Eretz Yisrael Time

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Monday, October 10, 2005
I’ve been away these past 2 weeks, taking the opportunity to meet and speak with various U.S. Jewish community members and leaders - and to be honest I was disappointed.

For some reason, the expulsion of 10,000 Jews from their homes hasn’t rocked their lives or shifted their foundations. I would not be far off to say that it affected their lives almost indifferently. For many, it seems that Katrina, while an undeniably awful event, completely displaced something that should be much closer to their hearts.

Even the Rabbi of one shul I attended barely managed to offer, as an apparent afterthought, a mismatched metaphor for the expulsion during his sermon, while Katrina had the defining influence on his speech.

Many spoke to me about how awful it was, but with a few exceptional exceptions, I didn’t see or hear of anyone doing anything about it.

Many people were unaware of events and details of what happened beyond what was said on the news, or what is happening now and were shocked by the common knowledge events I detailed to them.

To be fair, I did speak with some who were very connected and were personally assisting tremendously.

But overall, my impression is that Orthodox Jewry in America has disengaged from life in Israel, beyond visiting for the holidays.

They are more concerned if microscopic bugs in water make it treif.

Can you imagine that! I was shocked to hear that people won’t eat in other people’s homes who don't have a water filter.

Has distancing themselves from Israel also distanced them from Halacha?

The Ramban said somewhere that practicing Halacha outside of Israel is just that – practice. Only in Israel are you actually performing and fulfilling Halacha.

Isn’t it time that American Jewry starts reconnecting to its roots in Israel, and started performing instead of playacting?


Ze'ev said...

The OU (Orthodox Union) ran 2 funds, one for those expelled from Gush Katif and the other for Katrina relief:

Gush Katif Fund collected: $170,000

Hurricane Katrina Fund: $600,000+

American Jewry has spoken with their $$$.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

You can't perform in America...its a different dimension.

Read why over here:

JoeSettler said...


Consider for a moment that American Jews only had a few limited Jewish channels (OU, Chabbad, etc.) through which they could donate to Katrina while a much larger number of Israeli (and direct) channels existed for donations to GK.

I don't know if amounts donated via the OU is the proper measuring tool.

What might be a better measure is examining how a high a profile each American Jewish organization gave to each cause.

Then I think results would concur with your observations.

I personally know of an American Jew who gave a significant amount through a number of private Israeli channels. I can't say how much he gave, but it would distort your observations if he had gone through the OU (and I suspect it wouldn't have been as effectively delivered).

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Zeev - I personally collected money from US Jews for Gazan refugees; the money didn't go through the OU, and 100% of it went straight to the refugees. This sort of donation is way off the radar.

JoeSettler said...

Check this out:

Anonymous said...

great post.I think you are right.I noticed this already on the american jewish orthodox blogs while the gerush was going on.Many were for the gerush or indifferent.

Anonymous said...

there are jews in america who are deeply concerned about gush katif. but they are not necessarily in "leadership" positions or easily visible.

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