Dear Diaspora Rabbis

This is not the time for well-meaning Internet messages and sermons about unity in times of trouble, nor about the renewal of Diaspora life when the epidemic has passed.

Tzvi Fishman

OpEds יגאל קליין
יגאל קליין

Dear Diaspora Rabbis.

In the shadow of the Coronavirus epidemic, with love and concern for you and your communities, now that your synagogues are closed, on behalf of myriads of Jews in Israel, many of them olim from the Diaspora, we bid you to reach out to your congregants via the Internet and telephone, and urge them to make Aliyah now. The gates are fast closing, but it is not too late. The Jewish Agency and Aliyah organizations like Nefesh B’Nefesh are still working. Just as the Government of Israel is endeavoring around the clock to return touring Israelis from around the world on emergency rescue flights, the State of Israel will do the same for you and your congregants if you act today. 

Now is not the time for procrastination and doubts. As Rabbi Kook once told a Jewish visitor to Israel, in order to free himself from the quagmire of the exile, a person must slay all extraneous excuses and not make an accounting (Heb. “Heshbone), just like the Jews exiting Egypt had to slay the King of Heshbone (name of king mentioned in the Bible)  before entering the Promised Land. 

This is not the time for well-meaning Internet messages and sermons about unity in times of trouble, nor about the renewal of Diaspora life when the epidemic has passed. It is time to get out forever. If such an immediate relocation is too difficult for the aged, at the very least, all young Jews must be told the truth. Let them pack up a backpack and flee.

Families in the Diaspora - don’t hold onto your children! Think about their futures, not about yourselves. Already around the world, looting and violence have begun. First stores will be vandalized when people have no money and food. In several places, the Jews have already been blamed for the plague. Just as the virus spread suddenly before it could be stopped, Jew hatred will explode like a fiery cloud of gas, scorching everyone in its wake. 

Overnight, masses will turn into savage skinheads and neo-Nazis. Hordes of desperate and wild packs will attack like rabid dogs. Jews and other innocents will be mugged, houses will be broken into, people will be shot, like in previous times. In Europe, hungry minorities will turn into rampaging gangs.

In many places, the governments will look on silently as Jews are attacked, claiming that there is nothing they can do. In other places, like America, the authorities will not have the manpower to prevent the anarchy. There are complaints from patients in New York hospitals that aides are not entering rooms with Jews.

The time to flee was years ago, but if not now, when? Experts are predicting that the evil could rage for months and more. At the very least, let the young people go! Rabbis, parents, if you love them, command them to flee! Let the cry be, “This year in Jerusalem!” If not, for a ghastly number, Passover will not come again, and homes of Jews will be passed over in a different, opposite sense, may the Almighty have mercy.

The exile was never meant to last forever. Hashem meant the exile to be a curse, but, beaten down by the long oppression, we turned it into the illusion of having found havens of welcome and peace. The word of the Almighty is not a whimsical thing that can change with our fancies. He decreed the curse of exile, and He decreed that His outcast and scattered children would one day return. That time came with the founding of the Jewish State.

For those who didn’t hear the call, or who refused to listen, the call of Corona, the virus of the Crown, of Hashem’s Kingship, is clear. Let it be the great shofar of our freedom. Now!   

There is a refuge in Israel, as our prophets foretold. Yes, we have problems. Yes, the virus is here as well. But the State of Israel reacted quickly to the threat. Every effort is being made to protect the Jewish people and overcome the enemy.

In Israel, you will be amongst fellow Jews, with Jewish policemen and a Jewish army, and not at the mercy of strangers. Rabbis, Jewish educators, Federation presidents, and leaders of Jewish organizations – send the Jews to Israel!

Teach by example! Show the way! Break through the sea of indecision and fear. We are waiting on the other side of the ocean to welcome you. Be brave like Nachshon. Leap into the waters of faith. Come home now!