Personal thoughts on current events, cultural events, Israel, Judaism, Jewish/Israel innovations and life from a Jewish perspective - read into that what you may.

Wednesday, December 12, 2001

A Must Read Refresher on Middle East History

Letter from Jerusalem: Palestine is Israel, the Jewish
National Home
By Arlynn Nellhaus

Borders of the Jewish National Home in Palestine as
determined by the San Remo Conference of 1920 (from website).
A recent letter writer to the New York Times professed
her great support for Israel, but said there never
could be peace until the Jewish state gave up "the
occupied territories."
Even Secretary of State Colin Powell (and some times I
do wonder about him), in Louisville used the term
"occupied territory."
Every time Palestinian spokespersons open their
mouths, there is reference to "the occupied
territories." Of course, they know that the word
"occupied" resonates with the implication of foul
But what "occupied territories?"
There never has been an independent country called
"Palestine." Nor is there such thing as "Palestinian
land" – another fictional location from which Israel
is supposed to leave. What needs to be talked about is
"disputed territory."
In fact, Palestine is the name for the British Mandate
intended for a Jewish National Home. The original
Palestinians were all Jews. After 1948, they began
calling themselves Israelis. Therefore, to be logical,
Palestine is Israel. The PLO, formed only in the
1960's after the failure of Pan-Arab nationalist
attempts to eliminate Palestinian Jews living in
Israel and steal Israeli land, instead stole the name
"Palestinian" from its rightful owner -- Israel.
The only people who consistently have claimed and
lived in the land of Israel for 3,500 years are the
Philip Hitti, who was Middle Eastern studies professor
at Princeton, and who never had a nice word to say
about Israel, made that clear in his book on the
history of the Middle East.
His book tells of Semitic tribes always on the move.
The only exception, the only one that maintained a
permanent base, was the Jews. Even the Koran, which
has violent words about Jews, Christians and others
who don't accept the "true faith," states in Suras 5,
10, and 17 that Allah gave the Holy Land to the
Conquerors came and went, including an Arab invasion
in the 7th century. The Ottoman Turks ruled from the
16th to the 20th century, followed by the British
holding a League of Nations Mandate over the land.
Under the British, Southern Syria was called
"Palestine" and included what became Jordan.
After the British lopped off Palestine east of the
Jordan to reward their allies, the Hashemites of
Arabia with a country of their own after they had been
driven out of Saudi Arabia and Iraq, the British Peel
Commission recommended dividing what was left between
Jews and Arabs.
The Jews said yes, the Arabs said no.
When the United Nations voted to do so in 1947, the
Jews again said yes, the Arabs responded with war.
They lost.
The territory, which belonged to no nation, could have
been a Palestinian state 54 years ago. It then was
occupied by Jordan and Egypt. There was no talk of
"Palestinian land."
If you reject a compromise, go to war to get the whole
loaf and lose everything, are you still entitled to
the original offer 54 years later?
Germany went to war a couple of times in the 20th
century, lost both, times and ended up smaller each
In the rest of the world, there is punishment for
aggression. In the Middle East -- if you are an Arab
-- there only is reward.
And in a twist of history, all the land that could
have been an independent Arab state fell to Israel
after the Arab nations tried again in 1967 to destroy
Israel was fighting for its life, not to become the
ruler of Arabs, but that is how it turned out.
The UN Security Council came up with its much vaunted
Resolution 242.
Eugene Rostow, US Undersecretary of State between 1966
and 1969, played a leading role in producing 242. He
says that 242 allows Israel to administer the
territories it took over until "a just and lasting
peace in the Middle East" is achieved.
But today, under the terms of the Oslo Accords, on
which Yasser Arafat signed on the dotted line that he
recognized Israel's right to exist and renounced
terror, Israel gave large amounts of this disputed
territory to the Palestinians.
Today, upwards of 95 percent live under the
Palestinian Authority, a state-in-the-making with its
own post office, police, airport, courts and
government, corrupt as it is – but it's theirs.
So if they are governed by the Palestinian Authority,
what "occupation?" It's a great word to use, for it
can make people think things that don't really exist.
Palestinians complain of having a hard time getting
from one Palestinian Authority area to another, becase
they have to cross Israel.
If they would stop killing Israelis, they wouldn't
have such difficulties. They could try it and see. But
they will not give Israel the promise of one week
without suicide bombings.
It pays to remember, according to a Palestinian
survey, that at least 72 percent of Palestinians
support suicide bombings.
Would you let them into your house?
Just how would you know you are letting in the 28
percent who don't support suicide bombings?
How would you know that the 28 percent that might not
feel like blowing themselves up don't support
shootings or stabbings, instead?
As for "Palestinian-owned land," to believe that every
Palestinian – many of whom are probably descended from
Arab, Syrian, Egyptian, Lebanese or Jordanian
immigrants -- holds title to land, is simply
Fifty-four years ago, most of the land was owned by a
few big Arab landowners. The rest of the Arab
population worked other people's land. They were
landless. It wasn't fair, but that was their system.
Yet the greater part of all the land belonged to the
state – whatever it was at the time: Turkey, Britain,
Jordan or Egypt. And now, except for what has been
relinquished to the Palestinian Authority, Israel is
the state.
And Israel has a valid historic claim to all the land.

