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Rebuilding Jerusalem – what more could capture their hearts?

In his current article in The Jewish Press, “A New Song,” Rabbi Yaakov Rosenblatt advocates finding “a new rallying call, a new idea with which to inspire the troops and turn values into action.”

“Each generation speaks its own language and needs its own message,” he writes.


So far, so good. However, I would like to offer a different rallying call than the one he ultimately chooses.

“Hewed by Hashem into the core of our soul is the need to effect change in the world we inhabit,” he continues.

This too is very true. In my opinion, however, the question is, where should we, in this generation, focus our efforts? In strengthening Jewish life among the gentiles in a foreign land – as he proposes – or in striving to build a Torah society in the Land of Israel, as advocated by the Torah and the Prophets of Israel? What is the message that we should teach our children? That their future is in America, being productive American Jews, or in Eretz Yisrael being productive Jews in the Holy Land?

Rabbi Rosenblatt wrestles with this question in the course of his thought-provoking article, writing, “I feel a primal need for perspective, to understand who I am, who we are, and where our community is headed.”

In my mind, the meaning of “our community” should not only be America’s Orthodox/Haredi community, but the community of all of American Jewry, for, as our Sages teach, every Jew is responsible for his fellow. It is no secret that American Jewry is being decimated by assimilation. The longer the Jewish community remains in America the more the assimilation will grow. So I ask – what’s the point in working to strengthen something that is destined to dwindle out and end? The exile is a curse which is not supposed to continue forever. Now that Hashem, in His great kindness, has re-opened the gates to the Land of Israel and has given us our own Jewish State, isn’t it time to come home? True, for adults who are already established in their ways, moving to a new country is a difficult challenge, but our children have the wherewithal to fulfill the great mitzvah of living in the Land of Israel, a mitzvah which our Sages teach is equal in weight to all the commandments of the Torah (Sifre, Reah 80).

Encouraging Jewish youth to be accountants, or businessmen, or scientists in America, is well and good, but it can’t be compared with playing a part in the Redemption of Israel and becoming of a building of the Jewish Nation in Eretz Yisrael. In my humble opinion, this is the new call we need to rally and inspire our troops!

Yes, in recent generations, the Orthodox Jews of America have done wonders in guarding and strengthening the observance of Torah. As Rabbi Rosenblatt notes, his parents’ generation built Flatbush, and his generation built Lakewood. Certainly, these are praiseworthy achievements. But that was before the establishment of the State of Israel and shortly after its birth, when we didn’t have a choice. But in the face of the subsequent modernization and miraculous development of Medinat Yisrael, instead of adding on to Flatbush and Lakewood, or sending out battalions of Haredi “laypeople” to win a spot in the American marketplace, as the author of the article advices, why not put our efforts into re-locating these holy and talented young people to Eretz Yisrael?

This is especially true when the author writes: “As a result of our weak secular education and greater insularity, our generation is struggling to make ends meet. Parnassah options are often limited. If not employed in klei kodesh, most of us work for or start small businesses, frequently competing with each other to service the needs of our community. We are often recipients of governmental aid, a possibility our parents’ generation wouldn’t have considered.”

Rabbi Rosenblatt writes a great deal about Kiddush Hashem, but being dependent on handouts from the gentiles is the very opposite. In fact, as the Prophet Ezekiel teaches, the presence of Jews in the Diaspora is one big problematic disgrace:

“And when they came to the nations into which they came, they profaned My Holy Name, in that men said of them: These are the people of the Lord, and they are gone out of His land” (Ezekiel, 36:20).

This prophecy informs us that the unnatural situation of Jews living outside the Land of Israel is a desecration of God. Why? Because in the eyes of the gentiles, our presence in the Diaspora proclaims that God lacks the power to keep us in His Land. That was back then in Ezekiel’s days. Now, in our time, when God has returned the Land of Israel to the Jews, the situation is even worse, for it seems, in the eyes of the gentiles, that in clinging to our Diaspora communities, we prefer foreign lands to His.



  1. @*******…interesting, because the really enlightened care about you, on the other hand. We are coming upon Shavuot–a time when ALL of Israel was at Sinai-k'ish echad b'lev echad–whatever the labels were. May it be so once again..

