8. Coffee and Tea break!
Well, last time I did promise you a short refreshment break, or maybe to others a wake-up call!
So anyway, thanks for joining me this week. As for your request I have brought with me today the speech that I gave last weekend at Ayabe city. I hope you enjoy!
I would like to begin this speech by mentioning, what a great honor it is for me to be here today, in Ayabe, in the Choseiden.
Here on this stage about two years ago, Rabbi David Rosen (my Judaism teacher), took part as a representative of the Jewish community, in a joint worship held prior to The International Gathering for World Peace, at Mt. Hiei.
I arrived at Oomoto on Christmas eve 1998. Today I am in the middle of my planned stay in Oomoto. I have come here in order to spend one year studying Japanese culture, religion, and language.
I have been fascinated by Japanese culture since I was a child. In fact, nor my parents neither I can trace the source of this passion for Japan, it just seems as if it was my destiny. And so, this invitation to stay at Oomoto for one year is like a dream come true, since it is a place that I could get some experience in all aspects of Japanese life.
I Find it hard to put in words all I have experienced since I have arrived here. Japan and Israel are two different worlds.
The state of Israel is a state created for Jewish people to have a home. For 2000 years Jewish people did not have a home, and they were scattered around in exile. The state of Israel is today 51 years old and is still an endless refuge for the Jewish people.
Japan seems to have many deeply rooted social codes and manners, which might be the outcome of a homogeneous society. This is a very different for me, coming from Israel that has so many different traditions, customs and manners because of its diverse heterogeneous population. In Israel we argue about everything. There is an expression in Hebrew that says: If their are two Jews together, there are three opinions. In my experience in Japan, people seem to live in harmony with each other. That is quite amazing for me.
The Middle East is a very tense part of the world, for many reasons. I believe one of the reasons is that it is a very warm and dry place, consisting mostly of deserts. It is hard for me to express what an incredible impact the Greenery of Japan, and of Oomoto in Kameoka, has had on my soul. Japan is very lucky to be a country blessed with so much water.
My mother came to visit me for two weeks in May, and joined the big Spring festival in Kameoka, and the Noh performances here in Ayabe. She had a wonderful time here, and was welcomed very warmly by the Oomoto members. She is an artist, and prior to her departure from Japan to Israel she noted to me that after having this incredible experience in Japan, she is sure her art will never be the same as before she came.
I sincerely believe that this special privilege given to me to be aquainted with Oomoto, will have a great impact on my life, when I return to Jerusalem. Although I was involved in peace movements in Israel before coming to Japan, I believe I have learned so much more about brotherhood, and true acceptance of other religions, a message I would like to bring with me back to a country of constant war, and hatred.
I do hope these days, as changes are occurring in Israeli politics and society, We may finally see peace progressing. No one likes losing friends or family members, no one wants to see his or her child grow up with no hope. Both sides, the Palestinian and the Israelis, have suffered enough; time has come now at the turn of the millennium to start a new page in the history of the Middle East, and of the world
I have found a very strong connection here at Oomoto, as an individual and as a Jew. I hope this is the beginning of an even stronger connection between the Jewish community and Oomoto.
Now I would like to end with a very popular Jewish saying that evolved during the 2000 years of exile. When Jews would greet each other good-bye, they would add: Beshana Habaa Be-yerushalaim, which means: Next year in Jerusalem. Today I would like to end with this greeting to you.
Beshana Habaa be-yerushalaim
SHALOM and THANK YOU.
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