Meanwhile, today's Palestinians claim all the land.
The same land. The Land of Israel. (If you think they
only want Gaza and the historic areas of Judea and
Samaria, you haven't been paying attention.)
Even with achievement of the dream of "a just and
lasting peace," UN Security Council 242 does not
require Israel to withdraw from all the territory. It
may keep what it deems it needs for security. And that
is to be negotiated peacefully.
So please, forget the terms "occupied territories" and
"Palestinian lands." Use the correct term, "disputed
territories or lands," and then we can all agree. This
is a territorial dispute.
As for the "settlements" (when did the "settlement" of
Boston become a village, a town, or a city?), under
the Turks and British, could the Jews have put up a
lean-to on land that didn't belong to them -- or that
wasn't state land?
Think about it. The Jewish Agency purchased the land
of Israel, with hard currency, from its legal
owners.Every square dunam.
For example, the land that Kfar Darom is on in Gaza
was purchased under the British, although Jews have
lived in Gaza since the time of the Macabees, whose
miracle we celebrate at Hannukah, more than 100 years
before the Common Era.
And here's a surprise, Palestinians are now living on
Jewish-owned land. The Dehaishe refugee camp is
located on 405 dunams purchased by the Jewish Agency
in 1943.
The British Mandate fully recognized the right of the
Jewish people to settle in the entire Mandate
territory east of the Jordan. That's right, the entire
territory east of the Jordan River is legally
available to Jewish families. It is not a "restricted"
Rostow points out that that right is buttressed by
Article 80 of the UN Charter which says that nothing
shall be construed to alter in any manner the rights
of people or terms of existing international
And the Mandate given to Britain by the League of
Nations was such an "international instrument."
Are the "settlements" an obstacle to peace?
Bin Laden's appeal to an Islamic uprising is an
obstacle to peace.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad's suicide bombings are
obstacle to peace.
Arafat's racist incitement is an obstacle to peace.
Building more homes for peaceful families to live in
peacefully alongside their neighbors is not an
obstacle to peace -- it is an incentive for peace.

Monday, December 03, 2001

A Little Bit of Chizuk for a Horrible Time Period

After this weekends horrific deaths in Yerushalayim
and Haifa I feel utter sadness. Yet it is so hard to
feel sad and to shed a tear because I'm so used to
going on with life after all the other deaths that
take place on an almost daily occurence. That is what
upsets me the most about Arafat and his gang of
terrorists, not only have they taken away my the
bright neshomot of fellow Jews, but they have robbed
me of my natural emotional reaction of sadness,
because they made deaths of Jews a part of my daily

It is such a paradox, to go on with our normal daily
lives, yet also be able to feel our emotions of
sadness. This is not such an easy combonation.
Chazal were smart in allowing us to maintain this
combonation when facing the death of a loved one - a 7
day mourning period before continuing with daily life.
Ultimately, all of us, all of Am Yisrael, need some
type of similar mechanism to allow us to feel our
sadness after each and every senseless death of our
brothers and sisters in Am Yisrael. Instead we scream
and shout one night and then return to work the next
morning, almost as if nothing happened the day before.

