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Dangers of assimilation     Bambi Sheleg
1. Right
Absolutely correct, these strange haredi type of jew is chocking and strangulating the jewish people. I have totally disassociated myself from mainstream judaism because of them. There are hundreds of thousands who feel the same way. Get real haredi's, live in a ghetto but don't tell me how to run my life.
mike ,   uk   (12.31.12)
2. Excellent article!
This article is spot on! The Jewish nation is small and cannot afford serious divisions. Most Orthodox are great people, but there is a small and vocal minority that is outright dangerous. How do they think the Jews in the US or France would consider aliyah after reading every day that they are not 'real' Jews, and other insults. This infighting doean't benefit any Jew. It is high time to end this dispute, end the Orthodox exclusive rights in the Rabbinate, and to stand together as Haredi, Modern Orthodox, Conservative and Reform.
Ferdinand ,   France & Israel   (12.31.12)
3. You guys in Israel
Have it all wrong Americans with money want to see a strong israel, not this weak israel that jumps to anything usa or some anti semite euro people say. What the poor liberal garbage jews in america want should not matter to you, just like it shouldnt matter to walmart what people who never shopped nor will ever shopped there want or need. The wealthy connected jews do not want a israel that is weak, but everything you guys been doing is nothing but weak, the behavior is the same of weak jews in the 30's in euro. Imagine how much respect the world would of had if israel did go into gaza, and finished the job once and for all, do you think palestine would be granted that un status? DEF NOT, but when you show weakness, you get stepped on more. Shame on those who submit to those who could care less about them. Israel was setup as a safe heaven for jews, if its not, then it should not exists as it only creates problems, so either go back and be a place where a jew is safe or simply move to Nevada or something
james ,   bev .hills ca   (12.31.12)
4. The only thing that can be done...
Is to promote aliyah. More and more American Jews are coming to Israel. Barring something like Crown Heights on a national scale, there will never be mass immigration, but Israel can try to attract as many as possible. In the end, American Jews, and diaspora Jews as a whole, will be just like Babylonian Jews. They will assimilate themselves into non-existence within a few decades. And a historic circle will close, with Israel again being where all (or almost all) Jews live.
Vlad   (12.31.12)
5. If Jewish day school was not 18,000 dollars a year
Most Jewish kids in USA can't afford 18,000 dollar school tuition for Jewish schools. The assimilation happens for Jews in public schools. Can you stop it? No! Unless day school subsidized there is no solution. The cost to educate Jewish child in USA is for rich only. I made Aliyah last year with 4 kids since I don't make half million dollars a year. This is the real problem. In Israel all subsidized by govt. . It's hopeless in USA.
Nehama ,   Israel   (12.31.12)
6. First Tikkun Then The Rest
Israel is deeply damaged and much of that damage is self-imposed. In that state it cannot be an exemplar to anyone. It can't try to teach morals and values based on the Torah when its Rabbis daily trash them. It cannot expect Jews elsewhere to put Israel at the top of their agenda, as the number one priority, when daily Israel - its government and its people - persist in pushing the envelope of unaccountability further and further. And it cannot project a morally perfect image of itself when it occupies another people. Israel needs Tikkun, not dialogue. And until it is ready to see that, Israel will continue to drift further and further away from the Jewish nation. Happy 2013!!
MelekhShaul ,   Jerusalem   (12.31.12)
7. Disagree with comment
I consider it unfair that comment after mine blames Israel for reasons Aliya not happening in USA. Every country has ugly politics and social issues. USA has tremendous social ills as we saw in newtown shooting. USA Jews don't make Aliyah because they are settled in USA and Hebrew language foreign to them. How is a jew in USA supposed to leave his roots and start over? It's very difficult financially to make Aliyah and most Jews in USA have little exposure to Israeli life/ few relatives in Israel. There is huge disconnect which is not Israel's fault. To expect a child in USA living miles away with culture that promotes all religions equal & Jewish day school costing a fortune at 18,000 year it is no surprise Aliyah harder. The average American new can barely say few sentences in Hebrew. The rabbis too ( even orthodox) struggle with Hebrew language. Israel can try to educate USA public on Aliyah but its not enough. The cost of leaving ones home, business, and family too high price. Aliyah is tough and only for those who understand or have been educated on value of Israel.
