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      Hollywood to the Holy Land
      by Tzvi Fishman
      Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Jewish Creativity and Culture

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      Before making Aliyah to Israel, Tzvi Fishman was a Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbi Kook, Eretz Yisrael, Art of T'shuva, War and Peace, and Torat Eretz Yisrael.

       

      Elul 20, 5771, 9/19/2011

      The Failure of Diaspora Jewry


      Exile from Eretz Yisrael is the worst punishment that can befall the Jewish People.

      Given this terrible predicament, the task of Diaspora Jewry was to survive the exile and prepare us to return to the Land of Israel. The goal of returning to Israel is emphasized many times in the Torah, and in the visions of our Prophets. For nearly 2000 years, we prayed and dreamed about returning to Zion. Then something went terribly wrong. When the State of Israel was established, and we finally had the chance to return to our Land, the vast majority of Jewish communities in the West turned their backs on the opportunity. Instead of wanting to escape the exile, they wanted to stay. In defiance of the clear promises of the Torah, the Prophets, and 2000 years of prayers and dreams, in defiance of the clear discernable fact that G-d was gathering His outcasts back to Zion, the Diaspora communities in the West decided to stay where they were, living amongst the gentiles in foreign lands. Instead of rushing to rebuild Israel, they continued to build and strengthen their bastions in exile. After 2000 years of yearning, when the time came to return, they balked. By and large, they totally failed to heed the call of Redemption and join the hundreds of thousands of Sefardi Jews, Yemenite Jews, and Holocaust survivors who were returning to Israel, in accord with ancient prophesies, age-long prayers, and the will of the Torah.

      My friends, in this all-important matter, Diaspora Jewry, with all of its institutions, organizations, synagogues, day schools, and Jewish newspapers, has failed. Yes, for most of the long and dark exile, it waged a mighty battle to preserve Jewish traditions and keep the light burning, but when the gateway was opened to return to our homeland, it failed. Its task was to keep the remnant of our nation intact until we could return home to Zion, and when the time came, it forgot its mission. Instead of action – silence. Instead of commitment – lip service. Instead of sending their children on aliyah to Israel – they sent checks. Instead of coming to live here – they came for a week-long visit (all 20% of them – the others haven’t bothered to come at all), and in obvious punishment for their preferring to remain amongst the goyim, assimilation is rising and rising at an unstoppable rate, a hundred thousand Jews per year.

      All of the directors and presidents of the Jewish organizations and federations and committees and leagues and unions who didn't and still don't call upon their members to pack up and go, they all should be replaced with braver souls. All of the rabbis who didn't and still don't urge their congregations to go en mass to Israel should return to the beis midrash and read through the Torah once again. True, for mature people who are long settled in their ways, the challenge of aliyah is not easy, but any Jewish parent who doesn't exhort his children to leave the galut and build his or her future in Israel betrays his true duty as a Jewish parent. Every Jewish leader in the Diaspora who didn’t pour all of his energies into rallying his constituents to make aliyah failed as a Jewish leader. BECAUSE THE WHOLE GOAL OF THE DIASPORA WAS TO SURVIVE THE EXILE AND PREPARE THE JEWS FOR THE PRAYED-FOR RETURN TO ZION.

      This is the goal of the Torah, or our Prophets, and the goal of our prayers. The Diaspora isn’t meant to last forever. The curse isn’t supposed to be extended and embraced. We are meant to come home.

      But when the opportunity arose, something went wrong, went wrong, went wrong, went wrong, went wrong, went wron, went wro, went wo, went w, went, wen, we, w……….