Religious-Zionism Asks: Where to from Here?

"Gathering and Renewing Strength" - Under this theme, hundreds of people will gather this afternoon at a Jerusalem hall to discuss practical lessons and renewal of faith following the expulsion.

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Hillel Fendel, | updated: 13:07


Heading the event, which will be held at the Tamir Hall opposite the Har Hotzvim Hi-Tech Park, will be former Chief Rabbi Avraham Shapira.

The event's promotional literature states, "Jews! Men and women, adults and youth, all those whose heart is wounded from the bear hug of an estranged government - let us arise together to establish a vision that is loyal to the G-d of Israel, and to open practical channels for the expression of true Jewish identity and the inheritance of the Land of Israel, amidst faith and joy."

The gathering will commence at 4 PM. The first session, at 5 PM, will be moderated by Rabbi Hillel Horowitz of Hevron, and will feature Torah perspectives on the post-expulsion situation. Participating will be Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburg of Chabad, Rabbi Zalman Melamed of Beit El, Rabbi David Chai HaCohen of Bat Yam, Rabbi Elyakim Levanon of Elon Moreh, Rabbi Dudi Dudkevich of Yitzhar, Rabbi Avraham Shreiber of Kfar Darom, and others.

The second session will involve practical discussions on various topics, such as education, the army, media, Temple awareness, legal issues and returnees to Judaism. Among the speakers will be Shmuel Medad of the Honenu Legal Aid organization, Emanuel Shilo of the B'Sheva newspaper, and others. After the evening Maariv prayer, a Chabad "fabrengen" (liturgical and festive meal) will be held.

A new movement named "Orange Dawn" will hold its launching ceremony on Thursday evening in Merkaz Shapira, near Ashkelon. One of the organizers, Shimon Re'em of Haifa, explained to Arutz-7,
"We feel that the reason why we lost Gush Katif, and why we will soon lose Shomron and even Haifa, is because we have not 'connected' sufficiently with the nation... We have neglected the youth. For instance, we built a beautiful religious education system, but little by little it is becoming a hareidi system. It won't help us if we just make sure to educate our own children better; we have to go to the same schools as them, and be in the same youth movements as them, and we'll provide our strong spirit and we'll influence them, not the other way around."

Re'em believes that religious-Zionist Jewry in Israel is also neglecting other areas, such as the judiciary, commerce, and the army, and "we have had no contact with the other sectors in the country."

Interviewer Ariel Kahane noted that this point is debatable.

Rabbi Zalman Melamed has taken the opposite approach, one that will likely be the theme at the gathering in Tamir. He recently wrote,
"The ambition and goal of enlisting in, contributing to, and changing the army, has not proven itself. More than the religious officers changed the army, the army changed them. With the educational system, when we realized that we could not change it from within, we changed it from without. When it became clear that we could not improve the public-religious high schools, the yeshiva high schools were established... and this helped strengthen the entire religious education system. We must do the same with other systems and frameworks in the country. Wherever it's hard to change from within, we must change from without, in order to change both...
In short, we can act independently in education, media, courts and the economy, and thus have an influence on the entire country. We do not want to disengage from the country, nor can we; we are one people. But we are choosing a faster way to uplift the country to its true destiny: to be the State of the Jewish Nation, flying the banner of faith and Torah."