There is so much for us to celebrate and be happy
about - our own lives, our family, our personal
celebrations etc. Yet, I believe that we still have
the need to express our deep sadness in order to then
properly feel our happiness, and this is hard to do

A number of weeks ago, I wrote an email expressing my
feelings of anger and despair about today's overall
situation in the world, especially with the hypocrisy
of the world's leaders in dealing with Israel. I
wrote about my personal frustration in not being able
to do enough to make a difference. In repsonse to
that email, I received a very warm response with a
message of chizuk that I want to share with all of you
today, because I feel that it can also be applied to
our situation of sadness and helplessness today. This
little story of chizuk is right below.

In the meantime, may we all see peace, quiet and
tranquility within Israel's borders soon. And may we
then have the time to sit down and look back at the
events of this horrible uprising so that we can think
back and mourn all the precious souls of loved ones
and fellow Jews whom we have lost. I look forward to
such a time to be able to feel my sadness once again.


> > >
> > >A man was sleeping at night in his cabin when
> > suddenly his room filled with light, and God
> > appeared.
> > >The Lord told the man he had work for him to do,
> > and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin.
> > >
> > >The Lord explained that the man was to push
> > the rock with all his might. So, this
> > >the man did, day after day. For many years he
> > toiled from sun up to sun down; his shoulders set
> > squarely
> > >against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving
> > rock, pushing with all of his might. Each night
> > man
> > >returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling
> > that his whole day had been spent in vain.
> > >Since the man was showing discouragement, the
> > Adversary (Satan) decided to enter the picture
> > >by placing thoughts into the weary mind: "you
> > been pushing against that rock for a long time,
> > >and it hasn't moved." Thus, giving the man the
> > impression that the task was impossible and the
> > >he was a failure.These thoughts discouraged and
> > disheartened the man.
> > >
> > >"Why kill myself over this?" he thought. "I'll
> > put in my time, giving just the minimum
> > >effort; and that will be good enough."
> > And that is what he planned to do, until one day
> > >he decided to make it a matter of prayer and take
> > his troubled thoughts to the Lord.
> > >"Lord," he said, "I have labored long and hard in
> > your service, putting all my strength to do that
> > >which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I
> > have not even budged that rock by half a
> > >What is wrong? Why am I failing?"
> > >The Lord responded compassionately, "My friend,
> > when I asked you to serve Me and you accepted, I
> > >told you that your task was to push against the
> > rock with all of your strength, which you have
> > >Never once did I mention to you that I expected
> > to move it. Your task was to push. And now you
> > to Me
> > >with your strength spent, thinking that you have
> > failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself.
> > Your
> > >arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewy and
> > brown, your hands are callused from constant
> > >pressure, your legs have become massive and hard.
> > Through opposition you have grown much, and your
> > abilities
> > >now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you
> > haven't moved the rock. But your calling was to be
> > >obedient and to push and to exercise your faith
> > trust in My wisdom.
> > >This you have done. Now I, My friend, will now
> > the rock."
> > >At times, when we hear a word from God, we tend
> > use our own intellect to decipher what He wants,
> > >when actually what God wants is just a simple
> > obedience and faith in Him. By all means, exercise
> > the faith
> > >that moves mountains, but know that it is still
> > who moves mountains.
> > >
> > >When everything seems to go wrong ... just
> > P.U.S.H.!
> > >When the job gets you down ... just P.U.S.H.!
> > >When people don't react the way you think they
> > should... just P.U.S.H.!
> > >When your money looks "gone" and the bills are
> > due...just P.U.S.H!
> > >When people just don't understand you ... just
> > P.U.S.H.!
> > >
> > >P= Pray
> > >U= Until
> > >S= Something
> > >H= Happens
> > >
> > >Remember!! Judaism is not an all-or-nothing
> > religion. So try to do the best you can.........,
> > >
> > >Rabbi Benny Zippel

Saturday, November 03, 2001

Times Are Rough - Thoughts

Hi all,

I'm a very optimistic person, and I believe it is
rooted in my eternal belief in Hashem and in Nezach Am
Yisrael, but I'm having a very hard time lately not
becoming depressed and fighting off thoughts of

I look around me, I listen to the news, I read the
news on the internet and all I see and read is

A war on terrorism that includes allies that are
countries that support terrorism.

