By Livia Link-Raviv
L’Shanah Tovah from me, my family and the entire consular staff. We wish you a sweet, prosperous and peaceful New Year. As we embark onto 5784, we are looking forward to building an even closer relationship between Israel, the Southwest and of course the diaspora.
Rosh Hashanah is the perfect time to reflect on the past year while preparing for the next. The consulate had quite a busy year filled with exciting events and activities.
For those who might have missed it, here is a recap of some of our notable moments: our LatinTech Pitch Competition at the Ion; celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by connecting with Israeli entrepreneurship in hi-tech, our annual Hanukkah gathering highlighting science and education with the president of Rice University and astronaut Jessica Meir; and of course celebrating the 75th anniversary of Israeli Independence underlining decades of bipartisan U.S.-Israel ties, with Governor Abbott, Houston’s Mayor Turner and many community leaders and good friends.
We are proud to have hosted our first annual interfaith Sukkot dinner, which brought together leaders from eight religions to discuss and learn more about one another, building upon diversity. Additionally, the consulate’s staff had the opportunity to take part in volunteer initiatives, from tree planting to providing meals to vulnerable communities and more.
This year, too, I had the privilege of making official visits with leadership throughout our five-state region and further nurturing our strong friendships. We were honored by the legislatures of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, who demonstrated their support through resolutions celebrating ourindependence and longstanding relations.
In Dallas, we were honored to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day at City Hall hosted by Mayor Johnson and the local council members, which honored us by passing a resolution acknowledging the day for the first time. In May, City Council adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism and I am extremely appreciative of the important role the Jewish community played in making this progress possible. In addition, we had the Sharaka delegation visit various organizations in Dallas to promote and share the impact the Abraham Accords have had in the Middle East.
Even as Israeli society continues to debate on ideological lines in a passionate discourse, it is important that we remind ourselves that despite all our differences — how we politically align, how we practice our religion or even where we live — we are one people. One people who shares millennia of history and are inextricably bound to one another by shared values, culture and birthright to the land of our forefathers.
As in the past year, I continue to remain completely committed to engaging with the whole community, listening to your thoughts, genuine concerns and legitimate questions. I hope that I can continue to be a trusted resource in the coming year. Rosh Hashanah is a time of faith in our tradition and I want you to know that I have faith in our country and our people. So should you have faith in the resilience of our democracy and the strength of our institutions.
During this past year, we saw the relationship between Israel and the United States continue to be strong. There have been a number of high-level bipartisan visits from the United States to Israel including the majority and minority leaders of the House and various senators. There has also been an influx of Israeli leaders who have visited the United States, including a historic visit of President Herzog, who addressed a joint session of Congress and met with President Biden.
In the coming months I look forward to collaborating closely with the network of Jewish organizations and building on the years of friendship and partnership with the consulate to support their extraordinary work. I will also continue the exciting project of visiting the vibrant synagogues across the region and getting to meet the congregations which make this community so special.
Again, I wish you all a sweet New Year, and may you be inscribed in the Book of Life. I look forward to what this next year holds, not just for the consulate but for the whole Southwest Region.
Livia Link Raviv is consul general of
Israel to the Southwest.