Friday, May 15, 2009

If You're Going To "Relocate," Then Make Aliyah!

It's that time of the year, again, the OU is promoting "stay in America and join one of our emerging communities."

I guess things haven't changed all that much since I was a member (and chapter, regional and national officer) in the OU's NCSY in the mid-1960's. Aliyah wasn't in our lexicon. I first heard the term when my parents and Aunt Sadie, in a panic over my attempts to become religious, arranged for me to attend a USY Shabbaton in the East Midwood Jewish Center, Brooklyn, NY.

Yes, today the OU does have its landmark Israel Center in Jerusalem, but the activities are solely for those already in Israel and not to encourage aliyah by those in the United States and Canada.

Diaspora rabbis rationalize and excuse their staying in chutz l'Aretz on their being needed to help the Jews there. But if that was totally true, they'd be happy to close down non-functioning Jewish communities, since then there would be less reasons to stay abroad.

The truth is that the OU like any business, needs to grow constantly or it dies. The OU, like all of the massive Jewish organizations whether Orthodox, Reform, Chareidi, Reconstructionist, Conservative or open to all like Hadassa, employ many people and must keep the money flowing in.

I'm not going to say that life here in Israel is always easy and effortless, but no place is. And just like I've written on many occasions that the IDF would be more Jewish with more Torah observant soldiers, Israel would be better the more Jews we have here.

We each play our role and vote with our feet. We need you now! Don't wait for the Moshiach; you may miss the boat!


Anonymous said...

"I'm not going to say that life here in Israel is always easy and effortless, but no place is."
whoa. life is *so* much easier for an orthodox jew in america! easier to earn a living [despite the times], easier to raise orthodox kids, an abundance of torah study and gashmius, no fear of terrorism [as of today, 9-11 was a 1 time event], and i dont have to send my kid to the army. even if he lives, and emerges unscarred physically and emotionally, he will have wasted 3 years of his life, years my american son will have used in the way best suited for him.
this is a far cry from just a difference in effort between the us and israel.
[for the record, i live in israel. but i fully understand living in the us...]

Batya said...

a, whoa there
You've left out a minor detail called dollar$. It isn't all that easy for all to earn a living large enough to send 4-5 or more kids to a Jewish school, camp etc, health care, having to take off vacation days for Jewish Holidays.

Yes, many manage, but many don't. Life in America has different problems. It's not all so rosey and simple.

I remember when neighbors arrived here as olim chadashim with only a few of their now many children, they said:
"If we have to struggle, may it be in Eretz Yisrael."