Thanking God for Israel(50:39)
First, VOI’s Dov Lipman is joined by Brenda Ganot, project manager for community building projects of the Jewish Agency’s Partnership2Gether Beit Shemesh-Mateh Yehuda-South Africa, who talks about the projects she runs in Bet Shemesh aimed at breaking down barriers between populations. She describes her efforts, including round-table discussions between leaders of religious and secular groups to solve city tensions, and cultural programs using drama and music to bring communities together.
Then, Dov is joined in-studio by David London, executive director of the Association for Americans and Canadians in Israel, who lists all the services AACI provides for English-speaking immigrants to Israel. These include employment guidance, financial advice and information on events to help make them feel at home.
Then, Dov hears from Gidi Mark, CEO of Birthright, through which more than 500,000 young people have come to Israel since the organization’s inception 15 years ago. Mark says the number of Jews, aged 18-26, who visit Israel annually has risen from 2,000 to over 40,000 — and more than 40% of participants return to the Jewish state within 5 years of their Birthright trip.
Then, Dov answers a listener’s question about Jonathan Pollard. He defends his assertion that anti-Semitism played no role in Pollard’s long incarceration, claiming it had to do with US leaders looking out for American interests. Another listener asks how he, as an Orthodox rabbi, can defend the right of the gay community to march in Jerusalem. He explains that though he believes homosexual behavior to be wrong, he cannot judge others or discriminate against those who think differently.
Finally, Dov explains how the weekly Torah portion, Eikev, demonstrates that the entire purpose of saying grace after meals is to thank God for giving the Jewish people the land of Israel.