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      Aliyah Blog
      by David Lev
      These posts examines Jewish connections to the Diaspora, and their return to the Jewish Homeland. Support this mission on www.aliyahmagazine.com

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      David Lev produced documentaries and television commercials before making Aliyah in 1999. He then organized Diplomatic Supplements for the Jerusalem Post. Later he led a PR mission to the British Government, aimed at increasing awareness of Israel's terrorist problems. David decided upon more practical measures by serving with a  volunteer unit tasked with preventing such attacks. He has won a leading writing award for a competition hosted by A7. David is founder & editor of Aliyah Magazine, dedicated to attracting Jews to live in Israel.

      Av 15, 5772, 8/3/2012

      A Jews' Inner Cry


      Aliyah Magazine is dedicated towards bringing Jews home to Israel. This 'exclusive' story reflects the burning question of a Jew's right to live in Israel despite previous mistakes, in this case of a spiritual nature that could happen to any Jew in similar circumstances.

      The following story relates to the triumphant search of one Jew to find his true identity. Dale Streisand was born in the United States and grew up in California during a period of major cultural change. 

      Like anyone without a strong foundation in Judaism, Dale became easy prey for both eastern & western religious cults. However, throughout his remarkable journey and despite all odds, Dale managed to keep alive a flickering flame of Judaism and a love for the Jewish Homeland in Israel.

      His adventure took him across many continents, and led close to the inner circle of highly influential leaders. Dale is a first cousin of the famous Jewish singer Barbara Streisand. He was also a close confidante of an internationally acclaimed guru and even stayed in the home of the Beatle’s George Harrison, himself a follower of that spiritual leader. Dale came through his own brush with fame and its associated trappings, to discover for himself the humble but great source of Judaism. 

      This story is still unfolding before our eyes. It encompasses the very real ‘wandering Jew’ complex that even today lures many Jewish & Israeli youth to explore foreign cultures, with potentially damaging results. In sharing this epic adventure Dale hopes to encourage such youth at risk to appreciate the wonderful heritage that Judaism and the State of Israel has to offer.’                          

      The Jew’s Inner Cry

      I was raised in a Jewish family near Los Angeles. My parents were both from a strict Jewish background. I never met my mother’s parents as they passed away before I was born. My mother once told me that her grandfather was a teacher of Rabbis. They were from Poland. My fathers’ parents were very Orthodox and came from Galacia. As I grew up, my parents tried hard but little by little compromised on Jewish points. Though I had my bar mitzvah and went to schul on Yom Kippur as well as celebrated Chanukah, as well as some Hebrew school, my parents didn’t do all the things a Jew should do.

      Many things about Judaism I never learned.

      I remember once when I was quite young, about four or five years old sitting in the schul. Inside, there was a huge beautiful Magan David stained glass window. It made a strong impression on me as I thought ” how great God is” I can never forget that day!

      After my bar mitzvah, at about the age of 14, I started experimenting with things, as was natural for a kid of my age. I grew up in the 60′s in California. I really was a searcher of truth, and what better place and time could there be to begin that quest!

      As I hitchhiked from L.A. to Northern California many times, I would meet Hare Krishna’s along the way and had many talks with them. At that time I had no idea that Judaism also shared many teachings about the soul transmigrating to different bodies to perfect itself. Neither like many other Jews living in California at that time, did I have any idea as to how sublime the Torah was.

      However, with a natural Jewish inclination towards the spiritual, and denied the opportunity to find it within Judaism at that period, I got interested in an Indian religion and studied it intently.

      I joined the Hare Krishna movement, complete with their colorful costumes and street theatrical performances! Being a good universal Jew, I became very strict in their teachings and based my life around it. My desire for a more uplifting spiritual dimension had for now been temporarily met.

      While some wondering Jews made their own version of Aliyah within the vast American continent or the Australian outback, at the impressionable age of 19, I made my first trip to India. What an adventurous people we Jews are!  Can you imagine exchanging delicious bagels for dry chapatti bread? At least the taste was closer to matzos!

      Let me explain a little about Indian religion, as I understood it. It has many diverse and different branches to it. My own interest was perked when I studied Indian healing and astrology. Over time, I became quite proficient in Indian astrology as I had a teacher of astrology in India. During my own spiritual healing process, I came to better understand Abraham, our forefather’s taste for studying the stars before finding the one divine source behind our universe.

      But for then, it would be many years before I would truly experience that light.

      I would be locked in the Indian mode for 34 years! This included a period when the Beatles were spreading the message of the Maharajah, and Ravi Shankar was the Jimmy Hendrix of the sitar. It also included the start of an endless track of so many good young Israeli’s, so intensely drawn to the allure of the enchanted east.

      I sat at the feet of gurus in India in their huts. I bathed in the Ganges River. But I always knew I was a Jew even though Indian philosophy tried to say that I wasn’t. Even though I was involved in Indian philosophy, there was something deep down inside telling me that I was different. I knew that to be true and couldn’t fully accept all of the Indian religious beliefs and culture. My Jewish Nefesh was always telling me something. Even with some of the chants of the Hare Krishna’s, I would sing them to myself in the tune of Shalom Aleichem or Hava Nagila, not as easy as it sounds! I would even tell people that I was a Hindu Jew. However, I didn’t go so far as adopting the name of Guru Ravi Streisand.

      I was the epitome of the Jewish joke about ‘oy…my son has become a guru, but he’s doing well!’

      I was indeed doing well, giving lectures in many countries about my acquired knowledge it. In Mexico at the Hare Krishna center, I taught basic Sanskrit to children. I really was committed to it. Can you imagine 34 years? I could tell you stories that would turn ones head around.

      Looking back, I realized that at that time the Hare Krishna movement had many Jews and most of the leadership was Jewish. Accordingly, during my progression with that movement over that period, I never thought it was wrong as a group, as so many Jews were involved. Little did I know how wrong it really was for a true Jewish soul. Thankfully, having emerged into the true Jewish path, I felt some consolation knowing that it’s now possible to help Jews who go off the dereck from Judaism, to steer them back to being a Jew and follow the teachings of Judaism. On a personal basis, I like to encourage one to be strictly Torah observant and also to be proud that they truly are Jewish and special, and know that Israel is really our true home.

      However, revisiting the past,  I still had a long way to go. Unfortunately, during all those years, I had marital problems and never really experienced shalom bayit (peace at home). I encountered many unfortunate events in my personal life. The road was to get even harder, as we shall soon discover in the next episode, coming soon.

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      Tammuz 28, 5772, 7/18/2012

      Wanted An Aliyah Community


      Aliyah Magazine (AM) is dedicated to building an Aliyah Community that will help encourage Jews to move to Israel. You can hear us live tonight July 18th at 7pm Israeli time on Aliyah Fever, right here on Arutz 7.

      However, lets explore the question as to why an Aliyah Community is needed in the first place?

      There is an obvious need to maintain an upbeat and positive approach towards guiding our Jewish brothers & sisters home to Israel. Comments on most Aliyah blogs can easily prove the point that many Jews in the Diaspora work better at listing reasons not to move here, than reasons to do so. Conversely, most Jews already living in Israel usually reverse this argument, suggesting more reasons to live in Israel than remain in the Diaspora. Hmmm! Something sounds remarkably odd here. Surely, those who have made the great transition would know better than those who haven't?

      However, the die hard Diaspora adherents will be pleased to hear the following: A percentage of Jews do indeed fail to stay in Israel after living here a few years. Is that music to your ears like Wagner's overtures in WW2 Europe? Probably not, as most caring Jews, even in the Diaspora, are most concerned for the welfare of the Jewish state. Accordingly, reasons not to make Aliyah often reflect grassroot concerns about their personal well-being, rather than an ideological stance against Zionism, typical of the Nutrei Karta. So let's address the realistic issue relating to the source of one's unease about moving to Israel. If most Jews in Israel advocate the relative good life of living as a Jew in Israel, than where else can negative concerns creep in? The percentage of Jews returning in 'failure' could certainly be a good starting point. The other source...whinging ex-pat Israelis... do a better job of discrediting themselves, no matter where they decide to live.

      AM has been fortunate enough to enter into dialogue with many 'failed' olim (Jews making Aliyah). A common problem that many faced, had to do with a lack of support, when it was most needed. A typical example would be a trip to a governmental department where Hebrew is more prevalent than other languages, or a shopping visit to a supermarket where most products are also listed in Hebrew. Naturally, these examples can be amplified and expanded upon. However, in my humble opinion, this is a 'valid' reason to become stressed out. It happens to most olim whilst struggling to come to grips with learning basic Hebrew phrases. Thankfully, we experienced the wonderful help of passing Israelis with a small understanding of English, and an even greater understanding of compassion, which came to our assistance. Although, that's not always to be relied upon, and no substitute for whatever efforts one can make on a personal basis to strive forward with learning Hebrew. However, it can be a trying experience.

      Israel does provide excellent services to assist integration, including the ulpan - free Hebrew learning centers for new arrivals. However, without a wider framework totally geared up for these olim, some will fall through the cracks. I don't endorse humiliating those brave Jews who made Aliyah in the first place and returned at great personal cost. I've been in correspondence with many wishing to return to Israel, and better understand some very simple needs they have that could make all the difference to a more successful Aliyah experience. Therefore to the contrary, I take it as a personal failure myself, that we as an established community were not there for them, when help was most needed and simple to provide, such as assistance in translating a document, directions to a doctor, advice on where to live, etc. However, we may be an established community but do we recognize ourselves as such, with a focal point to rally around?

      In keeping with my opening statement, let me now repeat that we do need an upbeat and positive approach towards encouraging Jews to move to the one and only Jewish Homeland in the world...Israel. However, in light of what has been said let me add a third word...'caring'...we also need a caring approach that goes beyond the ability of any one individual to provide. An Aliyah Community has an excellent chance of providing the ideal solution. First, let's briefly examine what else is out there, which can do the required job?

      Israel has a 'klitah' a government reception service for olim. Nefesh B' Nefesh, the Jewish Agency, along with other sterling organizations also assists olim. However, let me now share a true story I heard relating to a sad lonely death in London. The year was around 1960, the British government had introduced a proud new welfare system that would benefit all.

      An elderly pensioner had starved to death in the heart of London. There was absolutely no reason for him to have done so. As the story was related to me, by an elderly Londoner, none of his neighbors had bothered to check on him. Here comes the punch line - everyone thought the wonderful welfare system would have taken care of him, so didn't think it important to check for themselves! Does that now sound familiar?

      An Aliyah Community is urgently needed that comprises of caring individuals, as well as subscribing organizations. However, it needs to be a grassroots venture, driven by those who understand that a caring community begins with shalom bayit (peace at home), and extends outwards to enquiring after your neighbor's well being. Does he or she need help with something that could be fairly straightforward to provide? There are many incredible hesed (kindness) organizations in israel, which one could turn to depending upon the nature of one's challenge.

      In a previous article I wrote, one comment asked me somewhat unkindly about what jobs I'm providing myself for new arrivals. That's actually a start, because strip away the expectation of placing everything on one person, individual Jews in Israel can network pretty well together when required. That brings me to the the heart of the matter, we can and should develop an Aliyah Community, which serves as an information network for all!

      The good news is that this concept is finding enough support to make it a viable enterprise. An Aliyah Community includes those in the Diaspora who support the idea of Jews making Aliyah in the first place. Accordingly, one doesn't need to be a Jew to subscribe to this concept. Naturally in keeping with encouraging Jews to make Aliyah, this community strongly embraces our brave brothers & sisters who have shaken off the dust of the exile and are currently moving to Israel. It also extends to Jews living in Israel that have arrived from the Diaspora. There is no time limit or geographical limitations on subscribing to an Aliyah Community.

