Many of us have had some serious disagreements with Israel’s current government. This is the most right wing government in Israel’s history. Its ideological bent is indicated by the composition of the cabinet, its settlement policies, and most relevant for us, its refusal to honor the agreement to allow egalitarian prayer at the Kotel, the Western Wall, an agreement voted on and approved by the government last January. In the last few months, non-Orthodox Jews have also been prohibited from using mikvaot, making it impossible for Reform and Conservative rabbis to use them for conversions or for brides to immerse prior to their weddings. To make matters even worse, the Rabbanut, Israel’s Chief Rabbinate, refuses to recognize the conversions of even the most prominent Modern Orthodox rabbis in the United States. The Israeli government and its rabbinic flunkies seem bent on erecting walls between us rather than building bridges to connect us.
Despite our feelings about this current government, we love the Jewish people and the State of Israel. Our support for Israel Bonds is not and should not be predicated upon our like or dislike of any particular government. The $1 Billion raised by Israel Bonds in this country annually supports the building of crucial infrastructure in Israel, such as water desalinization plants, railroads, and research facilities. It is crucial to the growth of Israel’s economy and Israel attracting major international business. Sally and I recently purchased an Israel Bond on line. I urge every single family in our congregation to buy an Israel Bond. Please note that this is an interest paying investment, not a charitable donation. Israel has always paid interest on its bonds. As you will see from your pledge cards, the interest paid is better than we can currently get on any money market or CD. Last year, 209 members of Temple Oheb Shalom purchased $798,000 of Israel Bonds, making us the fourth largest synagogue purchaser in the Baltimore Metropolitan Area. Let us increase not just the amount purchased but the number of us who purchase bonds. If you can’t afford to invest $100, buy a $36 bond. This makes each of us a partner with Israel in the continued prosperity of the Jewish State. Please note that every purchase will be 100% matched by the Associated, Bay Bank, the Haron Dahan Foundation and by Sandra R. and Malcolm C. Berman. So, that means if we raise $800,000 today, Israel will receive $1.6 million in investment funds.
I urge you to pull back the tab on your pledge card and put it in the basket the ushers will send down each aisle. An investment today is good for you, the Jewish people, and the State of Israel. Let us all be partners with Israel Bonds in ensuring the health of the Jewish State.