Dear OU Supporter,
Allen Fagin and I had the privilege of spending May 14 in Jerusalem. We attended the ceremony dedicating the newly located American Embassy. There we heard the joy in the words of the leaders of the State of Israel, and the encouragement and support expressed by the representatives of the current United States Administration and by President Trump, himself.
Earlier in the day we were joined by various other OU leaders, as well as Rabbi Avi Berman and David Katz and their OU Israel staff, in hosting the Orthodox Union’s breakfast celebration. The breakfast was attended by many leaders of the governments of both the United States and Israel, and joined by many of the OU’s dear friends in Israel. The breakfast celebration was an expression of the intrinsic relationship between our community in North America with our community in Israel. We are very much one Klal Yisrael.
Though brief, the trip was particularly exciting as I heard repeated references, in both speeches and chatter, to the historic nature of the day, accompanied by expressions of appreciation for the wonderful steps that the United States had taken. I am certain that I was not alone in experiencing a profound intimacy with our beloved Jerusalem and its hallowed importance to our relationship with God. I began to sense that the rightful entitlement of the Jewish people to our homeland and to the entirety of Yerushalayim was finally being recognized by the nations of the world.
But in the subsequent hours it became clear that the world had not actually pivoted. Israel continues to be treated irrationally and unfairly, with standards never applied to other nations. The reports and accusations against Israel by much of U.S. media, and certainly by much of the rest of the world, illustrates that double, and wholly indefensible, standards continue to be applied to Israel, alone. I am left with feelings of confusion and despair as I hear and read otherwise rational individuals opining in manners that are absurd.
Perhaps the recognition of the continuing challenges facing our people should blunt the enormity of the Embassy move, or perhaps make it all the more amazing. But above all it reminds me that the unfolding of history remains in the hands of God alone, and to God the Jewish people must always turn. So, I return from Jerusalem with reinvigorated joy and optimism borne of focusing on the special relationship we share with the Almighty, and which we will celebrate during the upcoming holiday of Shavuos.
View recording of Jerusalem celebration:
Lee C. Samson, sponsor of the OU’s The Anne Samson Jerusalem Journey (TJJ); AIPAC President Mort Fridman and OU Israel CFO David Katz.
OU Advocacy Chairman Jerry Wolasky; OU Israel Executive Vice President Rabbi Avi Berman; Mr. Fagin; Minister of Education Naftali Bennett; Mr. Bane and Mr. Sand.