Aug 24, 2009
A New Manifesto
As long as I live, I will talk about aliya – even as the hope for mass aliya from the West is today like the hope of Zionists of the previous century for a state.Like ancient Cato who held on to one idea, I too will not forsake the call to aliya.
If we should fail, this generation will be placed on trial by Jewish history and there will be no mercy in the judgment.
We are a new generation with a need for a new manifesto. The catalyst driving the early Zionist visionaries is thankfully not present in our contemporary history. They were distressed by the dismal Jewish condition present by 19th century Europe, whether it was the impossibility of total assimilation into the western host country, no matter the efforts expended towards that goal, or the impoverishment and danger suffered by the Jews of Russia.
These visionaries pushed on through the implausibility of their dream; they bore the incessant mockery and dismissal of their one simple idea: the reconstitution of Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael. They persevered, they wrote, they fought and they triumphed. The State of Israel is strong and vibrant. G-d graces His People in the land that He chose for them.
Our generation has no less of a noble calling.
We stand now at the cusp of one of the most consequential moments in our history, where the majority of the Jewish People are living in Eretz Yisrael. Our mission is to realize the potential granted to this moment in history, and this moment alone: to ingather all of the Jewish nation into its homeland.
We are no longer galvanized towards aliya by oppression or fear. The last bastion of the Diaspora, the United States, must answer a different clarion call: that of kibbutz galuyot. The Jew must no longer be a citizen of the world. He must join the swell of his People in Israel to fully realize his capacity as a member of his People. In the Diaspora, he is a Jew; in his homeland, he is a part of Am Yisrael.
The American Jew who yearns to fully realize his Jewishness, who deeply desires to merge in solidarity with his brothers and sisters, can do so only in Israel. Here the superficial identities of Moroccan Jew or Argentinian Jew or British Jew fall away as we converge together in the only meaningful way: as the Jews of Israel. Cast off your American Jewish circumstance and join your destiny with that of your people.
We call on the rabbinic and lay leadership in America to embrace this vision, to not impede our historic opportunity to bring about Kibbutz Galuyot and the full realization of Am Yisrael in its land, to encourage their communities and congregations to accept practical Zionism as the only valid expression of full commitment to Am Yisrael, and to sense the urgency of the present moment. You must begin the process of dismantling the substantial infrastructure that binds Jews to the Diaspora.
We call especially on young Jews, those whose roots are not yet sunk deeply enough into the seduction of comfortable foreign soil, to remember that the idealism of a hundred years ago built a country, and that idealism need not be borne out of desperation at one’s circumstances but can emerge from the yearning to take part in the enterprise of your people in your land. We call on you to join us here, to raise your children as part of Am Yisrael and realize the richness of a life amongst your brethren in Eretz Yisrael.
We call on you to stop excusing yourself from our common destiny.
Your choice is to remain in the Diaspora or to take an active part in Kibbutz Galuyot.
Join with the rest of Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael. It is our time. This is our task.