Thus, it is inconceivable that most modern North American Jews – numbering around 7 million – would hold any attachment to the state of Israel if as assimilated persons they never held any special attachment to the land of Israel. It is fatuous to imagine they would care about dividing Jerusalem when they have not daily longed and prayed for the holy city as did their predecessors. It is far-fetched to believe they would think twice about ceding Shiloh, Beit El, Jericho, Hebron, and Bethlehem without knowing how much these seminal sites meant to their ancestors, and without being able to readily locate these sites on a map. Who mourns what was never valued in the first place?
But pressure North American Jewry to relinquish New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Chicago, Miami, Toronto, or Montreal to the indigenous peoples of the Americas, and its resistance is certain to be enormous, despite the fact that these sites never belonged to their forebears.
And so this crisis, the longstanding devolution of historical identity and disintegration of religious integrity among Jewry, creeps forward with the march of time. The solution to the crisis lies solely in the hands of Judaism’s most knowledgeable teachers, sages and scholars, who alone can shepherd the wayward flock back to its spiritual and historical origins.
Brandon Marlon, a Canadian-Israeli playwright and poet, is author of “Inspirations of Israel: Poetry for a Land and People and Judean Dreams.”