The World Mizrachi movement, with the launch of its new website, has initiated a video campaign to attract an unlikely demographic to make aliyah (immigrate to Israel). The target audience: Yiddish speaking hareidi-religious Jews.
While many hareidi groups oppose the state of Israel, claiming Jews should wait for the messiah before returning to their land, the religious Zionist movement known for its popular Bnei Akiva youth movement is looking to dialogue with hareidim directly and convince them to come home to Israel.
A new video featuring Yiddish in promoting aliyah was posted to YouTube on Tuesday, as part of a campaign circulating among hareidi media channels, websites, blogs and forums.
The campaign was initiated by Jeremy Gimpel, who ran on the Jewish Home list in the last Knesset elections. Gimpel explains "our goal is to spread an Israel consciousness and ultimately fulfill the Jewish dream of restoring the Jewish People to our ancient home land."
"Smartphones and YouTube allow us to reach communities that at large would never otherwise invite us to speak at their synagogues," adds Gimpel. "Using the Internet properly has the potential to change world Jewry.”
The video can be seen here:
The video's Yiddish lines include sentiments such as "the Land our ancestors/fathers walked...the Land that is being revived...the Land we have fought and sacrificed for...the Land we have prayed for."
A quote from the Torah appears, reading "the Land that the Lord your G-d always seeks out. The eyes of the Lord your G-d are upon it from the beginning of the year until the year’s end“ (Deuteronomy 11:12). The video ends "we are returning to the Land of Israel now."
In explaining the video's target audience, Gimpel remarked that the hareidi community "is full of remarkable people who make great sacrifices and dedicate their life to their beliefs. My hope for the Yiddish speaking hassidim is that they begin to see living in Israel as a part of their religious responsibly and ultimately a part of Jewish destiny."
The Mizrachi website reports that a Yiddish speaking hareidi journalist said the video is well-timed: "this may be the right time to reach out to the (anti-Zionist) Satmar hassidim and other hassidic sects."
"Western culture is infiltrating our communities and people are starting to consider (Israel) as a real option to raising their families in an uncorrupted Jewish environment," added the journalist. "The State of Israel, which was once seen as a threat to a Torah-based life, is being seen as a potential safe haven for people who want to live a Torah-based life."
The Mizrachi movement was founded in 1902, with the name being an acronym for Merkaz Ruchani (Spiritual Center). According to the movement's site, the ideology of Mizrachi is based on "the Jewish people in the Land of Israel living according to the Torah of Israel.”