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December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
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Where are the American Zionists?

Gedalia

Where are the American Zionists?

It really struck me watching the parade in NYC, why are American Jews not coming in droves to Israel for the summer! Are they scared because of the war? That is understandable but so are their brothers and sisters who live here. But we get beyond being scared, we get proud, we get tough, we grow, we bond, we identify with our past and we know what is our future. What parent wouldn’t want their children to have these values? Instead they teach them to hide when your only Jewish country in the world is under attack?

Why not teach them to volunteer, to come and give strength and spirit to those of us who are here all year long? To help the economy, to go on a kibbutz, to fill in for a soldier who is really risking his life by covering his job – whatever it should be. Come pack lunches, calm the elderly or the Holocaust survivors who take it the hardest.

What is more important, swimming in the lake, horseback riding at camp, getting stoned in the day and drunk at night? I would be much more worried about my children if these were the values I was teaching them.

I left America on my own when I was 19 on the 4th of July 1974. This year marked forty years in Israel. Many kids between 17 – 21 come here on BirthRight and that’s great. (Or at least better than not coming). But there is also Sarel (bet you never even heard of it – http://www.sar-el.org/). These guys are way beyond “Birth Right” they are about “Life Privilege.”

They have plenty of programs, they can handle the numbers. The only thing I can tell you is that the Americans that come here now and spend their summer on a program like this will have a very hard time relating to the frightened kids who hid in the States. Those kids will just be older children while the ones that came to Israel will be men and women.

If you are a parent – you gave your child life. Now it might time to also give them meaning for that li

Volunteers preparing food packages.

Volunteers preparing food packages.

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About the Author: Gedaliah Gurfein moved from New York to Jerusalem in 1974 and received rabbinic ordination in 1979. He has been a teacher at Aish HaTorah and Israelite, both in Jerusalem's Old City. Since 1992 he has worked in Israel's high tech sector and with film media. This article originally appeared in Kol Chevra. For more information, contact emunawitt14@yahoo.com


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133 Responses to “Where are the American Zionists?”

  1. Kathy Boling says:

    I know several who are coming from my synagogue in November…no change of plans unless the planes want bring them…believe me I would come if I had the money…!…I would stay if I could also.

  2. No one is afraid of Hamas except Gazan civilians.

  3. Orthodox Jews and evangelical Christians will keep coming, as always.

  4. Praying for Israel and Jerusalem

  5. In the Bahamas. Why did so many Israelis I know suddenly go on vacation?

  6. Randyll RG says:

    I can’t afford to yet. I only just got out of grad school and started working.

    Israel is on our vacation list, though! Next year will be either Israel or Guatemala (and the other the next Summer).

  7. Randyll RG says:

    Oh, also a friend of mine like… literally just got back o.o

  8. Money is the main reason.

  9. scared, cannot afford it, many too busy to take a vacation b/c they work as much as possible, different priorities. ..

  10. Izik Izik says:

    No one is afriad . we are there and always in support of our home ISRAEL

  11. Just like the yanks

  12. David Cohen says:

    I would have gone long ago, except for the money issue. Birthright is a great idea, but I’m too old by decades.

  13. Kim Sloan says:

    I would love to go to Israel, but money is the reason, and I just can’t afford to go. I support Israel, and I stand with Israel!

  14. Can’t afford it

  15. Marie Parker says:

    Send me tickets for 4 on El Al and I’m there!

  16. Normally we would be there this summer as in summers past. This year we made an unusual (for us) trip in February and will be returning for our daughter’s wedding in early November. No fear of hamas. They are vermin, soon to be exterminated once and for all. Am Yisroel Chai!!!

