Rabbi John Linder, spiritual leader of Temple Solel, shared with Jewish News staff a letter to his congregants, which is excerpted below. The interfaith event takes place 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 2, at Paradise Valley United Methodist Church, 4455 E. Lincoln Drive.
“The Valley Interfaith Project (VIP) Spring Assembly is a wonderful opportunity to come together as a diverse faith community, reflecting our common values and a commitment to serve our state and country. As a member of VIP, leaders of Temple Solel have helped to articulate a vision for Arizona that provides the economic viability we need, while putting people first. It’s a win-win vision that emerges from Temple Solel’s Ties That Bind house meetings a year ago.
“This nonpartisan agenda brings together a refreshingly diverse group of stakeholders from across our state (the following’s attendance is confirmed): Gov. Janice Brewer, House and Senate legislators Rep. Heather Carter, Senate Majority leader John McComish (and others); Arizona State Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Glenn Hamer, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, Maricopa Community College officials and dozens of faith leaders.
“We have an opportunity to move forward on the common ground that brings us together – issues of justice and compassion drawn from the breath of the Hebrew Bible:
- Maximizing health care coverage for the most vulnerable in our state (over 400,000 Arizona residents!)
- Strengthening funding for education — our children are the future for our state.
- Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Securing our border while providing a legal path for citizenship for the 11 million living in the shadows — Remember, we were strangers in the Land of Egypt.
- Building on the success of VIP’s job training program, Arizona Career Pathways — helping Arizona residents become self-sufficient with much needed high-wage, high-skilled jobs.
“The key to an impactful, successful VIP Spring Assembly is YOU! What our elected officials and community leaders need to see are concerned, engaged, reasonable citizens — representing the 40 faith institutions under the VIP umbrella. …
“As one of VIP’s clergy leaders, I have been honored with a central role in the assembly. Nothing would give me more joy than looking out and seeing you. Please come, bring a friend and be a part of change!”
— Rabbi John A. Linder
For those of us who couldn’t get to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum today (April 29) to commemorate the museum’s 20th anniversary, there is a wealth of information about the museum and today’s events at http://www.ushmm.org.
More than 1,200 members from the Bnei Menashe community of northeastern India celebrated Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel’s Independence Day) and the resumption of their aliyah to Israel on April 17 with a festive celebration in the town of Churachandpur, India – in the northeastern Indian state of Manipur.
The gathering, which was sponsored and organized by the Shavei Israel organization, was the largest in the Bnei Menashe community’s history, according to a press release. Just last October, the Israeli government lifted a five-year ban on the Aliyah of Bnei Menashe in a unanimous decision. Since then, more than 270 Bnei Menashe have been brought on Aliyah by Shavei Israel.
“This Yom Ha’atzmaut is particularly poignant for the Bnei Menashe,” Shavei Israel Founder and Chairman Michael Freund said. “With the resumption of the aliyah from India, the community’s dream of returning to the land of their ancestors is finally coming to fruition. In the coming months, with G-d’s help, we aim to bring another 900 Bnei Menashe back home to Zion,” Freund added.
“There has never been such a joyous event like this before in our community. We are celebrating in spirit with our Bnei Menashe brothers and sisters who have already made aliyah to Israel in hopes that we will be joining them very soon,” said Yochanon Phaltual, a Bnei Menashe member who organized the event. “To celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut with the realistic hope of making aliyah soon fills my heart with joy. I was especially moved when we all stood up and sang Hatikvah. That was a very special moment for me and I really hope that we can all sing it together next year in Jerusalem.”
About Bnei Menashe:
The Bnei Menashe (Hebrew for “sons of Manasseh”) are descended from one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, who were sent into exile by the Assyrian Empire more than 27 centuries ago. They live primarily in India’s northeastern border states of Manipur and Mizoram. Their ancestors wandered through Central Asia and the Far East for centuries, before settling in what is now northeastern India, along the border with Burma and Bangladesh. Throughout their exile, the Bnei Menashe nonetheless continued to practice Judaism just as their ancestors did, including observing the Sabbath, keeping kosher, celebrating the festivals and following the laws of family purity.
This week’s issue of Jewish News celebrates the 65th birthday of Jewish News and Israel. We recently received a release about another entity celebrating 65th anniversary: EL AL Airlines.
To mark its anniversary, EL AL is remembering a few historic highlights that helped shape the birth and rise of Israel’s national airline.
May 1948: Israel was established as an independent state.
September 1948: The first Israeli registered civil aircraft carries Israel’s first designated president, Chaim Weizmann, home from Geneva where he was temporarily stationed before Israel’s declaration as a state.
January 1949: EL AL assists in Operation Magic Carpet, airlifting 49,000 Yemenite’s to Israel.
May 1950: EL AL assists in Operation Ezra & Nehemiah (also known as Operation Ali Baba), airlifting over 120,000 Iraqi’s to Israel.
April 1951: Inaugurates regular scheduled service between Israel and New York.
April 1973: First airline to schedule nonstop service from Tel Aviv to JFK (previously called Idlewild Airport).
June 1984: First scheduled service from Tel Aviv to Los Angeles.
January 1990: EL AL assists in Operation Exodus, airlifting hundreds of thousands of Soviets to Israel.
May 1991: EL AL assists in Operation Solomon, the airlift of more than 15,000 Ethiopians from Addis Ababa to Israel. One 747 carried 1,087 passengers, a world record that still stands today.
June 1994: EL AL schedules first nonstop service between Newark International Airport and Tel Aviv.
2003: EL AL became a private airline.
EL AL notes that travelers interested in learning more about the historical and interesting rise of the national airline can read “EL AL: Israel’s Flying Star,” an illustrated book written by Marvin Goldman, who has the largest museum-like collection of EL AL memorabilia.
L AL also highlights some of Israel’s most prominent historical figures and sights in a series of cards, written in both English and Hebrew. Anyone interested in obtaining a complimentary set of cards can visit EL AL USA Facebook (EL AL Israel Airline USA).
As an added bonus, now through Independence Day, April 16, EL AL USA Facebook (EL AL Israel Airlines USA) fans can share what Israel means to them for a chance to win one roundtrip ticket to Israel. In addition, EL AL USA Matmid frequent flyer members and EL AL USA Facebook fans can also save up to 35 percent on phone service in Israel with TalknSave! This exclusive offer is also valid through Israel Independence Day, April 16.
For more information about EL AL or to book a flight, visit www.elal.com or call EL AL at (800) 223-6700. Learn more about special promotions as well as activities, special events, and useful travel tips to Israel, plus more by joining the airline on Facebook (EL AL Israel Airlines USA) and Twitter (@ELALUSA).