Sunday, 12 March 2017

Roger Froikin says it best!

    I have been attacked on more than one occasion for my suggestion that people, mainly Jews, for that is what I care about, refer to  our Homeland as Yisrael. I base my argument on the origin of the name and its meaning, which to me precisely defines who we are and what we, Am Yisrael, are all about.

    The origin of the name is in Bresheet 32:28. "Your name shall no longer be Ya'akov but Yisrael for you have fought with G-d and with humans and have overcome." The name is powerful and prophetic at the same time. Yaakov means to follow in the footsteps of others. That is what Jews and Am Yisrael have done for the last 2000 years. We have let the Nations dictate to us who we are, where we should live and what we shall be.  No more. We are now in our own land ,the land of our forefathers. We are now in control of our own destiny! We lead ourselves. Not only that, we have been in constant struggle with all. But as the name Yisrael suggests, we have prevailed and will continue to prevail. Why would we want to change that name. And NO, Israel does not mean that. Israel in Hebrew , and our name is Hebrew, means G-d will sow. That is NOT what the Angel of G-d told Ya'akov.

    To all those who argue otherwise, Roger Froikin,  one of my best and most knowledgeable friends has this to say:

    "Language is an interesting thing when it comes to place names. No Spanish speaker calls Mexico the same way an English speaker does. The Italians call a city on their coast Livorno, but if you listen tyo the BBC from London, you know that they will call it Leghorn. While, the Italians will call London, Londra.

    3800 years ago, Avraham's grandson Ya'akov (Jacob) was called Yisrael for a reason, because the name meant something, and said something special ab...out his descendants and the attitudes at the core of Judaism that made it unique in the world then - and now, that Am Yisrael (the Hebrew Nation) relates to the world by "doing", by thinking, by debating, not by passively accepting or submitting. In 1948, the state of Yisrael (in Hebrew) was reborn.

    Yes, that is what it is called by those who live in it, respect it, and believe in it. So, is it Israel or Yisrael? I understand that one cannot get English speakers to call it anything other than Israel when speaking to one another. Just as I understand that Italians will call the British capital, Londra, and Germans will call their country Deutschland, no matter how many Americans call it Germany.

    So, in a smaller world, we need to understand that these differences do exist, that what we call a place, because of our linguistic histories, may not be accurate to those living there. So, as a Jew, I lived in Medinat Yisrael for years of my life, and my heritage is part of Am Yisrael. That's a fact. People might not want to hear it, but it is still a fact. Or should the the Germans be forced to call their country Germany just because others do? "