Thursday, December 2, 2004

another un-numbered, re: Savitsky/OU

An “un-numbered musing”
December 2, 2004
The 19th of Kislev

Following is my reply to the OU/Savitsky response, the official response and further reflections.

Dear Mr. Savitsky,
Thank you for responding, and I hope that someday you, too, have the great pleasure and privilege of making aliyah and living in our very unique country.

Batya Medad

OUCommunications wrote:
Dear Batya Medad:
After receiving many emails regarding my interview in The Jerusalem Post, I want you to know that I have placed an ad in Thursday’s editon of the Post which will read as follows:

I deeply regret the remarks I made concerning past motivations for aliya which were reported in the Friday, November 26 edition of The Jerusalem Post, and I apologize for them. I am sorry that these remarks, which were part of a lengthy discussion on aliya and many other topics, denigrated—albeit unintentionally—those who have made aliya over the years. As newly-elected President of the Orthodox Union, I will continue to acknowledge their courage and idealism, and to use their example to encourage others to follow in their footsteps. Indeed, promoting aliya was a key theme of our Convention in Jerusalem this past weekend.

I request mechila (forgiveness) from all whom I offended, and hope I may look forward to working closely with the entire community of olim to increase and enhance aliya in the future.

This unfortunate incident has caused me tremendous personal anguish and I hope that I have learned from this experience and that I will be able to represent the OU in a positive manner in the future. Thank you for taking the time to communicate with me.

Stephen J Savitsky
President, Orthodox Union

I think that it’s time to “let it be,” as the saying goes. There were a couple of very tense days as soon as Mr. Savitsky’s interview came out in The Jerusalem Post. It almost felt like a “war,” or at least the sort of “sibling rivalry” I’d never personally experienced.

There is no doubt that there’s a “tension” between us immigrants and the ones who stayed behind, or tried aliyah and left. The rapid and strong, powerful response against Savitsky, most probably, shocked us all, most of all those like him who think/thank of us as troubled, incompetant “moochers” who had to flee “problems.”

I must admit that it wasn’t a pleasant few days, though exhilarating in the rapid networking among those of us on line and in the support we received from abroad. Not everyone’s justifying his or her lack of aliyah by putting us down.

We may not have the trappings of kingly salaries, but we don’t need the help of pr experts and committees to get out of trouble. We’re tough and prickly, just like the “classic sabra,” soft, sweet and sensitive to slights on the inside. And I guess, that despite the identifiable accents most of us still have, we have become real Israelis.

We’ve proven our point, and the OU/Savitsky composed an excellent apology, and G-d willing he and the rest of them will join us in Israel, as olim.

More than enough said.

Shabbat Shalom,
Batya Medad

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