Letter to Ambassador Rice in advance of her upcoming visit to Israel

Dear Ambassador Rice,

As you prepare for your upcoming trip to Israel in the coming days, I would like to wish you a nesiyah tovah, a good journey, on behalf of the Rabbinical Assembly. It is auspicious that your journey coincides with Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, which we celebrate today. I know from our discussions and from your public addresses that you deeply appreciate the miracle of the founding of the Jewish State, and understand its immeasurable significance to the Jewish people. As I wish you strength and wisdom on this important trip, I remember how moved hundreds of rabbis and cantors were at the AIPAC conference in 2012 when you shared memories of your first trip to Israel as a teen. Your friendship with the American Jewish community is one built not only on shared values but on shared formative experiences.

I am deeply grateful for the support that you, President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and the entire administration unswervingly show towards Israel. Although recent developments in negotiations have saddened the world Jewish community, which supports Israel’s stated goal of two thriving states with secure borders, we are confident that your delegation’s current trip will do much to strengthen the Israeli-American relationship and affirm our mutual commitment to the peace process. The support of the Administration for a peacefully negotiated solution is an essential element of building the trust necessary for an eventual agreement. The journey to this point has been long and there is still a challenging road ahead, but we must have confidence that the courageous work of the past months will, in ways not yet visible, significantly further the road to peace.

As you embark on this trip, I hope that you will keep in mind the words of Tefilat Haderech, the Traveler’s Prayer, traditionally recited by Jews before important journeys: May it be Your will, Lord, our God and the God of our ancestors, that You lead us toward peace, guide our footsteps toward peace, and make us reach our desired destination for life, gladness, and peace. May your trip be blessed with gladness and peace for you and your delegation, and may your meetings prove fruitful in advancing the causes of peace and friendship in a region too often torn by strife.

Warm Regards,
Julie Schonfeld 

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