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The Moses Project- What is the Point?
by Dr. Donald Salem

Think about it.

Doesn't the Statue of Liberty in the United States imply offered promises to people highlighted by Emma Lazarus' beautiful poem?

Most people today interpret this to entitle to them all sorts of rights, liberties and opportunities, but have forgotten the responsibilities and values that earned the prosperity and freedoms.

What has happened to the common values, blood, sweat and tears that sustained the growth of the wealthiest, most powerful democracy on the planet, the United States of America?

Moti Gur and I began this discussion long ago and wondered why the United States had never put up a Statue of Responsibility or a Statue of Courtesy.

We wanted to create a Statue of Responsibility to bring hope that the successful values and responsibilities we once had could be resurrected.

To simplify the Judeo-Christian ethic, we queried many varied people and then focused our thoughts on the leader who bravely shattered barbarian values and brought the 10 Commandments: the Jew, Moses.

Moses brought new values, commandments and responsibilities into the world.

We were witnessing these values and responsibilities morph into rights and entitlements without responsibilities. We were losing our roots. Then Jews assimilate and the number of Jews shrinks.

Then we reflected on Israel, the home of the values and responsibilities of a Nation whose history and religion is interwoven with the land for over 3000 years.

Before the modern Jewish State of Israel came into being, the vast territory of the Levant had been conquered, cruelly ruled, exiled out and mass transferred in of peoples, decimated, deforested, impoverished and enslaved by the Ottoman Turks for 400 years.

Swamps and sand dunes, a few peasants and paupers, scratched out a pitiful existence in a sparsely populated land. This is what the British found when the Allies defeated the Turkish Empire following WW I. The winners divided up the Levant for their own political and economic ends and created names to subdivisions and to mandates.

What's the point?

Zionism, the right of return or Jewish national movement (which existed since the forced Babylonian exile of the Jews over 2,500 years ago) had been kept alive in daily Jewish prayers and thoughts. Even under these conditions, Jerusalem had a Jewish majority since the time of the American Civil War. Zionism began to reflourish as an active movement in the 1880's, even under the harsh rule of the Ottomans. Jews began returning in large numbers to a land that was barren, lifeless, swamp filled and without resources or jobs...because it was home to a Jew.

The Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations acknowledged that this was the rightful, historic and spiritual home of the Jewish People. More Jews began returning with their values and responsibilities. This was the land where the 10 Commandments took root and the Prophets, Judges and Rabbis expounded upon them. The land, against all odds and reason, began to flourish.

What's the point?

Moti and I were sure that people do not give up what they value and what makes them proud. Assimilation for Jews means giving up what they do not value about Judaism.

If people only knew of the accomplishments and contributions to the world that the Jewish Nation has made over the centuries, it would give Jews something to be proud of.

If they knew what had resulted from Jewish traditions, values, authors, scientists, philosophers, physicians, athletes, artists, agronomists, and even warriors, they would not want to abandon the values that made history. Jews would not want to give up this inheritance, this tradition and pride.

The Moses Project was born out of a love for the Jewish heritage and values. Why not share it with everyone?

Why not build a colossal Statue of Responsibility where in belongs, in Israel. Moses, the Law Giver is a model that the world would recognize. It would have to be colossal in size because of the enormity or our heritage.

What's the point?

We could utilize this colossal Statue to illuminate and share such Jewish values as "Choose Life". We could demonstrate our obligation that "to be a Light unto the Nations", is one of which we are very proud. We are fulfilled to partake in "repairing the world". Considered how the assimilated Jew could feel to learn of their heritage.

Moti and I imagined a huge park with a central illuminated figure of Moses reaching so high in the sky it could be seen for miles; an eco-friendly, architectural marvel, built with Jewish ingenuity, employing over tens of thousands of workers. It would be a work of art and a functional center of growth. It would draw millions of visitors yearly, be a boom to tourism, and give employment to many thousands of Israelis.

The statue alone would be far bigger than the Statue of Liberty. It would house a monumental interactive Museum of Jewish Gifts to the world. Its six pointed base would house six aspects of the grand design. The park would have reflecting pools, picnic areas, restaurants, kiosks, gift shops, lodging and secure parking, classrooms and an auditorium. It would work with the major Universities to help teach Jewish values and give tours in the Museum of the Miraculous. It would provide thousands of jobs.

By reawakening the Jews to their heritage, we would rekindle Jewish pride and self-respect. People do not give up what they respect and value. When we have self-respect, that creates an aura. This causes others to respect us. When others respect us they will rarely attack. This self-respect leads to peace. This self-respect radiates the justness of our cause and the rightness of our enduring presence in Israel to the world.

The park and museum would be for Israelis, Jews of the Diaspora, all non-Jews, and especially, the many wonderful non-Jewish friends who value the source of their traditions.

Moti and I were no longer reflecting or imagining. We are putting The Moses Project in motion and have a fantastic start up group. We plan to invite corporations, universities, professionals, organizations and people from all over the world to participate in the building this monument to the civilized values that promote peace, health and prosperity.

Now you know the point!

Donald Salem, DDS

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