web analytics
July 26, 2014 / 28 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Home » InDepth

Tiny Steps Towards a Big Goal


American and Israeli flags are hung up in Jerusalem

Often, when I return home to Israel after a speaking tour in North America, I am asked by my Israeli friends: “Nu, did you get people to make Aliyah?”

I explain that I prefer not to talk much about Aliyah while I am abroad. I try to get Jews to reawaken their love for the homeland, connect with the life in Israel and I find that the issue of Aliyah often distances my audience. Though I am a firm believer in the in-gathering of the exiles, when I speak to Jews around the world, I am trying to bridge worlds, not drive them apart.

Indeed, the biggest schism  in the Jewish world today is the great Atlantic Divide. Six million Jews live in North America, and six million live across the ocean in Israel. The Jewish nation exists in worlds apart: One attends Liberal Arts colleges, the other fights in the army; one speaks English, the other Hebrew; they read different books and watch different TV shows. The Jewish people’s geographic and cultural divide can easily become an unbridgeable gap.

North American Jews are concerned and have taken real steps to bridge the Atlantic Divide through one-year Yeshiva programs in Israel, gap year studies in Israeli universties, internship programs, and, of course, Birthright-Israel, the amazing project that has changed the lives of tens of thousands young Jews.

But still, it’s not enough. 80% of North American Jews have never been to Israel, and most Israelis have no connection to American Jewish life. That is why Israelis, people like outspoken author A.B. Yehoshua, are worried about their North American Jewish brothers and sisters. Israelis are afraid to lose their American family to assimilation, and they are afraid of growing apart.

While A.B. Yehoshua may be right about the problem, his recent harsh words (in which he calls American Jews “partial Jews” for not living in Israel) do not help much. There are no partial Jews, we are a family, a tribe, a nation, and we simply cannot allow our people to become disconnected. We should never talk down to Jews, we should talk up, inspire, and heal. To bring the family together, you need to talk in the language of love.

And you also need vision. Our people need a star to guide us toward one goal that will eventually bring us back together.

What is this vision?

The vision of a rebuilt Jerusalem is one which our people have shared ever since we were dispossessed of our land 2,000 years ago. From Addis Ababa to LA, from Kabul to Vienna, our people have always proclaimed “Next Year in a Rebuilt Jerusalem!” No matter where we are on the globe, no matter our persecution or comfort, we have had only one homeland and one capital to which our heart has belonged.

To foster that vision, and to make it applicable in our lives, we need to get behind the idea of mass Aliyah.

“But wait?? Didn’t you just tell us not to  preach Aliyah because it’s divisive?”

Let me explain: There is the grand ideal of making Aliyah, that is, moving to Israel, and that issue may be divisive. But the word “Aliyah” in Hebrew also refers to the process of going up and there are many steps in the staircase before you get to the landing. And that is exactly what we have to do – take steps towards our united goal with each step being a mini-Aliyah. Those steps can be big or small, but they are steps nonetheless. Deciding to drink only Israeli wine on Shabbat is a type of Aliyah. Putting up a poster of Jerusalem in your house, or a flag, is a type of Aliyah. Sending your kids on Birthright, or to studies in Israel is an Aliyah. Buying real-estate in Israel is definitely an Aliyah.

Aliyah means that we, as a nation, take whatever steps we can towards Jewish unity by recognizing the centrality of Israel in our national life.

And here is another example of mini-Aliyah which is very pertinent in this season:

If you have the budget to vacation this Passover, you certainly have many wonderful alternatives to choose from around the world -

“Celebrate Passover at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples. Rich in tradition and excellence.”

“The Best Passover Vacations Under the Sun are in Mexico, Arizona and Florida. Glatt Kosher.”

“5 Deluxe Passover Resorts – in Florida, New York, Arizona & Italy with Leisure Time Tours.”

“Magical Passover 2012 Vacation in Orlando, Florida at the Luxurious Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld.”

These are great places, no doubt, and I totally understand the need to take one’s few precious vacation days and get away from the stress. However, your Passover vacation is also an opportunity to make a mini-Aliyah with your family and to arrive at the international Passover hub – Jerusalem. The term Aliyah actually comes from the concept of going up to Jerusalem three times a year during the Festivals, so coming to Israel on Passover is definitely an Aliyah!