Nehama ,   Jerusalem   (12.31.12)
8. AMERICAN JEWS AND ISRAEL
Israel does not recognize and constantly denigrates the brand of Judaism in America. Reform and Conservative Judaism is practically non existent in Israel and in some cases physically assaulted. Israel's founders never meant for Israel to become the theocracy it is now. I was actually asked when departing Israel the last time whether I belonged to Temple and what king it was..this from a mere teen age IDF soldier. I support Israel and I have friends and cousins there but I would never live in this Israel
H Rosen ,   PA USA   (12.31.12)
9. Assimilation is a problem,
but Israeli and U.S. Jews need each other. I predict that many more U.S. Jews will become Israelis, in the future.
Reuven   (12.31.12)
10. History scholarship crosses the rabbinic "line" too
The Rabbinate "outs" those who publish knowledge and scholarship they find threatening, and they don't hesitate to contort and pervert Halakhah to achieve their injustices. I've spent the major part of my life researching how a 1st century pro-Torah Pharisee rabbi, as dictated by the historical facts of the 1st century Judean community, could have been transformed into the impossibly opposite -- anti-Torah and misojudaic -- Christian Yeshu of the 2nd-4th century Church. My findings, corroborated by eminent historians and not disputed by any serious historian, has produced overwhelming documentation that there is no factual connection between the historical Ribi Yehoshua (who, along with his talmidim, were Torah-keeping Netzarim Pharisees), and the diametric opposite: the 2nd-4th century syncretized-fabrication (idol) of the Christian (Notzrim) Church! Consequently, 1st century Judaic messianism had no factual connection to Christianity. Church claims were fabricated, after 135 C.E., by Christian syncretism. It would also be liberating, after 2,000 years of being wrongly blamed for "killing Christ", to recognize that Ribi Yehoshua and his Netzarim followers were Pharisees who taught Torah like the other Pharisees and died, at the hands of Rome and an Amaleiq (King Herod Antipas, an "Idumean"/ Edomite), as Torah Jews -- a complete contradiction of later false claims by Christianity and the Church!!! While there were Torah-keeping Pharisee Netzarim in the 1st century C.E., there was no such thing as Christians or the Church until after the Jewish expulsion of 135 C.E. Rabbis who teach otherwise (that Yeshu or Christianity have a historical basis in 1st century Judaic messianism) are preaching the very linchpin of Christian Gospel more effectively than any Christian "missionary" could ever do! Citing the publishing of my research (www.netzarim.co.il), nearly 30 years after the fact of our 1984 Orthodox conversions, which were subsequently approved by the Shas MK holding the folder of the Ministry of Interior in 1985 (R. Yitzkhaq Peretz), granting us olim status, the Rabbinate has recently, based on such bogus and libelous false allegations, "unrecognized" both (my wife and I) our Orthodox conversions and the American Orthodox rabbis (one of whom has since died) who converted us! Even when a scholar is mistaken, it's no excuse for suppressing their freedom of speech. Halakhah prohibits even reminding a Jew of his origins in a contra-Torah culture ("don't BOIL a kid in ITS mother's milk), much less revisit or re-investigate a conversion after the fact has ONCE been resolved (as ours was in 1984, again in 1985 and twice since then, with proper witnesses, documentation, etc.). Check the facts: of all of the Jews hemorrhaging into assimilation, ALMOST NONE go to Christianity or Islam. In fact, for all practical purposes, "Christian missionaries" are a feckless non-player in assimilation. All of the hype against "Christian missionaries" is a bogus distraction from rabbinic responsibility. Assimilating Jews are DRIVEN away from the oppression of the Dark Age mentality of rabbis who contort Torah to IMPOSE their Medievalism and superstition instead of teaching Torah and Halakhah. This situation will continue to deteriorate into complete religious rebellion and anarchy unless and until Tzohar and similar sane and reasonable Orthodox rabbis stand up, unseat the khilul ha-Sheim of medievalist religious tyrants and restore the superiority of khesed, humility and emet of Torah, remedying the injustices and repairing the breaches in Torah -- including scholarship in documented history, science, math-logic. Only then will Jews again be drawn to Torah instead of continuing to be driven away into assimilation.
