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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Too funny not to share

A post over on a Canadian blog called 'Almost Aliyah' caught my eye because it talks about something that I've encountered on numerous occasions.  The post is called 'Aliyah Eyes' and it refers to the funny looks and reactions the author gets when people in his [very pro-Israel] town hear about his plans to move to Israel.

It reminded me of my last trip to the states and some of the looks and comments I got as well.  A friend sent me a picture that perfectly sums up the sentiment:


[Note to non-Hebrew speakers:  Parnassa = making a living]

People... I'm begging you to just stop with the self-inflicted guilt/head trips.  It's not good for you and it's just weirding me out. 

If you want to move to Israel... Great!  If not... that's perfectly OK too. 

This tension that exists between those who are moving and those who feel the need to justify why they aren't is just getting out of hand.

Israel needs tourists too. 



Posted by David Bogner on June 13, 2006 | Permalink


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It was at Ben Chorin (benchorin.blogspot.com) that I first read the term "teaneck shenishba", derived from the category of "tinok shenishba" [lit: a baby taken into captivity] referring to an unlearned Jew who can't be blamed for his transgressions because he, like a baby taken from his Jewish parents and raised as a non-Jew, never learned the rules and never had a chance to.

Posted by: President, Kippot Srugot for Kadima | Jun 13, 2006 10:15:18 AM

Why does this weird you out? Although I'll be the first to admit that making aliyah is difficult, and shouldn't be done just out of guilt, there is a place for this uncomfortable feeling. If all of the Jews of America came and settled where we live, the rest of the world would be forced to accept the fact that we are here to stay and there is no room for giving up more territory. Noone seriously believes that the Arabs displaced in 1948 will ever be able to return to their homes, not because of any conscious decision of right or wrong, but because Tel-Aviv is a city with hundreds of thousands of Jews. Ariel, and Maaleh Adumim, and Efrat are part of the Israeli "consensus" (which means it is "normal" to live there, vs. in a small yishuv where I live)not because of their location, but because of the sheer numbers of Jews who live there. (Not that I agree with this reasoning - I believe that G-d gave it all to us, and we "earned" it ourselves in the 1967 war, and this labeling based on numbers is inconsistent to say the least) So all of those Jews who stay in America do have what to feel guilty about!

Posted by: westbankmama | Jun 13, 2006 10:16:50 AM

Trep: This was on my blog MONTHS ago. (see what happens when you are only an occasional reader) Also, I understand it was done by someone FROM Teaneck...so they must have their own guilt complex.

They aren't getting it from me!

Posted by: Jameel @ The Muqata | Jun 13, 2006 10:38:44 AM

Amen, Trep.

Although I'm not so pro encouraging US Jewish tourism, but hey you know that...

Highlighting the need for donors to our many struggling *Non-Governmental Organizations*, however, I can definitely get behind! American Jewish Dollars are very much appreciated (not to mention desperately needed to keep the sector afloat) don't believe *anyone* who tells you otherwise. So there's a good compromise: and if you want to plan a trip to Israel around visiting your Non-Profit of choice and see how they are doing as a result of your generous support, please please do! Just as long as you don't shout too much.

Posted by: PP | Jun 13, 2006 11:21:23 AM

It's actually an amazing tribute to the freedom and self-confidence which exists in the US that such a signpost could be put up and remain standing.

If the Jews of any of the Jewish districts of the UK were to put up an equivalent, there would be a huge national outcry, the press would rage about Jewish dual loyalties, speeches would be made in both Houses of Parliament, and it would be vandalized out of existence. And there would be disclaimer petitions from huge numbers of other British Jews saying "not in my name"....

Posted by: Judy | Jun 13, 2006 12:00:30 PM


It's actually an amazing tribute to the British sense of humor that such a photo could be taken as real. The British sense of humor is waaay to subtle to even contemplate such an obviously fake photo.

If a Brit were to post an equivalent fake, there might be a huge national outcry. And there would be disclaimer petitions from huge numbers of other British pranksters saying "not in my name"....

Posted by: President, Kippot Srugot for Kadima | Jun 13, 2006 12:21:20 PM

Any justification to me is bunch of bull, if at all one has full access to the Land by right of birth of whatever! it beats sense to have a reason why Aliyah is not good for you! and if Zionism/pro-'Israelism' doesn't ogre well then Hate the Game AND not the Player!
*A gentiles sentiments only.

Posted by: pk | Jun 13, 2006 1:03:35 PM

pk, I think you meant "augur" well.

To "ogre" well - that'd be like being a Good Shrek. Heh.

The sign, of course, is Photoshopped...but it's a good 'un.

Posted by: Elisson | Jun 13, 2006 1:56:59 PM

As someone who spends a lot of time in Teaneck, that's hilarious!

Haven't actually met many people there who express that sentiment, though.

Posted by: Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) | Jun 13, 2006 2:13:17 PM

Thanks for reading....
The most interesting part is mentioning my plans to my non Jewish collegues in the hospital who are so overwhelmingly supportive of my plans.... Less "aliyah baggage" i suppose.

Posted by: almostaliyah | Jun 13, 2006 2:26:32 PM

Thanks Ellison for the correction... my thoughts must have been in NJ.