      The common factor is that an Aliyah Community can provide a framework for helping each other, no matter what stage of our journey we've encountered.

      What do you need to do? Visit our website at Aliyah Magazine. Participate on the AM Aliyah Forum. There is absolutely no cost, not even to your insistence upon remaining in the Diaspora until the messianic magic carpet arrives, although El Al gives free tickets for those making Aliyah now! Please check this out. An Aliyah Community is all about strengthening Israel in the most practical way...encouraging and helping Jews to move to the Jewish Homeland in Israel. Shalom!



      Tammuz 18, 5772, 7/8/2012

      Israel Serves G-d - 'Tal Law' Balancing Act


      Aliyah Magazine is concerned for the well being of Jews everywhere, and feels that the key to the success of our people is found right here in the Jewish Homeland.   

      For righteous Jews exploring a move to Israel, current events concerning the proposed mass induction of religious Jews into the IDF, probably leaves a bitter taste in their longing to be re-united with our people.

      From Independence Day May 14th in 1948 onwards, the Jewish State of Israel had a subtle agreement between secular and religious forces concerning the division of power. It was no coincidence that the words 'Rock of Israel' was drafted into the emotional declaration speech in Tel Aviv. Rock was the subtle code to mean all things to all people. In particular, just about every citizen of the new state knew that this particular 'rock' alluded to Hashem.

      The religious leaders were granted control of everything that maintained the Jewish nature of the state, which included the rabbinate and its powers to impose marriage laws, conversions, and other matters pertaining to Judaism, upon the country. Secular forces were equally granted power of mainly non-religious matters such as financial control, defence, transportation etc. Naturally, grey areas existed whereby each camp had a vested interest in maintaining its own ideology. Education was one such bone of contention, and actually serving in the army being subjected to a daily routine that could go against one's religious or secular interests was another.

      Until recent years, the status quo was quietly maintained, and each camp enjoyed fairly broad acceptance of their own pursuits. Then over the last decade, conflicting interests have come into play, which has caused the very Jewish nature of our country to come under close scrutiny.

      From certain religious quarters, a relentless drive to bring public funds into their establishments began to cause resentment from the general public. This 'nuisance factor' could have been kept under control, if it weren't for a simultaneous tirade of complaints against the mainly secular government, concerning other needs of the religious public such as banning driving on Shabbat, separated seating on public buses, amongst other issues deemed of prime importance. However, the critical proverbial straw, concerned a growing attitude of hostility towards the Israeli government, which included an almost indifference to those serving in Israel's security forces. During times of rioting, that indifference also exploded into violence against Israel's police force.  

      Hence, the secular public that had quietly tolerated what they saw as an increasing measure of  ingratitude from a religious sector that they felt they subsidized, defended, and allowed to prosper, could be understandably ripe for a counter attack, in light of a perceived assault upon its establishment.

      However, in Israel nothing is that simply black & white. Within each camp, extremist elements feel there is much to gain through bringing matters to a head. The Neutrei Karta is one prime example of a religious body obsessed with destroying the Jewish State of Israel. On the left there are equally radically motivated groups, also aiming to destroy the 'Jewish' control of Israel. These leftist groups openly challenge the very Torah values upon which the 'Rock' of Israel was created, according to religious adherents.  

      Just as our forefather Jacob took practical measures on the ground, as well as prayer, to defend his family against attack, so we too could learn from his example. After all, Jacob was also known as Israel; and we are the Children of Israel. Perhaps, the greatest legacy related to his life is the 'Shema', the Jewish prayer that swears alleigance to the one G-d of Israel. Nearly every Jew, regardless of their level of religious observance, is familiar with this declaration of faith. This prayer acknowledges the unity of the Children of Israel in proclaiming alleigance to one G-d.  

