Here are some shocking numbers: As I write this seven people have drowned in the last 24 hours on beaches or in swimming pools in Israel; from the start of the swimming season, 22 Israelis have drowned, including 12 children; 133 have required medical attention and August is not yet here. There are a number of explanations for these tragedies: bathing in areas not designated as beaches; entering stormy waters; children going into the water without parental supervision, and others.
I thought that the coronavirus would have changed our perspective. If we were so concerned about every patient on a ventilator, scrupulously counted every coronavirus patient and victim, and carefully adhered to social distancing and wearing masks – how could this pandemic not have taught us to have greater appreciation for life under all circumstances?
This is supposed to be the most magical time of the year for vacationing in our land. Millions of Israelis go on trips, and this week’s Torah portion describes the beautiful vistas that accompany them on their travels: “For the L-rd your G-d is bringing you to a good land, a land with brooks of water, fountains and depths, that emerge in valleys and mountains, a land of wheat and barley, vines and figs and pomegranates, a land of oil-producing olives and honey” (Devarim 8:7-8). From now on, may we experience this “good land” with blessings alone.
* * *
What Is The Dream Of Ishay Ribo?
Hundreds of girls heard Ishay Ribo speak this week in the Nifgashot workshop. Here are a few of the beautiful thoughts he articulated on this occasion:
- “For this generation, Jewish music is part and parcel of life. In my opinion, this is not a trend. This will endure forever and will only increase. Slowly but surely there will be more popular music with real content, depth, and spirit. What we see today is only the beginning.”
- “I was a soldier, married, and the father of a baby when I started to record. At that time, I asked Hashem to grant me a livelihood from music, even if that would be in the most minimal way. Only that there should be enough money to bring home so that I could do what I loved. Today, in moments of great success, on the stage in Caesarea, I have strived to remember that moment in which I was ready to sacrifice everything so that twenty people would agree to listen to one of my songs. Remembering that moment gives me a sense of proportion.”
- “My family made aliyah from France when I was eight years old, and I am so happy that they did. My dream is to go on a tour of appearances before Jewish audiences throughout the world under the banner of ‘Return Home.’ These appearances will be my personal contribution to whoever contends with assimilation or with anti-Semitism, to remind them of our true identity. Anyone who has a family in the Diaspora must be an ambassador and influence others – pleasantly, without coercion – to return home. Our privilege of living here cannot be taken for granted in any way. Today there are so many problems in the Diaspora that many are asking themselves if that is the place for them. In my opinion, we must live here joyfully with the confidence that this is the best place in the world to be. Then the masses of Diaspora Jews will surely come.”
(translation by Yehoshua Siskin)