A war on terrorism that does not include (at least
publicly) countries that fight terrorism.

A large part of the world that hides it's
anti-semitism by cloaking it in anti-Zionism.

A large part of the world that dares to say "cycle of
violence" with regards to Israel, when any sane person
knows that if one side would be pressured to stop,
then there would be no "cycle of violence" to lie

A large part of the Jewish people who pray to return
to the land of Israel, but who do not return.

There are so many battles to fight, so many causes to
stand up for.

Belive it or not, the biggest cause dearest to my
heart is my concern that Jews complain about the above
issues, but leave the activists to act, while the
majority do nothing, but complain. Judaism is about
living an active life based on our beliefs, yet
"activists" are only a small segment of our
population, when instead that term should include all
of us. Too many of us suffice with just tzedakah to
let others do the hard work.

I'm tired of all this hypocrisy and I'm depressed by

I don't know what to do anymore. Sometimes I really
feel hopeless. I can talk till I'm blue in the face
about these issues that concern me. I can send
emails, sign petitions, prod people to do more, to get
involved, but yet I still feel that I'm making no
impact - powerless in the face of so much hypocrisy,
hopelessness, apathy and inactivity.

Kohelet had it right "Hevel Havalim, Hakol
Hevel.....Et Hashem Yirah v'et mitzvotav shmore, ki ze
kol haadam". But I still wish more people would do
more besides their daily mitzvot, because there is so
much that needs to be done.

Maybe I'm not doing the right things, maybe I'm not
doing enough, maybe I'm not talking to the right
people. I guess that is why I'm sending out this
email: A plea for help, and a communication to find
out about other ideas, other avenues, other people to
reach out to.

Thanks for listening.

The latest project that I honed my frustration on is a
website called Americans for a Safe America. I just
put it together out of pure anger towards the
hypocrisy of America's war. Instead of putting the
focus on the hypocrisy towards Israel, I focused on
the hypocisy of the war strategy itself. If you have
any comments or suggestions, let me know. PS - it is
still under construction. What I will do with it, if
I will do anything with it, I have no idea, but I'm
open to suggestions and at least, for myself, I'm
trying to do something.

With it all, emunah will carry us through, it just
isn't so easy all the time.


Wednesday, October 17, 2001

The World Has Turned Upside Down

I write to you all today with a heavy heart.

It's not easy for me nowadays to go on with my daily
life of work. Unfortunately, I just feel that work
nowadays is "hakol hevel".

I have always known that the world is a nutty place
-where justice really isn't just, where people believe
outright lies because it is convenient for them not to
have to face the truth, and where many people live
lives of black and white, when really much of
everything in life is somewhat grey.

The world mamish has turned upsides down lately, not
only are Jews not safe in many places but neither are
Americans, and it is very hard for me not to let
everything going on today effect my mood.

To top it off, today a great leader of the Jewish
people was killed. It is hard enough for any innocent
person to be killed, hard enough for any innocent Jew
to be killed just for being a Jew, but it is
especially hard when a Jew who spends his life
dedicated to the Jewish people and the Land of Israel
is killed. Even those in Israel who totally disagreed
with Ze'evi, all agree that they lost one of the most
principled and dedicated Jewish leaders in Israel.
Unfortunately, principles Jewish leaders totally
didicated to the Jewish people and the Land of Israel
are hard to come by. Especailly today, in our
generation of cynicism and idiotic liberalism.