      Jews going into battle would be ready to utter this prayer with their last breath. However, more related to present day events, our anscestors understood the value of both serving G-d and standing side by side as a nation especially in battle. Accordingly, there would appear to be something that both sides could learn from each other?                

      The secular camp could well question where their present drive against Jewish studying of the Torah is likely to take them. It doesn't take too much imagination to understand that Israel is getting some form of divine help, and if a sector of our population claims to be working on Israel's behalf in the spiritual dimension of pleading for our survival, than it might be sensible to at least give some form of plausibility to this claim. Although, there is far more involved in studying G-d's laws than for making personal pleas. However, if Israel is serving G-d, than one would be inclined to feel that the reverse is true.

      Of course, for those who have no desire to acknowlege an existence greater than their own, and even work towards undermining those who do, steps should be taken to counter their intentions, should one truly believe in the G-d of Israel. In this arena, many religious sectors could take heed of the cry of those who are more concerned with maintaining a balanced approach to an obvious problem, rather than allowing extremists on both sides to take control. 

      Accordingly, acknowledging some form of debt to a society that by and large does provide for their material needs and sends their own children forward to the battle front, which protects all, should be forthcoming as soon as possible. Indeed, it is possible to serve in a religious unit in the IDF, although other national service is also not such a burden, provided one can still reconcile the sages maxim of 'No Flour No Torah' (& vice-versa).    

      The secular seek to humble many of the religious rebels against the Jewish State of Israel, and maybe perhaps, there is some higher logic that allows for this eventuality to happen on some level or other? Many religious folk could take to heart that serving G-d can also be accomplished through serving G-d's chosen children...Israel. The 'sane' secular could also contemplate upon the concept that Israel herself needs to serve G-d.

      I hope that much soul searching can be achieved, which will result in a stronger bond between all Jews; one less ambigous than any rock that could be cast against its own people.

      Aliyah Magazine also reaches out to our Jewish brothers & sisters in the Diaspora. Please join us here in Israel. This is very much a part of your own struggle as well. We all have to work together to strengthen Israel, and serve Hashem as one!         

                  



      Tammuz 11, 5772, 7/1/2012

      Circumcision trial about Jewish survival in Diaspora


      Aliyah Magazine cares about Jews worldwide and encourages them to return to the Jewish Homeland 

      Who's benefit is this latest court ruling  to criminalize circumcision aimed for? The very cries of empathy for the physical welfare of a young baby boy, would generally appear to be a reasonable cause in the name of humanity. German intellectuals after all should know better than most what's in the best interests of mankind? The name of science has gained the higher ground over that of religion. Maintaining a tradition that is at the very root of Judaism has less meaning than becoming part of an enlightened race.  

      There is a large photo print in Yad Vashem that captures the faces of fellow conspirators in the midst of plotting the final solution for the Jewish people. The faces reflected the cream of German society, nearly each signature to that wretched document came from someone with high academic qualifications. In any other society they could have been mistaken for benign human beings, were it not for the benefit of hindsight that allowed us to grasp the full impact of their dreadful deed.

      Today, a new curse has fallen upon the Jewish people. Part of its venom arises out of the ashes of the fallen Third Reich. The physical discontinuation of the Jewish race has been replaced by the threat upon its spiritual survival. The voices of reason still echo from the enlightened corridors of European's cultured palaces; albeit universities, government buildings, amongst other vessels of power. However, what message really comes across to Jews living in the Diaspora?

      One thing's for sure, we're going to hear a lot of indignant Jewish voices being raised against this latest assault on Judaism. They'll raise it in the name of preserving Judaism and in the name of maintaining civilized behavour by their Gentile hosts. However, in my opinion, this is not the right path to pursue.

      The only outcome that they can hope for is further acceptance to live as Jews amongst the nations. Yet, this is the very path that can only create greater obstacles in its track. Where is this path leading?

      The ultimate battle ground for Jewish survival is right here in Israel. And the only sure path for victory is through being united as one people. Sadly, the voice of the Jew in the wilderness is not yet spent in futility. Israel is a wonderful country and although I refer to battles, I do so knowing that Israel is the safest place for our people. It has to be, it is the Jewish Homeland.

