Ein Li Eretz Acheret – I Have No Other Land
Lyrics by Ehud Manor
I have no other country
even if my land is aflame
Just a word in Hebrew
pierces my veins and my soul –
With a painful body, with a hungry heart,
Here is my home.
I will not stay silent
because my country changed her face
Over the past several days we have been inundated with images, videos and stories of the terrible crisis and tragedy that has hit the forests and cities of Israel. Over 30,000 acres (the equivalent of about 70% of Washington, DC) of land have been torched, burned and destroyed. Thousands of people have had to evacuate their homes not knowing when they will be able to return or even if they will have somewhere to return to.
I spent a lot of time reaching out to students on campus who have families and relatives in Israel making sure they were okay, offering my support. I reached out to my friends and colleagues in Israel including our former Jewish Agency for Israel Israel Fellows and UJA Shinshinim, also making sure that they and their families were not harmed by the fires. Thankfully with international firefighting support and the coordination of Israel’s firefighting services the fires have been extinguished.
While we cannot see, the flames burning, we are left with the reality, the pain, and the damage that remains. As in the past, once again, we challenged as a people, as a nation and as a country to unite and rebuild. As our American friends finish celebrating their Thanksgiving season and we enter the holiday season, the season of peace, we must not forget that Israel and the people of Israel need our support. Unity is best expressed when people, when strangers come together for a common purpose, a common goal and achieve it. With the aftermath of the fires you can see a perfect example of this – people coming together.
I cannot help but think as we approach the start of the Birthright Israel trip season, what will the scenery our participants get to experience look like? The forests, The hills, The land? What color will they be? What smells will they have? What stories will they tell?
I urge all of us to do our part, GO and VISIT, help PLANT A TREE through the JNF Emergency Campaign or DONATE to another Israeli relief organization, REACH OUT to our former Israel Fellows and Shinshinim living in Israel.
Am Yisrael Chai!
VP, Israel Engagement & Education