CUFI COFFEE BREAK
The Jewish Connection to Israel
April 4th, Jews in Israel celebrated the national holiday Yom Haaliyah (day of ascension or day of “going up”). The day coincides each year with the Torah portion Parshat Lech Lecha–Genesis 12–which records God’s call to Abram to leave his home country and family and go to the land which God would show him.
On this day, Israelis celebrate returning home after over 2,000 years of dispersion and exile and being reconnected with Eretz Israel, the Land of Israel. The connection to Israel is indeed woven into the fabric of Jewish life. It is foundational to how the Jewish people express not only their devotion to God, but their very identity as a people.
Israel is the only nation in the history of the world that was created by a sovereign act of God and has its borders recorded in the sacred text of Scripture. Most importantly—the Jewish people are the only people that have been given a specific piece of real estate as an eternal and everlasting possession through a blood covenant with God Almighty. Simply stated, God gave to Israel the title deed to the land (Genesis 17:7-8, see also Genesis 13:14-18).
In just a few hours, Jews all over the world will celebrate Passover, one of three ancient festivals in which Jews were commanded to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in commemoration of the Lord’s mercy over the Jewish people during the Egyptian plagues. This holiday also centers on the land of Israel. We will explore it more in-depth in our next lesson.
Happy (Belated) Aliyah Day!
To learn more about the Jewish connection to the Land of Israel and their continuous presence in the Land despite centuries of dispersion, exile, and occupation, read CUFI’s Primer: “The Continuous Jewish Presence in the Land of Israel.”