Today marks 68 years since the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto by the Jewish resistance. To date, it is considered the largest single revolt by the Jews during the Holocaust. We mourn the millions who perished and celebrate those who were courageous enough to resist, however futile their efforts may have seemed at the time. Throughout history, Jews were a forcibly nomadic people, able to settle sometimes long-term, but never permanently, within the borders of the nations that were willing to accept us. The Jewish people settled in Poland in the 1300s after being expelled from Western Europe due to persistent pogroms and blood libels. Centuries later, history repeated itself yet again and we were no longer welcome in countries that we had considered ours for so many generations. The mighty Nazi extermination campaign swept through most of Europe and wiped out millions of Jews in just a few short years.
Today however, we are fortunate enough to have Israel. It is a country that rose out of the ashes of the Holocaust, where we are not at the mercy of a government that is willing to tolerate us until we are no longer useful. We can wear our Jewish identity proudly instead of it being an impediment. It is extremely sad though, that only in a few short decades, a blink of an eye from the perspective of history, we have grown so comfortable that many American Jews do not recognize how greatly important Israel is to every single Jew in the world. Without Israel, those in power could continue to push us around without fear of consequences.
There is a story in the Torah, about Jews calling out to G-d to send them back to Egypt because even though they were slaves at least they knew what they were dealing with, whereas Israel seems to be a hostile and inhospitable land, albeit their own. Upon hearing their cries, G-d got angry and told them that they will never see Israel. Ultimately, the Jews wandered in the desert for forty years because G-d was waiting for those in the slave generation to die so a new generation, without a slave mentality, would enter Israel. Nowadays, as so many Jews would prefer to stay cocooned in their complacency, one starts to wonder if our punishment will be the loss of Israel for this generation.
If events such as anti-Semitic riots throughout the world, rockets launched at Israel by HAMAS terrorists, a family with three young children being butchered in their sleep, and a young boy getting killed by a rocket that hits his school bus, do not make American Jews wake up, I shudder to think about what has to happen in order for the alarm to sound for the complacent majority.