Rabbi’s Message

November 2017

Israel By These Numbers

I, among others, have spoken about significant anniversaries that Israel has and will be celebrating in 2017 in 2018. This past June we celebrated the 50th Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day) when in June 1967 in the course of the Six Days War, Israel liberated and reunited Jerusalem. As I mentioned on the High Holy Days, the contrast between the fear and anguish felt by Jews in Israel and around the world in May 1967, when Egypt blockaded the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping and ordered out the United Nations peacekeeping forces in contrast to the elation and wonder felt by the same Jews in Israel and around the world after the Six Days War could well be regarded as miraculous. How can one not want to quote David Ben-Gurion when he said, “Anyone who does not believe in miracles is not a realist.”

As we enter the Jewish year of 5778 and are only two months away from 2018, we look forward to Israel’s 70th anniversary. In that connection I recommend to anyone going to Israel a visit to Israel’s Independence Hall in Tel Aviv to re-live Israel’s Declaration of Independence.

50 years and 70 years in relation to Israel’s relatively young history only be regarded as significant milestones; however, in addition to these two very important anniversaries in Israel’s history, I would like to note some anniversaries of significant milestones in the State of Israel’s history.

120 years ago: August 29-31, 1897: The First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland called by Theodore Herzl. (It was originally to be held in Munich, Germany.) Herzl said at the time, “At Basel, I founded the Jewish state. If I said this out loud today, I would be answered by universal laughter. Perhaps in five years, certainly in 50, everyone will realize it.”

Special Israel Related Anniversaries in November

100 years ago: November 2, 1917: the Balfour Declaration: The declaration contained in the letter from British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Lord Walter Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community: His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

70 years ago: November 29, 1947: The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution: 33 votes in favor, 13 votes against, and 10 abstentions, calling for Palestine to be partitioned between Arabs and Jews allowing for the formation of the Jewish state of Israel. Six months later, on May 14, 1948, Jewish leaders in the region formed the state of Israel. British troops left, and the Arab liberation Army inside Palestine and five Arab states: Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq sent expeditionary forces of their regular armies in an invasion of Israel. Additional contingents came from Saudi Arabia and Yemen In the Arab-Israeli war. Israel signed armistice agreements with Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria between February 24 and July 20, 1949.

Coming this month: details on the 2018 PBJC Trip to Israel

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Rabbi Mark David Finkel

973-244-9800, x 14

Rabbi Mark David Finkel is in his seventh year as Rabbi at the Pine Brook Jewish Center after having served as Rabbi of Beth Abraham in Nashua for almost 17 years. A native of Milton, Massachusetts, Rabbi Finkel graduated the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1979 after a year as a visiting student in Israel at the Hebrew University. Rabbi Finkel did his undergraduate work at New York University with a double major in Near Eastern Literature and Languages and economics. Rabbi Finkel also holds an MA in history from NYU and a Masters of Theology from the Harvard Divinity School. Rabbi Finkel received an honorary Doctor of Divinity from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2004 and from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He is certified in pastoral counseling from the Post Graduate Center for Mental Health.

In his younger years, Rabbi Finkel spent summers at Camps Young Judea and Yavneh in New Hampshire, and in his teen years he attended and graduated the Prozdor of the Hebrew College of Boston and served as New England Region President of USY. Rabbi Finkel’s previous pulpits were at Congregation Sons of Zion in Holyoke, Massachusetts and at Adath Israel of the Main Line in Merion, Pennsylvania as Associate Rabbi. During the summer of 1996, Rabbi Finkel served as visiting Rabbi in a new congregation in Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania. Rabbi Finkel is a member of both the Rabbinical Assembly, the Jewish Youth Directors Association, and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association. Rabbi Finkel is married to Abby Rosen Finkel and they are the proud parents of Liora, Eliana, and Doron.

RABBI’S OFFICE HOURS:  The rabbi is available to meet with both members and nonmembers. Please call the synagogue office to schedule an appointment.


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