Nothing shows our values as a nation more then the way we celebrate the Holiday of Freedom. When we choose Jerusalem over Orlando we strengthen the bond of brotherhood within the Jewish Nation, our core values shine through, and our children imbibe it. The world, too, notices when we put Jerusalem ahead of other destinations and it strengthens our nation’s claim to the land.

So this year, let us start making Aliyah as a nation, lets bridge the great Atlantic Divide, and let us make good on what we said at last year’s Seder: “Next year in Jerusalem”.

About the Author: Yishai Fleisher is the Contributing Editor and PR manager at the JewishPress.com, and Israel's only English language broadcast radio show host (Galey Yisrael 106.5FM). Yishai is an Israeli Paratrooper, a graduate of Cardozo Law School, and the founder of Kumah ("Arise" in Hebrew), an NGO dedicated to promoting Zionism and strengthening Israel's national character. Yishai is married to Malkah, they have two children, and they live on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

Please use the Facebook Tab below to leave your comment:

4 Responses to “Tiny Steps Towards a Big Goal”

  1. Yael Banai says:

    Thanks Yishai. Just the right tone and argument. there as many American Jews like me who have feet in both camps, who have lived in Israel, speak Hebrew, and raise our children as Jews, but who are kept here due to family and work commitments. Guilting people for life's realities is not the way to encourage voluntary Aliyah. It only increases the distance between us!

  2. Liz Ard says:

    dont get mad at me but it sounds like ANOTHER religious argument about who's more faithful-eat the right foods, say the right prayers, live in the right place, etc

  3. Liz Ard says:

    isn't that discussed a little bit in Chaim Potok's THE CHOSEN? the Hasidic v Orthodox differences. i know at one point the Hasidic rabbi refers to Ben Gurion and "his henchmen."

  4. Liz Ard says:

    hit the wrong button. i guess some Jewish people argue about Jerusalem and the Messiah?

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
John Kerry
Entire Israeli Cabinet Rejects Kerry’s Proposed Ceasefire, Talks Continue
Latest Indepth Stories
Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett

Because let’s face it: Hamas obviously can’t defeat the IDF in the field, soldier against soldier

Shimon Peres meets with the family of fallen IDF soldier Max Steinberg.

As Peres retires, Israel fights sour legacy: Insistence on setting policy in line with hopes, rather than with reality.

Keeping-Jerusalem

Our capital was not arbitrarily chosen, as capitals of some other nations were.

UNHRC High Commissioner Navi Pillay accuses the IDF of possible war crimes in Gaza again, cutting slack to Hamas.

There is much I can write you about what is going here, but I am wondering what I should not write. I will start by imagining that I am you, sitting at home in the Los Angeles area and flipping back and forth between the weather, traffic reports, the Ukraine, Mexican illegals and Gaza. No […]

Should Jews in Europe take more responsibility in self-defense of community and property?

It is time for a total military siege on Gaza; Nothing should enter the Gaza Strip.

Germany’s The Jewish Faith newspaper ominously noted, “We Jews are in for a war after the war.”

The truth is we seldom explore with kids what prayer is supposed to be about.

Almost as one, Jews around the world are acknowledging the day-to-day peril facing ordinary Jews in Israel and the extraordinary service of the IDF in protecting them.

So on the one hand Secretary Kerry makes no bones about who is at fault for the current hostilities: he clearly blames Hamas.

King Solomon said it long ago: “Cast your bread upon the waters” because you don’t know when you’ll hit something. Our job is to do.

The anti-Israel camp does not need to win America fully to its side. Merely to neutralize it would radically alter the balance of power and put Israel in great jeopardy.

More Articles from Yishai Fleisher
Swatstikas in Jerusalem

Swatistikas were painted on the sides of the road leading up to the Mount of Olives.  

page_agirlmurderedsheli_w437_h328

Yishai and Malkah kick off this week’s show giving honor to the memory to Sheli Dadon, a young Jewish woman who was murdered by terrorists in Israel before Memorial Day. They move on to talk about former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s upcoming trip to prison and end with a discussion about how criticism of Jewish allegiance towards Israel can be seen as antisemitism.

It is easy to spot Haman in today’s world, but who is this year’s Esther?

Ambassador Dermer’s thoughts on what is ahead in the coming years between Israel and the USA.

The date for the end of one fruit crop and the beginning of the next is the 15th day of Shvat.

Well, Subaru, you stood up to tyranny in the past, and this Chanukah you shine once again.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/tiny-steps-towards-a-big-goal/2012/03/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: