Desert Island Texts

Desert Island Texts

If you were cast away on an island with just one Jewish text for company, which would you choose?

This week Geoffrey Ben-Nathan, president of Bedfordshire Progressive Synagogue, selects: Hallel – Psalm 118:22-23.

The stone that the builders have rejected / has now become the corner-stone / This is the Lord’s doing / It is marvellous in our eyes.

The ‘stone that the builders have rejected’ – that stone, for me, is the Jewish state – Israel. The ‘builders’ are all those that demean, boycott, vilify and condemn Israel.

But the Jewish state has thrived in its 67 years – despite so much opposition. And it is only at the very beginning of its Jewish mission of or la-goyim (a light to the nations). For a look at this mission, visit www. – in its fifth year, updated weekly and fully archived, the blog covers news of Israel’s achievements and heart-warming stories from the Jewish state.

Our Almighty is, we are told, a zealous God. None of us knows what will happen in five minutes time (or even less). But all of us are, I believe, entitled to look back at what has happened with 20:20 vision.

Looking back with 20:20 vision, I see in Israel a miracle. And I see many miracles within the miracle. Yes, it could all end tomorrow. I pray to The Almighty, it won’t.

We go to synagogue. We pray, ritually. But do we ever believe in our God being with us in the world? Modern Israel’s performance, I believe, suggests that He is.

Stranded on my desert island, I will think of these Hallel verses. They are not just two verses to utter, chant or sing – lovely though this is. For me, they are Coca Cola – the real thing! Perhaps, from now on, they might be the same for you, too.

This IS the Lord’s doing. It IS marvellous in our eyes.