Photo Credit: courtesy
Joshua Wander in transit to NY

I am writing this as two “Aliyah Commandos” – Joshua Wander and Hila Oz – are on the way to Ben Gurion Airport for the first “Aliyah Commando” mission to New York. Over the past few weeks while helping to organize the itinerary, several people asked me: “Why are you doing this? Does Nefesh B’Nefesh need your help and the help of grassroots activists who have banded together to rally around the banner of Aliyah? Let’s say that your efforts succeed in bringing another 300 olim to Israel – is it worth the hoopla and all the shlepp?” In answer let me first say that an additional 300 olim to Israel would be wonderful. Every Jew who returns to Israel from the exile is doing something of cosmic significance. Our Rabbis tell us that every mitzvah has tremendous spiritual value, bringing blessing to all of the worlds. How much more so with the mitzvah of “Yishuv HaAretz” which our Sages declare weighs in value as much as all of the other mitzvot together!  


Yet we are not setting out on this endeavor as shlichim for Nefesh B’Nefesh or for the Ministry of Aliyah or the Jewish Agency. Anyone we meet in America who is interested in Aliyah or in learning in Israel, whether in a yeshiva or in college, we will gladly direct to the appropriate agencies. That isn’t our main goal. We have a much different message than the typical Aliyah shaliach who comes with a briefcase filled with papers and forms. We are setting out, with the help of the Almighty, to awaken Diaspora Jewry from its slumber and to proclaim in a loud and clear fashion that THERE IS NO FUTURE FOR JEWISH LIFE IN GENTILE LANDS. The exile was never intended to last forever. In the Torah and throughout the Prophets we hear Hashem’s assurance that he will one day bring the Jews home. To a large measure, He has done that in the last 150 years. Now, the time has come for all of His children to return home to Zion. October 7 was not just any ordinary day. It was a Divinely-Orchestrated wake-up call in Israel and for Jews all over the world. Who imagined that such a barbarous attack on Israel would trigger an explosion of anti-Semitism throughout the globe. Certainly there is something other-worldly in this incredible unfolding of events. And as Tzahal continues to defend Israel against diabolical enemies bent on our destruction, Heaven forbid, the Jew hatred will only increase. And it isn’t going to go away. The evil genie has left the bottle. For the last 70 years the Jews enjoyed a period of peace and prosperity in Western countries, but that period has abruptly ended, just as it did again and again throughout our history. Jewish life in the Diaspora will never be the same. The “good life” is gone. It will never return. That is the message we are carrying to America.  

Accordingly we call out to all Rabbis to urge their congregations to contact Nefesh B’Nefesh and open Aliyah files. We call out to the Jewish leadership in North America to wake up from their delusion that the Jews have discovered the Promised Land in Boca, or Monsey, or Tuscon, Toronto, or LA, and lead the way by their person example of packing their bags, selling their luxurious homes and boarding a flight on El Al while the airports are still open and airlines are still traveling to Israel. The Federation directors and heads of major Jewish organizations and community Rabbis must shout out “After me!” even if it means sacrificing their positions of authority and prestige. 

It is time to come home. It is time for Jewish newspapers in America to use their influence to encourage Jews to move to Israel, even at the expense of losing their readership. It is time for Jewish organizations and Jewish parents to send young Jews to settle in Israel – and not just on fun vacations or for short bouts of learning, even if it means that their children will have to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces – oh my, Heaven forbid! And yes, please face a growing reality my friends. It is time for Jews to get their money out of America while they still can.     

Rabbi Leo Dee was just in America. His host in New Jersey told him that he had just purchased a gun. The salesman in the gun shop said to him, “What has taken you so long? The Muslims in the area have been buying weapons for months.”   

If Jews in America are buying revolvers to place inside their bedside drawers they should also keep their birth certificates and proof of their Jewishness alongside their firearms as well. May the Aliyah Commandos have success in their mission! 

To make contact with the Aliyah Commandos in New York: 

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Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel "Tevye in the Promised Land." A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon. His recent movie "Stories of Rebbe Nachman" The DVD of the movie is available online.