The Métropolitain

Israel changed the world - in the deepest and most meaningful way

By Lise Ravary on May 29, 2018

In 1993, I travelled to Israel for the first time in my life. I was there to cover the restaurant scene with Toronto critic Sarah Waxman who became, with her husband, the late great actor Al Waxman (who used to joke he was my daughter's yiddishe mama) great friends of our family. 

During that trip, I had the privilege of meeting Itzhak Rabin and his wife Leah who were dining next to us at The Cow on the Roof in Jerusalem. There was so much hope and optimism in the air. How that seems so far away now. 

Israel changed and so did we all. 

In 2013, I published a book entitled ‘Pourquoi moi ?’ Why me. 

It told the story of my conversion to Judaism, a strange journey that started on its own – no boyfriend - during that trip in 1993. We were at the Israeli museum’s gift shop when Sarah bought me, on a whim, a Tanakh. She gave it to me saying, out of the blue, ‘one day you will be Jewish’. 

I write this and I shiver. 

Israel changed my life in the deepest, most meaningful way. And I want to use this opportunity to say thank you to the community for your support. 

Israel also changed the world in the deepest, most meaningful way. 

Its creation, 70 years ago, was one of the greatest miracles of the 20th century. In time, the whole world will come to see how great this gift to humanity is, but now, the horizon tends to hidebehind black clouds. It won’t last forever. Seventy years is both an eternity and a grain of sand in the history of the Jewish people. 

Still, in 1993 and during my subsequent trips, never in a million years would I have thought that Israel’s security and existence would be carelessly discussed, even by its friends. 

I know people on both sides feel anger and frustration. But as long as the world recognized the Jewish people’s right to a homeland, I thought all would be all right in the end. Now, we need to make extra efforts. 

More than ever, the world needs repairing. And that is our job. We must get in shape, physically, morally, spiritually, nationally,if we want to get down to some serious tikkun olam-ing together.

Count me in. 



Lise Ravary is a leading columnist for Le Journal de Montreal. These comments were for the "Israel at 70: Celebrating a civilization" conference