Tuesday, January 29, 2013

American Jewry, Some Observations, Part 1

I've been in Phoenix, Arizona for almost a week.  Although I've been here a number of times before, this is the first visit in which I've met up with the Jewish community.

Since I've been there before, I do know that there are some kosher restaurants, which not every Jewish community has.  That's an indication of numbers and also of Jewish tourism.

I have friends who have lived in the Phoenix area, which includes Scottsdale and Tempe, and from them I've learned that there are a number of synagogues and the usual controversies and "feuds."

Considering that my Phoenix friends are very connected to Israel, mostly living in Israel, I was surprised by how many people I met on Shabbat who have never been there.  The reasons are mainly financial.  Just to remind you, not all American Jews are wealthy.  I was in the Young Israel of phoenix, which is a very warm and welcoming community.

I had been asked to speak to the women's class on Shabbat.  Since Shabbat was TU B'Shavat, the 35th anniversary of the return of Jews to Shiloh.  Shiloh, where I live, is now a nice sized active and warm community.  It's located in the same spot where biblical Shiloh was.  Barely a mile from my house is the location where the Biblical Tabernacle was located for 369 years.

Since I traveled the day after Elections, I'm not all that up to date with the news in Israel and was concerned that people would want information I couldn't give.  But besides my host, who has an excellent knowledge of what's happening in Israel, most people I met weren't really interested.

In Israel, many of us mistakenly think that world Jewry and international politicians have nothing else on their minds but what's happening in Israel.  The truth is the opposite, and if Israeli politicians, media etc would stop trying to please "the world," then we'd be totally ignored.  There would be lots less pressure on Israel. Just like any other bully situation, the best defense is using strength against them.  All we have to do is tell all the international diplomats to mind their own business and we must stick to that line.  Don't discuss the issues at all.


Anonymous said...

"The reasons are mainly financial. Just to remind you, not all American Jews are wealthy."

Thanks for acknowledging we're not all comfortably living high on the hog and don't want to sacrifice our comfort. We live paycheck to paycheck - that's how 'comfortable' we are. My husband works and I can't find a job because apparently no-one wants to hire a 60 year old. I don't know how we'll ever get to Israel. Only G-d can help us. Forgive me for not signing my name.

Moriah said...

My community is MO and for the most part people do not want to discuss Israel. On our community email we are forbidden to discuss Israel and get an email every month notifying that we can only make announcements on it. Easily, more than half voted for Obama. I really don't know what's happening to Jews here in the galut.

Batya said...

a, Moriah, I'm so grateful my husband and I made aliyah just after our wedding. I'd hate to think that we too could have had found ourselves stuck in the galut. G-d willing you'll make it here

Anonymous said...

Dear Shiloh Musings, As an american oleh of a few years vintage, my view of our fellow Jews still residing there consists of two possibilities: One, they are willfully choosing to remain in galut for any number of seemingly strong personal reasons, or two, they are really captives by virtue of the culture in which they live. May Hashem bring them all out with mercy--and soon!