For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
The 2,000 year-old Jewish communities of Syria and Lebanon ( 30,000 and 14,000 in 1948) have always been intertwined, as has the history of the two countries. Here's a timeline tracing their decline to less than 50 Jews in each country today.
19th century: an era of mass migration for Syrians of all faiths, driven by the 1860 Christian-Druze war and economic crises to move to Egypt and the New World.
1909: Young Jews leave to avoid Ottoman conscription law.
1917: exiles from Eretz Israel expose Jews to Zionism.
1918: Syrian and Lebanon under French mandate.
1930s: Anti-Jewish measures introduced, economy in crisis. 2,868 Jews move to Israel. Nazi propaganda spreads. 5, 286 Jews leave.
1945: 1,000 Jewish children go on aliya.
1945: Riots against Jews of Tripoli, Lebanon. Temporary closure of Alliance Israelite School. End of French mandate.
1945: Syrian school curriculum becomes compulsory.
1947: Partition riots. Great synagogue of Aleppo burnt down. Jews cannot buy property. Hundreds arrested. Jews expelled from university of Beirut.
1949: Jewish bank accounts seized in Syria, property frozen, no freedom of movement.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"