Paqid Yirmeyahu ,   www.netzarim.co.il   (12.31.12)
11. #4: Aliyah by American Jews will never occur at a rate
beyond that which exists today. The societial culture in Israel is significantly different than in the U.S. The Haredim have undo influence on Israeli society, and not very many American Jews would not want to live in a country where a rapidly growing segment of the population do not work and are on welfare as a life style choice. This is contrary to American core values. The Haredim marginalize women, some attack those women who do not dress the way haredi rabbis, accountable to no one, or other Haredim, believe they should. They have a monopoly on marriage and other life cycle events. They do not recognize other branches of Judaism. Because of the relatively high birth rates of the Haredim, their influence and political power will only grow in the future. I never would want to expose future generations of my family, especially females, to this type of society.
Runner1983 ,   USA   (12.31.12)
12. Who is Jewish?
In a count of the jewish people in Wilna in the year 1783, they didn't count the Hassidim of Baal Shem Tov, they were not considerd to be jewish, the same as the reformist now, between 900 and 1100, the Karaites were considerd to be the real jews, being jewish is a changeable parameter,
Itamar ,   Ramat Gan   (12.31.12)
13. To #3
Thank you for illustrating my point. You call half of the Jews in the world "poor liberal garbage jews in america". Of course that kind of insults will alienate American Jews. Of course it will make them far LESS likely to make aliyah. Creating divisions, even hatred, between Jews will never serve the Jewish people, it will only serve the antisemites in this world. There arw far too many of them already, the last thing we need is Jews calling other Jews "poor liberal garbage".
Ferdinand ,   France & Israel   (12.31.12)
14. USJewry is a lost cause: demographic future is in Israel
The 50% intermarriage rate is misleading. Lets not forget that there are a further 20% or so who never marry anyone (Jewish or non-Jewish). For the approx 30% who do end up with a Jewish partner, the birthrate is very low at about 1.5 kids per family. So the entire edifice is crumbling at an accelerating rate. In contrast, here in Israel the Jews are increasing at 100,000 per annum. TFR is 3 and rising so the trend is clear.
Moishe ,   Gush Etzion   (12.31.12)
15. The future.
Bambi, as somebody who has lived in Israel and the United States, I can speak with experience and say that except for the religious in the United States, Jewry in the United States is finished. Any investment in terms of finances and time to reverse this trend is a total waste of time and money. Why and how this occurred is a good question. Two critical factors, lack of commitment by the Jews and the openess of American society. Without a jewish education, a Jew will not remain a Jew, but will assimilate. Reform Judaism is nothing but a path to christianity.
michael Pielet ,   israel   (12.31.12)
16. Wanting To Find Nice Jewish Girl To....
"Assimilate" With Myself. They are hot! Love those dark eyes and hair.
World Citizen ,   the world   (12.31.12)
17. Selfish Jews
Do you not remember how your parents and grandparents supported Israel during the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War? What is wrong with you?
Cheryl ,   Chicago, IL   (12.31.12)
18. Assimilation is not a new concept in Judaic history
And watering down Judaism is not the answer. Reform clergy perform Jewish rituals on Halakhickly non Jewish individuals, and violate Halakha (i.E. a Reform Rabbi will perform tasks on Shabbat) Being a Jew requires a certain level of commitment to Torah and Mitzvot, without which there is no Judaism. You cannot have your cake and eat it too.
Joe Fraser   (12.31.12)
19. I am sorry Nehama, incorrect
There are many free programs offered by Chabad etc... If parents don't make an effort to instill Judaic values by not going to shul, not having Shabbat ( i don't mean shomer shabbat, I mean lighting candles, making Kiddush and having a shabbat meal with family,) clearly assimilation will be looming.
Joe Fraser   (12.31.12)
20. Total nonsense
I can unerstand the Rabbi's concern as the influence of Jews during the American elections continues to decline as Hispanics and Blacks increase as a percetntage of population to become the most important voter blocks. But a Jew having been born and living in the United States has absolutely no responsibility and should have zero loyalty to Israel. They are American not Israeli. The real issue is the preservation of the revenue streams which allow Israeli political and religious leaders grow fat. Well with the fiscal cliff, Americans are going to demand that charity starts at home.
