The LORD will write in the register of the peoples: "This one was born in Zion." Psalm 87:6
For many Jews, making aliyah - immigrating to the land of Israel - is a dream come true. To have children and raise them in Israel is to take that dream held by the Jewish people for more than 2,000 years a step further. So, as you might imagine, many American olim (immigrants) were dismayed to find out after giving birth to children in Jerusalem, our nation's capital, the American passports of these children would simply list "Jerusalem" as their place of birth, but not "Israel" as their country of birth.
As far as these passports were concerned, Jerusalem was not recognized as part of Israel.
Over a decade ago, some American parents of children born in Israel decided to pursue the matter legally. In 2002, the U.S. Congress voted that Israel should be listed on such passports as the country of birth. But subsequent presidential administrations have all called this congressional act unlawful. In 2015, the issue came to a head when the Supreme Court ruled that "Israel" should be left off the passports of Americans born in Jerusalem.
It came as a staggering blow to the many American Jews who love their country of birth, but who came to Israel as part of their divine calling. How can our greatest ally not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital? Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat responded by saying, "Just as Washington is the capital of the U.S., London is the capital of England, and Paris is the capital of France, Jerusalem was and will always be the capital of Israel - but more than that, it's the heart and soul of the Jewish nation."
Psalm 87 could have been written today to address this very issue. The psalmist wrote: "The LORD will write in the register of the peoples: 'This one was born in Zion.'"
In other words, ultimately, it doesn't matter what the world might say about babies born in Jerusalem. God has a register of His own. He will keep records of which children were born in Zion, another term for the Jewish State.
This is a great reminder that while there is some importance to what the world or the people in our lives might say about us, in the end all that really matters is what God will say about us. We should never place too much importance upon what others say or think about us. We should strive only to please our Lord and to concern ourselves only with how we will go down in His records. Will God list us as kind or cruel? As faithful or fearful? As obedient or wayward? God writes the final record and that's the only one that counts.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President