  17. Well I’m not a Jew but I would come if I could afford it.

  18. Cori LBere says:

    Most of us are just getting by month to month; … thanks to Obama… lost almost every thing ,Homes…jobs. retirements..savings.. and alot of us are getting up in years…

  19. Cori LBere says:

    Most of us are just getting by month to month; … thanks to Obama… lost almost every thing ,Homes…jobs. retirements..savings.. and alot of us are getting up in years…

  20. David Cohen says:

    I’m too old for Birthright but too young for Senior Birthright.

  21. David Cohen says:

    I’m too old for Birthright but too young for Senior Birthright.

  22. David Cohen says:

    I’m too old for Birthright but too young for Senior Birthright.

  23. Ummmm prices are way to high maybe?

  24. Ummmm prices are way to high maybe?

  25. Ummmm prices are way to high maybe?

  26. Joyce G says:

    Money is the reason…Cannot afford it or I would be there in a heartbeat.

  27. Joyce G says:

    Money is the reason…Cannot afford it or I would be there in a heartbeat.

  28. Joyce G says:

    Money is the reason…Cannot afford it or I would be there in a heartbeat.

  29. The US is having hard financial times, not much work, etc.

  30. The US is having hard financial times, not much work, etc.

  31. The US is having hard financial times, not much work, etc.

  32. now I hear the FAA has stopped ALL flights to Israel.

  33. now I hear the FAA has stopped ALL flights to Israel.

  34. now I hear the FAA has stopped ALL flights to Israel.

  35. They are here.. Where we treat them like People.. And proud of them..

  36. They are here.. Where we treat them like People.. And proud of them..

  37. They are here.. Where we treat them like People.. And proud of them..

  38. Jealousy is the main reason … The Jews are smarter by far.. Then the rest.. I say it’s Jealousy!!!! Pure Jealousy!! Good luck my friends!!

  39. Jealousy is the main reason … The Jews are smarter by far.. Then the rest.. I say it’s Jealousy!!!! Pure Jealousy!! Good luck my friends!!

  40. Jealousy is the main reason … The Jews are smarter by far.. Then the rest.. I say it’s Jealousy!!!! Pure Jealousy!! Good luck my friends!!

  41. Loren Renee says:

    Because…. Airfare.

  42. Loren Renee says:

    Because…. Airfare.

  43. Loren Renee says:

    Because…. Airfare.

  44. JoAnn Morris says:

    Vacation this year is scheduled for Oct…..no I am not afraid.

  45. JoAnn Morris says:

    Vacation this year is scheduled for Oct…..no I am not afraid.

  46. JoAnn Morris says:

    Vacation this year is scheduled for Oct…..no I am not afraid.

  47. Smart move to be afraid.

  48. Smart move to be afraid.

  49. Smart move to be afraid.

  50. I have been several times. Every time I have been something has happened before during or after I was there. Don’t be scared. One year I had a front row view from a friends apartment in Jerusalem on Shabbat of rockets in and out of West Bank when Arafat was still around. It will never end till Meshiach comes. Just go and support them if you can afford it. If you can not afford it buy something from Israel, or donate to IDF or other Jewish/Messianic/ or Christian organizations (whatever your religion is) that help the people of Israel. There are so many ways to help. G-d bless Israel! Am Israel Chai!

  51. I have been several times. Every time I have been something has happened before during or after I was there. Don’t be scared. One year I had a front row view from a friends apartment in Jerusalem on Shabbat of rockets in and out of West Bank when Arafat was still around. It will never end till Meshiach comes. Just go and support them if you can afford it. If you can not afford it buy something from Israel, or donate to IDF or other Jewish/Messianic/ or Christian organizations (whatever your religion is) that help the people of Israel. There are so many ways to help. G-d bless Israel! Am Israel Chai!

  52. I have been several times. Every time I have been something has happened before during or after I was there. Don’t be scared. One year I had a front row view from a friends apartment in Jerusalem on Shabbat of rockets in and out of West Bank when Arafat was still around. It will never end till Meshiach comes. Just go and support them if you can afford it. If you can not afford it buy something from Israel, or donate to IDF or other Jewish/Messianic/ or Christian organizations (whatever your religion is) that help the people of Israel. There are so many ways to help. G-d bless Israel! Am Israel Chai!

  53. shabbat shalowm YAHWEH SHALL PROVIDE

  54. shabbat shalowm YAHWEH SHALL PROVIDE

  55. shabbat shalowm YAHWEH SHALL PROVIDE

  56. Ever hear of money?

  57. Ever hear of money?

  58. Ever hear of money?

  59. Ed Kaplan says:

    I’ve been wanting to return for 30 years since my wife and I left the kibbutz where we met. 2 kids and 29 years of marriage later and it’s looking closer ever day. G-D bless Israel and the IDF. Be strong.

  60. Ed Kaplan says:

    I’ve been wanting to return for 30 years since my wife and I left the kibbutz where we met. 2 kids and 29 years of marriage later and it’s looking closer ever day. G-D bless Israel and the IDF. Be strong.

  61. Ed Kaplan says:

    I’ve been wanting to return for 30 years since my wife and I left the kibbutz where we met. 2 kids and 29 years of marriage later and it’s looking closer ever day. G-D bless Israel and the IDF. Be strong.

  62. Gil Weisman says:

    We’re in America!

  63. I will come but from the Netherlands

  64. I will come but from the Netherlands

  65. I would love to go to eretz Yisroel. the reason i dont is simple. i cant afford it financially.

  66. I would love to go to eretz Yisroel. the reason i dont is simple. i cant afford it financially.

  67. I would love to go to eretz Yisroel. the reason i dont is simple. i cant afford it financially.

  68. They fear America’s liberals. Obama’s monkeys.

  69. They fear America’s liberals. Obama’s monkeys.

  70. They fear America’s liberals. Obama’s monkeys.

  71. They fear America’s liberals. Obama’s monkeys.

  72. Aron Safran says:

    My teenage daughter is there and will be there for two more weeks. Scared? No – she’s having a great time!

  73. Aron Safran says:

    My teenage daughter is there and will be there for two more weeks. Scared? No – she’s having a great time!

  74. Aron Safran says:

    My teenage daughter is there and will be there for two more weeks. Scared? No – she’s having a great time!

  75. Right here, supporting Israel in prayer.

  76. Right here, supporting Israel in prayer.

  77. Right here, supporting Israel in prayer.

  78. Sandy Reggie says:

    they are there, just look around; my friends kids are there; and some are staying on through the Fall; there happen to be a lot of Americans in Israel right now. Maybe contact the AACI for your facts, we’re also lifetime members of AACI

  79. Sandy Reggie says:

    they are there, just look around; my friends kids are there; and some are staying on through the Fall; there happen to be a lot of Americans in Israel right now. Maybe contact the AACI for your facts, we’re also lifetime members of AACI

  80. Sandy Reggie says:

    they are there, just look around; my friends kids are there; and some are staying on through the Fall; there happen to be a lot of Americans in Israel right now. Maybe contact the AACI for your facts, we’re also lifetime members of AACI

  81. Sandy Reggie says:

    they are there, just look around; my friends kids are there; and some are staying on through the Fall; there happen to be a lot of Americans in Israel right now. Maybe contact the AACI for your facts, we’re also lifetime members of AACI

  82. Shame on you, USA zoo mists!

  83. Shame on you, USA zoo mists!

  84. Shame on you, USA zoo mists!

  85. I would come on over if darn airlines had not stopped the service to Tel Aviv today

  86. I would come on over if darn airlines had not stopped the service to Tel Aviv today

  87. I would come on over if darn airlines had not stopped the service to Tel Aviv today

  88. My friend is going on birthright. He’s not afraid!

  89. My friend is going on birthright. He’s not afraid!

  90. My friend is going on birthright. He’s not afraid!

  91. I would go If I had money

  92. I would go If I had money

  93. I would go If I had money

  94. The USA economy is not too well….so most of us are struggling with our wallets, and bank accounts. Most planned trips remain in our dreams.

  95. Gwenda Oates says:

    I’m not Jewish but if I had the money I would come to Israel. We are praying for the peace of Jerusalem.

  96. Now is not the time to go to Israel. It’s too dangerous with Hamas targeting Israel with rockets. Wouldn’t anyone be afraid to send their child into a war zone. They would be spending their summer in bomb shelters

  97. Paul Weiss says:

    the question is not fair and irrelevant to the community’s support. we all have a place and calling….i have no gult about it!

  98. Edinson Mota says:

    God bless Israel Usa stand with Israel forever

  99. Josh Morgan says:

    If I had the money to go, I would go to Israel. However, the economy of America has worsened :(

  100. Haley Chace says:

    Obama bankrupted them!

  101. There’s one right here! I’m a Christian Zionist who is Zealous over Zion!

  102. Money and child custody. I just started a new job in June and I can’t move out of the country until my daughter turns 18. I have my application in at Nefesh B’Nefesh though.

  103. No, I’d make you my bitch.

  104. No, I’d make you my bitch.

  105. Dean Hulsey says:

    Where are the American Arabs coming for their vacation at gaza …
    Obj right are they scared of war too…

  106. I would be there in a flash if I could!!

  107. I hate to say it but I heard of a rabbi who canceled plans.

  108. Morry Barak says:

    A couple died this week in the war.

  109. Morry Barak says:

    A couple died this week in the war.

  110. Anna Klovsky says:

    No – there is no air planes to fly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  111. Anna Klovsky says:

    No – there is no air planes to fly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  112. I would if it didn’t cost so much.

  113. I would think that like us, they’re broke. Were not Jewish, but were definately broke that is… Fewer people are getting a vacation nowadays, just can not afford it. Our economy is bad, and going to get worse quickly, if next year they have to face raising the debt ceiling issue with the inability to do so, and so then the fact that the US is living on borrowed money, and debt so big we can not pay the minimum payment on it sets in, the socialism crushes us, gas prices go through the roof in taxation, and our economy is finally hit the proverbial rock bottom. We have been waiting for it, were already down, and the end will hit when no more raising the debt ceiling happens, and that will be as soon as the Democrat leaves office, and they will bring in a Republican and try to make it appear to be their fault.

  114. I would think that like us, they’re broke. Were not Jewish, but were definately broke that is… Fewer people are getting a vacation nowadays, just can not afford it. Our economy is bad, and going to get worse quickly, if next year they have to face raising the debt ceiling issue with the inability to do so, and so then the fact that the US is living on borrowed money, and debt so big we can not pay the minimum payment on it sets in, the socialism crushes us, gas prices go through the roof in taxation, and our economy is finally hit the proverbial rock bottom. We have been waiting for it, were already down, and the end will hit when no more raising the debt ceiling happens, and that will be as soon as the Democrat leaves office, and they will bring in a Republican and try to make it appear to be their fault.

  115. Lilly Venter says:

    Hope yu have your answer Gedaliah

  116. Matt Solomon says:

    Note: Matt Solomon is the Online Opinions Editor for The Jewish Press and a former student of Rabbi Gedaliah Gurfein’s: I never told you but my first trip to Israel was with Volunteers for Israel the precursor to Sar-el. It was the summer of 1983 and boys my age were deep in Lebanon and the NYTimes was slamming them and Israel. I knew I had to do something so I volunteers and was sent to a dump of a base deep in the desert of the Negev doing manual labor of, in all honesty, no benefit. I LOVED IT! It changed my life and I decided to do Hebrew U 1 yr program for my Junior yr abroad a few months late. During that year I grew close to Yehuda Appel at Aish and years later when I returned to Israel, Yehuda got me to do Discovery where I met, drumroll…YOU, Gedalia, one of Jerusalem’s most creative and charismatic teachers of Torah!

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