Yshai Amichai
Yshai AmichaiCourtesy

In a previous article, I introduced the term “Israel Outreach,” with the aim of restoring Jews in their Land and as a nation of God. As opposed to Jewish outreach, which is focused on bringing individual Jews back to religious observance, Israel outreach is focused on the national goals of Aliyah and national Torah observance in Israel.

As Whoopi Goldberg recently brought to our attention, not everyone understands whether Jews are a race, a religion, a nation.or all three This mistake is furthered by the race options offered us on US federal forms (White, Black, American Indian, Asian, or Pacific Islander), wherein most Jews tend to select “White.” Jewish is not even an option there.

Most Jews in America refer to themselves as Jewish Americans, American being a nationality and Judaism being their religion, but Judaism is not really a religion. This might offend many Jews, even those who are not religiously observant, but it is true. As opposed to all other religions, your faith does not make you a Jew.

Judaism is Not Only a Religion

Religions are based on faith. A Christian need only accept certain precepts to become a Christian, the way a Muslim need only say certain things to become a Muslim, but you can say that Moses was right all you want and that will not make you a Jew.

The opposite is also true. Rambam compiled 13 Principles of Faith which most American Jews do not adhere to. You can be a Jew and deny them, and even Orthodox rabbis will have to admit that you are a Jew regardless of what you believe in, if your mother is a Jew, regardless of what she believes in, making you a Jew as well.

In fact, believing in something is what can make you a non-Jew, for example believing in Islam, Christianity, or Buddhism. If you join one of those religions then you are no longer a Jew, although you can return, but if you believe in nothing then you’re still a Jew. You can be a Jewish atheist.

Even God does not require you to believe in Him. That is expected but not required. Your faith will not change anything for God. Unlike religions whose gods exist only in the minds of men, the God of Israel Exists regardless of what we believe in, which is why we are required to know Him and observe His Commandments.

Judaism is a Nation

Most American Jews might consider themselves American by nationality, but they are wrong. Their nation is Israel. They might consider their Judaism a tribal or communal designation, like their city affiliations, but they feel little connection to Israel. Whoopi Goldberg would have to say that they are mistaken. Judaism is a race, so why not a nation?

Most American Jews are listed as “White” race in US census figures, and they are not religiously observant. They are secular and assimilated Jews, intermarrying at a rate up to 72%, and identifying only marginally with Judaism. They don’t call themselves a race or “Semites,” but say something to offend them and they might call you an anti-Semite.

They might be less offended if you attack Israel. They might even take the side of an Israel-hater because they don’t equate themselves with Israel, but where do you think the name Jew came from? The word “Jew” is from Judah, a tribe of Israel. If they are not Israel, then what are they?

Jews Are Israel

Jews are Israel. We are the children of Israel. If we don’t agree with the Israeli government, that does not make us a different nationality. The Jews in Israel and the Jews in America, together with the Jews of other nations, are one people. We are one nation. The nation of Israel.

Calling ourselves Americans does not change anything. If anything, it is only a dual nationality. It does not matter whether we have Israeli citizenship or not, our original nationality remains Israel. American is a relatively new term for us in our very long history.

Israel Outreach

The goal of Israel outreach is to remind Jews of who they are, that they are Israel, the nation of God. This is a goal that cannot fail because God Stands behind it. Jews might be forgetful, but God is not. He reminds us of this generation after generation, without exception.

Why then should we participate in this endeavor if God will make it happen either way? God will remind American Jews that they are the nation of Israel, that they belong in Israel, and that they are His Covenant people. Our participation is voluntary, but it is required for our success as a nation.

God will bring American Jews to Israel when the time comes, whether we like it or not, and we will have to answer to Him, whether we make it to Israel or not. The difference is where we will stand on this. Are we a part of it or not?

God will bring American Jews to Israel eventually, the way He brought other Jews to Israel, but they did not fully return to Him. Our participation is required for us to fully return to God. God can move us from one place to another like a leaf tossed in the wind, and Save us time and again, or repeatedly destroy us to no avail, when our hearts are far from Him, or we can return to God of our own volition and achieve national success in Israel.

Israel outreach is all about reaching out to other Jews abroad and returning to God together as a nation. Individually we can all be as observant as we want, but that will not get us very far as a nation.

Yshai Amichai is a father of six and an author with a legal education, whose books advocate upholding the Torah as a national Constitution. He may be contacted at: [email protected]