But, with it all, I must go on with my daily, mundane
work life. And I do so with as best an attitude as
possible. Because ultimately I know that there is
some grand plan taking shape, I just don't like what I
see happening, I don't understand why it has to
happen, and I probably never will. But, as Shlomo
Hamelech writes in the last sentence of Kohelet - "We
shall have awe for G-d and we shall keep his mitzvot,
because that is what man is supposed to do."

Wednesday, August 29, 2001

The Extent of World Hypocrisy: Where Racism Flourishes right in front of everybody's noses

No more explanation is required, just read the article below.

Jewish groups say victimized at UN race meeting

By Reuters

DURBAN - Jewish delegates attending a United Nations
racism conference in Durban said Wednesday they were
being victimized by anti-Israeli pressure groups and
had been subjected to anti-Semitism. The official UN
conference opens Friday, and Jewish groups in Durban
for an earlier non-governmental race forum said their
members had been intimidated by pro-Palestinian groups
who were pressing the meetings to denounce Israel as a
racist and modern-day apartheid state.

"I feel besieged, there's anti-Semitism and hate
literature at the World Racism Conference. It couldn't
get much worse," Anne Bayefsky, a professor from New
York's Columbia Law School said. "Some of the Jewish
delegates are hiding their accreditation badge because
it identifies them as from Israel or as Jewish. Some
are considering leaving Durban altogether."

The United States has said it will not attend the UN
conference if Arab and Islamic states insist on
pressing for the meeting to accept "offensive
language" against Israel. The State Department said
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell would not attend
the summit, and Washington has not announced what
level of delegation, if any, it will send.

Stacy Durdett, representing the Anti-Defamation League
said some of around 200 Jewish representatives in
Durban were shocked by their treatment and felt
unfairly singled out. "More than anything Jewish
delegates are being hurt since we are being targeted
and victimized when we come to a conference to talk
about racism," Durdett said. "The intimidation is
unfortunate. At the very least it's hurtful."

Pamphlets circulated at the non-governmental meeting
caricatured Jews and posters carried slogans
overlapping the Star of David with the Nazi Swastika.
Many pro-Palestinian delegates wore T-shirts with a
slogan that equated Israel with apartheid, colonialism
and a military occupying state that killed innocent

A spokesman for the South African police said the
safety of the 7,000 delegates attending the meeting
was a high priority.

Tuesday, July 03, 2001

Aliyah Here We Go!!

Many family and friends just joined us in Riverdale for our Aliyah farewell
brunch. It was very nice. It was sponsored by
Tehilla and they only expected 30-40 people to show,
but in the end there were between 80-100 people. I
wish our actual aliyah was sooner than it is, but it
was still nice to have the gathering. I enjoyed the
event, not becuase it focused upon us and our aliyah,
but because it was important in order to get our
friends and families up and doing something to connect
with Israel and thinking about aliya. At the event I
actually thanked everyone for coming, not for us, but
for showing their support for the state of Israel by
supporting those of us who are tying our fates with
the People of Israel in the Land of Israel. I also
mentioned two messages that I wanted to leave
everybody with: 1. That the aliyah process would be
much easier if our friends and families would join us
in Israel (That was my soft-sell approach to pushing
aliyah, even though everybody was expecting me to give
them a hard-sell "fire and brimstone" mussar approach
to aliyah) and 2. The need for the Jewish community
to return to dreaming and desiring to return to live
in Israel. Not to give it lip service, but to really
feel the desire to one day live their, even if they
don't go their immediately.

I liked what I said and I enjoyed having an event
focusing upon Israel and Aliyah. It's a tough topic
to speak about nowadays, but i believe davka today,
beause of what is going on, it is a very opportune
time to speak about it.

