People don’t often realize what youth movements can achieve.
There is a richness of youth in our community, and with commitment and enthusiasm, we are able to build and carry forward our ideals.
At present, Israel is being attacked from all sides – spiritually and politically, and suffering regular murders at the hands of terrorists. Bnei Akiva, with our strong ideals, and belief in Torah va’Avodah, has a duty to stand up and defend our country, even from the comfort of the Diaspora.
However, this approach can only be temporary. Bnei Akiva’s direction has always been forward and upwards.
Israel remains a reality because thousands of like-minded young Jews have made the ultimate sacrifice.
The best educational tool is personal example; the fulfilment of a lifelong dream. Since the founding of the State, thousands of members of Bnei Akiva have fulfilled their dream and settled in Israel. To be a member of Bnei Akiva is to aim high, and the responsibility lies with us to lead the way.
Throughout our years with Bnei Akiva, we learn constantly about love for Israel, and the need to support Israel.
In recent years, there has been an emphasis on defeating the BDS movement and showing solidarity with Israel by buying Israeli products. However, more than this, we can shout aloud that we are not simply armchair Zionists but that we have something more long-term to offer instead.
Let us commit ourselves to Torah va’Avodah in the Land of Israel using the power we have as youth.
Eretz Yisrael is our religious treasure. When we sing Yad Achim and Hatikvah, we do so with feeling and a real sense of yearning. We strive to live our lives in Israel as religious Jews.
As members of Bnei Akiva, we must try to understand the religious significance of the Land and the State of Israel. Zionism isn’t a new concept, but an intrinsic part of the Jewish religion that goes back to creation itself.
In his very first commentary on the Torah, Rashi asks why the Torah started with the account of the creation, instead of starting with the first mitzvah given specifically to Am Yisrael, found in the book of Shemot. In his famous answer, Rashi explains that this was in order that the Jewish people should know from the beginning of all time that in creating the world, God had set aside Eretz Yisrael for the Jewish people for all generations.
Golda Meir once wrote that Israel is one of the world’s smaller countries, but one of the most exciting to live in or read about. History knows no other example of an expelled people that kept its identity for two thousand years of exile, until nearly seven decades ago when it became an independent nation again on its ancient soil.
Having won its freedom, the new State flung its doors wide open to Jewish immigrants from across the globe, and within 15 years had trebled its population.
This progress has been achieved because the people were driven by a dream, and were prepared to work hard to make that dream come true.
B'leiv amitz, b'ezrat Hashem, aloh na'aleh,
With a strong heart, with the help of God, we will go up.
Jonny Lipczer is in Shevet Emunah and serves as the Shaliach for Bnei Akiva of Toronto. He made aliyah from the UK in 2006.