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16. Chapter 8a: Jewish Geography: The Land Of Israel

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Chapter 8:  Jewish Geography: Places To Visit, People To See, & Moments To Experience.

I.     The Land Of Israel

          Israel is a special and unique place; it is the land that the Almighty designated for His nation, the Jewish people, to be their home.

          For the past two thousand years Jews have prayed, yearned and struggled to return there. Why? There is a spiritual quality to being in the land that strengthens a Jew’s relationship to the Almighty and awakens the soul to His presence. Simply put, the Almighty is perceived more clearly and powerfully in Israel than anywhere else in the world. Obviously then, Israel is a most appropriate stop on a Jew’s journey to discover religious meaning and personal identity.

          For those who are more skeptical about the land’s spiritual effect, there are other, more apparent reasons for Israel’s impact on a Jew’s identity. The Jew’s relationship with the Land of Israel stretches back over 3700 years. Abraham, the first Jew, was promised the Land and spent most of his life there. Isaac, Abraham’s son never left the land. Moses led the nation Israel back to the land where they lived for over eight hundred years before being exiled to Babylonia for seventy years. Ezra, the scribe led the Jews back from Babylonia to the land where they resided, millions in number, for over 400 years, until the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 A.D. Even though we have been dispersed in the diaspora for the past 1900 years there has never been a time when there was no Jewish community, however small, in the land. The Jewish nation’s body and soul has never been severed from the Land of Israel.

          The Jewish nation’s rising from the ashes of the holocaust and returning to the land is on one hand, an anomaly in the history of mankind – but on the other hand, a simple unfolding of prophetic visions clearly stated in the Bible. For any Jew and especially for one who has been made to feel unwelcome and “different” by the world, there is a tremendous emotional attachment to the place which is our real home. In Israel we are not outsiders; every Jew belongs and can connect.

          Since Israel today is almost entirely Jewish, it is natural for a Jew to feel more comfortable relating to and expressing his Jewishness; automatically, Jewish consciousness is enhanced. Surrounded by Jews, one is more likely to proudly wear a chai sign or yarmulke and to search out expressions of Judaism.

          In Israel, Jews “feel” Jewish all the time and therefore, are more inclined to investigate their heritage. For instance, Shabbos is a national day of rest; so a Jew is gong to relate to the concept of Shabbos on some level (perhaps for the first time in his life). The same is true for the Jewish holidays, there is an awareness of them that permeates the entire country and one is therefore more easily able to observe and investigate their meaning. Israel provides the searching Jew with the opportunity most conducive to confronting and examining Jewish identity and one’s personal connection to it.

          In summary, a Jew in Israel is surrounded by Jews and Judaism; there is no embarrassment in thinking, feeling and acting like a Jew.

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COM_EASYBLOG_GUEST Saturday, 21 October 2017
Last updated on: 10/21/2017
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