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Israel: Two Jews, Two Hundred Views

UIAWA Women's Event 2014

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UIAWA Women’s Event 2014

Our 2014 UIAWA Woman’s Division Event offered about 200 women two distinct paradigms through which to view Israel.  Ronen Bergman, the evening’s first speaker, offered a more familiar “Never Again” paradigm.  This approach, rooted in the soil of the Shoah, emphasizes that we must be unrelenting in the continuous war against incessant threats and attacks against the Jewish People and Jewish State. With pride, it celebrates Israel’s strength, prowess and determination to protect our state and people essentially by any means necessary to ensure “Am Yisrael Chai – The People of Israel Live!”

In contrast, Reuven Ben Shalom, the UIA’s second speaker, reflected a “Now and Next” paradigm.  This perspective takes stock of Israeli Society, keenly aware of crippling social, emotional, educational gender, economic and cultural gaps Israeli children and adult face daily.  The “Now and Next” approach aims at improving the quality of life for Israelis now and in the future, especially attuned to those most vulnerable in Israeli Society, with an understanding that “Kol Yisrael Arvim Ze’lze – Israel: All of Us are Responsible for One Another!”

Of course, Israel needs to be both physically and societally secure.  The contrast between the evening’s “Never Again” and “Now and Next” paradigms offered each of the 200 women in attendance an opportunity to consider which frame, if either, makes most sense to her in 2014.  As Pirke Avot teaches, “Ain Kemach, Ain Torah- where there is no flour, there is no Torah” (Pirke Avot 3:17).  We need to support both the physical and the meta-physical well-being of Israel, for attending exclusively to Israel and Israeli’s physical security today could never enable us to realize the full potential our people and our state tomorrow.

The next UIA WA event is on Tuesday 4 March; find out more here or by contacting me – it’s sure to be  a thought provoking evening.  Perhaps you’d like to join us at a Jewish Spirituality Australia Table!