Sunday, July 17, 2005

Musings Away #2 Get Real

Motzei Shabbat
July 16, 2005
10th of Tammuz

Get Real!

There are many Israelis who love going abroad because it's an escape. Yes it's an escape from what's going on in Israel. They can pretend that everything's wonderful, since they don't hear anything to the contrary.

Of course the real world is different. We can't really run away, or if we do it doesn't make our delusions reality. There's a flipside to this.

Why do Israelis think everything's so peaceful when away from our precious courntry? It's because it's pretty difficult to get the news...

I've been in New York since Thursday, and I could be on the moon in terms of Israel. It's really hard to discover what's going on. I've spent hours searching the TV news and read the local papers here and spent Shabbat in a vibrant Jewish community and famous synagogue. And I've been amazed at how little is being said about what's happening in Israel and how it is affecting the world.

Now, Israelis including the government and media believe that America cares about it in a very special relationship. I hate to say this, but GET REAL, America just doesn't care. Not the American Government, nor your simple man in the street, nor the average Jew.

The American Government and American People have lots more on their minds than the State of Israel and its survival. Even when the middle-east is mentioned in the news, they're more concerned with how the Arabs are suffering from the periodic symbolic reactive bombings, or other defensive measures by Israeli forces. They don't care that Jews are being attacked, murdered, bombed by the Arabs. Just today I read the "NY Times" and the picture of the Arabs suffering from Israeli bombardments was double the size and ten times the drama of the picture of an Israeli girl mourning at her sister's funeral.

There was a call for synagogues to make this Shabbat "Orange Shabbat" to bring up the communities in Gush Katif and Northern Shomron which are slated for destrustuction according to Disengagement. The reaction was like the old Elvis song, "Return to Sender." In it he laments that all the letters he sent to his girlfriend have been returned, stamped "return to sender, address unknown, no such number, no such phone...I keep sending letters, but the letters keep coming back!" (I hope that I have the correct lyrics, but you get the message.)

With very few exceptions, the synagogues sent back the mail. There were very few synagogues willing to involve their members in helping preserve the state of Isarael. I dovened in a synagogue in which the rabbi gave the most peculiar sermon I had ever heard, and that was in an Orthodox shul.

The rabbi explained that he had been approached to dedicate this Shabbat to two different issues. One was some tragedy to non-Jews that I knew nothing about and it had no influence on world peace. The second was Gush Katif. The rabbi, very appropriately said that he decided to study the "parsha," Torah portion of the week, to decide what to do.

He told the congregation about Bilaam the non-Jewish prophet who had been trying to curse the Jewish people. He told us about how Bilaam was on his donkey, on a narrow mountain path. The donkey saw an angel, but Bilaam didn't. Bilaam kept trying to force the donkey a certain way, but the donkey wouldn't go because of the angel, and Bilaam kept hitting his donkey. The rabbi took this to mean that "we," or he doesn't know anything, just like Bilaam, so he won't take a stand about Gush Katif.

I couldln't beleive it. The rabbi had equated himself with a goyishe prophet! One thing I had to agaree with; he really doesn't know anything. For sure he's not much of a rabbi, and for sure he's not a leader, a person to give guidance to his congregants. I would have respected him more if he had given an opinion, even the wrong one. Then I woud have discussed it with him.

I spoke to people invloved in organizing the "Orange Shabbat" about the apathy. Someone else proudly told me how he had influenced many rabbis not to take a stand. This isn't pathetic; it's tragic.

It's tragic for many reasons. One is that people in Israel are counting on support, which doesn't exist. It's also tragic that American Jews are so disengaged from what's happening in Israel. And it's also tragic because Disengagement endangers the entire world.

Yes, there's a connection between the terrorists in Israel and the terrorists who attacked London and the terrorists who attacked America on September 11. When I was searching the dozens and dozens of tv channels for news of Israel, I found a show discussing the terror organization that had attacked London. The commentators admitted that they're connected with 9-11 but even though they all admit that they're Arab Moslems, but they refuse to see the source. All of these terrorists are connected with the ones in Israel.

So, "get real" applies to many: to Israel to remind us that neither America nor other Jews really care what happens to us. It also applies to those who fear terrorism and want it destroyed. See the connection between the terrorists in Israel and those threatening the rest of the world.

And yes, I know there are concerned Jews. I spent a wonderful Shabbat with some and met wonderful committed people who understand the big picture. They are the exceptions and must speak out more.

Remember Nachshon didn't drown and Yitzchak wasn't sacrificed.

Shavua Tov,
Batya Medad


Mark said...

Thanks for showing what American Jewry is doing. It seems worse than I thought, and I LIVE here in the States!

Perhaps you can join up with Shiffra Hoffman of VAT and compare notes? The question, as I see it is "How can we make the American Jewry think of Israel as WE, and no longer as THEY?"

Cosmic X said...

A very sad and distressing post!