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If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem

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An IFCJ staff member in the United States wrote this moving piece about viewing the Holy Land's struggle from afar and supporting the Israeli people all the while.

Each day I lift my heart up in prayer, facing east towards Jerusalem, a tradition spanning thousands of years that reminds Jews everywhere of the blessing of our Holy City.

The last time I journeyed home to Israel, I had to leave my young child and husband behind. Despite being thousands of miles away from my world - that is, my family - I felt at ease. Nothing in the world feels as right as being in the Holy Land. It’s a feeling that material possession and comfort can never replace. In the wind, in the markets, on the buses, there is a certain godliness that shrouds the land and, by extension, the people that live there.

Only in Israel will complete strangers offer me a warm meal on the Sabbath or a ride to my destination.

Only in Israel will these same strangers show concern over my safety and guide my way like a shepherd guides his flock.

Only in Israel do I feel at home.

Several years have elapsed since that last trip, but my heart has not changed. The realities in Israel, however, have.

After I tucked my little one into bed tonight, I caught myself rubbing a ring that I only recently started wearing again. I purchased it during that last trip because of the cry it holds: אם אשכחך ירושלים. “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem.” A sense of guilt overwhelmed me. While I am here in America - comfortable, safe America - countless other mothers in Israel are wrestling with the fear that their child might be the next victim. Yet, from somewhere deep inside, they find the strength and courage to go on. The courage to live as if they had the same comforts that I do, a world away.

It pains me to see that so many in America today are forgetting Jerusalem. As a nation, we ignore the Israeli people’s daily struggle for survival. We silence them, by not being their voice here, by not sharing their cries, by passively confirming their worst fears.

Tonight, after I say my evening prayers, I’ll read Psalm 137. I won’t forget Jerusalem and her people. I will be their voice. Please join me.

Tags: Life in Israel

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