I am still stunned by the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas earlier this week.
My home is 100 yards from a public elementary school. The past two mornings I watched as parents and children walked to school. Most mornings you see groups of children walking by themselves. Not now. Parents were with their children, and extra hugs seemed to be shared as they dropped them off. I can only imagine what is going through their minds.
So, what can YOU do?
Lift Every Voice Oregon is sponsoring a ballot initiative to reduce gun violence. Initiative Petition 17 is requiring all firearm purchasers to have a permit to buy a firearm. Before issuance, the permit applicant must successfully complete a background check (regardless of how long it takes), as well as pass both a firearm safety training class and a live-fire training session. And no magazines over 10 rounds can be purchased or sold after the effective date of the Act.
If this is something you support, you can help get this initiative on the ballot in November. It requires 140,000 signatures by July 8. You can print IP17 here
, sign it, and mail it in. There is also a need for volunteers to gather signatures.
In addition, Initiative Petition 18, calls for a ban on military style semiautomatic weapons such as those most often used in mass shootings. This will be referred to the Oregon Legislature next year, but you can also print IP18 here
, sign it, and mail it in.
The Jewish Community Relations Council has signed on as an endorser of these ballot initiatives and Rabbi Michael Cahana of Congregation Beth Israel is a “chief petitioner.”
Jerusalem Day begins Saturday night.
In the year 70 C.E., Jerusalem was conquered by the Romans. Since then, three times a day Jewish people turn to Jerusalem to pray. And every Passover seder concludes, “Next year in Jerusalem!”
In May 1948, as soon as Israel declared independence, she was attacked by her Arab neighbors. Jordan conquered east Jerusalem, including the Old City and the Temple Mount. Under Jordanian occupation, Jewish residents of Jerusalem were forced out, half of the Old City's fifty-eight synagogues were demolished, and the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives was ransacked with tombstones used as paving stones and building materials.
In 1967, as threats of war were in the air, Israel sent a message to King Hussein of Jordan saying that as long as the Jordanian front remained quiet, Israel would not attack Jerusalem or the West Bank (also occupied by Jordan). Urged by Egyptian pressure and based on deceptive intelligence reports, Jordan began shelling civilian locations in Israel to which Israel responded on June 6 opening the eastern front. The following day, June 7, 1967 (28 Iyar 5727), Israel captured the Old City of Jerusalem.
Later that day, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan declared:
This morning, the Israel Defense Forces liberated Jerusalem. We have united Jerusalem, the divided capital of Israel. We have returned to the holiest of our holy places, never to part from it again. To our Arab neighbors we extend, also at this hour—and with added emphasis at this hour—our hand in peace. And to our Christian and Muslim fellow citizens, we solemnly promise full religious freedom and rights. We did not come to Jerusalem for the sake of other peoples' holy places, and not to interfere with the adherents of other faiths, but in order to safeguard its entirety, and to live there together with others, in unity.
The Six-Day War concluded on June 11, 1967.
Almost one year later, in May 1968, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel declared the 28th of Iyar a minor religious holiday as a way of thanking God for answering the 2000 year-old prayer: “L’Shana Ha’Baa B’Yerushalayim -- Next year in Jerusalem." On March 23, 1998, the Knesset officially passed the Jerusalem Day Law, making 28 Iyar a national holiday.
She wrote the song for the Israeli Song Festival held on May 15, 1967, the night after Israel's 19th Independence Day and three weeks before the start of the war. The lyrics speak of exile and longing for Jerusalem since the Old City was under Jordanian occupation. Jews had been banned from the Old City and the rest of Jerusalem east of it. All Jews were barred from either returning or entering the areas under Jordanian control, and many holy sites were desecrated and damaged during that period.
When Israel Defense Force paratroopers gained the Temple Mount the song “Jerusalem of Gold” burst from their lips. It was a natural expression of 2000 years of yearning.
After the reunification of Jerusalem, Naomi Shemer felt that her song of yearning was no longer fitting so she created a new ending for the song, turning it into a song of triumph!
May we all celebrate the wonders of Jerusalem.
I would not be doing my job if I did not make an appeal to those who have not yet participated in Campaign 2022. Our campaign concludes next month, and we need to do even more for our network of Jewish organizations. In fact, the Federation Board is setting allocations very soon.
Every dollar makes a difference to the welfare of our community -- every day, as well as in times of crisis. Your commitment will further bolster the services we provide to our seniors, individuals and families in need, summer camp participants, day school students, and so many others.
We also believe that the strength of our community is reflected in the number of individuals who feel connected and invested enough to participate -- at whatever amount is meaningful. A campaign gift is a way of saying “Hineini -- I am here" for my fellow Jews and for the community as a whole. Join the thousands who have made their gift by making a donation here.
Shabbat shalom. And thank you to all who are serving and have served our country. May we all have an enjoyable and safe Memorial Day weekend.