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From Israel with Love: It's Time for Jews to Come Home

For almost two thousand years, ever since the Romans razed Jerusalem and exiled the People of Israel from their Land, Jews have been praying to return to Zion. When this dream finally became an actuality with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1947, a surprising thing occurred. While many Jews who had survived the Holocaust in Europe, and Sefardi Jews who had been living in Arab lands, seized the opportunity to immigrate to Israel, Jews from the West, most notably America, preferred to remain in the countries of their Diaspora, choosing to remain a minority in someone else’s country, rather than come home to their own Promised Land. This book is an argument in favor of aliyah. The Hebrew word, “aliyah,” means “an ascent.” One speaks about “going up” to Israel. Since Israel is the Holy Land, anyone who moves here from the Diaspora is considered to be on a journey of spiritual ascent. In addition to lauding the unparalleled blessing of living in the Land of Israel, the essays in this book reject the superficial understanding of Judaism that is taught throughout the Diaspora, which sees Diaspora Judaism as an end in itself, and not what it really is - a punishment of exile in foreign lands until we return to our own Holy Land. Instead of teaching their communities that the goal of each and every Jew should be to live a Torah life in Israel, as is explicitly expressed in our daily prayers, and repeated again and again in the Torah, Jewish leaders and educators in the Diaspora work toward strengthening Jewish life in the exile itself. Because the educational goals of the Jewish establishment in the Diaspora are misdirected, many of our Jewish brothers and sisters there don’t know any better. In their innocence, they believe they are doing the right thing in educating their children to become successful Americans, Frenchmen, or Australians, instead of encouraging them to build their lives in the Jewish homeland. The result of this tragic policy is the growing rate of assimilation that is decimating Jewish communities around the world, except in Israel where assimilation hardly exists.

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