  2. ******* ****** The Kotel is not the wailing wall. that is what the antisemitic goyim called it and the reason we cried was THEM. I used to be Reform.

    There are so many problems in Israel. Women have equal access to the Kotel. Anat Hoffman's Women of the Wall group is an atrcocity. Gay people in Israel have too many rights in my opinion, but they certainly aren't being murdered like in Syria, Iran and Iraq. How you even dare compare Israel to those countries is beyond me and shows your own self-hating self.

    At the end of his life, David Forman z"l separated himself from other Reform Jews because he saw they hated their fellow Jews for hate's sake. He himself said "ANY JEW WHO CARES ABOUT A JEWISH FUTURE WILL COME LIVE IN ISRAEL, REFORM, CONSERVATIVE, ORTHODOX OR POLKA DOT"

  3. I live in Israel, and I find this article very problematic. America was a safe haven for Jews in their time of need, and over time gave Jews the opportunity to flourish and to assume leadership positions. America also stood by Israel most of the time, more so than any other country, in its times of need. Now, America is facing a time of need. The smart and morally developed jews in america should feel an indebtedness to their country, and should do all they can, which could be a lot, to help america renew and reinvigorate itself. Hakaras hatov is part of the essence of judaism. Articles like this give jews a bad name, making them look a little bit like the selfish parasites that anti-semites say they are. Those that desire to go to Israel should indeed do so, if that is there calling. But staying and helping america is alsol a holy duty and should not be discouraged.

  4. I live in Israel, and I find this article very problematic. America was a safe haven for Jews in their time of need, and over time gave Jews the opportunity to flourish and to assume leadership positions. America also stood by Israel most of the time, more so than any other country, in its times of need. Now, America is facing a time of need. The smart and morally developed Jews in America should feel an indebtedness to their country, and should do all they can, which could be a lot, to help America renew and reinvigorate itself. Hakaras hatov is part of the essence of Judaism. Articles like this give Jews a bad name, making them look a little bit like the selfish parasites that anti-semites say they are. Those that desire to go to Israel should indeed do so, if that is their calling. But staying and helping America is also a holy duty and should not be discouraged.

  5. I also live in Israel and I find this article right to the point and very truthful for it is based on the Torah. Historically speaking, America has never ever been a safe haven for Jews in their time of need. Study some history and find out the truth. State Department officials blocked the immigration of Jews into the United States during WWII. The visa policy of the United States was designed to trap Jews in Europe, where Hitler would find them. The USA erected a 'paper wall,' a bureaucratic maze that prevented all but a few Jewish refugees from entering the country. It was not until 1944, that a small band of Treasury Department employees forced the government to respond. And of course we all know that the allies refused to sabotage the Final Solution by military means thus giving the German trains to run on time, and deliver their human cargo to the camps without interruptions. America never really fully stood by Israel. The US government gave lukewarm support to the creation of the State of Israel. But then it reversed itself and implemented policies designed to destroy Israel and has been supporting Israel’s enemies ever since then. There was a recent JPost article to this effect. Thanks to the USA, we in Israel now have the enemy right in our belly and the USA wants us to give our heart to the enemy also. Israel has always helped America with their intelligence, technology, and in many other fields. This time of America’s need as you put it comes from a Muslim leader who supports the Muslim Brotherhood who wants to destroy Israel. And you say that we (Israel) should support them? The Jewish attributes of gratitude and appreciation (Hakaras hatov) certainly has its place and it should be placed next to the attribute of truth. Torah is truth and this article is based on Torah (truth); so, it really gives Jews a good name not a bad one. Truth makes us strong yet compassionate as we can testify in the actions of the IDF during battle. When you stated: “staying and helping America is also a holy duty and should not be discouraged” is in the same context of what the spies said to the Israelites to not go to Israel. It’s our Holy Duty to help a country that wants to build itself up on the Torah principles for all people or is it our Holy Duty to support a country that wants to destroy us? Supporting Gaza is not enough for you? May the day come soon that we will live in peace, truth and love of each other as a family of One.

