Although politics is not my thing, I am extremely proud of the United States’ decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. For thousands of years Jerusalem has been the focus of Jewish prayer and yearning, and our people have rejoiced and perished with the name of the Holy City on their tongue. When you enter our little Shul in Highland Lakes, you will see that like most synagogues, it is facing east – towards Jerusalem. Several times a year we fast and mourn because of the destruction of our sacred city, and at each Passover Seder, we conclude with ‘Next Year in Jerusalem’.
It is not only the city’s long history that makes it so special – the connection is really much deeper. G‑d designated Jerusalem as the Jewish people’s spiritual capital, and King David made it his political capital. In Psalms it is called “the city in which all are joined together”, not just because people would come from all over the world to spend the holiday, but even today, it’s the common direction towards which we all pray. From all the cities of the world, Jerusalem was chosen as the capital of the Land of Israel, and as the capital, represents the unity of the Jewish nation. In the words of the Talmud, when Jews would arrive in Jerusalem, they all “became united as one.” The name Jerusalem comes from the amalgamation of the Hebrew words “Yarei-Shalem,” alluding to our fear of G‑d.
Its very name has survived because of the Jewish people’s’ loyalty to the Holy City through the generations, notwithstanding the various conquerors and colonizers who captured and renamed it as they came and left.
To my fellow Jews here in South Florida, and around the world, let us come together and strengthen our connection to our Holy City and reaffirm our commitment to the unifying values it represents. Let us each dedicate our lives a little bit more to perpetuating goodness and kindness, in the true Jewish spirit. To take on one additional mitzvah, so that each and every one of us, in our own way, creates a unifying space of love and holiness.
Some are worried that America taking such a bold stand will hinder peace. There is nothing further from the truth, as only when you are honest with yourself and the world, will you be respected. If Jews belief that Jerusalem is its capital, say it. Say it loud and clear! Just like it is no secret that Syria is a Muslim country with Damascus as its capital.
We are grateful to President Trump for his courage to stand up to the United Nations and call it out for its lies and manipulations. We salute him for making a move that many presidents only spoke about doing. And we pray that the United States continues supporting it’s only ally in the Middle East with the many strategic partnerships that will prove with time to be of benefit top all.
For hundreds of years, three times a day we’ve been praying for a return to Jerusalem with the coming of Moshiach. At the Family Shul we will continue praying and hoping for true world peace and the coming of Moshiach.
You can learn more about the Jewish Homeland, it’s capital and Chabad’s unwavering love for it at ChabadChayil.org/israel.
About the author
Rabbi Kievman is the ambassador of The Rebbe to Highland Lakes, FL. He’s founder of CHAP – an afterschool program for Jewish children in Public Schools, rabbi at The Family Shul & together with his wife directs Chabad Chayil. He can be reached at (305) 770-1919 or rabbi@ChabadChayil.org