24 May 2006

Links to Israeli Mishpocha

Forward columnist J.J. Goldberg made an excellent point a few weeks ago:

Yehoshua expresses, in extreme, distilled terms, an essential truth about Israeli Jewish identity. Israelis tend to know very little about the reality of Jewish life in America. It's not taught in their schools, rarely appears on their television screens and is seldom discussed in their newspapers. For Israelis, being Jewish consists of living in a Jewish country, speaking a Jewish language, serving in a Jewish army. What, they wonder, can it possibly mean to live as a Jew in Cleveland?

The ignorance goes both ways. We American Jews, by and large, don't know how little Israelis know or care about us and our Judaism. We're under the mistaken impression that, as the old slogan goes, we are one.

One of the best explanations for the divergence between the two communities was laid out two decades ago by a young Israeli professor of Holocaust studies, Arye Carmon. The Jewish communities of America and Israel, Carmon taught, both began as recent offshoots of Eastern European Jewry, then the main center of world Jewry. Each inherited one-half of the mother culture. Israelis inherited the facet of Jewish identity as daily life in an all-Jewish environment. Americans got the experience of Judaism as a series of choices and a way of looking at things. Given time, the two young cultures might have matured in dialogue with the mother culture and grown to resemble each other. But the Holocaust robbed them of a mother. Instead, they have grown up like orphans raised in different homes, emotionally linked but barely comprehending each other.

We must unite if we are to survive. I encourage my fellow American Jews and all the Jews in the galut to read the blogs published by Jewish Israelis. Seek out our mishpocha> in our Land, not only because they need our strength and moral support, but because we need their chazak as well. Too often, American Jews are quick to argue that without their financial support, the State of Israel would not survive; this is a disastrously foolish notion. The courage of our mishpocha in the Land of Israel, the love of HaShem exemplified among the citizens of the now-occupied Gush Katif and the Shomron, the sheer fact that these Jews are helping to make the Land of Israel blossom and thrive while they live face-to-face with their enemies, all of these things are taken for granted by American Jews. We may have money, but without the courage, strength, and love for HaShem exhibited by our brothers and sisters in Israel, we are useless nothings.

Know each other. Unite. As Dr. Eugene Narrett emphasized on Israel National Radio, we must unite despite our differences if we are to survive as a people. Unite, people of Israel, for there is great strength in unity.

Israeli Blogs Added to the Blogroll in the Sidebar:

West Bank Blog

Joe Settler

Tel-Chai Nation

Israel Matzav

Israel Perspectives

Bevakasha, feel free to send your favorite Israeli blog links and I will be happy to add them to the list.

Chazak, Chazak, V’nitchazek!


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