      Accordingly, I suggest that the messages coming out of such courtrooms actually has a potentially benign side. Jews do not belong in a country that having failed to physically wipe them off the face of the earth, now attempts to also uproot them from their heavenly source.

      Israel exists, and as long as Jews make the dreadful mistake of replacing Jerusalem for Berlin, New York, London or anywhere else, they will continue to face even greater proof as to where they truly belong.

      If even one Jew can grasp the reality of the changing shape of a Diapsora, which is uprooting their feeling of complacency, than these words are worth while. Should that same Jew take one step further towards coming home to Israel, than that will make some sense out of the nonsense facing Jews in the Diaspora. Then, that lowly court ruling will inform that Jew that the very survival of our people is at stake, and there is only one Jewish Homeland in which to raise a wonderful Jewish child, complete with their Divine spirit!  

      I wish shalom to those Germans who sincerely care about our Jewish people, and not to take this article personally.                 

               

              

           



      Tammuz 7, 5772, 6/27/2012

      Great challenges faced by my wife!


      Aliyah Magazine is dedicated to building up an Aliyah Community that attracts Jews home to Israel. This following story underlines the importance of getting it right!  

      This is the second article related to the efforts of an Ethiopian man married to a Jew, with Jewish children, to assist their efforts to make Aliyah. The first article (see Aliyah Blogs) gave an introduction to their plight. We now get a better glimpse into the very personal challenges they face on a daily basis. I urge anyone in a position to help to further their quest, to do so.

      In my opinion, we should do our best to return home the many African infiltrators that have smuggled themselves across our borders and unleashed a program of criminals acts such as rape, violent robbery etc., against our Jewish nation. However, Israel should never succumb to becoming a nation of fascist bigots. Our people were dispersed to all corners of the earth and have many distinct colorful faces. We should not fail to assist those in such desperate need based on one’s concept of what color Jews should be. Those dispersed to northern climates ‘suffered’ a loss of skin pigmentation from the healthy glow of living in Israel.

      Imagine that this family lives in Brooklyn, Sydney or Golder’s Green in London, and is experiencing the same unacceptable fate?

      Nor do I care that the husband is a non-Jew. He is a decent human being dedicated to his wife & family. We cannot stand idly by while our brother or sister’s blood is endangered! That goes for Jews no matter where they are scattered in the Diaspora. It is well past the hour to safely gather in our people.

      “Dear David and readers,

      Previously I tried to reveal the truth challenges faced by children while we are striving to live here in Ethiopia. Everybody who used to pass his childhood being a child of a Jews ancestor in Ethiopia may understand and share what I stated earlier.

      Besides my children, my wife has also obliged to pass through unbeatable challenges since her childhood. Even after our marriage, the deeds of the Ethiopian population manifested against the Jews are so bitter. Despite my efforts to assisting her, she suffered a lot. At the beginning my relatives rejected and pressurized her to leave me. Due to the true affection she had they couldn’t succeed. I have been always standing in favor of her. Through time, we are able to convince the relatives and currently assisting our fight to overcome others pressure.

      David,

      What did you feel if kids are rushing for home as they see you? What measures will you take if somebody who has been carrying a child hides/cover the face suddenly as he sees you? It was the day to day happenings and still is practiced as my wife bypassed. Recently, one of our neighbors called a friend of my wife who is living near to us and enquired whither she is  a relatives or not to us. The friend confirmed them as if she is not our relative. Then, they advised her to leave our village and relocate to somewhere that is not accessible to us. This is just to mean that my wife is “an Evil eye” or” hyena rider”. In fact she is not! My children also are not evil eye!

      The government structures who are responsible to settle this type matter are themselves unchanged from the society. They can’t protect us. This is why we finally agreed to want to move to the holy land of God, Israel where my wife ancestors have been rooted.”



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