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I hope to see you this Sunday at the Celebrate Israel Parade…

From Nigel Savage

June 2nd, 2017 | 8th Sivan 5777

Dear All,

It’s the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration this year. When Lord Balfour wrote to Lord Rothschild, on behalf of the British government, neither of them knew that, thirty years later, the United Nations would vote to establish a third Jewish commonwealth. (Nor that, in the intervening years, the Jews of Europe would be hunted down and massacred, country by country, family by family, for six years.)

Though my grandparents were alive that day, the world seems unimaginably changed since then. This is not the Israel of Ben Gurion or Jabotinsky, it is not the Israel of Golda Meir or Yitzhak Rabin. This is the Israel of Barbie, by Static and Ben El Tavori, which I find strangely irresistible. Also of the new food scene, the growth of the haredi population, the burgeoning of an Israeli non-orthodox Judaism. The new/old train stations. The Mizrachi revival. Racisms, old and new. The dilemmas of the Israeli Palestinians, the flourishing of Be’er Sheva, the new airport in the Negev, Israeli TV shows on Hulu and Amazon, Etgar Keret, Leah Shakdiel, Moshe Halbertal, Ilit Azoulai and Sigalit Landau, veganism, food co-ops, urban kibbutzim, the Pride Festivals.

It is flawed and messed up, infuriating to Israelis themselves, confusing to everyone. The occupation of the west bank, aka Judea and Samaria, aka Palestine, is 50 years old this year, as we know. We play history forwards, not backwards. But Americans in 2017, of all people, ought to understand that elections don’t always go in predictable ways, nor that the person who holds office or the decisions he or she makes should tar an entire country in the process.

In any case: it’s the Celebrate Israel Parade this Sunday. Especially if this doesn’t seem like something you might ever do – please come and join us. Israel is a miracle, and our great-grandparents could barely have dreamed that we could hop on a plane and visit Jerusalem, or the galilee, or the coastal plain, or the negev. Hazon reaches, and is intended to reach, a wide range of people, Jewish and non-Jewish, on the left and on the right and in the center, but especially if you feel that you’re liberal or progressive or that the Israel Parade isn’t something you’d go to because it’s “too right-wing” – to you especially I’d say, please join us. The best way to have a wide range of voices is to show up.

We’re going to be marching in the parade with Romemu, Downtown Jewish Life, the Community Synagogue of Rye, and the Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore. The sun will shine (we hope).

We invite you – if you want – to come with your bike, and to wear a Hazon shirt or jersey if you have one (especially an Israel Ride jersey if you have one!)

Meet on 52nd Street, between 5th and Madison, at 1pm sharp – look out for the Hazon banner. We have water bottles and free t-shirts for the first 50 people who come! (And – this also being 2017: please don’t bring backpacks or strollers…) The parade route takes about 45 minutes and ends at 74th and 5th.

Shabbat shalom,
Nigel