  6. ******* ****** so you assume that i as an observant jew do not care as well? very big brush you paint with, sir. i would rephrase it more honestly " i also care about women's righs and the rights of gays,etc…..everyone except (not beyond) the most traditional orthodox" You said as much in your first statement. It is sad that so often those who stand pointing that broad brush at all Orthodox or all those they are angry with, for whatever reason, often are doing the very same thing they are accusing others of….my suggestion…look within.

  7. Liad Bar-el Agreed. America voted for him, let them suffer the consequences. It's not our responsibility to save them when they did it to themselves.

  8. נופיה שם טוב please check again what the Torah says before quoting it. It does not say don't be gay. Hashem created gay people and Hashem created people with differences and handicaps and disabilities. The Torah says that a man may not lie with a man as with a woman and that it's an abomination. In other words, although you may be gay, you are being asked not to act on your impulses, as you are not allowed to act on other impulses that you may have that the Torah forbids. This is most definitely not a fine line.

  9. Judaism is a diaspora religion. It says in the Torah don't be gay, if you believe in Judaism you supposedly believe in the Torah. If not,, then it's not Judaism.

  10. Liad Bar-el "Study some history and find out the truth?" There wasn't one fact that you cited that I wasn't aware of. It's a matter of what you focus on. You focus only on the negative, the lack of favors done by america for israel, times when they could have done more. You miss all of the other side of the coin, the flocking of a large precentage of Europe's Jews to America's open doors in early 1900's etc., the diplomatic and military protection that america has given Israel and so much more. You should study history, open your mind and free yourself from black and white, all-or-nothing "thinking." You also did not read my comment carefully, rather, you used it as a springboard to go on what can only be called a rant. For example, you say: "And you say that we (Israel) should support them?" –Actually, if you spent an adequate amount of time reading and processing my comment, you would've noticed that i never stated that israel should do anything at all for America. (Though they should at least refrain from twistedly blaming their ally for all of their problems…) What I said was that American Jews (yes American) whose families built their fortunes by taking over most of the lucrative industries in America, whose government has protected their religious rights like very few in history have done for Jews, whose Kollelim/Avreichim have lived off their government for decades etc. etc. have no right to suddenly decide that America is "used up" and now we owe nothing to this great country. What is truly disturbing is how many Jews, probably in America, liked your comment. I do agree, however, with the last sentence of your comment.

  11. Sherri Ashman you're right, it says don't BEHAVE gay. that it is an abomination. everyone has the right to be gay, but that doesn't mean they deserve a wedding party.

  12. נופיה שם טוב Nobody was talking about a wedding party. Hashem made gay people as he made all of us the way we are. We all have tremendous challenges if we want to live a Torah way of life. Some of us are better at it than others, but perhaps they do not have the limitations or challenges that the next one has. We are not to judge. Let''s let Hashem do His job and we do ours, yes?.

  13. You working for project H.O.P.E. (Helping Our People Everywhere) would include the very people of whom you reject (Orthodox). Any legitimate company/project would try to hire people to support their goals and dismiss those who do not. You are as a Homosexual Offending People Everywhere by your statements; however, you are not HOPELESS for you are still searching otherwise you would not be posting here. Keep up the search and you will find the answer. Good luck and hope you find it soon.

  14. נופיה שם טוב no it doesn't. It prohibits anal intercourse between men. That's it. If you find a single source in the Torah prohibiting people from being attracted to the same sex, please enlighten us. And Judaism is a tolerant religion- veahavta lerayacha kamocha

  15. Speaking as an outsider, I would like to say that 26 years ago, the Reformed rabbi at RAF Lakenheath was welcoming and friendly when I was attending Shabbat services, and now the Orthodox rabbi where I live is also welcoming and friendly. As far as I have seen, Jews of all groups are loving people who just want to be themselves.

