Greetings from Jerusalem
Greetings from the holy city of Jerusalem! I have come here to celebrate the wedding of my niece, and it is so special being here in our holy city. Jerusalem is the city of the soul. You breathe in the air and feel spiritually enriched. It is the place that is most central to our past and our heritage.
Over the past week, we have taken interesting trips all around Jerusalem (including East Jerusalem) and through Judea and Samaria (also known as the ‘West Bank’). In fact today, we visited the TwitoPlast plastics factory in Barkan which is in Samaria. This factory is one of those boycotted by the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish BDS movement. We heard from the factory export manager and some of the Palestinians who work in the factory. They told us how half of the workers in the factory are Palestinian. They work together and celebrate Jewish and Palestinian holidays together. The Palestinians receive high wages on par with those who work in Jerusalem, paid education and health benefits. If this factory is closed down, hundreds of Palestinians will be out of work and struggle to survive. The Jewish owner sees this factory among the many others in the area as the best way to bring peace to Israel. If Jews and Arabs can work together and benefit each other economically, then everyone’s lives will improve. Ironically, the BDS movement in trying to close down such factories is harming the Palestinian people more than it is harming Israelis!
But back to Jerusalem, all around me, there is construction. As I write this message, I count some 15 cranes that are scattered across the Jerusalem skyline. It is most meaningful being here only a week after the sad days of AV during which we commemorated the ancient city’s destruction. Now, wherever you look, there is building and new life. Despite the security challenges and constant threats, our people is flourishing and growing even stronger. Chana Raizel and I return mid-week and look forward to sharing with you more of my experiences next Shabbat in Shul.
Sending blessings from our most holy places.
Rabbi Yossi and Chana Raizel
Please watch my special message below recorded at the Western Wall for the Maroubra community.