Crowdsourcing Sermons

Crowdsourcing August 1 Sermon

For this summer’s sermons, we’d like to incorporate your perspectives. The
clergy will pose a question at the beginning of each week. Your
responses to the question will help inform the sermon for that week.

Please respond to the August 1 sermon topic: “When have you experienced a connection to Israel (the land, the people, the state) that surprised you? Describe the moment.”

6 Responses to Crowdsourcing Sermons

  1. leftytowhead says:

    In June of 1967, not more than two weeks after the recapture of the Old City of Jerusalem whilst I was a student @ U. of Leeds in England, I went with a good friend to Israel for the summer and we went with his cousin to the Western Wall which, until then, had been totally inaccessible to Jews since the founding of the state of Israel. I’d been to Jerusalem twice before, but, of course, not to The Wall. As we passed the old dividing line, I felt a sensation which I’d never felt before; it was like walking in a dream. Walking over the rubble, we entered through the gate near the wall and as I kissed the mazuzzah I had a warming of my soul. Soon I was in front of the Wall. To me it had always been the hope of my great-grandmother (whom I never met but “knew” through my mother’s stories) who was ultra-pious, to be buried in Jerusalem as near to the wall as possible. In fact, a clod of earth from Israel was put under her head in her coffin in 1931 at the funeral. I approached the Wall with my friend’s cousin’s boyfriend and as I put my hands on it, I felt 10,000 generations rushing/pressing through me and I was riveted to that wall crying like a baby, but with tears of joy. It seemed like an eternity, but was probably only for a minute of two. Finally, I felt a hand on my shoulder and it was Varda’s boyfriend who gave me a big hug and we left together overwhelmed by our experience. When I returned to the USA I even wrote a poem on this experience which I still look at before the High Holidays to get me into the mood.

  2. Jeffrey Strauss- says:

    My only trip to Israel was in 1996 with Congregation Beth Ahavah. There were approximately 16 of us that met monthly over the course of a year to design our trip. Our tour guide was a woman who grew up in NYC and made an aliyah to Israel. We arrived during a very troubling time – the Intifadah. A bomb went off in Tel Aviv the second or third day we were in the country. Some of our plans were canceled that evening but what I most remember is that we were asked to call home immediately. News would travel around the world about that in an instance and we had to line up at the pay phone to call home and let our relatives know we were OK. When I got on the phone, I cried to tell my parents that we were all OK. Sirens could be heard all around us as we made those calls.

  3. docbzf says:

    I changed my name.

    I legally changed my English first name to “Ben-Zion ” after our [ first ] trip to Israel .
    The back-story :
    I was born in 1936 with an English first name “Burton” and a ( ceremonial ) Hebrew name “Ben-Zion” ( after my mother’s deceased father ) .
    At age 36 , Jane and I joined a national Hadassah group touring Israel . We were given blank name-tags, and I wrote “Ben-Zion” because it seemed haimish .
    At the Kotel , I had a powerful mystical experience of Connection-to-Our-Ancestors , and I decided to legally change my name .
    My reason was not logical . . . it was beyond psychological . .
    it was pure emotion .
    Grandfather Ben-Zion had brought the family from an Eastern European shtetl to an Eastern American city , and I had been told that he was an honorable mentsch . I honored him by preserving his name .

    We Jews belong to the Jewish people . We all behave differently , believe differently , look different , but we all BELONG .
    i have the good Mazel to belong to this People .

    • Lyn Linker says:

      Thank you for sharing your story, Ben-Zion. I knew from something you said once that “Ben-Zion” was not your birth name but I would never have asked you what your birth name was and why you changed it. That was for you to share or not share as you wished and not for me to pry into your life.

      I’m sure your grandfather would be very proud of you and the mensch that you are. And he would be thrilled that you were smart enough to marry a wonderful woman like Jane.

  4. kybluehen says:

    One of my warmest connections while growing up in Levittown was coming downtown around 1970 or so with my Young Judea chapter for Israeli dancing at the Art Museum in support of Soviet Jewry.

    This past April, my older brother and I had a very moving experience visiting Israel for our very first time. Surprisingly, it wasn’t worshipping with him at the Western Wall that moved me as much as the Joseph Karo synagogue in Safed and the (alleged) tomb of King David.

    Sadly, the strong bond to the full body of Jews both in and out of Israel that I felt while young (Six-Day war was during my teens) has been compromised lately, not by Israel’s continuous fight for survival, but by its in-fighting over who is a Jew. I find the restrictions on non-Orthodox or non-Haredim offensive, as well as a couple not being able to worship together.

    If the State of Israel continues catering to these exclusive groups at the expense of the majority of worldwide Jewry, we might as well just focus on the NMAJH and our local synagogues.

  5. leftytowhead says:

    Kybluehen I was president of the Levittown chapter of Young Judea in the early 1960’s ! How ironic. It was a very important part of my Jewish life and I eventually went for a summer to Israel in 1963.

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