Posted by: pk | Jun 13, 2006 2:52:32 PM

Don't worry, Judy - you're not the first to think it was real. I'm from Teaneck and a Canadian friend of mine saw the picture and asked me where exactly the sign stood. I explained that while yes, Teaneck does have many Zionist Orthodox Jews, it's not *actually* a Jewish township.

BTW, Steg, as someone who grew up in Teaneck, I heard approximations of that sentiment every time someone said "we hope to make aliyah one day" (which wasn't an infrequent occurrence) since the fact that weren't making concrete plans to do so was a silent accompaniment to that statement, and the only reasons considered "acceptable" within a community that proclaims itself Zionist are parnassa and taking care of elderly parents.

Posted by: Temporary Delurker | Jun 13, 2006 4:42:23 PM

President... I love that line too.

Westbankmama... when we first signed up for Nefesh B'Nefesh we had to each fill out a long questionnaire. One question has stayed with me since then. it asked, 'Do you think all Jews should be living in Israel?'. I answered 'No'. I honestly feel that as much as it would be wonderful for all Jews to 'come home'... there are a LOT of Jews out there who simply aren't suited to life here. Heck, it may be a few years before I figure out if I'M suited for life here... but Israel has enough problems without literally importing the problems of the world.

Jameel... Hey, I can't be everywhere! I catch most of your stuff. This just proves what I said to you last year on the phone; we're too much alike. :-)

PP... That seems to be a common thread around the world. Everyone wants American tourist $s but without having to endure the loud Americans. If you figure out how to accomplish that trick let me know. :-)

Judy... It isn't a real sign. OK, the sign is real, but the second part is a photo-shop add-on meant as a joke. as with all great jokes, there is a kernel of truth at its center.

President... Now, now... let's not make fun of the British sense of humor. Their cooking, however, is open to ridicule. :-)

PK... I was wondering how an Ogre got mixed up in this but Elisson helped me out. :-) In all seriousness. since you are an African let me put it to you another way. Go here to see the history of a country called Liberia. Almost half a century before the American civil war, several religious and philanthropic groups in the US got together and afforded American Negroes the opportunity to return to Africa. The first group went in 1822 and by the 1840s they had declared an independent state. There are some interesting parallels (not perfect, mind you) in this history to the return of the Jews to Israel. First of all, the returnees were culturally and politically unlike any of the Africans they encountered and they considered themselves Americans even though they had returned to their 'homeland'. Most of the American blacks who had the opportunity to return to Africa opted not to for a host of perfectly valid reasons. Those that did return were constantly at odds with the indigenous residents over social, religious and political friction points. Had all the American blacks opted to return to Liberia I don't know that it would have helped matters or hurt them. My guess is the latter. I hope that in a hundred years our contry is in better shape than Liberia, though.

Elisson... How did you figure out that's what he meant? Genius!

Steg... On the contrary, I haven't met too many that haven't.

Almost Aliyah... Looking forward to hearing that you changed your blog name to 'already there'. :-)

Temporary Delurker... OK, I have to ask: How many comments does one have to leave before they can be considered to have permanently delurked? :-) I hope not to many since I've enjoyed the couple you've left so far.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jun 13, 2006 4:52:50 PM

Interestingly, I don't think even a joke-Photoshop sign such as this (say for Golders Green in London) would get such a cool reaction in a UK context. It would be read as contributing to UK anti-semitism representing itself as anti-zionism.

Posted by: Judy | Jun 13, 2006 5:13:31 PM

Wow! I get it... thanks! ;-)

Posted by: pk | Jun 13, 2006 5:55:44 PM

Hmm... a good compromise would be to earn as much money as you can in the U.S. and then move to Israel with that money and invest it wisely. That way, you can have your cake and eat it, too (sort of). : ) It might be a longer road, but at least it's better than not making aliya at all or going quickly and having less to contribute... however, I undertand all points of view on the matter. In reality, it is a difficult and very individual issue.

Posted by: Irina | Jun 13, 2006 8:27:47 PM

Irina... Two thoughts on that:

1. How much is enough with which to make aliyah? Trying to answer that question has kept countless people from actually making aliyah. The truth is that one should come with some savings, but there is no set formula.

2. It is said that the best way to have a million dollars in Israel is to come with two million. In short, whatever you bring is never really enough.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jun 13, 2006 8:45:41 PM

Welcome to Brooklyn.... we would rather be in Israel but you know...pizza, shuls on every corner, no parking, a lawn only an ant could play baseball on and parnasah...

Posted by: Jewish Blogmeister | Jun 13, 2006 11:57:35 PM

To be honest, for myself, I don't think as much in terms of the amount of savings as in skills and reputation to make some kind of a contribution.

Posted by: Irina | Jun 13, 2006 11:58:08 PM

From what I have heard, it has become increasingly popular, in the past few years, to commute back and forth every month or two.

So I guess you CAN have your cake and eat it too.

Posted by: jaime | Jun 14, 2006 2:29:39 AM

uh israel needs tourists?

what about the rest of the world needing jews?

Posted by: the sabra | Jun 18, 2006 10:54:01 AM

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