Getting back to the "Responding to the Economic Crisis" controversy, I heard back from a local rabbi with whom I exchanged a series of emails on the subject. In essence, I made the point that the downturn in the economy has spiritual significance for Jews still in the Diaspora and that it could well be that its purpose is to move Jewish history forward and convince American Jews to finally "get out of Dodge".
I haven't asked his permission to quote him, let alone name him, so I will introduce his points with a few of my own.
1) I very much appreciate the integrity of the rabbi who responded to me.
2) I also appreciate the fact that he took time to think about what I was prodding him to think about and that he took time to respond.
3) His response made me feel sad.
Here were his main points, paraphrased by me (therefore, it would be only right to suspect some bias). I tried to capture the essence of his point without quoting him directly.
I want to emphasize that his actual words were conciliatory, as in, (and this is also a paraphrase even though it looks like a direct quote), "I have a nagging personal feeling that you may ultimately be right, but I/we aren't prepared to act on that possibility at this time."
* There was agreement among the event's planners that, at this time, people need concrete, practical help at least as much, if not more, than spiritual perspective. However, they felt that some spiritual perspective was offered by the keynote speaker.
* When people are suffering, as in the current economic crisis, the correct thing to do is help them concretely, not make them feel guilty for still living in the diaspora. The aliyah message, if it is to be delivered in this context, has to be done with great sensitivity.
* Many, if not most American Jews, let alone most rabbis, don't share the perspective that I and others espouse, namely that the doors are closing on American Jewish life and the time has come to seriously consider getting out while it is still relatively easy to do so.
I don't know if this is the final word on this topic, but his last point is SO hard for me to take in, even though I know he's correctly reflecting reality.