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Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem

Everything feels different here--in Jerusalem. When I am in the States I worry about the threat of Iran. I worry about the unlikelihood of peace with the Palestinians--and disagreements with the new Obama administration. I worry about the simmering tensions with the ultra-Orthodox. (In fact there were riots yesterday in the city's ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods.) Still when I am here it feels entirely different. I arrived to find the mood upbeat and hopeful. There are less guards and soldiers. The outdoor pedestrian mall of Ben Yehuda is packed with people. The cafes of Emek Refaim are filled. This is the most optimistic I have found Israel in the past seven years. Still just being here fills me with hope. The lover when separated from his beloved, by the expanse of oceans, worries about his beloved far too much. The heart cannot be placated from afar. But when he is with her his heart is at ease. As the Psalmist proclaimed: "When the Lord restores the fortunes of Zion, we shall be like dreamers, our mouths shall be filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy." (Psalm 126) To view a brief video message on this theme click here.