  16. Just let people get on with their lives. If they want to live in Israel great, if they want to live in the United States then nobody has teh right to criticize them. And do not forget that the religious Jews are Johnny come lately's to the zionist party. Medinat Israel was pioneered by non-religious, many atheist, socialist Jews. These were the kibbtzim and moshavim who opened the country, drained the swamps, fought the Arabs and re-made this State of ISrael into a place that is our country today. Religious Jews attacked Israel – they still do today in too large a number – and it is bad enough that the rabbis have control on what I can and cannot buy during Pesach for example. What is a significant reason that immigration from Anglo countries is low? Hebrew. You are asking an American Jew for example to enter a situation where they will be functionally illiterate without any idea of when or if ever that will change one day. Want to see American Jews leave – because they all cling to their American passports ans they register their Israeli-born children as Americans as soon as the US consulate opens the next day – or immigration collapse? Let Iran become nuclear capable.To move to Israel you had better hold a zionist conviction because otherwise Israeli WILL spit you out. Never mind all the warm feeling spiritual emotion – when you live anywhere, including Israel you will deal with the reality of life. And any rabbi arrogantly pointing a finger at people is definitely ungodly in my view.

  17. Gavriel Saks – My comment was a rant? Heaven forbid that I have ever spoken or written any comments here out of anger or violence. To speak about the terrible violence that happened to us and the anger now displayed toward us for sure may lead someone to feel it and if you felt this from me toward you, I apologize.

    You said: “You should study history, open your mind and free yourself from black and white, all-or-nothing "thinking." While serving in the USAF Band, I decided to get another degree in Law. Studied history of the constitution and learned that aside from the Judeo principles, the people who formed the constitution were large land owners who made laws to protect their financial interests and yet the poor were left to be more poor. I changed my major and received another degree, obtained another degree and yet another but really didn’t stop studying this “dust of knowledge” until I started studying Torah. My wife having a Masters in History from John Hopkins University has given me some knowledge beyond the books as it were. PA University Professor Gil-White has given me a factual history of America toward Israel as an ally (

    I could probably write another Master’s Thesis on just this alone but I have had enough of it. If you want something positive said about American history toward Israel, probably LBJ is the only one President that did favor Israel and of course there have always been some xian congressional factions that have been and still are trying to help Israel; however, this again is a distraction on how America was and still is affecting us Jews. Tzvi Fishman has stated it very well and his references should be considered in the most serious terms and even expanded upon with additional research and ACTION. Study means nothing without action. The same goes for the Torah. If you would like, I could give you another ten pages on just this one statement but my fingers are already getting tired of typing.:-) Have a good day and I am happy that you’re in Israel.

    For the rest of you Americans reading this message, please take note that the war on terror in America is being lost. Come home (Israel) now.

    Kol HaKavod Tzvi Fishman. Keep your messages coming.

  18. And, hopefully, to become teachers and accountants and scientists and businesspeople and shop owners. here in Israel! That is why I came here – what a great historical opportunity!

  19. Liad Bar-El I wish you a good day as well. Just keep in mind both sides, and the big picture. Interesting page you linked to, but I find it hard to trust someone who looks at history only sees/mentions evidence of their own extreme view. America was founded on tolerance and liberty, and has been good to its Jewish citizens on the whole. "May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid." –George Washington to the Jews of Newport, Rhode Island

  20. You seem to forget that it was the religious Old Yishuv, the Sefardim, who lived here for 1850 years before anyone made Aliyah from Europe – and those Jews were Hassidm from the Pale.

  21. Chaiya Eitan Jewish people in the diaspora do not do a bunch of stuff we are required to do in israel, all mitzvoth connected to the Land. Jewish people in the diaspora go to shul and argue. If we're lucky they keep Shabbat and give Tzedakah.

  22. You have the audacity to raise the haredim on high? How dare you. Go to Mea Shearim where thye spit at and burn the Israeli flag. The Haredi shed no blood for this country and today most of them live like parasites off the rrest of us who do the heavy lifting, working and protecting the state of Israel so that they can breed and get fat and sit around idressed in their offensive disgusting dress of the diaspora. Want to raise a red flag to Israelis – just mention the goddamn haredim.

  23. The past is the past and let it remain in the history books. The present and the reality is that the United States is Israel's only ally. The American taxpayer stands by Israel with several billion dollars guarantees each year, provides favorable terms for Israel to purchase air defense equipment – Israel is the only nation outside of the US with stealth bombers – and defends Israel against the United Nations and allied bodies. Sure it is not a one way street and they know that American blood will never have to be shed for Israel. Without the existence of the United States, Israel and ALL free nations would not survive. To point fingers at America is the most disgraceful form of ingratitude.

