Today, we begin Elul and next month, Rosh Hashanah. Thoughts of reconciliation should tint everything we do. We should reconcile with people in all our relationships – friends, acquaintances, family and extended family.
And as if on cue, came the announcement of a reconciliation between the United Arab Emirates and Israel.
Mazel tov. Good news to discuss. In 2020, reportage has focused on COVID-19 anxieties, closings, reopenings, illnesses, recoveries, close-calls, deaths and more adjustments to life’s routines than we could ever have imagined.
The reconciliation, announced Aug. 13 by the White House, may well be more than just an agreement to normalize relations between Israel and the UAE. Soon, other Arab countries may join.
Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, wrote an op-ed in The Jerusalem Post. To paraphrase from his comments: “This reconciliation means cooperation on many levels. To exchanges of knowledge and ideas, and an opportunity to learn from one another about traditions and history. To greater security for the region and joint communiques in the fields of business, science, education and the arts.”
Also, as if on cue, here is another good news article. Omer Adam, one of Israel’s most popular singers, will likely be the first Israeli performer to appear in the UAE. A member of the royal Dubai family sent Adam a personal invitation. Adam’s music fuses elements of Mizrachi and western pop.
The Israel-UAE agreement is called the “Abraham Accord.” It is a wonderful and germane name because of the connection Judaism and Islam share with our Father Abraham.
We welcomed the peace accords with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. Now, we welcome the UAE. Twenty-six years have elapsed, but thankfully, with innovative thinking and a rational strategy, in Washington, Jerusalem, and Abu Dhabi, the Abraham Accord will be signed.
As Elul begins, let us remember to view our lives through the tint of reconciliation. On every level of life – peace is possible. Coexistence is possible. Friendship is possible Brotherhood and sisterhood are possible. Family peace is possible.
Reconciliation is not easy. We face constant challenges. Our personal relationships, even with those whom we love deeply, are not easy. The Abraham Accord will not be easy. It is a new chapter, for Israel, her neighbors and the Jewish people.
Lord God, we are all Your precious children – Jews and non-Jews. As the month of Elul ushers in the sounding of the shofar, help us to be open to acts of reconciliation with others – of every race, religion, creed and color. Help us to look deeply into our souls, and deeply into the soulfulness of others. This covering You have created is just skin and it is … only skin deep. Within us, our souls have no color. We all are lovingly created in the Divine image. Incline our ears to listen to the sound of the shofar, and as a result, to wake up and engage in acts of reconciliation. Amen.
Rabbi Matt Eisenberg is rabbi of Temple Israel Ner Tamid in Mayfield Heights.