Preparing for the honor to be a part of representing Israel at the Cultural Heritage Celebration, March 7th 2015, this year began at a very intriguing point in time. In previous years we were in a relatively uneventful period for Israel, in comparison to this year that is. Over this past year, since we last were blessed enough to have the chance to Support Israel for the second time since we became aware of this event in our area there has been an immense amount of action in the Land, for the Jewish people all over the world and here in America. Beginning with the Israel-Hamas war, through terror and anti-Semitic attacks carried out by Muslim extremists in the Land of Israel, the Middle East, Europe and more, through the strained relations between America’s administration and Israel right up to the Celebration of Purim and the address of Prime Minister Netanyahu to Congress…there certainly was a lot to think about. This year more than ever it felt very powerful as the advice to my children on our way to the fair rolled from my lips, “Remember that you will be representing the Land of Israel and God’s chosen people today, so be aware of that with everything you do and say.”
We were the first to arrive, this chilly morning for the third opportunity to spend the day being blessed by our connection to Israel here from a small town in Southern Arizona. It has almost become a reunion by now with the other people who arrive and begin to assemble their booths. As things began to take shape I thought back to all the hours spent over these years on the signs, and projects, slideshows, and collages. I think about my family and how we were blessed to be able to come together to complete all these things and be here in this day. I think about the hours of reading and listening, studying and preparing. I think and I pray. I pray that we be enabled to do a good job this day, express truths and share information that will change people’s lives. I pray that the lasting effects of this opportunity be realized far into the future. I pray for all the right answers to come at the right moments.
It makes it much easier when an organization like Stand With Us puts together such thorough, professional and eye catching materials on any and every topic to do with the Land of Israel that you could imagine. We absolutely could not have done this without them. This year there were at least a few hundred more adults who attended than prior years. We spoke with the woman who was instructed to count in detail who they could account for attendance at the end of the event and her estimate was 750+ and 250 children. I realized there were more attendees as we worked for an additional two hours speaking with people and handing out materials. I had put together about 80-100 complete packages of materials (aside from what was displayed on the tables) so that when patrons arrived at the Israel booth I could put something wonderful conveniently into their hand. Those packages were all distributed by the end of the day.
What’s more is that nearly every one of those packages came with the chance to discuss, make mention of and confront crucial and essential questions about Israel. We once again met people from all over the world: Mexico, Australia, the Philippines,Germany, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and this year it was our pleasure to meet a few IDF soldiers who happened to be in this area to teach the soldiers here (we live right near a military base) for a six month period which “just so happened” to be coming to an end this week. There were people of all faith’s and walks to came over to ask a question or make a comment, most of which were very positive and supportive of Israel.
There were a few things which struck me as unique this year. I met a few people who called themselves “faithful democrats” ask me questions and make comments about this administration and Israel…to the effect, “something just does not seem right.” and “why is this taking place?” I met a few Muslim Saudi’s and Pakistani’s who both had totally opposite views on Israel. The first pair were critical of the IDF and uninformed about their wartime practices, which I attempted to communicate were the most humane of all time with proofs…we had discussion for a good amount of time and although there may not be a change of opinion at least factual information was communicated. The other pair were very pro Israel and expressed the acknowledgment that in Israel there are freedoms which do not exist in the sea which surrounds them, not even close. They gladly took our packages and thanked us. There were a large amount of young people getting prepared to transition into College and I believe the discussions we had and the materials they took will help arm these young people for the battles which they will face on campuses with a growing anti-Israel anti-Jewish sentiment on the rapid rise.
Perhaps the most precious thing to me personally was the meeting of several Jewish people who had little knowledge about the Land of Israel and many extraordinary questions for me. I don’t think I would have been able to answer a few years ago, I know what came to my mind and heart to respond with did not come from me…but from the Creator. I will take the different faces, the eye contact and gestures that I absorbed as we all spoke with me forever. I will come away with this experience today with a new hope that I didn’t have last night. This hope? That there is a blindness increasing and a darkening closing in, BUT there are many people reaching out and waking up. The Light which emanates from the Holy Land its people is becoming very evident and it is no longer a question of if…but when all eyes will be opened.
I scarcely had the time to regroup between conversations and spent every minute I could observing what each patron was drawn to on the table and asking a question to engage conversation. We talked about faith, family, the massacres and shootings, we talked about war and peace…I witnessed hard to reach places touched and I found a place where politics and observance became background noise to the Main Event which featured a genuine draw to the Land of Israel and her people. Despite all the ‘dangers’ which surround the notion of travel to Israel and even the support of her…I didn’t see fear, I heard over and over again…” I desire to go there, I want to be there, I want to go, we love Israel. ”
Thank you to all the organizers of this event for all their hard work and for giving us the chance to participate and celebrate the rich heritage and contributions of Israel today. Thank you to our friends who helped us in many ways today and for your continual contributions and support. Thank you to the wonderful organizations who give us a reason to declare these good reports to the people in this community. Thank you Stand With Us for making the distribution of the breathtaking wealth of information about Israel possible.
Thank you to my Husband Bradley for doing all the heavy lifting and fine tuning, for making the slide and video showings look so wonderful. Thank you to my children who love the Land, the people and support us by taking such good care of our little baby girl and for behaving so well.
I am humbled and honored and awed that we are graced with the chance to make a tiny pin prick of a difference here in this short life we have, many people asked me today about my beliefs or why I believed in Israel…it was easy to express, “Because my Father loves Israel, the very heart of the Whole world and apple of His eye. Because they are light to the nations and as a tiny spot on the map and in the percentage of the worlds population they have impacted humanity in ways that each one of us witness and experience every single day of our lives wherever we might live whomever we might be.”
Each and every one of us will have the chance to make a difference and that opportunity may not become truly evident to us until perhaps that fortuitous occasion will have transpired and expired. Be it the chance to speak fact in a campus demonstration, to ask questions which challenge an ideology, to concede that certain powers might have fault and corruption, to bring to mention the atrocities of terror and illuminate the dangers of repeating these cycles, perhaps it could come in the form of simply speaking truth when you could remain silent…whatever it may be for you I know I will not forget this honor and be thankful for it for many years to come, bearing in mind that those of us who stand with Israel should try to arise each and every day with the desire to:
“Remember that you will be representing the Land of Israel and God’s chosen people today, so be aware of that with everything you do and say today.”
Blessings, Shalom, prosperity, and hope over you and all that its yours.