Dear Friend of Israel,
On Wednesday, Israeli statesman Shimon Peres, whose political career spanned almost the entire life of the modern Jewish state, passed away at age 93.
Peres’ career of service to his country was an inspiration to me personally, and an inspiration to the entire nation of Israel and to Jewish people around the world. It was a measure of his love for his country that, even after his retirement in 2014, Peres continued to be actively engaged in shaping Israel for the future, and in seeking ways to make peace between Israel and her Arab neighbors – activities he was involved in for his entire adult life.
The loss of Shimon Peres comes just days after I experienced the loss of my father, Rabbi Simon Eckstein, who died last Saturday. To say this has been a week of mourning for me and my family – mourning that is now compounded by the loss of a man who was not only a great Israeli leader, but a friend – is an understatement.
At times like this, I must remind myself, just as we all must remind ourselves in times of trial, that the Bible promises us that God “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3). We cling to this promise, sure in the knowledge that, even in our time of grief, we are not forgotten; He is with us.
Today, along with all of Israel and the world, I thank God for the life of Shimon Peres, and salute his exemplary record of service to our country. May the Jewish people see the day when the peace Peres so earnestly worked for will bloom in their biblical homeland, his beloved land of Israel.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein