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July 31, 2015 / 15 Av, 5775
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Observations on American Jewry

In Israel, many of us mistakenly think that world Jewry and international politicians have nothing else on their minds but what's happening in Israel. The opposite is the case.
Outdoor Lounge at a Resort & Spa hotel in Phoenix

Outdoor Lounge at a Resort & Spa hotel in Phoenix

I’ve been in Phoenix, Arizona for almost a week.  Although I’ve been here a number of times before, this is the first visit in which I’ve met up with the Jewish community.

Since I’ve been there before, I do know that there are some kosher restaurants, which not every Jewish community has.  That’s an indication of numbers and also of Jewish tourism.

I have friends who have lived in the Phoenix area, which includes Scottsdale and Tempe, and from them I’ve learned that there are a number of synagogues and the usual controversies and “feuds.”

Considering that my Phoenix friends are very connected to Israel, mostly living in Israel, I was surprised by how many people I met on Shabbat who have never been there.  The reasons are mainly financial.  Just to remind you, not all American Jews are wealthy.  I was in the Young Israel of phoenix, which is a very warm and welcoming community.

I had been asked to speak to the women’s class on Shabbat.  Since Shabbat was TU B’Shavat, the 35th anniversary of the return of Jews to Shiloh.  Shiloh, where I live, is now a nice sized active and warm community.  It’s located in the same spot where biblical Shiloh was.  Barely a mile from my house is the location where the Biblical Tabernacle was located for 369 years.

Since I traveled the day after Israeli elections, I’m not all that up to date with the news in Israel and was concerned that people would want information I couldn’t give.  But besides my host, who has an excellent knowledge of what’s happening in Israel, most people I met weren’t really interested.

In Israel, many of us mistakenly think that world Jewry and international politicians have nothing else on their minds but what’s happening in Israel.  The truth is the opposite, and if Israeli politicians, media, etc, would stop trying to please “the world,” then we’d be totally ignored.  There would be lots less pressure on Israel. Just like any other bully situation, the best defense is using strength against them.  All we have to do is tell all the international diplomats to mind their own business and we must stick to that line.  Don’t discuss the issues at all.

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About the Author: Batya Medad blogs at Shiloh Musings.

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