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The Canadian Jeiwsh News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

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Community building in Jerusalem

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It’s not a particularly religious proposition to state that God’s work on Earth falls to human beings to perform. For who, if not we, can make the world better? When we pray, or implore, or beseech, or hope, or lift our eyes in supplication, we are often, in effect, also reminding ourselves of the task at hand, of the need to find the strength if not also the courage to fulfil our responsibilities to one another.

Thus, for example, when in our prayers we ask God three times a day each weekday “to return with a tender heart to His city Jerusalem… and build it soon in our time for all time,” we are really focusing our own hearts and our own minds on the work that is required to make that special place flourish.

Last month in Jerusalem, The CJN met with a man whose everyday preoccupation is the building of Jerusalem. His task is more than the literal building of the city, although it does include that, too, with attention to the city’s stones, bricks, mortar, greening, gardens and infrastructure.

Mark Sofer is the newly appointed president of the Jerusalem Foundation. After some 30 years in Israel’s diplomatic corps, most recently as ambassador to India, he has now brought his considerable inter-personal skills, international experience, scholarly erudition, suave manner and lifelong commitment to a Middle East at peace to the role of heading the foundation.