Israel Bonds Appeal from Leslie Gradet Yom Kippur 5768 - 2007 September 22, 2007
Today we reach the culmination of the Days of Awe, days spent contemplating our past and future–how we conducted ourselves in this past year and what steps we want to take in the coming year to grow, to reach out, to learn, to make the most of the blessings G-d has given us, and to contribute to our families, our community, Am Yisrael (the Jewish people) and the world at large.
In an article by Rabbi Dov Greenberg, the rabbi relates a story about Sir Moses Montefiore. Knighted by Queen Victoria, Sir Moses Montefiore is well-known for his world-wide philanthropy. Someone once asked him, (perhaps a bit cheekily) "Sir Moses, what are you worth?" Sir Moses thought for a while and named a figure. "But surely", said his questioner, "your wealth must be much more than that." With a smile, Sir Moses replied, "You didn’t ask me how much I own. You asked me how much I am worth. So I calculated how much I have given to charity this year." "You see," he said, "we are worth what we are willing to share with others."
The rabbi goes on to talk about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, as they hid from G-d’s sight, knowing that they had done wrong. G-d calls out to Adam "Where are you?" But if G-d knows and sees everything, He knew where they were, so why did he ask? The words of the Torah were meant for all time. So the question G-d asked Adam and Eve wasn’t addressed just to them, but also to each of us in every generation. When we have gone astray, when we feel we’ve lost our course, we hear the voice of G-d in our hearts asking: "Where are you? What have you done with your life? I have given you a certain amount of years; how are you using them?"
One way we can share with others and be on the right course is to purchase an Israel Bond. It enables us to reach out to the State of Israel and to support our brothers and sisters there.
Last year we were particularly focused on the needs that resulted from the war with Hizbollah–the need to repair roads, stores, schools, homes, and infrastructure. Progress has been made, but there is still work to be done in the rebuilding of Haifa and in providing children’s services to help them deal with last summer’s traumas.
Funds from the sale of Israel Bonds are also used in ongoing projects that enhance quality of life and economic stability in Israel. Bond funds helped finance the construction of Ben Gurion Airport, a major desalinization plant in Ashkelon, the Trans-Israel Highway, and the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Rail Line. Thousands of Jews continue to immigrate to Israel from the former Soviet Union, Argentina, France, and other countries in which anti-Semitic incidents have increased. Israel uses the funds from bond purchases to assist in their resettlement.
This year’s theme is ISRAEL BONDS FOR ALL OF ISRAEL–SECURITY, PROSPERITY, OPPORTUNITY
Security - Israel’s "other" security will come from international commercial partnerships built on a strong economy and infrastructure.
Prosperity - A strong economy will help Israel meet the social, educational, and material needs of its citizens.
Opportunity - A strong economy will create jobs, income, dignity, and autonomy for all Israelis.
The medical and technological innovations that have come out of Israel are astonishing–
–an Israeli company has developed a simple blood test that distinguishes between mild and more severe cases of multiple sclerosis
–a new Israeli device called the Child Hood replaces the inhalation masks used by children with breathing problems. Now an improved drug delivery system can provide relief for children and their parents
–the Joseph Sangol Neuroscience Center in the Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer Hospital aims to bring together thousands of scientists and doctors to focus on brain research, including brain disorders such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease
–a researcher at Ben Gurion University has succeeded in creating human monoclonal antibodies which can neutralize the highly contagious smallpox virus w/o inducing the dangerous side effects of the existing vaccine
–two Israelis received the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Doctors Ciechanover and Hershko’s research and discovery of one of the human cell’s most important cyclical processes will lead the way to DNA repair, conrol of newly produced proteins, and immune defense systems.
-the Movement Disorder Surgery program at Israel’s Hadassah Medical Center has successfully eliminated the physical manifestations of Parkinson’s disease in a select group of patients w/ a deep brain stimulation technique
–most of Windows operating systems were developed by Microsoft-Israel
–the Pentium NMX Chip technology was designed at Intel in Israel. Both the Pentium 4 microprocessor and the Centrum processor were entirely designed, developed, and produced in Israel
–voicemail technology was developed in Israel
–the technology for the AOL Instant Messenger ICQ was developed in 1996 in Israel by 4 young Israeli whiz kids
–both Microsoft and Cisco built their only Research & Development facilities outside the US in Israel
–cell phone technology was developed in Israel by Motorola, which has its biggest development center in Israel
–a joint, nonprofit venture between Israel and Maryland will result in a 5-day Business Development and Planning Conference next March. Israeli companies will partner w/ MD firms to provide innovation to the US needed for homeland security
–even Warren Buffett of Berkshire-Hathaway fame has just invested $4 billion in a family-owned business in Israel.
Israel’s overwhelming achievements for the benefit of all humankind speak to its successes in tikkun olam, enhancing and repairing the world. It is our responsibility to provide Israel with the strong infrastructure it needs to expand its scientific and technological endeavors, to attract international partners and investors, and to continue the contributions it has made.
The purchase of an Israel bond is not a charitable donation. It is an investment, and a very sound one. The money you lend to Israel will be paid back to you, with interest. Since its inception in 1951, State of Israel Bonds has secured $25 billion in loan capital. Israel has repaid every dollar due to investors who submitted bonds for redemption and has made every payment of principal and interest on time and in full. And 100% of every Israel bonds purchase goes to Israel. Not one penny goes to the budget of the Israel Bonds Organization.
The purchase of an Israel bond this year is an opportunity for you, for American Jewry, and of course, for Israel. Not only are bonds an effective way to save for college, retirement, or other life needs. Not only do they make great gifts for special simchas–births, bar and bat mitzvahs, birthdays, graduations, and weddings (and the mazel tov bonds, now with $50 increments above $100 are perfect for that). Not only are there now bonds that mature in just 1 year. But, as they did last year, Hopkins Federal Bank in Baltimore is generously going to match 50% of your investment during this High Holiday campaign. So if you buy a $1,000 bond, for instance, they will match it with the purchase of a $500 bond.
High Holy Days Bond sales are a highly visible barometer of the degree to which North American Jews are concerned about Israel and are willing to stand up and be counted. Institutional buyers, and national policymakers and lawmakers, remain very aware of the extent to which the Jewish community supports Israel through the purchase of Israel bonds. They look not only to the dollar amount of bond sales, but also to the number of people who buy bonds. Please consider buying at least a mazel tov bond this year to show your support for Israel.
This is my pledge card and I am folding down the tab that says, "Please have a Sales Representative contact me." I ask you to take your pledge card now and to turn down one of the tabs. And before the ushers circulate through the sanctuary to collect the cards, please read with me A Prayer for the State of Israel printed on the card:
In this sacred time we reaffirm our bond w/ Israel.
In this meaningful moment we pledge our support for Israel.
Deep in this spiritual place we hope for Israel’s security.
Surrounded by prayer we long for peace in our homeland.
Embraced by Hashem’s love we pray for peace in our world.
May Hashem strengthen and preserve Israel from within and without, today, tomorrow, and forever.
Thank you and G’mar Chatima Tova. May you be inscribed for a good year.