A new video series titled: “If These Stones Could Talk,” brings to life the rich historical, archaeological and ethical lessons of Israel’s past in the hopes that a better understanding of Israel’s history will contribute to a better Jewish future.
Created and hosted by Rabbi Dr. Kenneth Brander, president and Rosh HaYeshiva of Ohr Torah Stone (OTS), a modern orthodox movement of 30 organizations with offices in Israel, U.S., United Kingdom and Germany, the video series has so far released 6 videos with about 40 more in the pipeline.
Nearly every corner of the country holds a wealth of history with hidden messages from thousands of years ago .
“Many look at Israel as a tourist attraction, albeit a very special one, but the truth is that nearly every corner of the country holds a wealth of history with hidden messages from thousands of years ago that deserve our attention,” Rabbi Brander said in a statement. “There is certain fluidity and interaction here between the past, the present and the future that is just begging to be rediscovered.”
Rabbi Brander joined OTS in 2018. Prior to that, he served as vice president for University and Community Life, as well as the inaugural David Mitzner Dean of The Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) at Yeshiva University (YU), where he also taught rabbinic courses at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS).
The videos explore how historical locations in Israel can serve as lessons for Jews around the world and provide a roadmap for a more enlightened Jewish future. Topics of the initial video series include: “A community Built by Unity,” “Elevating the Mundane,” “In Search of Meaningful Prayer,” “A Pilar of Triumph? Or a Warning for the Future,” and “Poisonous Pens and Slanderous Tongues.”
Rabbi Brander explains that many of these sites are located in places that thousands of people walk by each and every day and so many Jews come to visit, but are not given the opportunity to appreciate their deeper meaning or examine their relevance to our lives today.
“Many look at Israel as a tourist attraction, albeit a very special one, but the truth is that nearly every corner of the country holds a wealth of history with hidden messages from thousands of years ago that deserve our attention. There is certain fluidity and interaction here between the past, the present and the future that is just begging to be rediscovered.
“We live at a time when the Jewish people are becoming more and more fractured,” he continued. “When you study the archaeology, you will see that some of the challenges that we are facing today– whether from the right, left, center; people who support the current Israeli government or those who stand staunchly in opposition – this is not the first time we, as a nation, are having this experience.
”Generations ago, the Jewish people had these same challenges; sometimes we succeeded in dealing with them and sometimes, tragically, we did not. Visiting these sites and bringing these issues up for communal examination and discussion brings them back into the light for reflection, introspection and hopefully an opportunity to resolve some of our challenges.”
The series is available on the Ohr Torah Stone website (ots.org.il/stones), as well as via Whatsapp and YouTube, where new episodes are posted weekly.