On Israel’s 75th birthday, it’s a good time to ask: why does the Jewish state still matter? This week, my sister-in-law was walking on my block in South Florida. What happened next reminded me of the purpose of creating a Jewish state and why it continues to be essential.

For thousands of years, we were wandering, exiled, persecuted, oppressed, embarrassed. The Jewish state restored dignity to a people that had been beaten down after the Holocaust and 2,000 years of exile. Even more, it gave the Jewish people a right to choose how they will live. The existence of a Jewish homeland gives me a sense of strength.