In anycase, I wanted to update you on some exciting
news. My company has officially decided to open up an
office in Israel!!! No timing has been announced as
of yet, but I feel that I'm working at this company at
a critical juncture that will allow me to take
advantage of the opportunity to work for the company
in Israel. Nothing is set in stone, but there is a
possibility that a job will open up in Israel at the
beginning of the year 2002. However, I find myself
caught in a dilemma. On the one hand I want to return
to Israel as soon as possible, which I have right now
set to be November. And the possibility of working
for my company in Israel might make me push back our
plans a couple of months. Now, I know that a couple
of months is very much worth it to push off, in order
to return to Israel with a stable job, in a very
unstable economy and job market. But of course, it is
still not an easy decision to make for me, considering
that my place is in Israel, and I want to get there as
soon as possible. Any time I push off our return I
feel as if I'm betraying myself and values and ideals
that I hold so dear.

Friday, June 15, 2001

Parshat Shlach

Shabbat Shalom everbody,

I just heard this story and I thought it was pertinent
to share.

A teacher was teaching her elementary school class
about parshat shlach and chait ha'mraglim. A girl in
the class then asked, "if that was a sin, and Am
Yisrael was punished for that sin, then why are we not
living in Israel? Aren't we doing the same thing as
the m'raglim and Am Yisrael back then?"

May we all find our inner strength and build up our
Emunah to do what we know is right.

Shabbat Shalom.


Wednesday, May 30, 2001

The Correct Response of American Jewry

Today's situation in Israel is so unfortunate,
especially following the continued senseless murders
of innocent souls.

In my mind, the response of American Jewry is clear,
the situation today demands a massive aliyah movement
by American Jewry; not rallies, not tzedakah, but
aliyah. But we have no
leaders or Rabbis standing up and explaining to us the
essentail aspects of what it means to be an AM, to
have a homeland, to have the opportunity to live in
that homeland like no other Jewish generation for
thousands of years and, of equal importance, what it
means to have true bitachon in Hashem. No leaders or
Rabbis to tell the amcha that there is more to being a
good Jew than making a good enough salary to pay
for the kids Jewish education, learn Torah, and of
course to give money to tzedakah.

Today more than ever, the solution is for more Jews to
be making aliyah, but our leaders and Rabbis are
silent. When the world, and Israel, would see commited
American Jews making aliyah in droves, the message
would resonate loud and clear that Israel is the
Jewish Homeland. But by not moving there, American
Jewry is convincing the world that the Jewish people
don't take this Jewish homeland thing seriously. The
world will continue to say "Hey, if the American Jews
only pay lip-service to a Jewish homeland, why isn't
that good enough for us too?"

Please, let's answer today's neesayon with the correct
response, let's get together and build the
consciousness for aliyah in today's American Jewish


Wednesday, April 04, 2001

The Rav on Eretz Yisrael

Erev Chag Kasher V'sameach to all,

Lately, I have been very distressed about the
situation in Israel. As we all know, Eretz Yisrael is
the neshama of Am Yisrael, so we are all hurting.
Unfortunately, it pains me greatly to see many
friends, community members and peers not greatly
pained by today's situation. Not that we should all
be sad, but the situation should make us all think a
little bit harder about what it means to be an Am and
how what is happening in Israel really does effect us
all as well, not just our brothers and sisters in

The following is a letter I wrote to Gary Rosenblatt
at the Jewish Week a while ago in response to an
editorial he wrote about Israel. I wanted to take
this opportunity to share it with you. (I did make a
line change reflecting today's situation)

L'shana Habah B'yerushalayim, not just in word but in

'Today, most Jews who live in Israel have originated
from either Eastern Europe, Russia, the Middle East
or Ethiopia, all arriving there to escape their home
countries. (Only a small minority of Jews who live in
Israel today moved there from countries of
prosperity.) Yet I know of no source in the Torah
that teaches us that Israel is a land for Jewish
refuges! It is the homeland for the whole Jewish
people, not just those
who need a safe haven. Imagine how different things
might have turned out in Ezra’s time if all Jews, both
rich and poor, had returned to the land of Israel with
him. Now imagine how things could turn out if all
committed American Jews would move to Israel. (Note:
Seder Hadorot cites the S’ma, who saw the following in
Ma’aseh Nissim (by Rabbi Eliezer of Worms, author of
the Roke’ach): Ezra sent letters to all of the
communities urging them to ascend with him to the land
of Israel. One such letter arrived in the city of
Worms, Germany. The Jews residing there answered,
"you may dwell in the great Jerusalem, we will dwell
here in the small Jerusalem". Years later the second
Beit Hamikdash was destroyed and the Jews in Israel
were sent out to exile once again.)

