Making Aliyah
Making AliyahFlash 90

My friends and family who have made Aliya over the years did so because of their love for Medinat Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael and Torat Yisrael (the Jewish State, the Holy Land, and the Torah). Never in my life did I ever envision that American Jews would think of leaving the United States to make Aliyah because of the spread of antisemitism .

Unfortunately recent data seems to indicate that there should be a concern. Sixty three percent of all religious based violence is against Jews. In a recent poll of hiring managers, almost a third of the hiring managers respondents said it was permissible to discriminate against Jews. There are many organizations, both private and governmental, fighting antisemitism and yet antisemitism only seems to be getting worse.

Jews are being discriminated against in hiring for jobs. Jewish college students are afraid to expose their Jewishness in Universities around the country. Jews are being attacked on the streets because they are Jewish.

Schools and Shuls and Jewish community centers are being defaced. In New York City alone there was a 125 % increase in antisemitic hate crimes. Shuls and schools need to hire armed guards to prevent terrorist entry. Social media sites are filled with ant -Jewish tropes being read by 100s of millions of readers. Jew-free zones are proposed at universities. A small, but vocal, percentage of our governmental representatives on both sides of the isle are openly antisemitic. Is this Germany in the 1930’s or is this America in 2022? This scenario is not only happening in the USA, but we also see and experience it in Europe as well.

While I don’t expect to see a Holocaust repeating itself as in the late 1930’s and 40’s, Jews are rapidly assimilating and melting into Western culture trying to hide their Jewishness.

So what are the American Jewish leaders doing about this situation? In my opinion very little. Just like the Jewish leaders of Prewar Europe , who thought the problem would go away by itself, and discouraged their Jewish population from leaving Eastern Europe and Germany for Palestine and America in the early twentieth century, the American Jewish leadership of today thinks it can ride out or solve the antisemitism problem. Only decades ago, when the European Rabbinic leadership eventually recognized the reality of the problem, it was too late. The lack of early action by these Jewish leaders ended in unnecessary deaths of many Jews .

The current American Jewish leadership is taking the same approach. Its leaders believe antisemitsm will go away. Or that they will educate the antisemites not to hate us . That has never worked . The only answer to this problem is Aliya to Israel. But it it seems the American Jewsih leadership does not want their communities to make Aliya. While they may make a kiddush after services for the trickle of American Jews who are making the hard decision to come to Israel, the American Jewish leadership is not encouraging, with all its strength, the necessity to further extend the center of Judaism to Israel.

In this week's Parsha of Vayeshev we learn about the sale of Yosef . The Torah says the pit was empty there was no water in it . Rashi explains the pit did not contain water, but it did contain snakes and scorpions.

It was Reiven who threw Yosef in the pit and it was Yehuda pulled from the pit and sold him to merchants who brought him to Egypt. But the Torah praises Reuven, but says Yehuda deserves no praise at all.

Rav Chaim Volozhiner explains this paradox.

A man is safer in a pit filled with snakes and scorpions in Eretz Yisrael (where the pit was located) than in opulent palaces in foreign lands. We can clearly see that is true today in America.

The Reform and Conservative Movements are on a rapid death march to assimilation and secularization as shown in the latest Pew study. Unfortunately, Reform and Conservation leadership do not encourage Aliya, and at times seem to be taking a position against Israel.

On the other hand, the Orthodox Leadership seems to think that Lakewood, Monsey, the Five Towns and Teaneck are the new Jerusalem. They appear to believe that they are not affected by assimilation or secularization. While the recent Pew study has indicated that 2 percent of the Orthodox are intermarrying, a much larger percentage is becoming secular. While their numbers are nowhere near the assimilation and secularization seen with the Reform and Conservative Movements, I expect that number to increase dramatically over the next decade.

Yes, there is a trickle of families making Aliya, but this is not because of the encouragement of their shul rabbis or yeshivas. Most of those families have made Aliya because of the Zionism they have seen in their families or during their summer experiences at camp. There are only a few Rabbis who make it their business to encourage their congregants to make Aliya.

We are living in the “Me” generation. It seems to me that the shuls and yeshivas are not promoting Aliya because they are worried about what happens to their shul or school if a significant percentage of members leave for Israel. They are taking a very shortsighted view.

While organizations like the OU, Young Israel, RCA and Aguda are extremely supportive of Toras Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael and once Olim do come to Israel they have set up a support infrastructure, they don’t provide American Rabbinic leadership with the direction and tools,on a weekly basis, that will help them motivate their communities to make Aliya. It is even sadder that our children in many Yeshivas are not taught to love the State of Israel. They are making the same mistake that the Jewish leadership in Eastern Europe made in the 1930’s . Let’s hope and pray that the results will not be the same.

What an opportunity exists to help provide a safe haven for the Jews of the Diaspora - while at the same time increasing Toras Eretz Yisrael and strengthening the economy and wellbeing of Medinat Yisrael with the expertise of the Diaspora Jews.

Paul D. Bloomis CEO of PDB FutureCom International (PFI) and member of the Board Of Directors of the New York Israel Chamber of Commerce.