Alumni Remembering Rabin and Standing for Democracy

By Young Judaea

Dear Young Judaea Community,

This week was defined by two key events, one in Israeli history – the 25th anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin – and the other in American history, as we headed to the polls in record numbers for an historic election.

As a community of both Jewish-Americans and American-Israelis, we share an abiding commitment to democratic ideals. These two events serve as a reminder of how far we still must go to live up to these ideals. As Judaeans, we don’t sit passively longing for this ideal, we work actively towards making it a reality. Whether we were in the generation that first settled the State of Israel, the one that fought for American civil rights, the one that marched for Soviet Jewry, or the one that worked to get out the vote these past few months, our legacy is one of action.

Rabin’s assassination was a turning point in history and, for many, planted seeds of disillusion and cynicism. So too, this moment of deep division in our country, is fomenting deep skepticism. But we are the people of Tikvah, of hope, so we must overcome these paralyzing forces and zealously work to create the reality we wish to see.

This week I had the privilege to speak with alumnus and Young Judaea Global board member, Wylie Levone, who was on Year Course in 1987, then made Aliyah and was in Israel when Rabin was assassinated.  Wylie shared that, “there was an unspoken shared sense of pain and loss, it defined us in a way that 9-11 defined a generation. It was indeed a turning point in the life of Israel and had reverberations around the world.”  At this dark time, Wylie turned to Young Judaea. He was living at Merkaz Hamagshimim, a house sponsored by Young Judaea for young adults. It provided him and his peers with a gathering place, a community, to process this tragedy. But Wylie’s story did not end there. From the narrow place, he got up and committed himself to a life of action by working for Israeli nonprofits that carry on the legacy of Rabin’s vision.

In this week’s parasha, Torah portion, we learn that Avraham was sitting in his tent on the third day of recovery from his brit milah and at the height of pain, when three visitors appeared. Avraham did not hesitate, but immediately stood up to greet them and to offer them something to eat and drink.  If Avraham was to merit birthing a nation, he understood that even in the darkest hour he had to get up and model, in this simple act of hesed, loving kindness, the type of world he wanted to see.   Just as Avraham got up despite his pain to reach out to others, so too we must get up and reach out to our fellow Americans and American Jews joining together to remember Rabin and, in doing so, stand up for democracy.

On Sunday, November 8th, 2020, 3:00-4:30pm EST, Young Judaea joins together with youth movements across North America to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin z”l and to support the values of democracy and pluralism.

The program includes separate facilitated dialogue circles (Youth & Adults) focused on the challenges facing Israeli democracy and pluralism in the North American Jewish community and Israel. The youth program will be led by a variety of leaders from different youth movements across North America, and the adult program is comprised of various guest lecturers. At the conclusion of the youth program, there will be a short memorial ceremony.

Join us and register in advance using this link.

Shabbat Shalom,
Adina H. Frydman
CEO | Young Judaea Global

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