  24. נופיה שם טוב yes an Israeli I sympathize with Pollard and I want him released and I do think that there is an element of resentment for Israel and perhaps even anti-semitism, but he did betray the country he wore alleigance to. You see I know how I feel about Vannunu and so how can I ask Americans to be different?

  25. David-Joe Klotz!! The race is still on; so, not the time for the red flag. I’m raising the white one and it's time to hang it all out or hang it all up for time is getting very short with these world events. You’re coming around the last turn – the Last War is in front of us – and you can see the checkered flag being held up for you but you get a “hole” in the cylinder – condemn the very people who truly protect Israel with all their hearts, with all their beings and with all their resources. It’s a proven fact that the Haredim in the IDF are the best soldiers. When not on the battle field, they study Torah half day and train in the IDF half day. They even have Army tanks in their Yeshivot. Next time you are in Jerusalem, go to the director’s office of Or Shameach Yeshiva and see on his wall a picture of the Temple Mount taken from an F-16 and signed by the pilot. A well known Sephardic Kabbalist in Jerusalem use to give a lesson once a week and half the class were IAF Pilots. This Kabbalist use to say that “we are all soldiers.” I asked what he meant by this and he said that we standing at the Kotel praying to HaShem for protection are just as important if not more so than the soldiers on the battle field…more so because without these prayers, the soldiers could very well not have Hashem’s protection.

    There are some who as you say live like parasites and this goes for the secular as well. For everyone one harede you pick out, I could pick out 50 secular. The point is, we all have to work with what we have, do the best you can and hope/pray for the best.

    So, you’re sitting there on the track 100 meters from the finish line and a car comes up behind you and pushes you across the line to win. The driver gets out, takes off his helmet, his peyote fall to his shoulders as he arranges his black kippa and he starts to do a Hasidic dance in joy. The Heredim soldiers are the first ones in and the last ones out. “They got your back” and there is no need to worry who is behind you. May Hashem bless you and your family with all the best that can be had in this world.

  26. Liad Bar-el It Addresses nothing. It finds wonder in Lag B'Omer and then goes on to rationalize why the secular State of Israel can be accepted by religious Jews – what religious Jews he does not say because orthodox Jews do accept Israel and it is only Jews sects that do not. What makes me laugh was another attempt to denigrate the world. Is it forgotten that it was the United Nations that voted for Israeli independence? Is it a miracle? That depends – where was the miracle that saved 6 million Jews from being destroyed? See what I mean? Re-esttablishing Israel occurred during the end phase of the Enlightenment influence. Where many nations, such as India were gaining Independence. If you read the writings of British leaders during the 19th century, which ultimately led to the Balfour Declaration – saved by Churchill as the British government was about to completely renege – you will find that self-determination for many people including a "Land for the Hebrews" was a rising idea. It was of course Herzl who understood what was happening and went about organizing. My basic point is that nobody has the right to lie that it was religious Jews who were the pioneers, did the fighting and built Israel. And believe me, of the religious Jews will ever attempt to force even more religion on Israelis, they will find that it will be their greatest mistake.

  27. I'm not normally one to comment on such things. But as a Jewish person living in North America, this is a very inflammatory question. The Jewish Press and Mr. Fishman should be ashamed for even asking such a thing. America has been home to Jews for centuries…Why help build America? Because without America, likely many of us would not even be here today.

  28. Liad Bar-el You know that you are talking absolute nonsense. And if you want to see a civil war in Israel, just hope that the haredi religious sect gain political control. I for one have no sympathy for these people and I would take up arms against them to keep Israel secular.

  29. The United States has never had to defend Israel militarily. In fact until JFK, Israel was on a list that banned weapon sales to us. It was the German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer who gave JFK an ultimatum that changed things. But diplomatically the USA is a very strong friend and ally. Without the existence of America, there would be no free nations, there would be no technology, there would be nothing that allows us to live at a standard that even 100 years ago was not imagined. Without the USA the world would be ruled by the Dark Ages.

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