I moved to Baltimore in 1983 and lived there more than 25 years until making aliyah in 2010 with my husband, Rabbi Elan Adler, who served a combined 17 years as spiritual leader at Moses Montefiore Anshe Emunah and Beth Tfiloh Congregations.
Our frequent trips to Israel were an important part of our Baltimore story.
In the years before we formally made aliyah, we visited Israel as often as we could. And when we returned to our home on Hal Circle off of Greenspring Avenue, we brought as much of the spirit of Israel with us as possible.
For me, that included using Israeli spices in our kitchen and Israeli soaps in our bathrooms. And it also meant books. I acquired a lot of Israel- themed books during those years. Anything that could keep me connected to Israel in between trips earned a place of honor on our bulging bookshelves.
When we downsized in advance of making aliyah, we sold off a lot of our books.
But I didn’t sell the ones that connected me to Israel.
Now that we live in the Jerusalem suburb of Ma’ale Adumim, our lives are very Israel-centric. Where once I relied on books such as “Eretz Yisrael in the Parashah: The Centrality of the Land of Israel in the Torah” by Rabbi Moshe Lichtman to keep me connected, today I can look off our back porch onto the exact hilltop that stands between us and the Temple Mount.
Another of the other joys that came when we moved to Israel was connecting more deeply with others who love the Land of Israel as much as I do. Some of those connections led to unexpected work opportunities, both for me and for my husband.
One of the people we met was Rabbi Tuly Weisz, who made aliyah from Columbus, Ohio, to Ramat Beit Shemesh (where dozens of families from Baltimore settled). Rabbi Weisz created Israel365, now a thriving, multi-dimensional organization that promotes both the beauty of the Land of Israel and its Biblical significance.
A few years ago, I began writing news stories about what was happening in Israel that might be connected to Biblical prophecy for Breaking Israel News, the news division of Israel365. Since Breaking Israel News attracts a lot of Christian Zionist readers, it’s our custom to introduce each story with a Biblical quote that relates to the topic of the story, thus linking news from Israel with the Bible.
While working with Israel365, I came to understand how many Christians are deeply connected to Israel. Although I’d first heard about Christian Zionists while living in Baltimore, I didn’t have the chance to meet any until we got to Israel.
A few years ago, Rabbi Weisz had a vision to create a Bible that emphasized the centrality of the Land of Israel. Anyone who has ever been to Israel, and especially anyone who has ever taken a Tanach-based tour, knows that there’s nothing like the Land of Israel itself to make the words of the Hebrew Bible come to life.
Beside me on my desk is the fulfillment of Rabbi Weisz’s vision. It’s my pleasure to introduce you to “The Israel Bible,” a brand new Hebrew-English Bible that was conceptualized and edited by Rabbi Weisz, along with his team of Bible scholars and creative contributors.
The book has already been reviewed by former Baltimorean Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb. And my husband teaches courses on Jewish rituals for Israel365, based on the philosophy of this very Bible.
Just as Rabbi Lichtman connected every parasha to Eretz Yisrael, “The Israel Bible” highlights the centrality of the Land of Israel to the entirety of the Hebrew Bible. As Rabbi Weisz writes in his introduction, “While there are numerous Bibles in circulation today, its most central aspect — the Land of Israel — has often been overlooked.”
This is the exact oversight “The Israel Bible” was created to address. “The Israel Bible” is jam-packed with special features that help connect both Jews and Christians to the Land of Israel.
We just celebrated the modern State of Israel’s momentous 70th birthday on Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day. Whether or not you were in Israel on that auspicious date, every page of this monumental new Bible will help you forge new links to the Land of Israel.
You may not think you need another Tanach. And this is not a sales pitch. It’s just a note from a former Baltimorean who dreamed of one day living in Israel — and fulfilled that dream. If you want to connect yourself more deeply to the Jewish State, “The Israel Bible” is a good place to start.
Learn more about The Israel Bible at israel365.com/TheIsraelBible.
Dr. Rivkah Lambert Adler is an author and freelance reporter for Breaking Israel News.