Working for Intergroup Understanding in Israel

Some of you know the Zionist voice of Galilee Foundation for Value Education director, Rabbi Marc Rosenstein, because he writes a wonderful weekly “Galilee Diary” on the Union for Reform Judaism’s daily 10 Minutes of Torah.  You can learn more about the Galilee Foundation for Value Education and their intergroup understanding peace work in Israel at their website.  In honor of Monday evening-Tuesday’s celebration of Yom Ha-atzme-ut, Israel’s Independence Day, here is a thoughtful piece written by Rabbi Rosenstein:

It turns out that independence is not as simple as we thought.  On the one hand, of course, we are celebrating the 63rd anniversary of the Jewish “emergence from powerlessness,” of the existence of a Jewish state with an army, able to set its own path in the world.  On the other hand, we have learned that that doesn’t mean we are free to do whatever we want.  Rather, the key word is perhaps not independence, but interdependence.  Our lives and futures, it seems, are intertwined with those of the Palestinians – with those of Diaspora Jews –  and indeed with those of the rest of the world.  We are not independent of the global economy (as factories relocate from Israel to China), from global warming, from the “Arab spring(?),” from western culture.  Perhaps our greatest challenge is not in preserving independence, but in learning to live with interdependence.
In our work here in the Galilee, we see our task as helping build an Israel characterized by a sustainable balance between independence and interdependence, between a distinctive and value-laden Jewish identity and open-minded and caring citizenship in a diverse and complex world.