Welcoming in 2017 ?
So many people have felt that 2016 was a rough year, with world affairs seeming to bring daily tragedy, unrest and general feelings of insecurity. For Jewish people and for Israel, peace and security are never a 'given'. But it would seem that we are forever being called upon to educate and uplift each other and the rest of the world, towards a better understanding of our heritage as Jews; our history and identity as it connects so intimately with the land of Israel. Those who would seek to erase it continue to revise history with falsehood and unbalanced views. Throughout all of this, we are all called upon to be good Jews just as we must be good citizens of the nation where we reside.
On Erev Chanukah 2016, which this year co-incided with Christmas Eve, we learned that New Zealand had, in its final act ending its term of representation on the United Nations Security Council, jointly put forward a resolution which denies Israel legal ownership over key areas in East Jerusalem and including some of our holiest sites. The crushing sense of disappointment from NZ Jews is palpable. And as we try to comprehend why the NZ government has let us down this way, we can only remember that there are many NZ citizens who do not approve. Several hundred people assembled on the steps of Parliament on Friday Dec. 30th, to express their dismay and rejection of this resolution. Because of the major public holidays, no representatives of the Government were present, and no statements have been issued by any leaders.
Despite our frustration, our job as Jews has been and always will be to bring justice through peaceful yet watchful means, but never to forget or forego our heritage and what we have learned from history.
May 2017 bring the enlightenment we pray for, amongst ourselves and our fellow citizens.