Hollywood Jews

Tzvi Fishman,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Tzvi Fishman
Tzvi Fishman is a recipient of the Israel Ministry of Education Award for Creativity and Jewish Culture. His many novels and books on a variety of Jewish themes are available at Amazon Books. Recently, he has published "Arise and Shine!" and "The Lion's Roar" - 2 sequels to his popular novel, "Tevye in the Promised Land." In Israel, the Tevye trilogy is distributed by Sifriyat Bet-El Publishing. He is also the director and producer of the feature film, "Stories of Rebbe Nachman," starring Israel's popular actor, Yehuda Barkan. www.tzvifishmanbooks.com ...

Hollywood Jews

There have been some Israeli actors and producers who left Israel to make it big in Hollywood, but regarding Jews from Hollywood who have come to live in Israel, I think I am the only one. To be fair, chances are, there may be a few Hollywood Jews living in the Holy Land, but in the 35 years I have lived here, I haven’t met a single one. In the last one-hundred years, from the days of silent movies, to the technicolor epics of old, to today’s special-effects Batman and outer-space flicks, of all of the hundreds and hundreds of famous and talented Jewish actors, directors, producers, singers, song writers, composers, comedians, entertainers, and writers, not one managed to find the way to Zion. Not a single one of them! Not Jack Benny, not Barbra Streisand, not Neil Diamond, not Dustin Hoffman, not Steven Spielberg, not Jerry Lewis, not Sidney Lumet, not Eddie Fisher, not Tony Curtis, not Billy Joel, not Milton Berle, not Otto Preminger, not Leonard Bernstein, not Arthur Miller, not Philip Roth, not James Caan, not Zero Mostel, not even Simon and Garfunkel. The list goes on and on. Not one of them achieved the Jewish dream of escaping the darkness of exile amongst the Goyim and ascending to Eretz Yisrael.

You can say that if I had been as famous as they were, I would never have abandoned Hollywood myself. That may very well be true, but, at the young age of twenty-five, I had sold four original screenplays to Hollywood, the last one for a lot of money. Chances are that my next script sale would have netted me even more. Two years later I published my first novel with a big publishing house in New York. But my Jewish soul felt empty in Hollywood, and the success and riches didn’t make the gnawing discontent in my stomach go away. Why doesn’t the same feeling of emptiness and not belonging happen to other Hollywood Jews? I don’t know.

Today, I thank Hashem that I didn’t make it big like Steven Spielberg. Once, his picture appeared on the cover of Time Magazine, surrounded by the dinosaurs he had created for his movie, “Jurassic Park.” It looked like he was being held captive by the menacing creatures. I remember thinking that he was trapped by all of the success and impurity of being famous in Hollywood.

But it isn’t fair to single out the Jews of Hollywood. What about all of the leaders of major Jewish organizations in America? How many of them have come on Aliyah? This includes the Jewish leaders of Zionist organizations as well. Where are they today? In America. 

And what about the Rabbis? Where are they? Indeed, many Rabbis from America have come on Aliyah, but percentage wise, maybe, maybe, five percent, to give those brave, idealistic souls the benefit of the doubt. The rest, those who haven’t already passed from our midst, have remained in New York, Miami Beach, Palm Springs, and Long Island. I don’t mean Haredi Rabbis, but Modern Orthodox Rabbis who support the State of Israel. Why haven’t they come? If not during their tenures, to set an example for their congregations, then when they retire? After all, the Torah without Eretz Yisrael is not the Torah, and if a Jew identifies himself as an American, then his understanding of Jewish identity is tragically flawed. Do Diaspora Rabbis believe that Hashem has forgotten all of His promises about the ingathering of the Jews from Gentile lands and the prophesied return to Zion? These are foundation stones of Judaism – things we pray for every day, and which we have merited to witness in our time. Why don’t they come?

And let’s not leave out the Jewish millionaires and billionaires who certainly could afford to come on Aliyah, and who donate generous sums of charity to Israel. Why don’t they come to live here? After all, returning to the Land of Israel has been our nation’s 2000 year-old-dream, and the proclamation, “Next Year in Jerusalem,” has accompanied our Passover celebrations, generation after generation, year after year.

Where are they all? I can’t understand it. Can someone explain to me what went wrong?

[My book, "From Hollywood to the Holy Land" is available as a FREE DOWNLOAD at www.tzvifishmanbooks.com]

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