President Richard M. Joel: Israel Must be Seen as a Destination for Our Destiny

As often as possible, I leave the confines of my 12th-floor office and meander around the campus of Yeshiva University. I do this for many reasons, principally because I so enjoy speaking with our students and absorbing the sights and insights of our campus experience as much as they do.

Israel FlagBut even when students tuck themselves away in their classrooms and study halls, I examine the magnificent buildings in which our students pore over their texts, both Judaic and secular. Those edifices themselves seem to speak almost as loudly as the passionate, smart and vociferous undergraduates studying within them, serving as architectural symbols of the many great institutions of learning that we Jews have built together in North America and around the world.

One particular structural feature of our campus always strikes a chord in me. Three flags, each flapping and flailing in the unremitting Washington Heights wind: The flag of Yeshiva University, the flag of the United States of America, the flag of the State of Israel. Degel Yisrael, that 65-year-old symbol of hope with its ancient Star of David affixed at its center, with thousands of years of Jewish endurance and hope enchantingly summarized in its blue and white hues.

And I ask myself: What message does that flag bear for the sprawling, growing, Diaspora-based institution over which it flies? Why fly the flag of Israel? Read the rest of this entry…