Saturday, July 22, 2006

What I Want American Jews To Know

Erev Shabbat, we received a number of phone calls and emails from friends and family in America. And they all asked us a version of the same rhetorical question: “You must be so relieved to be leaving the war zone over there and finally coming home.”

I wanted to scream.

I AM ALREADY HOME my neshama shouted back, even if I didn’t say the words out loud. NO, I don’t want to leave! The only real reasons to return to America are the two girls to whom I gave birth. Everything else is either sustainable from here or can be approximately duplicated.

I feel like I am speaking into a void when I talk like this to American Jews. In Israel, it is common to hear it said of Jews outside of Israel, “They just don’t get it.”

So rather than agonize over the differences in our perspectives, I wondered to myself whether I could explain to the Jews we love and with whom our lives are knit together in America, exactly what it is they don’t yet see.

It’s a formidable task and I don’t know if I’m up to it.

Here are some assumptions with which I begin:

1) Jewish life in America, like Jewish life in every Diaspora community throughout history, is finite. And it is rapidly waning.

2) The center stage of Jewish history has shifted to Israel. The significant events in Jewish history from this point on will all occur in Israel.

3) Gd really, really wants us to live in Israel, never more so than now. The entire Torah is filled with evidence of His desire.

4) We are living in the shadow of Moshiach. Even if he does not arrive in my lifetime, we are already living in Messianic times.

5) This war is not about land. It is about the right of the Jewish people to exist. It is, fundamentally, a war between good and evil. The enemy is such pure evil that the Jew ought to be roused from slumber and realize that the only security in the world is Hashem.

Now that I've put it down in black and white, I realize that these assumptions are the whole explanation.

All the rest is commentary.

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