I spoke with a Rabbi recently about the situation in
Israel, asking him and pleading with him to do more to
raise the current issue of what Eretz Yisrael and all
of Am Yisrael are going through. To my surprise he
reponded to me by saying that our Religious community
in Israel is to blame for todays situation, for not
making Isreal into the Jewish culture and country that
we should have helped make it into. Regardless of
whether he is correct or not, how can we, here in
America, sit back and make such a complaint about the
situation in Israel today without taking a look at
ourselves first? We are also responsible because we
are not there to make a difference.

In 1943, while living through the horrors of the
Holocaust in Budapest, Rabbi Yishachar Shlomo Teichtal
wrote a book titled ‘Eim Habanim Semeichah’ (A Joyous
Mother of Children). (Rabbi Teichtal wrote this
book for the religious Jews in Europe in response to
the many Rabbis who told them not to move to
Palestine, but to stay in Europe instead.
Unfortunately, Rabbi Teichtal perished in the
Holocaust together with
countless of other Jews who decided to heed the call
of their Rabbis and not leave for Palestine.)

In the preface to the book (on page 30 of the English
translation) he wrote "If Jews continue to refuse to
participate in rebuilding the land (in its totality
and in its details), and if they do not keep a
eye over the state of affairs, refusing to dedicate
their money, their minds, and their spirits to this
cause, they will have no say whatsoever in the land’s
management…and they will lose their spiritual
over them as well. Thus, the entire young generation
will fall into the hands of others." He then asks "
what will be the consequences of this?"

In 1956, eight years after the establishment of the
State of Israel, Rabbi Soloveitchick tz"l wrote an
essay titled "Kol Dodi Dofek". In this essay he
delineated six miracles that occurred which brought
about the establishment of the State of Israel. He
wrote that committed American Jews had a
responsibility to heed God’s miracles (in
establishing the State of Israel) by helping settle
the land of Israel. He then wrote ‘it is eight years
now and God is still waiting for us to heed his
miracles and act.’

It is now 52 years and God is still waiting, but I
don’t know how much longer he will wait for us to act
and help make the land of Israel a spiritually strong
Jewish homeland. We continue to rely on Israel’s
current leadership which does not have enough of a
following to ensure a spiritually strong country proud
of being a Jewish nation. Our presence is needed.

Thank God, Israel today is a thriving first world
country, with much thanks to many American Jews who
contributed in many ways. However, although the
physical building of the land seems complete, we have
only begun building the real essence of Israel, it’s
spiritual basis.

Those of us who understand the importance of a Jewish
state can still make a difference,
we can make aliyah. Imagine how the face of Israel
would be if one million committed American Jews moved
to Israel. We can still do it. All we need are
leaders and Rabbis who are willing to constantly teach
us why living in Israel is so important for our
existence. But most importantly, we must listen to
what they have to say. We all have reasons to stay in
America, all very good ones. But are they more
important than living in Israel to ensure a Jewish
homeland for ourselves, our children and

We should not live in Israel because Israel needs us,
we should live in Israel because we need Israel.

For anyone who would like to understand this issue
better, please consult your local Rabbi as well as the
above mentioned books.'

My family planned on making aliyah in 1990. The Guld
War broke out and we still planned on making aliyah!
Everybody asked us how we can still go, a war is about
to break out?! To that, my father responded with a
line that I will never forget "there is always a
reason not to make aliyah" and we went. Today, many
people are asking Rachel and me the same question, how
can we be making aliyah in the Fall with the situation
the way it is today in Israel. Even though I wish we
did not have these tzarot, I believe that davka times
of tzarah are A good time for people to make aliyah,
because it shows that no matter the tzarah, Am Yisrael
has Emunah in the notion of Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael
and Torat Yisrael.

Chag Kasher V'sameach.