Dear Friend of Israel,
When Netflix CEO Reed Hastings was asked who the streaming giant’s biggest rivals were in an interview, he did not mention Amazon, YouTube, or any traditional broadcasters. According to Hastings, our need for sleep is the company’s main competitor: “You know, think about it. When you watch a show from Netflix, and you get addicted to it, you stay up late at night,” he said. “We’re competing with sleep.” To control one’s natural impulse to stop binge-watching and go to sleep, Netflix offered its customers a feature that allows the viewer to see the next episode without making any active clicks. This habit to keep moving without taking a break is one of our biggest challenges: We never stop. All too often, we constantly browse, watch, and read without stopping and reflecting on why we choose to do what we do.
We have just welcomed the Jewish New Year of 5784, and according to Jewish tradition, we are obligated at this time to stop and reflect on our actions over the previous year. Here at CFOIC, we are doing just that, giving thought and introspection on how we can do more, get our story out, and work with you to support the residents of the Biblical Heartland. After much thought, I believe that over this next year, we must focus on taking small steps that come from the heart. Every letter of support, email, or invitation we receive is of utmost importance and deserves our full appreciation. You are vital to helping us share the story of Judea and Samaria.
There is a widely known Jewish parable in which congregants entered their synagogue on the night of Yom Kippur, “The Day of Awe,” emotionally and mentally prepared for a day of complete spirituality. For them, there was no room for the tiniest of shenanigans. Everyone was waiting for the cantor to start the first prayer, “Kol Nidrei,” which addresses and nullifies verbal vows and promises made by anyone present in the last year. Instead, the congregants heard first from a toddler who was never privileged to receive a formal Jewish education. Nevertheless, the young boy, who only knew a few Hebrew letters, was determined to pray and connect with God.
The toddler did his absolute best and started pronouncing “ALEPH, BET, GIMMEL, DALET, HEY, VAV, ZAYIN!” the first seven letters of the Hebrew alphabet, doing so repeatedly. Members of the congregation immediately scolded him and told him to be quiet. However, the Rabbi found the toddler’s pronunciation of the letters sweet and inspirational. Addressing the congregation, the Rabbi rhetorically asked, “Are you all actually listening to this child? Of course, he’s merely saying letters, but every one of those letters is coming from the greatest depths of his heart. For him, they are, in fact, the deepest and most passionate words of prayer.” The lesson for all of us is clear. Every small act matters and any amount of support can make a profound impact when coming from the deepest parts of our hearts. I pray this next year will bring even more success to the People of Israel and you and your entire family.
Director, Israel Office
P.S. As the end of 2023 draws near, we are asking for your help to bless Senior Citizens throughout Judea and Samaria with a little something extra. This month we are featuring the young families in Nofei Nehemia who need your help to protect their children from the hot summer sun while they play outside. Anything you can do to help is so greatly appreciated!