though dispersed and scattered throughout the world,
They continuously and persistently remained rooted in Judea.

They cherished Judea. They yearned for Judea.

They continued to pray thrice daily for the redemption of Judea.

With pride, they continuously identified themselves with Judea.
They continued to call themselves “Yehudim,”
Jews—the People of Judea.
And they continued to cleave, often at sacrifice of life, to their faith—Judaism.

Thus, a continuous existential bond

Judea
Jews
Judaism

In time the Jews were perceived as an Eternal People.

II
In the Six-Day War, Judea was miraculously regained,
But soon thereafter Judea was not to be recognized.

Processed
Beyond recognition by opinion molders

Judea was no longer Judean.

Effaced
Transformed

Territories (schtochim) West Bank
Spaces Areas Stretches

Spaces
Areas
Stretches

Barren
Devoid of significance.

III
And now, we hear of a potential giveaway of Judea.
A severance of Jews from Judea.

If, Heaven forbid, this comes to pass,
What legacy do we leave our children?

Will they be able to continue to identify themselves as Jews—
The People of Judea?
Could they truthfully identify themselves as Jews—
The People of Judea?
Would the world permit them to identify themselves as Jews—
The People of Judea?

Would they not become the laughingstock of the world?

Would not the world say to our children, to our future generations:

“You are no longer the People of Judea.”

“Your parents did not recognize Judea.
Your parents have effaced the name Judea.
Your parents have given away Judea.”

Would not we—ourselves
Have set in motion a process
That would in the natural course of events
Lead to the effacement of Jewish identity?

IV
“There will yet be heard
In the cities of Judea and the courtyards of Jerusalem
The sound of joy and the sound of gladness
The sound of a groom and the sound of a bride…1”

We are a People
Of Faith and Hope.

Hashem will give us strength.2

We are
An Eternal People.

Dr. Nissen Nathan Lander is vice president and chairman of the Sociology Department at Touro College.

Notes
1. Jeremiah 33:10-11
2. Psalms 29:11

This article was featured in Jewish Action Summer 2009.

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