New York, The following letter of thanks and congratulations was sent to President Obama on behalf of the Rabbinical Assembly upon his return from visiting Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan.
Dear Mr. President:
We write to congratulate you for what was, in so many significant ways, a vitally important and successful trip to Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Jordan this past week.
The unprecedented levels of support and cooperation that Israel has enjoyed from the United States during your first term offer eloquent testimony to the enduring relationship between these two great democracies. We in the Rabbinical Assembly, 1700 rabbis world-wide, including in Israel, have long appreciated your unshakable commitment to Israel’s security, and intuitive understanding of the great difficulties that she faces in a particularly dangerous part of the world.
The personal and intimate bond that you established with the people of Israel and their leaders over these past few days has forever changed the landscape of the American-Israeli friendship, and we salute you for making this extraordinary gesture. Two of our leading Israeli colleagues, RA Israel President Rabbi Mauricio Balter and Raba Tamar Elad-Appelbaum were present on Thursday for your speech and remarked:
President Obama's message spoke to us as an Israeli man and an Israeli woman, as Jews, as Zionists, and as Israeli rabbis. His words were those of a true friend of the Jewish people and of the State of Israel, deeply rooted in the teachings of Torah: faith, partnership, sovereignty and security, peace, prosperity and Tikkun Olam. As Israeli rabbis we heard his words and through them saw a vision which we share, that of a nation returning to its homeland to build a state in light of its eternal values, a state which would become a center of pride to every Jew and to the human community as a whole.
It is our fondest hope that this new and powerful connection, characterized by enhanced trust and respect, will open the door to renewed progress in the quest for an enduring peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
In this season of redemption, we join you in the prayer for a more peaceful and just world, and are strengthened in this vision by the friendship and partnership of the American and Israeli people.
B'virkat shalom (with blessings of peace),
Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik, president
Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, executive vice president