Turning to the Future with Optimism and Hope for Peace

I arrived in Jerusalem last night to join a CJP leadership mission for the final leg of its trip. I write to you with reflections on yesterday’s announcement and hopeful thoughts for the future.

Jerusalem has been the spiritual center of Jewish life for over 3,000 years and yesterday’s announcement reflects the historical ties between the Jewish people and its ancient capital. Jerusalem is the seat of Israel’s governmental, legislative, and judicial institutions, as well as home to the offices of its President and Prime Minister. There is no question that Israel’s capital deserves the same recognition and respect as that of any other nation in the world, and so we welcome yesterday’s announcement.

Our community holds myriad views on the best way to advance a lasting peace. Personally, with deep love and commitment to Israel, her people, and her security, I would have preferred that this announcement be made at a time that carried less uncertainty for the peace of Jerusalem and the region. But that question is now moot. The decision has been made and we must endeavor to find a path forward together.

Our community shares a broad and strong connection to Israel and many common goals. CJP remains committed to the realization of two states for two peoples that leads to peace, security, and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians. We believe that the best prospect for peace lies in direct negotiations between the parties.

Jerusalem holds a special place in the hearts of billions of people of differing faiths worldwide. It is the focal point of prayers and dreams, and we hope and pray for the realization of the words in Psalms (Tehillim), “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; may those who love you be tranquil. May there be peace within your walls, serenity within your palaces.”

With faith in God and love of the Jewish people.

Barry Shrage
President, CJP


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