Sarah B ,   Tel Aviv/London   (12.31.12)
21. one word answer: ALIYAH
My parents made the mistake of taking us from the USSR to the US in the 1970s, My brother and I both made aliyah and now brought our parents to Israel for their retirement. We are secular, but as Russian-speaking JEws, our Jewish identity is squarly based on national and ethnic identity, something that does NOT exist among Western Jews, which coupled with their secularism/atheism, makes them uninterested to remain Jewish- to say the least... ALiyah is the only solution to this very real crisis. I would like to add that NOT ONE person of my generation with whom I grew up with married or Jew and only ONE couple is actually raising their child Jewish (the mother never even converted in any way shape or form!) Sad, but true!
nadav ,   tlv   (12.31.12)
22. The only way!
This is 100% true what's happening to the American Jewry. The trend is not new and the Orthodox establishment cannot and should not turn blind. Same goes for the Jewish Federations. More recourse are required to pour into Jewish education of the younger generation and it is no longer to rely what many Jews will attend synagogues beside the High Holidays. The shuls will have to come to the unaffiliated Jews, wherever they are. To preach only to practicing Jews no longer makes sense. This is not an easy task, but must be done, the sooner, the better!
Anshel ,   Canada   (12.31.12)
23. No free lunch even with chabad
In response to free programs with chabad it's not true. Yes there is discount but still too much compared to Israel prices.i had my kids in chabad summer camp & schools. Chabad is lovely organization but now that I live in Israel and live in jewish state/society my identity rich and was fragmented in USA. The connection to Judaism in USA not concrete & fulfilling enough to keep youth involved. I suppose if I had 80,000 dollars a year and another 20k for summer camp and day achool experiences it would be easy to feel judaism complete in diaspora. I saw all my los angeles struggling woth cost of educating jewish children and left bitter taste and resentment towards jewish life. I don't believe Jewish life in America has future for average folk and too dull. An Israeli Jew is daily infused with historical ties to sites that connect him to his identity. Its a society that proudly reminds him of his heritage and nationally strengthens him. Life in Israel is amazing. I drive kids to school each morning passing Israel national museum/parliament and ancient forests with flags of Israel waving on streets. It's the best feeling in the world.
Nehama ,   Jerusalem   (12.31.12)
24. if not for Chabad..
The problem would be far worse.. Thank G-d there are Chabad Centers all over that are helping connect Jews on any and every level, with love and acceptance.
avi ,   mid atlantic, usa   (12.31.12)
25. losing american jews
it is time to face an unfortunate reality...for most jewish americans israel is no longer a priority. the best example was the last american election where in israel romney was the favorite by 4 or 5 to 1 while 70% of jewish americans voted for obama there are many other examples of the divergent trends but its time to see clearly the realities
yehoshua ,   chicago u s a   (12.31.12)
26. New Oleh
As a new oleh from Argentine, who came to Israel this year with wife and 3 kids I would say that the klita process is not simple, even though I consider my self lucky because I have a decent level of hebrew, got a job almost immediately and we have relatives and friends here. However, the adaptation requires an enormous daily effort and "sablanut". Still my wife and I feel it was the right decision for the future of our daughters. I just wouldn't recommend to make aliah for people that does not speak hebrew at all, unless they are very young or reach.
sergio ,   kfar Saba, Israel   (12.31.12)
27. Message for the author and "Jstreet" Jews
European Jews were the ones that survived the Holocaust, THEM built Israel, Eurasian Jews fought for Israel from her inception. The majority of American Jews were not directly impacted by the horrors that befell the Jews elsewhere. There are plenty of sad stories on the net how American Jews remained distant and indifferent. Learn facts and drop the lies: Google "American Jews during the Holocaust". This post is written by an (ex) European who was born in a ghetto during the Holocaust.
Tom W ,   USA   (12.31.12)
28. Israel will reach its glory without religion.
The forces of retardation are doomed, even if a religious few will continue to hold on to it and suffer. Israel is and will remain a modern secular country and the Nation will thrive in a state of peace in the region. Americans who want it, will make an aliya when they see Israel has a future. So try to develop a plan for achieving peace and separating religion. There is no other way for Israel.
Michael ,   California, USA   (12.31.12)
29. #3. james: You are correct, very much
The American Jewish elite primary preoccupation is the spreading of liberalism, "multikultism" and assorted leftist Utopian-ism. Reading the N.Y.Times and other publications it seems, that the State of Israel is the worse abomination ever for the 70%-ers who vote for the antisemitic hard left.
Tom W ,   USA   (12.31.12)
30. #28
If all Jews in the world would immigrate to Israel, then sure that would work. But now a strong Judaism is needed to bind together all the cultural aspects of Judaism, Israelis luckily realize that. Bris, bar/bat mitzva, kosher and shabbat are all vital parts of cultural Judaism, abandoning these cores and Jews will cease to exist.
(12.31.12)
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