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The Incredible Diaspora Jew

By Tzvi Fishman
5/24/2010, 12:00 AM

Diaspora Jews are incredible. I have nothing but respect for them. I mean it. They are a lot stronger than I am. To avoid sinking in the melting pot of America, I had to get out of there as fast as I could once I realized that Eretz Yisrael is the land of the Jews, not Los Angeles or New York.

I know that in the past, out of my great love for my Diaspora brethren, I wrote pretty harshly about life in the Diaspora, in order to shock Jews into recognizing the dangers of living in gentile lands, surrounded by foreign cultures that, in the words of the Gaon of Vilna, eat away at Jewish life like worms. But now that I am trying to turn over a new leaf and be a kinder, more gentle person, I want to express my admiration for their ability to hold on to their Jewish identity while living amongst the heathens. Kol hakavod! I could never have done it.

I am not referring to those tragic souls who have assimilated. Not that I blame them. Who can stand up to all the temptations? After all, in a land where everyone is equal, what’s the difference between a Jew and a non-Jew? That’s what a kid is taught ever since grade school, so why not marry a Cindy or a Patty? It breaks my heart, but I don’t blame them. Unless someone is attached to the Torah, intermarriage is bound to happen.

I am talking about those Diaspora Jews who understand that a strong Jewish identity is a vital part of their lives. These are the people who read Arutz 7, have a keen interest in Israel, attend Israel Day concerts, observe the Jewish holidays, study Torah whenever they can, and play a part in strengthening their local Jewish communities. To me they are heroes who are doing their best to keep the sinking ship from disappearing completely.